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FDA warns about feeding your pet a raw-food diet..Is this warranted?

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..).

Best Wishes,

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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Topics: Cat Care, Cat Health, Dog Care, Dog Health, Pet Care, Pet health | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “FDA warns about feeding your pet a raw-food diet..Is this warranted?”

  1. Avatar Wendy Says:
    November 11th, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I have been feeding my 4 Dachshunds raw food for the past two years. For the first few months,I bought a commercial product. I then started making my own;I wanted to know what went into the food. The results can be seen in their shiny coats, bright eyes and odour, or lack of. As far as health hazards, I hold food handling standards up to the same level as I do for my family.

    PS: Wonderful choir!

  2. Avatar Jennifer Says:
    November 11th, 2013 at 10:10 am

    I have an 11.5 year old boxer who has been eating raw for 4 years, and a 1.5 year labradoodle that has been fed raw since she was a puppy. We do not use the premade raw food….we feed chicken quarters, beef roast and organ meat. Neither of my dogs have ever been sick from eating this way. Wild dogs hunt their prey and eat raw meat. One thing that should be mentioned is that dogs and cats have very short digestive tracts, because they are carnivores. In order for these bacteria to cause harm, they need to linger and multiply in the gut. This is why these bacteria make humans very sick, we have VERY long digestive systems. My old lady boxer is the picture of canine health, and our vet was surprised that her bloodwork is comparable to 7 or 8 year old dog of the same breed. We supplement with fish oil capsules for omega-3s and add a very small amount of puréed vegetables with every meal. I would never feed kibble to my dogs again. Much of the “protein” in cheap kibble consists of euthanized pets, road kill, and very little actual meat. There are high end kibbles that have a great list of ingredients, but I personally feel that raw is best for us. I recommend that pet owners research all of what I’ve written on their own, but a 100% raw diet has been wonderful for us, and our dogs love it.

  3. Avatar Debora Poynter Says:
    November 11th, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Years ago when I started feeding my animals a primarily raw diet, I asked my vet about salmonella and e-coli. She said that because a dog and cat’s digestive system is so short, the bacteria doesn’t pose the same health risks that they do for people.

  4. Avatar Elizabeth Dott Says:
    November 12th, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I have been a raw feeder for 12 years. My dogs have NEVER had a bought of ecoli poisoning, or anything else for that matter. They are the healthiest dogs I have ever owned and champion agility dogs. Their muscle tone, teeth and eyes are incredible. Why do we assume our carnivore dogs and cats are better off eating rancid grain and left over crap from the cereal manufacturers. As long as pet food is a billion dollar industry they will fight tooth and nail to try to scare people away from raw feeding! They have a lot of clout and they are using it. For example, why is their so much hoopla about people feeding raw to their dogs? What we do is none of anyone’s business but more and more organizations are coming out against it. Why I ask? Why the interest about a small percentage of us who feed raw? Hmmm something to think about.

  5. Avatar diane Says:
    November 12th, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I agree with all comments above. Have been feeding my dogs only raw for many years now and they are never sick, never need their teeth cleaned, are the perfect weight and they love love love the food.I will never ever feed my dogs anything but raw food as long as I live.

  6. Avatar Joey's Pet Outfitters Says:
    December 7th, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Feeding raw is a great choice, the most beneficial, and the wisest thing you could do for your pet. I have experienced numerous stories with dog’s going from kibble to raw food. The results are shocking! A dog’s life long battle with skin irritations and allergies have disappeared. Dog’s coats become shinier, their teeth very white, and they look and are very healthy. Raw is the most natural way of feeding your dog or cat. There are many ways to include raw into your pet’s diet. There are raw bones for treats, raw “nibblets”, and patties made by Vital Essentials or Tucker’s. Another way to approach raw food is freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. Honest Kitchen, Sojos, Grandma Lucy’s, and Stella & Chewy’s are wonderful products. You can add water or feed on top of the food. Overall, I do not believe that raw food is harmful for your pets. It is natural and has very beneficial results. Visit the Joey’s website and see how we are bringing pets back to nature!


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM