Raw dog controversy
Feeding a dog a raw diet, also known as a “BARF” diet (biologically appropriate raw food), is a controversial topic and there are differing opinions on its safety and benefits. Some proponents of raw feeding argue that it can provide numerous health benefits to dogs, such as improved coat condition, increased energy levels, and better dental health.
However, there are also many potential risks associated with feeding a dog a raw diet, including the risk of bacterial contamination and the risk of dogs consuming bones that can splinter and cause blockages or other injuries.
It is important to consult with a veterinarian or a qualified animal nutritionist before making any decisions about your dog’s diet. It is generally recommended to feed dogs a well-balanced, commercially available dog food that has been formulated to meet their nutritional needs. These foods have been rigorously tested for safety and have been shown to be nutritionally complete and balanced.
an old saying: know thy dog.
Is raw dog the best
If you can balance a meal, see a nutritionist and afford it, raw is a good diet. However many dogs suffer because their owners cannot do those things correctly. Canned food is often very fatty, so a canned food only diet is probably not the best option. Kibble is balanced for you, and you feed according to weight. Kibble is the cheaper, quicker and safer way to go. If you can put the effort into feeding a proper raw diet then it is a fantastic choice though :D.A lot of store bought meats aren’t very good for dogs which also is an issue people have when trying to feed raw as well. (At least where I live)
Is raw dog safe
Yes and no. There are some things you need to watch for when considering a raw diet for your dog. First and foremost, I would suggest not choosing a raw diet that does not include bones. There have been cases of dogs getting intestinal perforations from shards of bone in their food. Also, raw food is more likely to contain bacteria and/or parasites. Always check for recalls on any store bought food for your dog as well as on food you buy to prepare homemade raw meals. Hope this helps!
Cost of raw dog food
The more proteins you can offer, the better it is for your dog. if money is an issue, a friend of mine fed chicken quarters and beef heart to his great dane, who lived to be almost 13, which is old for a great dane. also, they do require organ, so he also fed liver, chicken or beef.I have four dogs, one of which is a mastiff. added together, they eat total, approximately 42 ounces per day. that includes protein/bone/fat.
I don’t feed as much organ as many people do, but that is a question for another time…..we do feed dehydrated organ from a variety of proteins, including goat, kangaroo, duck, etc, often called exotic proteins.The size of your dog, the activity level of your dog, how your dog eats, will determine how you feed.
When i first switched to raw, i gave my pug a chicken drumstick. it sounds reasonable. he swallowed it whole. then i put a chicken down for him to eat, thinking feed larger than his head.I put a cornish hen down and because of the shape of his mouth, he couldn’t eat it.He got meaty beef ribs to gnaw on which cleaned his teeth, and ground proteins to eat.I had a collieflower who was a power eater. he ate the neck of a bison. then he ate the leg of an antelope. so we had to take them away once he stripped the meat off, so he wouldn’t break teeth on weight bearing bones.
Frozen safe or not?
Raw diets have been growing in popularity as some consumers have become convinced of the purported benefits—from shinier coats and cleaner teeth, to a longer life. Sales of raw frozen and refrigerated pet foods in the U.S. grew by 263 percent from $43.7 million in 2011 to $158.7 million in 2017, according to market research firm GfK.
But raw food diets are controversial, and many veterinarians and public health officials are warning consumers about the potential dangers of these diets.
Some of these products contain raw organ or muscle meats and whole or crushed animal and fish bones. Others are more akin to a raw vegetarian diet, including unpasteurized milk, uncooked eggs, as well as raw fruits, grains, and veggies.
Some vets say these combinations may not be nutritionally balanced. And because the ingredients are uncooked, they may be a source of bacteria and other pathogens that can cause foodborne illness to pets and people.
If you’re thinking about putting your pet on a raw food diet, here’s what you need to know.
The Risk for Your Pet
Public health agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—as well as the bulk of veterinarians and professional vet organizations—all warn against feeding pets raw food.
“These diets could expose animals and humans to dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter,” says Michael San Filippo, a spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
The FDA is concerned about the public health risks of raw diets, according to a statement on the agency’s website. Scientists from the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) analyzed in a 2014 study 196 frozen raw cat and dog food samples they purchased online. Fifteen tested positive for Salmonella, and 32 contained Listeria monocytogenes.
In a study published last month in the journal Vet Record, Dutch researchers found that 28 of 35 commercial frozen raw meat-based diets from eight different brands were tainted with antibiotic-resistant E. coli bacteria.
Eight samples tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, a particularly nasty strain that, in humans, can cause bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and possibly lead to kidney failure and death. (This strain was responsible for a recent food poisoning outbreak in the U.S. and Canada linked to leafy greens.) Samples also tested positive for Listeria and Salmonella.
Raw food manufacturers try to minimize this risk, but it can be challenging.
Michael Vogel, co-owner of Smallbatch Pets—a raw pet food company that recently recalled two lots of its raw frozen chicken blend for dogs and cats due to potential contamination with Salmonella—says the company is trying to solve the problem of bacterial contamination by sourcing “the highest quality, human grade, USDA-inspected cuts of meats available to us.”
Bette Schubert, a co-founder and senior vice president of sales and education at Bravo, another raw pet food manufacturer, says the company follows strict safety protocols, such as sourcing high-quality ingredients, keeping the facilities clean, and treating and testing the products before they go out the door.
Some raw pet food advocates say the risks of foodborne illness are overblown because people know to be careful handling raw meat. And there’s disagreement about how much risk the pathogens pose to pets.
“Dogs and cats are biologically designed to consume raw meat,” Vogel says. “Their dentition, saliva, extremely acidic stomach acid, and short digestive tracts are optimized for consuming raw meat that may contain pathogens.”
But while it’s true that “dogs are a little bit less sensitive to bacteria than people,” says Martine Hartogensis, D.V.M., a supervisory veterinary medical officer at the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at the FDA/CVM, “they can still get sick from it.” Symptoms in both cats and dogs include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and lethargy.
The Risks for You
Even if pets don’t become ill, they can still transmit these bacteria to their owners.
Authors of a 2017 study published in the journal BMC Veterinary Research found that, compared to dogs given commercial diets, those fed raw food are about 23 times more likely to shed Salmonella organisms in their feces. This can pose a risk to you when you’re cleaning up after them, says Lisa M. Freeman, D.V.M., Ph.D., a professor of clinical nutrition at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
Your pet can also transfer the bacteria to you in other ways, she says, by licking your face after eating, or by scratching you after stepping in their own feces. Petting your dog or cat can expose you to bacteria, too, if some of the raw food or their feces gets stuck on their coat.
And if you don’t follow proper food safety practices while preparing raw food for your pet, says James E. Rogers, Ph.D., director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports, you can accidentally infect yourself.
“Since you’re not eating the pet food, you may not think you have to take the same care to wash your hands or the utensils you use,” says Rogers. “But you can easily get sick if you touch your mouth after being in contact with contaminated food, surfaces, or utensils.”
When You Don’t Know It’s Raw
In addition to frozen or fresh raw meat or meat and vegetable blends, raw foods for pets come in freeze-dried or dehydrated forms. “Most people don’t realize that bacteria can survive the process of freeze-drying,” says Rogers.
Some products may even appear to be conventional dry pet food, says Freeman at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, but may have a raw meat coating or may be mixed with freeze-dried raw chunks.
“These foods usually say ‘raw’ somewhere on the label,” says Freeman, “but it’s not always obvious.”
Dried or freeze-dried rawhide chews, pig ears, cattle hooves, hearts, tracheas, and bull or steer penises (often called bully or pizzle sticks) can also be contaminated with Salmonella and other bacteria, she says.
The FDA in November updated a warning about bone treats after about 90 dogs became ill after eating them between 2010 and 2017. In addition to symptoms such as choking, intestinal obstruction, and cuts and wounds in the mouth, illnesses also included vomiting, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. About 15 dogs died.
At least nine people in the U.S. and Canada were sickened between 2004 and 2005 with Salmonella after feeding their dogs raw beef and salmon pet treats. And a large Salmonella outbreak in Canada in 1999 was linked to raw pig ears.
Questions About Nutrition
Advocates for raw food diets, especially those who sell them online, claim a range of benefits for pets, including fresher breath, more energy, and better overall health. But, says AVMA’s San Filippo, “there is no scientific evidence to support claims that raw food diets are better for pets than commercial diets.”
In fact, studies have found that raw food diets—both prepackaged and home-prepared—may not offer a healthy balance of nutrients for your pet, especially for growing puppies and kittens.
In a 2011 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, European researchers found that of 95 homemade raw meals for dogs they analyzed, 60 percent had deficiencies or excesses of 12 important nutrients. A smaller study Freeman published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2001 looked at three home-prepared and two commercial raw diets, and found them to be lacking in some essential nutrients, such as vitamins A and E, and contained overly high doses of others, such as vitamin D.
Freeman also says that raw meat diets tend to be high in fat, which may have the nice effect of making your pet’s coat glossier, but may also cause mild to severe gastrointestinal issues or increase the risk of obesity. A number of reports have also found that dogs on raw diets can have elevated blood levels of the hormone thyroxine, which can indicate an overactive thyroid.
And diets that contain raw bones may fracture your pet’s teeth as well as puncture the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, or colon.
Some evidence does suggest that raw foods are easier for dogs and cats to digest than cooked.
But Beth Hamper, D.V.M., Ph.D., a veterinarian at the VCA Advanced Veterinary Care Center in Indiana says, “I feel the risks of a raw meat diet outweigh the few benefits, such as higher digestibility and palatability. I discourage owners from feeding their pets these diets.”
Stay Safe When Feeding Your Pet
The FDA says the best safety move is to avoid the raw diet for your pet completely. Conventional dry, semi-moist, and canned pet foods, while not immune to contamination, are less likely to be tainted with pathogens than raw meat-based diets because they’re cooked. And, says Hartogensis at the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, they’re also designed to provide your pet with all the nutrition they need.
However, the FDA also acknowledges that some people prefer to feed their pets raw food. If that’s what you decide, keep the following tips in mind:
Talk to your vet. A survey published March 2017 in the peer-reviewed journal PeerJ found that among 2,171 pet owners, nearly 40 percent reported feeding their pets a diet of raw animal products. Of those, just nine percent had discussed this decision with their veterinarian, and 20 percent had used information they read online to determine what or how much raw animal product to feed their pets.
Because both commercial and homemade raw diets for pets tend to have major nutritional imbalances, ask your vet whether a given raw diet is safe for your pet. If you do decide to make your pet a raw meal from scratch, ensure that the recipe has been formulated by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, says Freeman.