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Hound Dog Mom
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Hi Chloralu –

HPP stands for “High Pressure Processing.” HPP is a process in which extremely high pressure is applied uniformly around and throughout a raw food product. HPP is used to destroy bacteria and is said to do minimal damage to the flavor, texture and color of raw food (although if you ever buy a product that has undergone HPP and compare it to a non-HPP product you’ll notice that there is a sort of “rind” formed around most HPP products and the color is noticeably grayish – at least in my experience). HPP also extends shelf life. All the benefits of raw food without the risk of bacterial contamination, sounds great right? The downside is that beneficial bacteria, some enzymes and some functional proteins are destroyed as well. Because the “friendly” bacteria is destroyed along with the “bad” bacteria if the food is ever stored improperly and happens to get contaminated with “bad” bacteria there is no “friendly” bacteria to keep the “bad” bacteria in check and prevent it from growing out of control. Oftentimes re-contamination can happen during the manufacturing process (like during all the recent kibble recalls for salmonella contamination). The raw foods that are HPP are: Stella & Chewy’s, Nature’s Variety Instinct and Primal (poultry varieties only). Individuals with immune-compromised dogs may have no other option than HPP if they wish to feed raw, however for a healthy dog I think HPP should be avoided. A healthy dog is fully equipped to handle the bacteria present in raw meat. There are also steps that can be taken to destroy bacteria without altering the nutritional value of the food: apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, raw garlic and alfalfa all have antibacterial properties (not to mention a myriad of other health benefits) and can easily be added to raw food for those concerned about bacterial contamination. If your dog is on a raw diet it’s also a good idea to supplement with a high quality multi-strain probiotic – this will keep the colony of good bacteria in your dog’s gut strong so if bad bacteria ever does come around the dog will be better able to combat it.