As pet owners, we often invest a lot of effort into doing what’s best for our “fur babies’’. With all of the options in the market today it can be very confusing to try and establish a safe and balanced diet for your pets. The human market is rampant with nutritional discrepancies; why would the pet nutrition market be any different? One of the biggest fallacies propagated is the RAW food diet.
Raw food diets are rarely balanced or safe enough for dogs and cats to consume, even as short-term feeding. There are many risks associated with raw foods and bones. High among these is the potential for contamination or incorrect use, despite the owner’s cautious efforts. Consumer reports recently found that a very high percent of chicken (over 80%) intended for human consumption was contaminated with Campylobacter, while approximately 15% of the samples were contaminated with Salmonella (Consumer reports, Jan 2007).
In addition to the contamination concerns, most raw food diets are nutritionally deficient. Although dogs are not carnivores, these diets often severely limit the essential grains and vegetables needed to provide balanced nutrition. Conversely, the feline diets often neglect the reality that cats are obligate carnivores! Raw diets for cats are also commonly deficient in Taurine, a component whose absence will cause blindness, nerve damage, and eventually death.
Bones as treats, or as part of your pet’s diet, pose additional health concerns. They are often associated with excessive dental wear, or even fractures, which can be very painful to your pet and expensive to treat. Bone splintering can cause injury to the mouth and puncturing or blockage of the intestines. Surgery to remove bones, and repair the damage caused by them, can be very expensive; especially when a positive outcome cannot be guaranteed.
When it comes down to it, the risks of raw diets have always exceeded the benefits. With reliable companies such iVet, Royal Canin, and Hill’s investing in years of research and feeding trials, safe diets are readily available through your veterinarian (and over the counter). Please ensure your “fur baby” can live a long and healthy life; talk to your veterinarian today about the best diet for your pet!
Have more questions? Ask us: www.fampetvet.com
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