Raw Food Policy Stirs Debate

How do you feel about the practice of feeding raw meat products to pets? The debate about feeding “in the raw” has been simmering for some time. There are those who feel that our domesticated dogs and cats should be ingesting the same ingredients that filled the bellies of their carnivorous ancestors. At the other end of the spectrum are those who firmly believe that feeding raw meat products to pets is potentially hazardous to the food eater as well as the food server/pooper scooper (that would be you and me).

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently expressed their opinion on the matter by approving a policy that specifically recommends against feeding raw or unprocessed meat, eggs, and milk to cats and dogs. AVMA delegates defended their votes, claiming concern for public safety.

More than 3,800 supporters of a Change.org petition did their best to dissuade the AVMA House of Delegates from approving this new raw food policy. Some were quite vocal and accused the AVMA of being a “puppet of the pet food industry.” In spite of this opposition, 90 percent of the AVMA delegates voted in favor the new policy.

Will the AVMA’s stance against raw foods prevent veterinarians from recommending raw food diets for their patients? The policy is a public guideline rather than a mandate, so vets will remain at liberty to advise their clients however they see fit. The number of veterinarians in favor of raw food diets is certainly growing. So, if this is your leaning, you should have no trouble finding a doc who is supportive of your preference.

Which side of the food bowl do you occupy when it comes to the raw food controversy?

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.


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49 Comments on “Raw Food Policy Stirs Debate

  1. I feed raw to ALL of my dogs. I prepare it right here at home for them and NEVER have had a problem with it. My dogs are healthy and very happy with what they are fed. I raise dogs so I am in the business to do what is best for not only my dogs but for the puppies that go to other families.

    It amazes me what money will do to people. In this case, politics…no surprise. I just don’t understand why the AVMA does not support feeding the absolute best to our pets! It should be their number one concern. Does that mean they are going to lose money from clients in the long run because pets are more healthy? Less trips to the doctor?

    I found this article while researching for more infomation about feeding raw diets because I am trying to make available as much info as possible to my customers on feeding raw. It is more healthy, even though it is not the most convenient to prepare. I will be adding this link to my site http://www.simplyteacups for others to read!

  2. Two Words: Platinum Partners.
    From Truth about Petfood- http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/the-avma-plot-thickens.html:
    Thanks to one of you great supporters out there (you guys ARE amazing!), TruthaboutPetFood.com has learned of a four year partnership program the American Veterinary Medical Association entered into in 2008. It’s called the Platinum Partner Program or P3 for short. Each Platinum Partner – Fort Dodge Animal Health, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and Merial entered into an arranged commitment to give the AVMA $380,000.00 a year for four years ($1.5 million dollars from each partner). “In return, each company receives a broad range of benefits from the Association.”
    and from Poisoned Pets:

    Hidden Agenda

    The AVMA decision could stem from their long standing partnerships with pharmaceutical and pet food corporations. Financial documents reveal that the AVMA receives significant contributions from major corporate sponsors, like Hill’s Pet Nutrition, who pledged $4.5 million in support of AVMA programs and services over the next four years.

    An example of such an unholy alliance is the partnership between the AVMA and Hill’s is their “Alliance for Healthier Pets”, a partnership to raise awareness of the epidemic in pet obesity. Unfortunately, the PSA directs you to a Hill’s website that solely endorses Hill’s Prescription Diet and Hill’s Science Diet pet foods.

    The AVMA roster includes a disturbing number pharmaceutical and pet food corporate sponsors including Abbot, Arm & Hammer, Bayer, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Diamond Pet Foods, Elsevier, Friskies PetCare, Hartz, Heinz, Hoeschst-Roussel, Hoffman LaRoche, IDDEX, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Merial Novartic, Nutro, PetsMart, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble (Iams, Eukanuba), Ralston Purina, Royal Canin, Schering Plough, Upjohn, Virbac, are just a few of lucrative partnerships that the AVMA has benefited from over the years.

    All of these corporations market therapeutic diets and veterinary medicines that often are available only through a veterinarian; and veterinarians, because of their professional standing, can influence pet parents with regard to the pet foods and veterinary medicines they choose.
    Which begs the question, Dr. Kay, since you are a Recipient of the Eukanuba Canine Health Award( an oxymoron) as well as Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award(which seems to be a conflict of interest) how you vote on this issue?

  3. If the AMA, the medical schools, and individual doctors got the same kind of swag from Kraft as the AVMA, veterinary schools, and individual vets get from Hills …

    I’ve been feeding a home-prepared diet, mostly raw, to the search and rescue dogs for about six years. They are vital, have great endurance, look great, amazing muscle mass. Yes, dogs who eat mostly meat put on more muscle. Shocking, isn’t it?

    It’s a tremendous amount of work, but with four dogs, I have economies of scale. I do a lot of reading and experimenting, researched a lot and continue to do so, to do best by them.

    In the corporate pet “food” world, “research” = finding ways to use cheaper and cheaper ingredients. Not “How do I optimize the diet for each dog’s metabolic needs?” Rather “How can I get soybean hulls to hold together in a kibble?”

    My hard-keeping, twelve-cylinder GSD gets more fat and starch in her diet than does the easy-keeper economy English shepherd. They have very different needs for calories/kg as well as nutrient density. This is fairly easy to goose when preparing their meals.

    Fortunately there is no Delta in Purina’s pocket to tell me that MY dogs can’t work because they are typhoid Mary.

    I mostly see my vet when someone is injured, nowadays. No skin issues, allergies, funky ears, infections.

    When our Pip, age 12, got sick, with malaise and GI symptoms and fever, everyone wanted to jump on the “what did you feed her?” bandwagon. She must have an infection from the awful germy stuff she eats, or an impaction from the deadly bones. Trying to make me feel responsible.

    It was the carcinoma, back after seven years, the one that first showed up as a little skin tumor when we returned from Katrina operations in Mississippi.

  4. Is there more cancer or (1) are dogs living longer so they are more likely to get cancer and/or (2) are dogs getting more and more highly sophisticated veterinary care so that they are more often diagnosed? Also, breeding/genetics plays a role in disease. I think good nutrition is important, but I don’t think we can legitimately lay all the blame on food. After all, there are plenty of dogs who have lived to a healthy, ripe old age on supermarket foods. Diet is just one factor, and possibly not the most significant one.

  5. I see you have hit a nerve here!
    With 80%+ of dogs dying from cancer these days, there are very few brands of processed dog food that I would feed a dog. This did not happen when dogs got table scraps, and as much as I can afford it, I purchase organic raw meat for my dogs.
    I highly recommend that folks subscribe to:
    I have gotten no spam of any kind by subscribing, and I hear about recalls and other issues before anyone else gets the info out. For a real eye opener, read

  6. I meant to type “devicive,” but my auto correct took over.

  7. My observation is that this discussion is never productive. How people choose to feed their pets, or indeed feed themselves, is more akin to a religious belief than an understanding of the subject. It is just bound up with too much emotion and fervor- on both sides – to change anyone’s thinking. It is very decisive – people pick a side and dig in.

    If anyone is interested in reading an interesting book on the effect that cooking food may have had on humans, I recommend Richard Wrangham’s book Catching Fire, How Cooking Made Us Human. It is about humans, but much of the research done on the digestion of food was done on animals, so there is some relevance.

  8. PRO RAW- my dogs are super healthy on it. Neither they or me has gotten ill from raw food. Are people forgetting that they handle RAW meat every time they prepare to cook it for themselves!?!?!
    And the RECALLS for kibble and canned food! Yikes!!!
    Not to mention, DEAD, diseased animals go into kibble… including dogs who have been euthanized… Google it, or look on YouTube if you don’t believe me…

  9. Pro raw. Been feeding raw for 18 years, and make my own food to keep costs down. When my senior dogs go in for their annual exam and blood test, my veterinarian typically remarks, “The tests look great for a dog this age!” If you do feed raw, I feel it is important to choose a veterinarian that approves of feeding raw, since what your dog eats obviously has a big influence on their health (which is why I feed raw!)

  10. Of course the AVMA is against feeding raw! When was the last time you saw raw food in a vets office? It is all about money.

  11. I’ve been feeding raw for 8 years. My labs get a veggie meal (ground veggies, liver, yogurt and supplements) in the a.m. and a meat meal in the evening. They’re healthy and love their food. I bag the individual meals and freeze them. It takes a lot of time but I don’t have to worry about those pet food recalls that seem to be so prevalent now. I intend to keep feeding raw although my vet isn’t too keen on it. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to switch my cats to raw yet.

  12. I currently have four dogs and they have been raw fed their whole lives. We buy their meat and eggs and our food from the same grocer. We wash the dog dishes after each meal, we clean the counters with Clorox wipes and have never gotten sick from handling the raw food. My vets all comment on the good muscle tone, coat and condition of my dogs.

    I did a good deal of research on raw feeding and review my books every couple of years to be certain I have not strayed off course. I agree with some of the previous posts regarding nutrition at vet schools. I would guess I have done more research on raw feeding than most vets.

    I have an awesome vet. He does not encourage or discourage raw feeding but if pushed he would prefer kibble, that is what he knows. I make my own decisions in that regard and he knows I do the research and that I have good mentors\resources to go to with questions.

    The biggest losers in this decision are the volunteer groups that allow dogs to participate in reading programs, care facility visits and the like. They have started to reject raw fed dogs from their programs. With the AVMA’s new policy this trend of rejecting raw fed dogs will snowball and that is the real tragedy.

    Thanks for asking Dr. Kay.

  13. I am definitely Pro Raw with supplements to enhance the diet. My 3 Laekens have all been on a lraw diet for 4* years with the last male going completely raw 3 years ago. It took me a while to switch my one male completely over as he was always suffering from runny stools, stress, .. you name it, he had issues. When we finally completly got him off kibble and canned process food, all his health issues cleared up. My dogst are 6 & 8 years old. My vet can’t believe how healthy they are and with very little to no tarter build up.

    With kibble – they were in and out of the vets office with health issues
    Without Kibble -and fed raw – their yearly health check up and rabies shots when needed ..
    No brainer to me… Raw for my fur-kids is the best… And I don’t have to worry about contamination as my dogs all get human grade raw..

  14. I have been feeding a raw food diet to my 3 dogs and 2 cats for years, going against the advice of my conventional vet. However, my vet does say that they are the healthiest animals that he sees at his Surgery….go figure!

  15. I don’t feed raw food because I think that the practice isn’t a good idea. I feed the best dry food & canned food available.
    I agree with the writer above about Science Diet & Purina pet foods.

  16. We have been feeding and selling a commercially available raw diet since opening our service dog school five years ago with nothing but positive results. We recommend two brands of Raw diet to our students for the following reasons: Living enzyme content, easily digested, dramatically reduced stool size and odor compared to kibble, plus our dogs, our students dogs and our dog food customers dogs do great on it. As with any food, sourcing and quality control are imperative to a safe product and that is what we looked for when choosing a raw food.

    I do not know what data the AVMA based their determination on but from my personal and professional data they have made a poor judgement and performed a disservice to pet owners or Vets who chose not to feed or recommend a raw diet based on AVMA’s opinion.

  17. Put me enthusiastically in the “Pro Raw Diet” column. I couldn’t agree more with Rod’s September 30th comments. After educating myself on dog & cat nutrition from many sources, I witnessed our 18 yr. old cat do a complete turnaround when I slowly started her on a balanced raw meat diet. She was fed cat kibble her entire life (due to my lack of education) & from age 15 started to decline “due to old age” as determined by two reputable vets. Within a year of being on a raw meat diet her energy level improved, her coat improved & she lived another FIVE healthy years before one day, at age 23, going to sleep & not waking up.
    I then started our 2 mo. old Labrador Retriever on a balanced, mostly raw diet. She has continually thrived & is now 8 yr old. She’s fed a D.V.M.’s home-made diet plan that includes a variety of cooked, ground veggies, raw muscle & organ meats along with supplements & raw meaty, (non-weight bearing) bones.
    We’ve come a long way, in the past 10 years, encouraging & educating people to eat LESS processed foods & MORE fresh foods. Why on earth would that be any different for other living creatures?

  18. This is garbage to me.

    The foremost thing to me is to determine what, if any, reasons the AVMA might have to support commercial pet foods. Are their board members linked to pet food manufacturers, do they have special interest in the commercial pet food industry? Are they sponsored by commercial pet food manufactures? Money, money, money. Money talks, it runs the world.
    I am leaning towards maybe!

    As far as dangers in raw meat, a simple risk/benefit analysis will determine that in most cases, the raw diet is very much worth it. There’s also a lot of data out there on pet food recalls… salmonella dog food, tainted products, fungal poisonings, melamine! In 2011, 60-million (!!!) containers of pet food were recalled due to aflatoxin, a toxic fungus that often grows on grain. And that is just one incident of many. No thanks, I’ll “risk it” with my raw food. Over 6 years, and neither me nor my dogs have gotten sick. Not once. In fact, I do not even worry about salmonella… these are animals who regularly eat feces and do not become ill… they are not the newborn-babies-wearing-fur they are made out to be, and if they have a healthy immune system I personally see no issue. They lick their butts, they lick the floor, they eat garbage, their noses touch other dogs butts, they kill wild animals like rodents, they are regularly getting bacteria that would make a human ill. I think anthropomorphizing our pets is a huge factor in the market of pet food. We want little Fluffy to be “like us,” when they are not like us in the physiology of their digestive system. They do not need “chicken and rice with sweet potatoes, peas, and gravy,” they just need the whole chicken, guts and all. They smell raw chicken and they go nuts for it, we do not. We cook our food as humans, other animals do NOT. I have not seen one incidence of an animal ever using 350-degree heat to process its food.

    I am a HUGE fan of raw diet. It makes a HUGE difference in health of a natural carnivore, and the fact that people don’t feed their animals appropriately is just sad. Imagine having, say, a snake, and knowing it should eat mice, yet feeding it store-bought, dry processed pellets instead. That is healthier? Says WHO… says THEM. They say corn-byproduct is good for cats and dogs! They know more than us, and the information they have on dog nutrition is far greater than we could ever hope to comprehend, right? Hah. My dogs thrive off raw eggs, fresh meat, fresh organs and bone. I see pet food destroying pets… diabetes, obesity, shedding, greasy feeling hair, odor, ALLERGIES, dental cleanings every year? My dogs have never had a dental cleaning, and the vet remarks at how nice their teeth are. If I handle a dog, I can tell what type of diet it’s being fed by the way the skin and coat look and smell. The low or mid-quality kibble-fed dogs have a greasier texture to their coats and a more foul “doggy” odor, more gas and digestion issues, as well as often having more sub-cutaneous fat all over their body, which I attribute to a high-carb diet.
    I believe that there is a potential link between cooked proteins and allergies. Anyone in the pet industry knows that “allergies” are huge right now. My clients are ordering Kangaroo based kibble and spending $90/bag, spending thousands on prescription allergy foods from the vet that don’t work, prednizone, benadryl every day… Why are so many dogs allergic to seemingly everything? What is being done about it? Why are so many people, anecdotally, saying that raw diet has cured their dogs allergies and chronic ear-infections? It’s something worth looking into, as it has worked for so many dogs when nothing else has.

    THEY (some large corporations) are packaging up a 40-pound bag of commercial waste and by-product, putting a pretty label on it, and selling it to ignorant pet owners.

    I am also going to cast some blame on veterinarians. I realize they do not necessarily have the time to educate pet owners on a raw diet in a 30-min appt. I get that. And not everyone will even care, you have clients that just want cheap/convenient, then you have educated clients who love their animals to death and they deserve to be educated. But there are better products to be sold than some of the Sxxxxx Dxxt foods by Hxxx, and why should they push a food that is inferior? It seems every nutrition expert is saying a diet heavy in grains is NOT appropriate for dogs and especially cats. There are books out there, one in particular I love, by a certified nutritionist and peer-reviewed by DVM’s, “Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats,” by Kymythy Schultze. The diet is fantastic.

    We have been indoctrinated through their marketing campaigns. Keep in mind that “pet food industry” is relatively NEW. They broke into the biz by offering both convenience and consumer fear. This phrase “Don’t feed people food to dogs,” is ubiquitous– where do you think that comes from? Purina, for example, is one source. Just the notion that “people food” aka fresh whole food is perfect for us, but will destroy their diet, is crazy. You’re telling me that my dog should not have whole meat, yet should eat whatever ended up in that bag of extruded dried pellets? We (humans) eat a variety of foods, and so should dogs. They are not machines that only run on one grade of fuel. We have been duped into thinking we are not competent enough to feed a companion animal, and that their “Science” and “balanced diet” is something that can only be created in a laboratory but not in our own kitchens?

    Imagine you go to the pediatrician with your child, and they say “You cannot be trusted to feed this child correctly, it’s a complicated balance, so you’ll need to buy a bag of “Child Growth Food” every month, and dole this out to your child 3x a day.” And you pay $75 for a 29.5-pound bag of “Child Food” and go on with your day. Please. You’d rather feed natural whole foods in a variety. There is no animal IN THE WORLD who *needs* a processed commercial diet over natural fresh foods. If you cannot provide its natural diet, maybe it’s too exotic an animal for you and you should not own it. Everyone needs to admit to themselves that there is a multi-billion dollar industry that profits off us (oftentimes at our pets expense) for one reason: CONVENIENCE. And it’s not just in dog food, it’s in “treats,” “chews,” a whole industry of marked-up waste products. Literally.

    I will tell my clients flat-out, if you are feeding Xxxx Brand dog chow, that is an uhealthy food and will likely shorten your dogs lifespan. Ol’ Roy contains not only sugar, corn, and dyes, but preservatives classified as carcinogens. Now that would be ok in moderation as “junk food,” but we are feeding our pets the same thing every day!

    On a practical level, a raw diet produces a lot less waste. I am comparing with feeding Orijen (which I sell), one of the best pet foods out there, and it’s still a huge difference. We are talking about a pile of waste that is triple in volume, smells ghastly, and takes forever to break-down naturally. Where as with a raw diet, a dogs stool is generally much less volume, and does not sit there forever. I have seen waste here in the city that survived in perfect form under the snow all winter and into spring– not such with the raw-fed dogs. It provides dental and mental-satisfaction benefits (chewing, tearing), it is digested well, provides all nutrition if variety is included, it is devoid of potential allergens or grains, and it is what nature intended them to eat. Kibble is a recent man-made invention. Is man outsmarting nature and evolution?

    When dogs develop bi-lateral jaw movement and grinding molars, and when wolves start cooking wheat and rice in their dens, then I will believe that they can have something different. But as I see it, they should be on a raw animal-based diet.

  19. I’m pro. I have to say (and no offense to you Dr. Nancy), but vets do not spend much time in vet school on animal nutrition, unless they are specifically studying animal nutrition. The brainwashing referred to by the poster above is my perception as well, because it is in the best interest of the mass food companies to have us NOT feed raw, NOT question what we put in our pets’ bodies.

  20. Also pro raw diet. I have a great traditional vet who supports my decision of feeding raw. My holistic veterinarian feels that kibble is “death in a bag”. Despite feeding the hightest quality kibble (grain free, limited ingredient, single protein, blah blah blah) one of my cockers had chronic ear infections. Zero infections with raw!! What I am saving on vet visits and ear medication more than pays for the additional cost of raw over kibble.

    Hills has a great marketing department! They offer the lowest quality food but give free food to shelters and kickback to vets. The average person thinks they are feeding a high quality food because their vet carries it. Discusting!

  21. PS: There clearly are a number of documented cases of people getting salmonella from dog kibble. Are there any documented cases of people getting sick from preparing/feeding raw dog food?

  22. Firstly, I believe that talking about risks of raw protein sources right after the large recall of the contaminated dog kibble is really _____ fill in a bad word of your choice.

    Unless they can guarantee that kibble IS actually SAFER in any way, how can they make policies against something? Are they going to make a policy against kibble too? Because the risk seems to be equal.

    What comes to mind is the movie Demolition Man; have you seen it? Eventually they got to the point when spices were illegal, fluid exchange (including kissing) was illegal … are we on our way?

    What about going outdoors? There are risks associated with that. Are we eventually have a policy against taking our dogs outdoors?

    Teaching people how to do things safely is one thing. Making policies such as this one? Please, don’t get me started.

    Truly, I think we are on our way to a police state of sorts.

  23. Let’s just use a bit of common sense here. Dogs and cats, in fact all omnivores, have been eating raw food since God created them.
    The pet food industry has a massive influence on our economy. It is much more profitable for any food producing company, (and that includes human food) to break whole foods up and sell the pieces and parts. When they disassemble food, it loses food value, piece by piece- so the more it is “broken up” the more money they make, and the less nutrition we get.
    When we refer to a dog’s diet, le’s keep in mind that these are animals that will gleefully eat cat poo and drink out of mud puddles. Unless we feed them contaminated, spoiled food, we are doing them a disservice to simply provide them with baked, dry kibble. Not one of their bodies is the same, nor are their nutritional needs: to expect one, prepackaged food to do it all is folly. Therese Backowski

  24. I totally agree with the raw veggies. My dog loves them and comes running when he ears the cutting board. It’s the raw meats that I’m against for my pet.

  25. I agree with those against feeding our pets raw foods. They’ve been domesticated. And thus being so, their whole makeup has become in a sense domesticated as well. Their ancestor’s organs were prepared to fight against organisms that entered the body via raw foods caught in the wild. But we have evolved and so have our pets. We no longer have to hunt and kill to survive nor do our pets. We have made them like this by introducing packaged/processed foods into their systems. If it’s healthy you want, go ahead and make your own pet food. But cook it properly and make sure all the nutrients recommended specifically for your pet are met. I make dog treats for my pet because he needed less fat and I wanted to make sure he had healthy ingredients. So with a mixture of flax seed, whole wheat flour, rolled oats and a smidge of pnut btr he’s happy and in turn know what he’s eating.

  26. re raw diets,
    they can be excellent if well-formulated,
    or inadequate if the preparer is sloppy or just
    The safest version is a base mix which includes
    all the vitamins, minerals, etc, to which the buyer
    adds the meat protein of their choice.

    HONEST KITCHEN is one highly-ethical, trustworthy
    source of such base mixes, dehydrated to reduce the
    cost of shipping, =and= they do not buy ingredients
    from any non-domestic sources.
    This does 2 things: reduces food mileage, & avoids the
    possibility / probability of contamination, whether it’s
    deliberate or accidental, that is often found in [for Ex],
    Chinese produced wheat-gluten, soy protein, & other
    bulk-purchased relatively-low-cost items.

    This isn’t an ad for Honest Kitchen, they do their own
    advertising; if there are other pet-food makers in the
    USA who use US- or Canadian-source ingredients only,
    have both grain-free & with grain versions, & don’t
    outsource or substitute if ingredients rise in price or
    are temporarily scarce, i’d love to hear about them.

    I don’t get a dime or any consideration, in kind or in
    any discount, from Honest Kitchen. In fact, i’ve never
    fed a pet of mine on their foods! :–D)
    But many of my clients, who often have dogs with not
    only behavior issues but food intolerances, HAVE used
    Honest Kitchen, so i have seen the results over the 3 to
    6-month period that major diet changes produce –
    & i have been deeply impressed.

    Behavior & health aren’t solely influenced by nutrition,
    but it’s an important component. Entirely-homemade
    diets are complex & require a lot of juggling to get the
    calcium / phos ratio correct, ensure that trace minerals
    are provided as needed, adjust the B-complex ratios, etc.

    I’d err on the side of caution, & feed a commercially
    made raw-diet, rather than create my own DIY.

    JMO & IME – yer mileage may vary,
    – terry

    terry pride, Pet Professional Guild, Truly Dog-Friendly,

  27. Rod,
    here’s a link to a search on HILL’S own webpage,
    refined to show Adult [stage] Feline [species] foods

    i do NOT use nor recommend Science Diet, but i do
    know how to read ingredients lists – & so far as i can see,
    all their cat-foods contain one or multiple sources of meat,
    among them chicken, ocean-fish, beef, or turkey.
    Dried eggs may not be tasty alone, but they are a perfectly
    respectable meat option; eggs are a form of meat protein.

    Cats are obligate carnivores, & while they can be fed diets
    heavy in carb-source proteins, they must have some meat
    to survive; blindness & heart-failure are among the after-
    effects of meat-free diets given to cats long-term.
    HILL’S isn’t about to be sued by the customer whose cat
    goes blind or dies, eating a “feline diet” that doesn’t include
    a taurine source.

    all my best,
    – terry

    terry pride, Pet Professional Guild, Truly Dog-Friendly,

  28. Our Dogs have been fed organic, non- organic, raw, well cooked, fresh, frozen vegetables meats, poultry,leftovers from our table ( scurriliously labeled by the marketers as “table scraps”), drive-up window fast food, an occasional shared candy bar, fresh fish from pristine waters, fruit or just the peels, both high and innocuous-quality kibble, sporadic sandwiches , horse manure and who remembers what else? For the past 50 years or so. Most of the dogs died between 13 to 15 years of age with minimum veterinary intervention. Exceptions were 3 giant breed dogs with lifespans of 13, 9 and 9-1/2. None of us in the family ever contracted salmonella , E. coli Etc and I continue to feed raw meat and eggs when the spirit moves me ! Current dog is age 14
    And eats fresh raw foods plus quality kibble ( ok, and an occasional peanut butter and jelly sandwich!)

  29. Unfortunately the raw food idea is based on a diet that never provided long life for canines, was never based on food grown/produced as it is today, has never been shown to be more appropriate for dogs and is often lacking in any sort of control on correct dietary balance or a safe level of bacteria and does not take into any account the differences between wolves and modern canines! Man once ate moslty raw meat diets too..but most people now understand that diet did not support long life, was not balanced and know that a safe, balanced diet of fruits, veggies and meats, properly prepared lead to better health. Unfortunately few seem to be able to apply that knowledge to their own diets and one cannot hope that those people can supply a complete and balanced and safe diet to their doogs via raw or homemade diets. Also the popularized comments on what vets know about nutrition for dogs are false…if your vet knows so little, get another vet…and vets are not trained or owned by dog food companies!
    If you vet did not study small animal nutrition either in vet school or since then, they are asleep at the wheel. I thank the members of the AVMA for condemning home prepared raw food diets.

  30. The reason we humans do not ingest these raw products is because we do not wish to risk contracting e-coli from raw beef, salomonella from raw fowl and eggs, heavy mercury from raw fish and our milk has to be pasteurized for obvious reasons. Restaurants have not served “steak tartare” (raw ground meat) for years, no salads that call for raw eggs are available, and the popularity of raw fish has decreased.
    Why then, if I am not willing to assume such risks with my own health, would I expose my companions to them? And why would I give them milk which they do not need after they are weaned?
    As for their carnivorous ancestors eating raw meat, true that they were carnivorous but they were also wild. No one studied their nutritional requirements in a domesticated state. And finally, we have no data how many sickened and died in the wild from fatal conditions related to diet.
    Let us not play Russian roulette wi8th thier health. And look out for pet food manufacturers who are not ethical and honest about what they put in their food. In fact, several books have been written on this last sucject…..

  31. My feeling is based on evidence from Ethology, Anatomy and Adaptation. Dogs are adapted to eat primarily human garbage. This would include cooked meats as well as vegetables and grains. The physical adaptation of their digestive systems as compared to their wolf ancestors would support this. It is my personal feeling that our dogs are not adapted to a 100% raw meat diet, but one that includes quite a variety of ingredients.

    The adaptation has taken place over 1,000s of years, where the “pet industry” is only 100 years old. The industry is based on profit certainly, which includes appealing to a “human” sense of taste. It also uses scientific data to generate a healthy balanced blend even if it is lower cost ingredients. It does no good to kill off your customers, it is in their interest to supply a good product –especially today where our pets live much longer.
    There are many healthier balanced commercial diets out there which I supplemented with fresh ingredients to provide a balanced meal for my dog. Most have lived well into their mid-teens without major illness.

  32. I feed all my dogs raw. I have done this for about 3-4 years now. I don’t buy the “raw” from stores that are still processed by large food companies, but by a small business owner who makes the raw food, after much investigation of nutrition requirements. I buy in 1 lb. frozen packages. It has ground meat, some of the skin, bones and organic veggies in it. I buy beef, chicken, turkey and beef/venison. The dogs love it, thrive on it. I am not sure about the rational that our dogs are a version of the dogs thousands of years ago, but what I do know is that they do very well on the diet, it has never been recalled (and I have no worry it will), the dogs have never gotten sick from it, and I handle the raw food carefully and clean out the bowls for cleanliness/contamination reasons. I also purchase “organic” treats from them. When I see the processed canned or dry food it makes me sick that anyone would feed their dog that food, it is horrible. I try and eat right, why wouldn’t I want to give my dog “real” food as well?

  33. I am pro raw. All of my dogs are doing really well on it (I use raw meat and a balanced mixer), even the ones with sensitive stomachs (and the one with an esophageal stricture – he gets ground meat).

    I am not concerned about bacteria. I carefully wash all areas where the raw meat is fed and wash the dog dishes using different cloths.

    As for the bacteria in the poop, well, it is POOP!

    And, finally, there are so many recalls on contaminated stuff now that worrying about a raw diet kind of make me boggle.

    However, raw diets might not be the best thing for everyone. So, if a student asks me what I feed, I tell them and talk to them about high quality kibble, raw diets, dehydrated diets and all the options available so that they can make a good decision for themselves.

  34. Pro raw. The mass market pet food industry most significant contribution to pet nutrition was when one of their marketing geniuses realized that they could boil down the garbage left on the slaughterhouse floor, call it “by-products” and base their pet food on it. Combined with low-nutrition grain filler and a vitamin pill, this is what is marketed as “complete and balanced nutrition for your pet.” To drive the price even lower, they gave us poisonous ingredients from China.

    The first three ingredients in the canned renal diet I tried were water, egg white and corn starch. When did corn starch become a main ingredient? Yet, it was the least offensive of the 3 options, the other two having by-products or ethoxyquin.

    Most raw foods are made by small domestic producers, based on the canine’s natural diet, and filled with meat, vegetables, fruits, and other nutritious ingredients. My fear is that this will change when the mass market producers figure out how to produce what they will call a raw “food” without dogs dropping dead upon consumption.

  35. It seems that Delta Society triggered the AVMA’s decision to develop a raw food policy. Delta, of course has a pet food executive on it’s board and it banned raw fed dogs. The AVMA claims that its “scientific” policy is based on concerns for contamination of raw food which could cause human and animal illness. The AVMA has shown no interest in developing a policy about commercial kibble, which has been subject to massive recalls for contamination and deaths of animals. This fact makes me suspicious of the connection to commercial pet food companies. Also, the AVMA admits it has seen no studies to support its stance. An article in Whole Dog Journal addressed the relevant issues better than the AVMA’s FAQ.

  36. I was saddened but not surprised. I’ve been firmly in the raw feeding camp for over twenty years. I’m very happy with the results. I did comment to the AVMA before the vote but did not expect this to have any influence. I’ll discuss diet with the veterinarian if the subject arises but unfortunately wouldn’t consider asking for dietary advice. Like many people I end up searching the internet, asking friends and trying things on my own.

    For me, this is the AVMA chosing to align with big corporations. Maybe that is just a fact of survival in the marketplace. It does nothing to make me feel confidence in or respect for the profession.

  37. I have done commercial, raw and for the last ten years, home-cooked diets. My vets, both western AND holistic have recommended using organic meats, ground bone and vegetables but cooking them to avoid problems with bacteria and digestion. Raw diets are harder for older dogs to digest. My two-year old Golden Retriever didn’t care for the raw as well as the home-cooked version and my vets tell me there is no nutritional difference, so I am sticking with cooking. I buy a frozen, top quality duck formula that has ground bone and vegies and I also add organic broccoli to that mix. People continually compliment me on his gleaming coat and wonderful energy.

  38. I believe pets do better on all raw food or a mix of raw and kibble. I don’t want an advisory group telling me what to feed my companion animals!

  39. The raw food diet for cats and dogs provides all nutrients and fiber that they need, and if prepared properly, will not contain grain nor wheat.

    I have been feeding my multiple cat household raw food manufactured by http://www.PrimalPetFoods.com for ten years. My cats have the most beautiful coats and are healthy. In fact, my first cat had a very serious case of colitis when I found her…within a few weeks of eating a raw venison diet containing vitamins,minerals, a small amount of vegetables and no grain, her colitis was completely healed and has never returned. My cats have tons of energy, beautiful coats and rarely have to seen veterinarian. Perhaps, that’s why some veterinarians are opposed to a raw diet.

    It is crucial however, that the raw food is handled properly…remains should never be left out after the animal has stopped eating, and should not be left defrosted in the refrigerator for more than five days.

    Feeding raw is well worth it…………healthier, happier pets…and reduced vet bills.

    In addition, their stool has much less of an odor.

  40. Totally pro raw!

    I’ve been feeding recognizable body parts to my dogs for 10 years now. Never had an issue, and my dogs are supremely healthy. I’ve raised all my litters on raw and they are all gorgeous!

    For the stool factor alone, I will never go back to kibble. Plus, my dogs aren’t thirsty all the time!

    Viva the raw!!! I do not feed store bought raw. I just throw chicken necks, wings, backs, fish, beef, pork, you name it. I love the simplicity of it.

  41. I have been rawfeeding my pets for over 15 years. Several of my pets were immuno-compromised when they were rescued and the raw diet has restored them to complete health. I exercise the same precautions in sanitizing surfaces in contact with raw meat as I would when preparing my own meals. There are increasingly more recalls of commercially prepared pet food than there have been reports of individuals or pets whose health was put at risk for handling/feeding raw meat. Processed foods – whether for humans or for pets – have been reported to contribute to increased incidences of obesity, diabetes, cancer and other diseases as well as contamination from e-coli and salmonella. Raw meat can have contaminants, but I believe the risks are lower than for processed foods that are handled by so many at so many points in the production process and contain unknown additives to preserve them. I can’t really blame vets for not being well-informed about nutrition as MDs, as a rule, also do not have a good grasp of proper nutrition for humans. I firmly believe that good nutrition is the source of good health – for us and for our pets! And any processed food is not a good source of nutrition.

  42. I know a number of people who feed raw and it works for their dogs and their lifestyle. I don’t like feeding raw because I am just not comfortable with the clean up involved. The brief attempt I made at raw feeding, I felt like I was constantly scrubbing my kitchen and dog bowls. I had a clean kitchen but I just wasn’t feeling right with the approach.

    I believe in feeding what works for YOUR dog, your lifestyle and your budget. Two of my dogs get home cooked food. The other is on a prescription diet and they are all healthy and happy. I am fortunate that I can spend a good deal of money buying the food I have found works best for my dogs but others may not have the range of options I do.

    What to feed is a very emotional, hot button topic for dog lovers from my experience. I think we should be respectful that there is more than one way to meet the needs of our animals. My Border Collie, for example, needs lots of grains but some dogs need grain free. I always smile when I read someone ranting on the internet about grains in dogs’ diets because my dog is so healthy and energetic, it is absurd. He was not healthy at all on grain free. Again, what works for one may not work for another. Do what works for YOUR animal.

  43. What I don’t understand is why it took them so long to come to this decision. I’m not buying it.

  44. Regardless of which diet you choose, all foods, including ours, are deficient in the necessary 90 minerals and vitamins all living animals (us included) need to survive and be healthy. consider adding ARTHRYDEX which I give it to all my dogs as a basic complete supplement to a good diet and plenty of exercise.
    call me for details: 270-436-2858. Get a copy of “Dead Drs Don’t Lie” (google it) and then you might be more impressed as Dr. Wallach presents an awesome overview of the problems and potential ways to help overcome the dire results of a world missing out on good health as a result of our overpopulation and overuse of the land. ps, I feed raw. mary

  45. Follow the money.

    Dog food companies give generously to institutes like the Delta Society who were the first to ban raw food from their therapy dogs’ diet. Now others are joining forces to veto raw feeding.

    Don’t worry, we raw feeders don’t need veterinary approval. We are used to sticking up for ourselves and not even bothering to tell the vets what we feed our pets because we don’t need arguments and disapproval. Maybe it’s different in CA, but the vets around here have always been against it

    A broken leg? Must be the raw food! Give me a break!

  46. I am definitely pro-raw. I’ve been feeding such a diet to my 2 dogs for almost 5 years now. They have wonderful muscle tone, gorgeous coats, clean teeth, and keep a svelte figure without a lot of effort. Neither the dogs nor their caretakers have experienced any side effects from the raw bacteria. That being said though, I probably would not feed such a diet if I lived with someone or had myself a compromised immune system. There’s no point in tempting fate.

    My vet does not approve of raw feeding. They always ask each time we are in for physicals, state their disapproval and leave it at that. They also comment on how wonderfully healthy my guys are, esp. the teeth. I guess they have not put 2 and 2 together :-)

    I do think there is a bit of conflict of interest when a vet clinic makes a profit off of Hill’s and Science Diet food. If I needed to switch back to kibble, it would never be such poor quality food.

  47. I am surprised at the lack of information in the news stories about the AVMA policy.

    AVMA cited 6 studies as the basis for its resolution labeling raw food diets for pets a public health threat. If anyone writing about the policy cared to read the studies, they would find the following quotes from one of the studies:

    “The increasing popularity of raw food diets for companion animals is another potential pet-associated source of Salmonella organisms; however, no confirmed cases of human salmonellosis have been associated with these diets.”

    “To date, there have been no published reports of salmonellosis occurring in dogs as a result of exposure to natural pet treats.”

    “To date, there has been only one published report of salmonellosis occurring in cats as a result of exposure to raw food diets. Septicemic salmonellosis was diagnosed in 2 cats that underwent necropsy at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia (Athens, GA).”


    The lack of any evidence in the studies cited by the AVMA to support the claim that raw pet food is a public health threat helps me understand why human medical professionals hold mainstream reporting of medical issues in disdain.

    It is disappointing that the AVMA and so many vets base this policy on theoretical science, while dismissing all the reports by pet owners who feed raw pet food as being anecdotal.

    In this case, theoretical science won over anecdotal science.

    And Dr Kay, I had written to you before about a German Shepherd with EPI who had gone from 55 to 75 pounds on a raw food diet. I understand you do not think a raw food diet is of benefit to dogs with EPI. However, the dog no longer uses any artificial enzymes and is runway model beautiful.

    I hope someday more veterinarians will push back against kibble makers and use some basic science and logic. The reason that the last 20 ingredients of most kibble is synthetic nutrients is because heat and oxygen destroy nutrients, so it must be sprayed back on. No human doctor would suggest patients eat only highly processed foods. It is absurd.

    Instead of warning against raw food for pets as a public health threat, tell pooper scoopers to wear gloves and wash hands.

    From my perspective, this is a clear case of putting money ahead of pet health.

  48. I am in favor of feeding raw if the animal does well on the diet. I have been giving my Golden Retiever raw meaty bones for years as an addition to her dehydrated diet and she is going great at 11 years old!

  49. Pro raw diet. A 2006 report, “Evaluation of cats fed vegetarian diets and attitudes of their caregivers”, concludes: “diets are fed to cats primarily for ethical considerations.” Whose ethics? I submit it is the owners’ veterinarians’ mis-guided “ethics”, fostered since vet school by their warped “education” in companion animal nutrition, funded by Hill’s and Purina, and taught from Hill’s textbook, “Small Animal Clinical Nutrition”.

    Consider, Hill’s feline Science Diet has NO MEAT. A CAT FOOD without ANY MEAT! And yet, Hill’s boasts that Science Diet is the #1 choice of food for vets’ own pets. Sheer idiocy on the part of these vets! But also true.

    So, what should we expect from the 90% of AVMA delegates who voted to condemn home-prepared raw meat diets? These “professionals” have been living in an alternate reality, as far as nutrition goes, since they were brainwashed in college.