Vets and Raw Feeding
When discussing a raw dog food diet for your dog with your vet, you may find that you get a mixed response. While some vets advocate this natural choice as the best way to feed your dog, there are others who aren’t so keen. While more and more people are turning to a raw diet for their dogs, we take a look at vets and raw feeding in general, discussing both the positive benefits and the concerns and ask why the RFVS, and other vets around the world, are so pro-raw feeding.
Why do some vets not advocate raw feeding?
There are those cynical people they may say that it’s because a raw diet is so good for your dog that you don’t need to visit a vet as often. We like to think that it’s just down to their own opinions and a lack of information on the subject. Of course, there are arguments from both sides about dogs and raw diets but there is enough evidence to support the fact that a raw diet is the best for your dog.
Common concerns with vets and raw feeding
Some common concerns among vets include an assumption that raw feeding poses a risk to the health of both your dogs and your family. There has been much research against these fears and we have covered these in this article – Addressing the Concerns Around Bacteria When Feeding Raw Dog Food. If prepared properly and purchased from a reliable source, as mentioned in the article, there is no cause for concern.
The things that vets wrongly attribute to a raw diet
Some of you will be familiar with the diagnosis that you receive from your vet. It could be that you have a very healthy dog that suddenly develops a case of diarrhoea. Often, if you take the dog to the vet and a raw diet is mentioned, they suggest salmonella tests and suggest it is the raw diet that is to blame. Of course, this is not the response of every vet but it is not an uncommon one. Never mind that dogs can pick up all sorts of bacterial infections or parasites on their daily walks or even from eating something out of the garden. Trusting our vet’s experience and judgement, we then panic and change the dog back to something that is worse for their health?
Common illness threats reduced by a raw diet
What we should actually be concerned about are the common illnesses that many of our dogs seem to succumb to far too often and the reported links between these and poor nutrition. Many of the kibbles and wet foods that are sold by dog food manufacturers are so processed and full of additives and fillers that you are risking illnesses that are far more alarming. These illnesses include:
- Digestive problems
- Kidney disease
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Obesity and Pancreatitis
- Urinary Crystals or Stones
- Allergies and Skin Conditions
These health issues in dogs can be avoided or the risks significantly reduced by feeding the right diet. A BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Diet) which contains a healthy mix of quality raw meat such as chicken, beef or lamb for example alongside bone and offal can reduce the threat of many of these diseases. Some choose to add raw fruit, veg and botanicals to assist with extra trace nutrients and ensure a healthy balance which can all be found in the right “complete” raw food mixes.
The vets that advocate raw feeding
We are not saying that every vet is against raw feeding in fact, far from it. There are many vets that are pro-raw and will only recommend a naturally produced diet that is as close to nature as it gets. As more people are becoming switched on to the idea of feeding their dog a more natural diet, there is more evidence to support raw feeding as an alternative to the mass manufactured dog foods available.
Raw Feeding Veterinary Society – RFVS
Many studies have been investigated by the RFVS in relation to the benefits of a species appropriate diet and they strongly advocate this method of feeding. Not least of all because dogs are carnivores and a raw diet is what they would eat in the wild. Wild dogs don’t succumb to cancers and other such diseases like diabetes anywhere near as much as their domesticated relatives. It is a strong belief amongst these professionals that the intensively processed, low quality man-made food many dog consume that is responsible for much of this.
In their mission statement on the website, the RFVS quote this:
“Benefit, bugs, balance and bones: these are the four major criticisms of feeding a raw meaty bones diet (RMBD) to cats and dogs as stated by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association in 2011, claiming harm to pets and pet owners.”
They then go on to state:
“We, the Raw Feeding Veterinary Society (RFVS), strongly contest these criticisms, namely that there is a lack of evidence for the proposed benefit of raw food, that there is a threat of food-borne infection, that it does not offer dogs and cats a complete and balanced diet and that there is a risk associated with feeding raw, bony material to pets.
We shall fully counter each of these four criticisms with current and referenced argument. Lastly, we will define a ‘gold standard’ for the whole pet food industry.”
In addition to their very detailed mission statement, there is a wealth of evidence and many articles based on extensive research that dispel the myths and offer solid, scientific arguments for why raw feeding is the best option for your dog.
Why a raw diet is the best choice
The simple facts are that there is little or no reason to suggest that a raw food diet is harmful to your dogs. The benefits far outweigh any supposed negatives. A dog thrives on a raw diet boasting a shiny and healthy coat, reduction in allergies, a better disposition and increased vitality. They will experience a healthier digestion, more regulated weight and, more often than not, less visits to the vet. If you are a raw feeder then you can rest assured that you are giving your dog the very best nutrition available and you will already be fully aware of the noticeable benefits. For those of you that are considering the switch then the team at ProDog Raw would be delighted to help you and your dog on your raw feeding journey. Simply get in touch with any questions you might have and to discuss the best options.