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Raw Food Diets May Be Dangerous for Pets

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 11:45am

Just like fad diets for humans, popular diets for your pets come and go. However, there’s one particular pet diet trend that gives us pause: ASPCA experts say raw food diets for pets that include raw meat, eggs and milk may be dangerous for your furry friends. We typically recommend that pet parents opt for well-balanced, high-quality commercial and cooked foods instead.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) agrees. In studies published in AVMA’s journal, homemade and commercial raw food diets for dogs and cats were found to contain dangerous bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella, just to name a few. Other tests showed that unprocessed food diets can lead to nutrient deficiencies or excess that can cause serious illnesses in pets. Also, pets chewing on raw bones can lead to obstruction or perforation of their gastrointestinal tracts, and fractured teeth.

If you don’t want to feed your dog or cat a commercial diet, consider a homemade diet that will diminish the risks of foodborne illnesses. These meals should be thoroughly cooked and need to be formulated by a veterinary nutritionist or by your veterinarian to make sure they’re nutritionally sound.

If you are passionate about feeding your pet raw foods, please consider the following tips.

  • Work with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet’s diet is nutritionally balanced.
  • Avoid feeding raw foods in homes with babies and toddlers (who put lots of things in their mouths), the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
  • Practice regular hand washing before and after feeding pets.
  • Practice appropriate disposal methods when cleaning up pet feces.

For more information about pet-safe diets, consult your veterinarian and check out our complete list of people foods that are dangerous to pets.

Tell us in the comments below: Do you feed your pet raw foods or a homemade diet?

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Dave

Mac, you are a RETARD and should probably never own a pet.

Charlotte

Wow! How much were you guys paid by pet food companies to write this article?! I can't believe that you are trying to argue against a diet that has fed cats and dogs for THOUSANDS of years before humans intervened and started giving them illness-inducing crappy, cooked foods? Sorry if I come off angry, but frankly, I am!!!

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gen

i think there is a HUGE DIFFERENCE between COMMERCIAL raw AND RAW, LIVE FOOD: ie, a cat eating a live, warm, mouse running around. even when i eat frozen meat that's been sitting in the freezer for a while it tastes disgusting. (after i cook it of course.) this is just an analogy of a cat eating raw commercial and a cat eating live mice in the garden. and i'm pretty sure a lot of the cooked commercial cat food is shet. all america, people, and companies worry about is the BOTTOM DOLLAR: PROFIT. don't ever forget that. that is the driving force. they don't give a rat's ass about your health or your pet's health. YOU CAN TRUST ME ON THAT ONE!!

Maria

Rubbish. There are pet food recalls due to e-coli and salmonella almost weekly. I'd rather take my chances with raw and know exactly what's in my dogs food (and have been doing so since the 2007 pet food recalls due to melamine from China). Veterinarians do not have extensive knowledge in nutrition and what they learn is taught by the pet food industry. Having a vet develop a raw or home cooked diet for you wouldn't be advisable. However, consulting a canine nutritionist would be a valuable asset when devising a home prepared diet (be it raw or cooked) in order to make sure the diet is truly balanced. Common sense when handling meats is a no brainer. If we can figure out how to feed a balanced diet to our children, then we can do it for our dogs. Pet food manufacturers want us to think it's impossible or dangerous because if we all started doing it they'd be out of business.

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