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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?

Comments

Comments

Karen

It makes me laugh when I see/hear the comment "consult with your vet regarding proper nutrition for your pet." I have spoken with several vets where I live and each one has admitted that they receive virtually no education regarding nutrition when in vet school. Instead, they have advised me, they are courted by the large commercial pet food companies and "encouraged" to advise clients that this is what is best for their pet. We had a Husky several years ago whose health was rapidly failing (though he was still quite young). There was no explanation for it and, therefore, our vet could not offer any suggestions as to a course of action. We began reading/researching home-prepared diets and made the switch. At first our vet was skeptical, advising that most people he encountered that did this, did not stick with it. We did. And in a very short period of time our Husky was thriving. Our vet was amazed and instantly became a believer in what home-prepared raw food can do. That was 14 years ago and all of our dogs have continued to be fed this diet. They have all lived long, healthy lives as a result. It's a disgrace that the commercial pet food industry can so negatively impact the lives of our beloved pets through their fear-mongering!

kristy

8 love the contradictions from "experts" about dogs. Some days they are more like wolves, and some days, like according to this article they are not. 2hen it is convenient, like selling a crate to a hesitant dog owner, dogs are almost exactly like wolves and love to be in dens just like wolves. When a dog has a hard time being trained, the dog is just like a wolf and needs to be shown who the alpha wolf is in the hierarchy. When it comes to feeding your pet, a dog is nothing at all like a wolf and MUST eat grains and cooked food and kibbles and must NEVER eat raw meat. Which is it? Or are they only what the experts want them to be when it is convenient?

Laura Share

I feed my chihuahuas raw chicken necks, baby back ribs, beef heart, goat, lamb, veal, turkey, pork. They are the healthiest chis I've ever seen--good weight, great energy. My vet doesn't know bumpkis about feeding raw. I think this article is highly suspect--what the agenda here? I understand that raw is not everyone's cup of tea, and that food borne illnesses are a reality, but that shouldn't mean that veterinary recommendations are based on the lowest common denominator. I know how to handle raw foods safely. My dog benefits from being fed raw. I know exactly what is going into his food.

Johana Bouchard

Vets can, at times, be helpful in pointing owners in the right direction regarding raw/homemade feeding. When I decided to make the switch, my vet was reluctant but suggested I look into Dr. Pitcairn's book "Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats", which I cannot even begin to explain how helpful the book was for me. Of course, many conventional vets would most likely try to talk you OUT of feeding raw/homecooked, as they are instructed in vet school to "feed a quality kibble." They even sell kibble (science diet) for goodness sakes. A great source of help would more likely be a holistic vet, and of course there's plenty of info online.

Michele

Sorry but no way in hell would I allow my dog to eat raw food. Would YOU eat raw food? NO! Just as you could get salmonella and e-coli from raw food so can your pet. Dogs are not wild animals. A racoon that picks through your garbage, which may have been sitting there for a few days will probably not get sick but your dog would. I am sure that our human ancestors ate many things that you would not dream of eating now. The same should hold true for your dog. As for the person who felt it was ok to allow a dog to eat chicken bones NOT SO. Chicken bones are very thin and splinter easily. Many a dog has had to be rushed to the vet when one of those bones perforated the dogs stomach or intestines.

Lucy

A dog's stomach is four times more acidic than a human's stmach and can stand eating not-so-fresh-meat; as for bones, you shouldn't feed your dogs COOKED bones, they splinter easily, but not raw bones, those are safe, my dogs eat them everyday and are perfect.

Shihtzu Mom

I must say I don't believe that the raw meat we purchase is completley free of any bacteria. We are even instructed on the temperature and cooking time of meat, cleanliness when handling raw meat. Yes, our animals' ancestors hunted for food, but those animals were living in a much healthier environment than what we are living in today. I prefer to feed my animals a good quality commercial food.

Tim

Shame on you, ASPCA, getting on board with the AVMA-cited "studies" backed by the same pet food giants who are churning out kibble packed with diseased, rotten animal parts, moldy grains, and other disgusting ingredients never betrayed by the wholesome, natural "human-grade" image projected by their marketing. Read up on FDA compliance policies and bring some factual information to your supporters on this.

Johanna Bouchard

Michele, you have been properly brainwashed by the Pet Food Industry. There is far LESS risk associated with feeding raw than kibble. Please do the research into the hazards and dangers of kibble. FYI kibble is very often tainted with salmonella and owners are urged to WASH HANDS IMMEDIATELY AFTER FEEDING KIBBLE. As for raw, dogs have enzymes in their saliva which kill salmonella, e. Coli, streptococcus, and staphylococcus. They can handle it, and the live enzymes in raw meat cause the animals health to thrive, as proven by numerous studies.

Kim O

I have bought or made my own raw pet food following Pat McKays recipes or approximately 20 years. People always say how beautiful and healthy my animals are. There are certain rules that you must follow but it is so worth it. I also use her supplements for my animals. www.animalhomeopathy.net All of her products are human grade. I highly recommend.

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