A raw food diet can alleviate and prevent many diseases, including chronic allergies and ear infections, epilepsy and cancer. Raw food contains enzymes and vital, live freshness that gives the body an added boost otherwise not possible when cooked. Many times pets do not need enzymes or probiotics added to their foods when they are fed raw. Raw foods are also more biologically appropriate for our cats and dogs. If a cat catches a mouse, it seems ridiculous to think he would need to cook it before eating! Organic foods are preferred over factory farmed, but don’t think you have to feed organic because even conventional foods are still whole and vital and beat kibble hands down.
Raw Food Philosophies & Opinions
If raw foods are so good for animals, then why don’t more veterinarians prescribe these diets? There are some animals that do poorly on raw diets, but those are definitely the minority. Unfortunately, many conventional vets see raw-fed dogs with vomiting and diarrhea, or bones stuck in the intestinal tract, requiring surgery. This is due to well-meaning clients not following a safe protocol. Many people often just switch from kibble to raw without the intermediate step of feeding cooked food first. Slow and careful transitioning will prevent almost all problems for your pet, as will not feeding cooked bones that are too small and can be swallowed. A large, raw frozen beef knuckle bone cannot be swallowed, and just one bone a month can keep the teeth clean!
Vitality of Raw
Whole raw or cooked homemade diets contain vitality, fresh antioxidants and digestible bioavailable nutrients. There is not one specific diet formula for every dog or cat. It works much better to adjust the ingredients to the pet’s constitution. There are a small proportion of dogs whose Spleen deficiency (a Chinese diagnosis) will not allow them to take raw foods. Most dogs however, thrive on raw foods and should not get diarrhea as long as you are patient enough to transition them slowly over time.
Bacteria in Raw
Raw food will occasionally contain organisms such as salmonella, neospora, campylobacter and certain strains of e.coli (some strains are actually considered good for digestion). Most pets are so healthy on raw food and supplements that they never have a problem with bacteria. However, those with the weakest immune systems may develop transient gastrointestinal symptoms. Handling of raw meats takes some knowledge to reduce this risk. Use all raw meats, bones and necks within three days of thawing them. There are some that suggest even less time. Refrigeration is very important for raw foods after thawing. Generally, organisms will not cause a problem unless your pet’s immune system is marginal. It is never safe to feed raw meats around infants or toddlers in case they try to sample pet food. And of course, always wash your hands and utensils thoroughly after working with raw meats!