Hello! Today I wanted to talk about the myths of raw feeding. As I was at my store Saturday, I once again was reminded how many people still don’t know about feeding raw foods to our pets. People are surprised that feeding raw can be an option for them. As we talk about it, they start to understand that feeding raw can be a healthier alternative to what they are feeding and become curious themselves. But once they become interested, they don’t know what to do next. First, I’ll debunk some of the myths surrounding feeding raw foods to our pets. Stay tuned to my next blog on some tips to get started on feeding raw.
- Raw meat is not a balanced diet. This is correct if you don’t purchase a commercially prepared complete diet, or if you make an unbalanced diet. You need to add bones, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and variety to make it a complete diet. So this totally depends on the foods you choose to feed as to whether it’s balanced or not.
- Feeding raw food is dangerous because of salmonella and other bacteria. Dogs and cats have highly acidic stomachs and digestive enzymes that can help them process salmonella without getting sick. We on the other hand do not have these strong acids and need to use safe cooking practices when preparing raw foods. Just like when you prepare meat for yourself, don’t cross contaminate utensils, wash hands, surfaces, etc with warm soapy water, and refrigerate or freeze the meats to keep from spoiling.
- Feeding a raw diet is complicated and time consuming. True that it takes longer than scooping out a cup of kibble. At first, it will be a little time consuming until you get used to it. I usually make enough to last a week, so once the batch is made it’s very quick to just serve it each meal. As for being complicated, this too can be overcome after you learn more.
- Dog owners can’t afford to feed raw. You can decide how much raw you want to feed, and if you want to buy commercially prepared foods or make your own. It is definitely cheaper to make your own. There are also many raw food co-ops you can join to make the cost less. Preparing your own won’t be as cheap as buying the cheapest kibble out there, but it doesn’t have to break the bank either. There are lots of ways to keep the cost down.
- Feeding raw makes your pet aggressive. There is no factual basis to this claim that I am aware of. I personally have been feeding raw for many years, and my dogs have never showed aggressive behavior from eating raw meats. Also, every pet I’ve seen that eats raw hasn’t shown aggressive behavior due to their diet either. I find they may be protective of their food because they love it, but overall more content.
- Feeding raw bones is dangerous. Feeding raw bones are an excellent way for your pet to get the calcium and other nutrients they need. They’re also good for cleaning their teeth. But remember, the bones need to be raw. Cooked bones can splinter and poke the digestive system, where as raw bones are pliable. You do have to be sure the size of the bone is appropriate for your pet and that you supervise your pet with bones. Be sure your pet does not swallow too big of pieces to prevent choking.
- Small dogs and toy breeds should not be fed raw. Small dogs can eat raw just like the larger dogs. It’s actually more affordable, because they don’t eat as much! Just be sure any raw bones are suitable for their size.
Many veterinarians also do not agree with feeding raw foods to pets. Many of you know I collaborate with Sheppard Alternative Animal Care, and have discussed nutrition and feeding raw with Dr. Sheppard, Melissa and staff. Dr. Sheppard himself has said that in veterinarian school, he only had one seminar on nutrition throughout his entire veterinarian training! Most veterinarians get their instruction from pet food representatives that want to promote or sell their foods at their offices. Therefore, the information they receive is often biased. Or, some, like Dr. Sheppard, take it upon themselves to learn about nutrition and apply it in practice.
Also, many raw feeders do not feed balanced diets, which can lead to deficiencies in your pet’s diet. You do have to make sure you provide variety and the proper nutrients in your pet’s diets. An unbalanced diet over time can be worse than many of the pet foods you may be avoiding now.
I do provide consultations and seminars on raw feeding to help you get started or to make sure your recipes are balanced. Just go on my webpage and book a consult or come to a seminar on the basics of home feeding. I’m happy to help you learn how to start feeding raw or even cooked diets to your pets!
Health and Happiness Begin with Food
Feed Healthy. Feed Fresh. Feed Raw.