|courtesy SuperFantastic via flickr.com|
Eating a Trachea?
The practice of feeding a raw diet to pets has been controversial for some time. What's the biggest concern? Safety from bacterial illnesses such as Salmonella, e-coli and others. And we're not just talking about us dogs. Their humans are at risk when proper precautions are not taken.
Another concern is the issue of a balanced diet. You can't just toss your dog a raw chicken and expect him to remain healthy for a long life. He needs other nutrients, healthy fats, and a host of added vitamins, fiber and such. That's why companies in the pet food world have gotten into the game. There are a number of companies that make raw diets which stack up to the AAFCO (Association of Animal Feed Control Officials) guidelines. One of these is Nature's Logic. These diets are sold in frozen form and thawed at home for feeding to your pet. More on that later in this article.
Many pet owners are diligent enough to research proper nutrition and create their own fresh, raw meals. Commonly, these owners create a large number of packages to freeze at one time, thawing one daily for feeding. With the right consultation on nutrition, this can be done in a healthful way. Without knowledgeable guidance, your pet may be looking ahead at a shorter life with poor health. That said, I'd suggest getting proper guidance from an expert to help you with the contents of your pre-packaged meals if you choose to go it on your own.
Moreover, the feeding method is a big concern, and one that must be addressed for me to be thorough on this topic. (Don't I sound impressive for a Papillon?) Because of the bacterial risks, the feeding area must be cleaned thoroughly after feeding (hot water and lots of soap at a minimum), and your pet may need some cleanup as well. Consider that his paws and face, at a minimum, have come into contact with meat. He'll then be walking around on your carpet. Bathtime? Probably a good idea.
Do you really want to handle this task daily? It's your call. Tanner would probably manage a good cleaning with a vigorous swim in the chlorinated pool, but me, I'd prefer not to partake in the pool unless Mom forces the issue. She does this occasionally to keep me on top of my game, but I'm not a fan.
I wouldn't be fair if I didn't share that there are some health benefits to feeding raw, at least in the opinion of proponents. Raw food doesn't leave residues on teeth like grains, so raw-fed dogs generally have healthier teeth. This is widely-known to be one of the biggest reasons to feed raw. Healthy teeth = longer life.
There are a number of other controversial reasons that many believe feeding raw is the way to go. We believe that many of these have value, but with their inherent risks as tagalongs. Again, it's your decision.
Last week the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) voted on a change to their stance on this issue. It basically involved how they recommend their members should advise patients on this topic. It is not a law, and does not change your right to feed you dog in whatever way you choose. It is simply the AVMA's opinion. Time will tell whether their opinion will be taken up by the FDA. I'm not going to go there.
Basically, AVMA decided to advise members not to recommend raw feeding. Their reasoning was largely based on the health risks to both animals and the public. You can read the AVMA report on this vote to get the whole story. It's a short article that gives the basics, but includes links to additional information. We hope this is helpful to you if you want to investigate this more. Best wishes to you no matter which way you choose to feed your best friend, and feel free to leave your comments for the rest of our readers.
Tanner and Oliver
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