What is Raw Feeding and is it healthy and safe?

Raw Food feeding for cats and dogs is becoming more popular and getting more attention.

The theory is that a dog or cat’s diet in the wild would be raw and not contain preservatives. Opinions about Raw Feeding vary and can be very strong but many pets are fed this way with little problem. As vets we have to listen to our clients, take note of these type of changes in society and, above all, care for the animals. Everyone has their personal opinion, below are some pros and cons of Raw Feeding;

Potential advantages of Raw Feeding

It more closely mirrors an animal’s natural diet.

No preservatives or additives.

You are in control of what your pet eats. You can match your ethical diet choices to your pet’s.

Potential disadvantages of Raw Feeding

Pets have been changed much as we have bred them and they no longer match their natural ancestors, both in dietary requirements and in how they eat (and the teeth they have!).

Bacteria and parasite contamination of raw food is more likely. This could potentially make your pet or the humans around him of her ill both from handling the food and some bacteria may be passed in your pet’s faeces.

Raw Feeding may not provide enough vitamins, minerals etc.

 

Other issues

There are lots of other issues which are arguable, these include, stool consistency, calorie and protein intake, food allergy, immune system, cost, tooth care, skin and coat quality and humans generally eat prepared ‘unnatural’ food. As a vet, I have seen good and bad of all these things in Raw Fed and commercial pet food fed pets. It is important that you tell your vet what your pet eats so if we believe we need to make a change for health reasons, we know where to start.

If you want to consider Raw Feeding, there are some commercial Raw Pet Foods that are complete and balanced, the label has to state that the food is complete for the life stage of your pet for this to be the case. If you want to make your pet’s food at home you should take advice from a nutritionalist to make sure it is balanced for your pet. There are many websites that can help with this. To balance the arguments, the same applies for commercial pet foods!