For the last 100 hundred years commercial pet food has steadily taken over natural raw feeding of our pets, in particular dogs and cats. The question remains in my mind: WHY? Well, for many reasons and not the least being convenience. We are basically trading our pets longevity and health for convenience. I can hear the naysayers now so I am going to help dispel some of the myths being propagated about raw feeding and why this is the best way to feed your dogs and cats.
Myth #1: The bacteria in the meat can make my dog or cat really sick.
Yes, it could if your dog or cat is already sick and has a suppressed immune system as a result. However, our dogs and cats are bacteria machines. Their bodies are designed to deal with bacteria. Since they have a short digestive tract (unlike ours which is long since we’re omnivores) they can push the food through their digestive tracts quickly which doesn’t give bacteria time to colonize in the intestines. Their guts are also very acidic which keeps the bacteria from colonizing.
Myth #2: A meat diet isn’t balanced
An all-meat diet isn’t balanced. Your also needs bone in a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio in fact and organ meat. To feed raw, you want to model a “whole prey” type of feeding in order for your pets to have all the proper nutrients for their bodies. A dog doesn’t need vegetables which they can’t even really assimilate (digest and utilize) within their bodies. Dogs and cats get all their nutrients from the “whole prey” they eat -meat, bone, organs. You can feed the raw veggies to rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, etc.
When you raw feed your dog and cat, all the EXACT proportions of the vitamins, minerals, fat, protein, enzymes and probiotics are supplied for them within the “whole prey” model of raw feeding.
The reason your commerical packaged pet foods need to ADD nutrients -which are sprayed on synthetic nutrients by the way - is because all the processing to make kibble effectively eliminates ANY nutritional value. This “balanced diet” phrase is nothing more than a selling ploy by the pet food industry so you’ll buy their “junk food” for your pets.
Myth #3: They’ll get parasites from raw food
Yes, they could, especially if you’re feeding poor quality meat. If you feed human grade meat there is still the chance of parasites however there are very effective and easy ways to overcome this little challenge.
If you freeze the meat BEFORE you feed it to your pets, that can kill most if not all of the parasites. You especially want to freeze salmon which has a parasite that can kill dogs. If you freeze salmon for at least 24 hours prior to thawing out and feeding to your dog, you’ll kill the parasite in salmon.
Parasites can really be eliminated or dealt with relatively easy if you know what to do AND if your dog or cat is healthy. Until your dog or cat is healthy if they are not, a cooked diet (DO NOT feed cooked bones!) is still infinitely better than a kibble, commercial pet food diet. Also the “parasite” issue is another scare tactic used by those opposd to keep you from venturing into raw feeding. Actually the incidence of parasite problems are very low in raw-fed animals and higher in kibble-fed dogs and cats. Commercial diets actually really affect your pets immune system and parasites, pest, bacteria, etc., love a compromised immune system but avoid a healthy immune system.
You can routinely keep your dogs and cats parasite-free by using a little FOOD-grade diatomaceous earth in their food. It’s natural, safe, and parasites flee or die!
Myth #4: My veterinarian recommends feeding X brand of kibble
We need veterinarians for all the many services they perform. In fact, I just finished co-authoring a book on natural dog health with a wonderful holistic veterinarian (holistic vets are trained in traditional medicine first, then continue their education into holistic care so they are even better trained than traditional vets). However, she deferred to me in the nutritional and feeding part of the book and is referring clients to me for nutritonal counseling. Why would she do that? Because veterinarians get very little nutritional training. They are taught disease management and care. Another interesting thing is that the training they do receive is often taught to them by the PET FOOD industry! That form of incorrect training has also led them to believe the myth (see myth #5) that dogs and cats are ominvores.
Veterinarians are therefore very linked to the pet food industry since they receive kickbacks and revenue from marketing these commercial foods for the pet food manufacturers. Even more sinister is the fact that these pet food companies promote their products to upcoming veterinarian graduates at the universities and GIVE them free pet food to sell! Here’s an example: Colgate-Palmolive, the company that manufactures Hill’s Science Diet, spends “hundreds of thousands of dollars a year funding university research and nutrition courses at every one of the 27 US veterinary colleges. Once in practice, vets who sell Science Diet and other premium foods directly pocket profits of as much as 40%” (Parker-Pope, T. 1997. For You, My Pet. The Wall Street Journal. 3 November 1997. In Lonsdale, T. 2001. Raw Meaty Bones. p266).
Myth #5: Dogs and cat have evolved into omnivores
You know that buzzer sound: -aaaaahhhnnnt, NOT! All we have to do is look at the teeth of our dogs and cats to know they are not nor have they evolved to be omnivores.
Their teeth are designed for: “…are designed for grabbing, ripping, tearing, shredding, and shearing meat” (Feldhamer, G.A. 1999. Mammology: Adaptation, Diversity, and Ecology. McGraw-Hill. pg 258.)
Feeding kibble is causing so many diseases and problems in our pets, increasing our veterinarian bills, helping fund the pharmaceutical industry, that it’s no wonder we’ve all been misled to feed this junk food to our pets -lots of folks are making lots of money.
This is why raw feeding has so many myths surrounding it and so much controversy. Do your own research and I’m sure you’ll find out the truth because the truth always has a way of coming out!
About the Author:
Kim Bloomer is a natural pet care educator, host of the online radio show Animal Talk Naturally and a proficient blogger and writer on natural pet health. Kim is also co-author of the book Whole Health for Happy Dogs. She worked in the veterinary field for many years and continues to do extensive research into natural health care for dogs and cats. She is also the co-founder of the new online continuing education program, Natural Animal World. Kim is currently enrolled in the Clayton College of Natural Health studying for a Bachelor of Science in Holistic Nutrition and also her Doctor of Naturopathy. Kim is a member of the American Veterinary Naturopathic Association.