Lightly cooking their food is fine, in fact, often it’s beneficial…

May 20, 2024
Dr Conor Brady
Lightly cooking their food is fine, in fact, often it’s beneficial…

Rant time. Gather round.

There’s a saying in Africa I love “The lion doesn’t turn around when the small dog barks”.

I always envied that lion. Sadly, I am not him. Dogs barking tend to prick my ears and I’m not the sort of chap to ignore when poorly informed folk shoot their mouth off online.

So, a quick note on Tuesday’s show, specifically for the poor souls that were so deeply wounded that RAW Pet Medics would have on a vet at the top of his game for making awesome, albeit cooked, meals for dogs.

First, Matthew Muir is a vet and herbalist at the top of his game. He loves nutrition and research. His areas of obsession are cancer, wellness, longevity and how we might use specific diets to get us there.

In case you should need it, he’s highly qualified to do so. He holds a double degree in Veterinary Science and Veterinary Biology (first-class honours). He holds certs in Chinese Herbal Medicine and Chinese Food Therapies and has worked for years in London, consulting in animal wellness & internal medicine as well as out-of-hours emergency and critical care. It is for his work in preventative health care that he was handed the 2021 game changer award by Dr. Karen Becker.

Far beyond the ridiculous AAFCO MINIMUM nutrient profile to which the vast majority of other “complete” pet foods are using as a guide, Matt has studied the nutrient needs of dogs exhaustively to work out what might be the OPTIMUM diet for a dog, nutritively speaking, and he has come up with some interesting ideas.

He is a member of the RAW Feeding Veterinary Society and he is very pro-fresh / raw.

To all the critics of the fact Lyka is lightly cooked and at times supplemented with nutrients, as painful as it will be for many of you to hear (particularly those that are charging others for their canine nutrition licks), know this – my money is on Matt knowing considerably more about using food to bestow maximum health on the average dog than you, he almost certainly knows more about how to use it best to heal a sick one and he 100% knows more about formulating pet food meals than you.

That is a fact.

So when he speaks, you should listen as you might learn something.

Now, to the folk aghast I might back a lightly cooked food now and again – guys, there are many reasons why cooked food might be the preferred option in dogs. Here are 5 off the top of my head:


Lyka is a range of lightly cooked, whole-food meals to hook vets. In case you missed it, vets are still not onside. Like, at all. They’re not stocking raw. We still only have 200 or so in the Raw Feeding Vet Society.

So Lyka is Matt’s approach. And it’s working well.

What’s your plan?! What are you doing to bring vets on side? How many have you convinced this year to stock anything but kibble? Let’s hear how you did it, and we can compare who’s approach has been more effective.


For those on the “raw or bust” bus, you almost certainly do not work closely with IBD or leaky-gut dogs. Because if you do enough of them you soon realise cooked diets seem to work really well in them. In fact, while the end goal is fresh / raw, I find myself reaching for a cooked diet more often than not in these dogs when starting off.

Is it because it looks slightly different and thus is better tolerated? Or maybe, with their guts shot and sore, it’s because lightly cooked meat protein is easier to digest?

Maybe it comes down to the simple fact dogs prefer cooked meat to raw?


Yes, do your own taste tests, but you already know what the answer is. Studies show cooked meats are generally selected first by dogs in taste trials. Cooking alters the meat (Maillard Reactions), making the meat tastier to them, as it does us.

For this reason alone, well-made cooked diets are a GREAT gateway meals for picky/hesitant dogs and cats too, God knows.

Then are those dogs following gut surgery where a sterile, easier-to-digest diet is required feeding for a few days. In fact, dogs going through chemo losing their appetite may do better on it AND, as it happens, you get more energy from cooked meat than raw!! It’s true, around 10% more, but in such cases, it might make all the difference. Not to mention those owners who are going through chemo themselves who have enough to be worrying about without you forcing their hand, one way or another.

In fact, avoiding cancer is one of the reasons why Matt supplements his meals…


Matt has designed each of those meals to have a specific function. Had you spoken with him instead of rushing to your keyboard to ensure everyone knows you’ve been offended by something, you would have learned why he does certain things, much to your benefit.

To take just one example, the optimum amount of vitamin D in a dog’s diet is likely many times the current minimum figure stated by AAFCO. Like humans, dogs would be significantly healthier getting more of this critical nutrient in their lives.

At this point, the “ingredients or bust” crew step in and say do it with food only! Use raw liver!!!

Brilliant. And how much of that would you like us to use? Because, depending on what you need the diet for (let’s say cancer), at the 5% upper inclusion rate you aren’t getting close to what Matt says is needed and at that level, you are already pushing vitamin A and copper, etc to such high levels you’re going to may get other issues, certainly if you go beyond.

And then there’s the fact those nutrients clash with others present in the mix, as per my post two days ago.

So, any other ideas?!

Sardines – great idea, but to get enough vitamin D there you would blow out your sodium readings way before you got close to what was needed.

Matt’s was to take the very best source of NATURAL vitamin D out there and use that. Problem solved.

Same with vitamin E. Way too low. We need lots. Vitamin E can be added in its whole, natural form (wheat germ oil is one source, high oleic sunflower oil another), to the great benefit of say, a pancreatitis dog who, if they have a disease, have a vitamin E problem.

Did you know that vitamin b3 is a crucial one in ageing? Meat is the best source but it doesn’t contain enough if you’re drawing down on it hard, particularly if your meat was reared in a shed on grain.

In fact, on that point alone, how “complete” is an 80:10:10 raw?! Barn-reared chicken that never saw the sun? Pigs and rabbits reared in hell. Most of our beef and sheep get only grass, not pasture, not wild plants, not true forage. And our soils are not what they were.

The same applies to minerals. His are chelated, as they are found in nature (very pricey, btw) and easily absorbed. So if your dogs’ gut is shattered, as so many are, and not firing right, they will benefit massively from having some easier-to-absorb zinc and iron in the mix.

When Matts formulating diets he’s thinking about how to help all dogs best, healthy and sick, trying to find that right balance without the vet holding 1,500 different types of frozen raw dog food in their little practice. He’s thinking about IBD, cancer, ageing and cardioprotection. He’s considering microbiome optimisation (gut-brain), liver protection, neuroprotection and renal protection. That’s why he doesn’t use the same vit/min pack in each food and it’s why some diets are higher in some plant ingredients as his Chinese Herbal Medicine brain is telling him to deploy more of a particular type of phytonutrient, depending.

How much nuts would you have to use to get a good whack of selenium in there for the cancer dog? How much mussels to get a good whack of manganese in there for the dog with stiff joints, without adding too much sodium?! How many sardines to jack up the omega 3 without reaching for phytoplankton?

On and on.

People going around crying “just use real ingredients for the sake of the children” are telling the world they don’t know what they’re talking about. They are assuming that all raw-fed dogs are walking around perfectly topped up in every nutrient, which is a complete and potentially dangerous fallacy. They are completely out of their depth. The concern is some of those people are charging owners of sick pets for their advice.

Caveat emptor.


But he uses calcium! What about bones?! Bones are not just calcium but glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, collagen, glucagon etc etc. Yes, Matt is painfully aware. He doesn’t use cooked bone in his mixes as the market is not ready to hear that lightly cooked bone dust is in there. He uses decent quality calcium in his mixes to meet the AAFCO requirement to balance the Ca:Ph in his mixes and then recommends dogs eat bones with his product. This is significantly better than the person feeding raw that uses no bones at all (for reasons best known to themselves).

That will have to do for now (though I have a solution on the way for him…).


A lightly cooked meal can be as good as a raw meat version of that meal. In fact, one made by Matt, lightly cooked in its own juices so little to nutrients are lost with raw meaty bones on the side, may well be better than most 80:10:10 mixes made on factory-farmed meats.

In fact, Bobbi, the oldest living dog on the planet, ate a cooked meat and veg (and a bit of bone here and there) diet all his life!!!

So, stick that in your pipe and smoke it (unless you are anti-fire and prefer to chew your tobacco).


Conor, are you drinking?! It’s 10 am, we’re worried.

First of all, it’s Friday. But no. Well…….no, not really.

Here’s the thing: I am clearly a pro-fresh/raw guy. I wrote the book. It’s likely best for them, nutritionally. However, a well-made and LIGHTLY cooked diet (where the juices are retained) is so close behind (and sometimes better) that I’m not sure it makes a whole heap of difference. We certainly don’t have any evidence to help us decide.

But that’s just me, you do you and let them do them.

There are clearly large swathes of people out there that go natural or bust, raw or bust, and that’s more than fine, have at it.

But do us a favour people, get off your high horses. You shouting “your way or the highway” makes you no better than the Purina-paid whitecoat vets saying the same about kibble. No better at all.

The fact is, everyone is “all natural” in the good times, and I for one am certain such a way of life is the best way to prolong those good times, but when the shit hits the fan and you need lycopene to fight some cancer, you’re not going to sit there and eat half a sack of (cooked) tomatoes every day, are you, dipshit? You’re going to reach for a condensed MANUFACTURED lycopene tablet.

When you have kidney disease and you need some co-enzyme Q10 you’re not going to battle your way through a kilo of walnuts every day, are you? If you do, please send in the video to cheer us all up.

When your arm is hanging off you’re not going to ask for some willow bark (aspirin) and a smattering of poppy seeds, are you? You will be politely asking for some ultra-processed poppy flowers in the form of opiates to numb your senses completely while they saw off your mangled appendage.

And when the flu comes back around in Autumn you sure as hell aren’t going to start eating 5% raw beef liver each day to get your vitamin D, are you?

Of course not. It’s gross. You’re going to take a supplement.

Unsure which type or how much you need or which of the others you need to take alongside it to ensure you absorb that vitamin D?

Ask Matt.

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