By Dr. Andrew Jones
Should you really be feeding your dog or cat a raw food diet?
Most veterinarians are opposed to feeding raw, and a recent study by the FDA furthers their cause. In this study, compared to other types of pet food tested, raw pet food was more likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria.
The FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), sampled 196 commercially available raw dog and cat food. Of the samples analyzed, 15 were positive for salmonella and 32 were positive for listeria.
Clearly there are some health risks associated with feeding raw.
But all is not what it seems.
This study failed to show to the number of ‘regular’ dog and cat foods that were also contaminated. Currently there have been nearly 600 dogs killed by ‘cooked’ jerky treats in America, and the cause is still unknown.
The pet food recall in 2007 involved only ‘safe; cooked pet food, yet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration received reports of approximately 8500 animal deaths, and potentially 85,000 sickened dogs and cats.
Then there are the ongoing health risks of feeding dry kibble which have really driven more and more pet owners to feed raw. These are being increasing recognized by veterinarians, yet not being readily advertised by the FDA or Pet Food corporations.
This is a list of diseases which have proven links to dry kibble: Diabetes, Kidney disease, Cystitis/Urethral blockage/Urinary tract infection/Crystals, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Hairballs, Obesity, Hepatic Lipidosis (fatty liver disease), Dental health, Asthma, Allergies, Arthritis and Skin Disease.
Holistic veterinarians are increasingly recognizing the importance of diet, and linking most of the common chronic dog and cat diseases to diet, and in particular dry kibble.
The incidence of cancer in animals is staggering; 50 percent of all dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer and approximately one in four of all dogs will at some stage in their life develop a cancer. Cancer has many causes ( ie multifactorial), but a common denominator that many pet owners, and alternative veterinarians see, is in feeding dry, processed, kibble.
So what do you do?
Play it ‘safe’, and only feed the high carbohydrate, low moisture, and inadequate protein dry kibble diets, yet see your dog or cat develop diabetes, kidney disease or cancer.
Or do you ‘take the risk’ and feed raw food?
I for one advocate that you at least feed your dog or cat some raw food; clearly the health benefits far outweigh the risks. I practiced veterinary medicine for nearly 20 years, and during that time I saw hundreds of pets being fed a raw food diet. Not one of those dogs or cats was ever diagnosed with Salmonella or Listeria.
If you are one of the thousands of dog and cat owners which feel that the benefits of feeding raw outweigh the ‘supposed’ risks, I for one heartily agree with you; I am feeding my own pets raw food on a weekly basis.
There are many things you can also do to minimize these risks.
Practice great hygiene, washing your hands with soap and water (for at least 30 seconds) after handling and preparing the raw food.
Disinfect and clean all the surfaces where you are chopping and mixing the raw food. Regularly wash your pet’s bowls, not allowing bacteria to multiply. Many pet owners use vinegar as a disinfectant spray for their counters.
Keep the meat/chicken well frozen until you are ready to feed, then defrost them overnight in the fridge. The chicken is far easier to cut up when slightly frozen.
Ensure that the raw pet food is not touching other food in your fridge contaminating it.
Keep the leftovers well covered up and in the fridge; they should be kept for a maximum of 3 days.
In my opinion the FDA warning about feeding your pets a raw diet is not warranted. The bacterial contamination that is mentioned seldom show up as disease in dogs and cats. There are many common sense hygiene practices that you can implement to minimize these risks. Lastly by feeding your pets a raw diet you may actual prevent many of the common serious diseases, such as diabetes, kidney disease, urinary tract disease, allergies, arthritis and cancer (to name a few..).
Dr Andrew Jones, DVM
The big key to having a healthy dog or cat is also knowing WHAT to do to prevent common dog and cat diseases in the first place.
Such as knowing what to feed, what vaccines to give and avoid, and what natural treatments you can use to treat chronic illnesses such as allergies.
I’ll show you precisely what you can do immediately to both prevent and treat diseases in your dog or cat; you’ll be using my holistic tips and remedies with simple easy to follow instructions.
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