Raw Food: The Hottest Trend in Pet Nutrition May Be the Riskiest

Dog owners are becoming more and more educated about the effects of processed kibble and canned food – They are looking to natural and minimally processed options for their best friends.

While raw food has been a growing trend in the last decade, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it may not be the safest option for your pet or for the humans living in your home.

“Feeding raw foods to pets increases the risk that both the pet and the people around the pet will encounter bacteria that cause foodborne illness, particularly if the products are not carefully handled and fed,” said William J. Burkholder, Veterinary Medical Officer in the Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Animal Feeds.

The FDA announcement follows a February recall of 11.7 tons of raw dog food from Arrow Reliance, doing business as Darwin’s Natural Pet Products, for Salmonella contamination.

In April, Thogersen Family Farm (Thogersen) recalled several varieties of raw, ground pet food due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The recall was triggered as a result of sampling by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Co-Founders of The Farmer’s Dog, Brett Podolsky and Jonathan Regev, share why raw can be so risky plus a solution for pet owners who are looking to feed their dogs fresh ingredients.

Editor’s Note: The Farmer’s Dog is a company that provides fresh dog food.

1. Bacteria – By not cooking the meat, even if it is human-grade, there is a risk of transmitting harmful bacteria to you and your dog including e-Coli, salmonella, and other parasites. Not only could your dog become sick after ingesting this, but if a bacteria like Listeria were to be found, it could grow and spread in your refrigerator and affect you and your family.

2. Unbalanced – It’s essential to a dog’s wellbeing that they eat a complete and balanced diet like carbs, proteins and vitamins and minerals. If you aren’t directly working with a vet to ensure your dog is getting all of the nutrients it needs over a period of time your dog’s health could be damaged.

3. Bones – With a raw diet you can run into a lot of bones in the mean. These bones have the potential to cause your dog to choke, break its teeth or even cause an internal puncture.

4. Portion Control – Just like humans, dogs have to watch the number of calories they intake on a daily basis. When eating a raw diet, it’s very difficult to calculate how many calories your pet is ingesting. This issue can quickly cause your dog to be underweight or overweight causing other health issues in the future.

For dog owners looking for the benefits without the risk, The Farmer’s Dog has the perfect solution. Real ingredients that are freshly cooked and customized just for your dog.

One thought on “Raw Food: The Hottest Trend in Pet Nutrition May Be the Riskiest

  • May 6, 2019 at 11:08 am

    My name is Kimberly and I’m raising four dogs and a cat on a raw food diet. I switched my dogs to raw in April 2013 and my cat has been feeding raw for a year (he was harder to transition and I gave up many times). There is a lot of information on the Internet about raw feeding and I quickly became overwhelmed and confused when I began researching how to switch my pets. That confusion inspired me to start blogging about raw feeding and today I manage Keep the Tail Wagging®, one of the largest blogs on raw feeding, and I published a book sharing my experience as a raw feeder, A Novice’s Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs.

    Like many pet parents, I transitioned my dogs to raw dog food because one of my dogs kept getting sick and his veterinarian didn’t have a solution other than antibiotics. When the vet told me that my dog would live a short life, I saw this as him giving up, but I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. I had heard about raw feeding and decided to give it a try. Within two weeks of feeding my dogs a partial raw diet (commercial raw in the morning, kibble in the evening), most of his health issues had vanished. Today, he’s lived twice as long as his first veterinarian predicted. Imagine how many pets have died unnecessarily because someone refused to explore alternative medicine and natural diets.

    I understand that there is a concern about bacteria and balanced nutrition and I believe that the concern is valid. I like to call myself a DIY raw feeder, which means that I make most of my dogs’ food at home. I practice safe food handling habits by washing my hands and thoroughly cleaning the kitchen and washing my dogs’ dishes to avoid the spread of bacteria.

    With regard to balancing my dogs’ diet, I did a lot of homework, worked with several veterinarians and nutritionists, and created a nutrient spreadsheet for my dogs. Also, I have my dogs nutrient levels tested annually to make sure I’m covering everything they need.

    As humans, we’ve come to understand that eating a diet of processed foods on a daily basis isn’t healthy. Raw feeders have taken this understanding one step further as we see kibble as a processed food and believe that feeding it on a daily basis contributes to many of the health issues we’re seeing in our dogs.

    There is room in the pet industry for variety when it comes to feeding our dogs. As pet lovers, we all love our dogs and cats and it’s disconcerting when I see brands tearing down others in an effort to promote themselves. Aren’t we all here to help pet parents raise healthier dogs and cats? #CollaborationNotCompetition


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