|This question was posted on the Rainbow
Pet Diabetes Email List.
Since I was asked...I will give you my opinions. There is a lot
of controversy over veterinary nutrition and especially the RAW or BARF
(Bones and Raw Food) diets. I do have mixed feelings about feeding a raw
diet. ANY home-prepared diet must first and foremost be balanced
with protein, carbohydrates and fat as well as supplementing vitamins and
minerals. You can not feed an animal just meat and expect them to
thrive. And I know some of you are laughing at this statment, but
believe me, people believe since cats are carnivores that they can eat
just meat. NO WAY!! And on the flip side, because they
are carnivores, they can NOT eat a vegetarian diet. A dog, however,
can eat a vegetarian based diet because they are not obligate carnivores.
In favor of feeding RAW....animals out in the wild don't have the benefit
of having a stove to cook it first and these animals survive. Are
they thriving? I don't know that because they have a lot of other
issues that our domestic animals don't have to face. Are these wild
animals living to be 20 years old? Feeding raw does mean that the
animal will get the most enzymes out of that food since they are not destroyed
by cooking and ideally the most benefits. The source of food in ANY
home-prepared diet is crucial. If you are not feeding organic food,
then who knows what that chicken or cow was fed or what medication (antibiotics,
steroids,etc.) it was given before slaughter. I know people are always
concerned with Salmonella and other bacteria in raw meat causing illness.
I don't know how much of that is an issue because personally, I do not
have any clients that feed RAW. However, when I did an internship
in Australia, I had a cat present with vomiting and diarrhea and when inquired
about diet, the owners said kibble in addition to RAW chicken wings.
AH HA, I thought, I have a diagnosis....Salmonella. WRONG!
This cat did not have Salmonella or any other bacteria from eating RAW
chicken, but it did have the cleanest teeth I ever saw. I questioned
the doctors at the University and they said it is a common practice to
give RAW chicken wings for dental health and they never see any problems
with it and they didn't feel that their meat processing standards were
any different than the US. But then again, I wouldn't eat raw
meat from any country.
In certain cases of anemia, I have suggested that the owners give their
pet RAW liver in small portions 2-3 times a week. One warning, however,
since the liver is an organ of detoxification you can really overdo it
if you feed too much. Personally, I would rather see a client feed
cooked meat. I gave my cats a RAW chicken wing a few weeks ago and
they looked at me like I was nuts! I do know they have commercially
prepared RAW diets out there, but I do not have any experience with any
of them so I can't really comment on quality or benefits, etc.
Against feeding RAW....how 'bout I just refer you to this website...
... Then you tell me!!
Ideally the best diet you can feed your pet, healthy or with a disease
condition, is a home-cooked (veggies are okay raw) ALL NATURAL (organic)
diet that is supplemented with the proper vitamins and minerals.
There are many veterinarian-approved recipes out there and a good place
to start is with "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health
for Dogs & Cats" by Dr. Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD. If
you do not have time to cook, then feeding a diet that is all-natural,
dye and preservative free is best (refer to
for a list of these foods as well as other Complementary and Alternative
Veterinary Medicine topics). The higher quality diet your pet eats,
the better hair coat s/she will have, the less illness s/he will face,
changes in behavior may be noted for the positive and really your pet will
be healthier. And your pet will eat less and have less stool volume.
Now granted it may be necessary to feed a prescription diet due to illness,
but there is no reason you can't supplement a little of your own home-cooking.
Feeding Generic Brand X food is just not acceptable. And you should
think if you only pay $10 for a 50 pound bag of dog food, just where are
they getting those "cheap" ingredients??? Most likely a rendering plant
which uses animals that were euthanized or died from disease. So,
now you are giving your pet a daily dose of PENTOBARBITAL in addition to
God only knows what else and slowly killing your pet. You are what
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