Apr 10, 2018
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The Raw Food Diet debate

Is raw the answer?

Raw food feeding

With so many different options on the market it is hard to decide what product is best for your pet.  No one diet is guaranteed to work for every pet, which is why you may need to try a few different options before finding the perfect one.

The raw food based diet has grown in popularity in recent years, but the discussions around it have also grown regarding the benefits and risks.

The major motivation for people feeding a raw food based diet is that it is a more ‘natural’ diet, based on what primitive dogs ate.  However, the dogs in our homes do not resemble their wild ancestors.  With so many physiological differences between our pets and their wild ancestors, can we be certain that what they ate is the ideal diet for your pet?

Below is an outline of the risks and benefits regarding raw food to help you make an informed decision.  It is important to remember that what is best for your pet may not be best for someone else’s pet.  Before deciding to proceed you should discuss your options with your veterinarian.   

There are two major types of raw diets:  

  • Commercial – fresh or frozen which supply all the dog’s requirements usually in a meat patty form.
  • Home prepared – usually consists of raw meat, bones, fruit, vegetables, grains and supplements.

Benefits:

  • You have total control over what is included in your pet’s food and where those ingredients came from.
  • The diet can be prepared to avoid foods that your pet is allergic to. 

 Risks:

  • Raw diets have been found to contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli.  These bacteria are easily spread through food handling, dogs’ mouths and faeces. These can pose a serious health risk to immuno-compromised, elderly and young children.
  • Feeding bones can cause choking, intestinal blockages, constipation or broken teeth.  An interesting article can be found here about an Auckland specialist who is seeing a lot more cases of animals being fed bones.  
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