What is your opinion on raw food diets?

I am confused about the raw food diets that lots of people are going to now after all the dog food recalls. One diet calls...


I am confused about the raw food diets that lots
of people are going to now after all the dog food
recalls. One diet calls for feeding the dog
chicken wings. I was raised to believe that
chicken bones, rib bones, and other splintery type
bones are physically bad for dogs to digest. What
is your opinion on the raw food diets and what
kind of bones are safest for my German Shepherd?
Thank you so much for your expertise!

Kayla’s Mom
St Johns, MI

Raw food diets are a source of continuous controversy. Some pet owners and breeders swear by them fanatically. The Centers for Disease Control and many epidemiologists and veterinarians hate them violently. Straightforward, unbiased information about raw food diets is almost impossible to find. It seems that everyone talking about them is pushing an agenda.

So here is my best effort to offer my most honest, agenda-free thoughts on raw diets.

My number one piece of advice regarding these diets is to be careful.

Consider this. I love sushi, carpaccio, steak tartare, and other raw meat dishes. But I wouldn’t eat them in any old restaurant. I’m careful about where I order these dishes.

The reason for this is that raw meat, if not properly prepared, can harbor parasites and diseases such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter. Raw chicken and pork are most famous in this regard, but any raw meat can harbor disease.

Although animals naturally eat raw meat, they are still susceptible to these diseases. And they can spread them to people.

In fact, one client confided to me that she had contracted Salmonella three times from her dog’s diet. Simply put, improperly prepared raw foods can make both pets and people sick.

So, although I don’t toe the line with the majority of medical professionals who are vehemently opposed to raw diets (it would make me a hypocrite, given my love of carpaccio), I do recommend, emphatically, that anybody who feeds a raw diet confirm that adequate safety protocols are used in its production.

When whole bones are added to the diet, new risks develop. Although many animals can tolerate bones, many others will break their teeth on bones or chew the bones into fragments that can lodge in the intestines. The latter problem can be life-threatening.

So, for Kayla’s sake, I urge you to be cautious. I have many patients who are thriving on raw diets. But if you aren’t careful, Kayla could turn out to be one of those who does not.

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