Saturday, August 11, 2012

Raw Pet Food in the News

by Oliver with some input from Google and a raw food-eating friend :)
courtesy SuperFantastic via
Eating a Trachea?
Yup! You read that caption right. Raw feeding proponents feed their pets a wide assortment of fresh, raw meats and other foods, including bones. Tanner, Mom and I are neither for or against this method of feeding, but because it has been in the news, we thought we'd share some information, especially for those of you who are not familiar with the issues.

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

PS--Don't forget to join us for #BarktoSchool, a Twitter Party with over $1000 in prizes. The big event is Sunday, August 12 at 8 PM ET, with prizes beginning promptly at opening. Don't forget to RSVP here to win prizes.


Schooner and Skipper said...

Schooner and Skipper eat raw but also get a grain free kibble to eat. They prefer to eat their raw chicken or beef frozen better than being thawed.

Alfie - Alfie's blog said...

Raw food is pawsome - I get some ready made stuff that the humans keep in our freezer and it's yummy stuff. It goes in my bowl like regular dog food. I also like raw chicken wings and chew bones and I eat those on a bath towel on the floor - no bacteria escaping from my food!

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

Sounds like we have 2 pro views here. Anyone else? Thanks for the comments!

evie said...

my homeopathic vet will not recommend any brand dog food. w/ my oldest, she used to give me a diet to prepare, evie used to get extra lean sirloin. before that she got salmon. she does get veggies (baby carrots chopped up and no salt green beans) and her vitamins. now my vet does recommend nature's logic raw, so evie gets raw rabbit as well as human grade raw venison. a man that hunts on my property gives me human grade prepared raw venison. she gets kibble as well and still her veggies. she also gets sardines in water, my vet recommended. so i have an entire shelf in my freezer with raw food. the baby wont eat raw food, but will eat nature's variety raw mix and freeze dried raw which is very $$$. i am very picky abt what my girls eat. i wont buy anything made in china or if any of the ingredients are made in china. nothing (no treats) that you cant make a mark or dent w/ your fingernail b/c it is too hard for small dogs, they will chip a tooth as my oldest did on bully sticks. i always check the ingredients of anything i give them, no fillers, no fake sweeteners, no by products, has to be 90% lean meat,
no gum ? to hold ingredients together. i also steam kale/mustard greens in olive oil sometimes, very good for them. they also get some fruits, cantaloupe, watermelon, no seeds at all, apples, bananas, sweet potato chips which i make, sometimes i will make acorn squash and they get some, no seeds, chickpeas, etc. my vet is very picky w/ dog food as well as other food for pets, she makes her own food for her pets, she used to breed and have champion maine coon cats. my dogs get titered before they get their shots. so i dont over vaccinate. they all have health insurance. they also get turkey bacon as treats sometimes.

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