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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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Susan Lehmann

I fed my dog raw meat for years. Never had to go to the vet. They don't like that. They need our animals to be sick or else they would make no money. My cats now eat raw meat every day for the last 10 years without one problem. Yes, our domestic dogs were never out in the wild, but unlike our teeth,their teeth have not changed and are meant to rip and tear apart meat.

shar

The "real" issue here is REAL food, whether it is for us humans or our beloved pets. If we are not eating real food ourselves, why would we bother feeding it to our pets? Who wants to eat the same food (or kibble) for our entire lives? Animals need variety just like we do. I feed my dogs a raw diet with a variety of different meats. What many people don't realize is that dogs do not have the digestive enzyme that us humans do to process carbohydrates. All the carbs in kibble cannot be processed or broken down by their body. All it does is pass right on through. And all the fiber in kibble (wheat,beet pulp,oats,barley,etc) is robbing their bodies of moisture that they need. They do not need added fiber in their diet like we do.

And the biggest issue that freaks people out. BACTERIA. Once again, it affects dogs/animals differently. A dog has a short digestive tract that is made to pass food through it quickly. They have high acidic levels that help to break down the bacteria. They also naturally have low levels of E Coli already in their gut. Their bodies are naturally designed to eat a raw food diet. Not kibble, which was introduced in the 1950's (by Purina, I believe), as a convenience food. Dogs use to be fed scraps or had to fend for themselves before the evolution of being a "family pet".

Ask a vet what their nutrition class in vet school was and who it was funded by and ask them if they get a percentage of that kibble they are selling in their office. The kibble industry is not governed or regulated by any overseeing agency. They regulate themselves. Shame on the ASPCA for not sharing all the facts about feeding your pet a raw food diet. You're doing an injustice to a lot of animals and owners.

Ellen

If you're in the upstate NY Albany area, please consider registering and learning about raw feeding from a wholistic vet and a trainer. It helped me transition my dogs with plenty of info, Q&As, and hands-on application. Learn what's really in your pets' foods. Educate yourself and then make an informed decision, not one just based on opinion and hearsay.
http://canineculinaryacademy.com/wordpress/?p=83

Ellen

If you're in the upstate NY Albany area, please consider registering and learning about raw feeding from a wholistic vet and a trainer. It helped me transition my dogs with plenty of info, Q&As, and hands-on application. Learn what's really in your pets' foods. Educate yourself and then make an informed decision, not one just based on opinion and hearsay.
http://canineculinaryacademy.com/wordpress/?p=83

Patrick Oliver

Yes. My pops found out not to give cats milk.
Sorry Maya and Jun!

Jeff

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Jeff

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myselfrickey

Very nice and informative article

myselfrickey

Also I would like to recomend a website named rawforbeauty.com, the raw food and diet chart provided by them is also very helpful

Bjorn

The pet food industry is not regulated, who know's what else is in it. My husky has suffered from dry black and red skin on her belly, chest and genitals for half her life. I blame all of this dehydrated chemically induced veternarian reccomended horse shite. Trust yourself, if your dog isn't thriving on the diet you feed him/her educate yourself THOUROGHLY. Every dog is different so do what you feel is right. I don't trust my vet, she's a pill pushing drug lord. By the way she's (Sydney) on a raw diet of chicken breast and drums (raw with bones) a probiotic formula i add to 4 tbsp. of plain yogurt with a tablespoon of flax oil. Plus a veggie cube with every meal I make in the blender with raw greens (kale, broccoli, spinach) and herbs (parsley, cilantro and dill) with eggs (shells a must). I freeze them in muffin thingys, pop them out and bag them. She is 6 years old and I haven't seen her this happy and energetic since she was a pup. Her black skin is almost completely faded. Good luck!

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