Have you ever thought about giving putting your pet on a raw food diet instead of giving them normal kibble food? Did you know that there is a good history behind raw foods for pets?
Before man domesticated that cat and dog these animals ate only raw foods. Even before processing plants existed man fed these newly domesticated animals raw foods. Today there seems to be a trend for pet owners to move towards a more natural raw food diet.
Keep in mind that for thousands of years all animals ate only raw foods. They would gorge themselves on fresh meat, vegetables, and fruits. And animals that were not quite fit to go one the hunt themselves relied on carcasses, fresh vegetables, eggs, and whatever else was edible.
But remember that animals thousands of years ago had to basically provide their own food. If not, these animals would go hungry for days at a time before they had their next meal.
Why Choose Raw Foods
The short answer is that a raw food diet will have more nutrients and enzymes than a processed dog or cat food. It is a great way to include these beneficial nutrient into your pet's diet. It also means that you don't have to buy supplements and/or vitamins to make sure that your pet gets their daily requirements of these nutrients. But there are risks involved.
Are Raw Foods Safe?
Lately there has been a move from kibble to a more natural raw food diet. But is it a good idea?
Ask any pet owner about this move and they will tell you that it's 100% better for the animal. After all they ate that way before being domesticated. And if it was goo then it is good for them now. However, veterinarians say that is not the case. Back then the raw foods were absolutely fresh for those animals who could hunt. The chance of an animal becoming sick from raw foods was considerably low so not many animals died from eating raw foods. Today, that is not the case. All types of food have to be processed and that includes raw foods. And for that reason veterinarians tell people that a raw food diet is not good for animals today.
But that explanation tends to leave a lot of gaps. So let's try to fill some in.
Why Aren't Raw Foods Safe?
First, raw foods are not fresh. They are process in much the same way that our meats are processed. First the animal is taken to the slaughter house. Then it is slaughtered and drained of blood. It might drain for several hours before going on to the next step which is the skinning process.
During the skinning process all the animals are processed using the same tools that were used on the previous animal that was skinned. This is done without sterilizing and cleaning the tool between each animal. So we now have bacterial contamination being passed from one animal to the next. According to veterinarians this is where problems begin for animals.
The third step involves processing the animals into individual packages for the consumer. These packages are usually stored at the slaughter house for 1 to 2 days before being shipped to the store. That's another couple of days in which bacteria will flourish on the meat product.
After the product ends up at the store it will eventually make its way into the consumer's freezer. Along with all the bacteria that it has picked up along the way. Now many people believe that if raw food is frozen then that will kill the bacteria. That is absolutely false. Most bacteria can enter a state of suspended animation until conditions are again favorable for them to flourish. Such as when the meat reaches a certain temperature. Then they will multiply at an extremely rapid rate.
Most of the bacteria that is on raw foods will cause salmonella poisoning (food poisoning). In humans this is usually in the form of stomach cramps and diarrhea. In animals, however, this can cause death. Animals just don't have the same level of immunity as we humans do. Their systems can be severely compromised even with a slight bacterial infection.
Remember that before animals were domesticated they would eat fresh raw foods. That was accomplished within a few minutes of killing their prey. With prepackaged raw foods that is not the case. Most of the time the raw foods that you purchase were processed about a week before being frozen. Not a fresh kill. Plenty of time for bacteria to grow on the product.
We humans cook our raw foods because we know that heat will kill the bacteria on the raw food making it safe to consume. You could do this with raw pet food also but then you end up with the same stuff you would get in canned pet food or kibble. And you spent a lot more money on the raw food just to cook them and turn it into the equivalent of canned or kibble.
Commercial raw foods are not a safe choice for your pet. Raw foods are only safe if they are eaten almost immediately after the kill. If you don't plan on going hunting every day for your pet's dinner then stick to processed canned or kibble food.
However, if you insist on feeding your pet a raw food diet you should talk with your veterinarian first. He or she will keep a close eye on your pet to see how they react to a raw food diet. They will also perform periodic blood tests to make sure that there are no hidden problems with the animal being on a raw food diet.
Another aspect of consulting with your veterinarian is that they will probably be able to direct you to brands that are known to have higher production standards making the product safer.
So, even though a raw food diet can be beneficial to your pet I still recommend that you don't. But if you do just be sure that you do it under the supervision of a veterinarian.
Let us know what you think about a raw food diet for your pet and whether you currently feed or are planning on feeding your pet raw foods by taking our survey below. And leave us a comment. We would love to continue this conversation with our readers.