“In the last few years, there’s been a lot of interest in feeding raw meat diets to our pets. With the introduction of these new diets comes a lot of questions and confusion. Why should I feed my pet a raw meat diet? Is it safe? What makes raw meat better than cooked kibble? Raw meat diets are recommended for the following reasons:
- Nutrition – all nutrients remain intact. Cooking breaks down nutrients
- Digestibility – raw meat help eliminate digestive upsets
- Allergies – proper nutrition helps alleviate allergic reactions
- Weight Control – proper digestibility helps control obesity
The most important thing to remember when feeding your pet is that they are almost identical to their wild ancestors. "A wild wolf is genetically little more distant from the domesticated dog than a wild mustang is to a quarter horse. In actuality, a poodle, like any purebred dog, already has innumerable wolf genes since they share a close common ancestry. " Dr. Michael W. Fox, D.V.M., Ph.D., D.Sc., Vice President, Bioethics, Humane Society of the United States. Affidavit. If we want to feed our pets naturally, we need to mimic what would occur in nature.Wild dogs and cats such as wolves, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions eat raw meat. Their digestive systems are perfectly suited for that purpose. Domestic dogs and cats possess the same digestive system. In fact, cooking meat makes it harder to digest. Raw meat also contains a high level of natural bacteria that helps the digestion process. These bacteria are called probiotics. Chronic digestive upsets can be associated with the pet’s inability to break down cooked meats and the lack of viable probiotic bacteria. When we provide meat in its natural form for our pets, their bodies are able to get all of the nutrients necessary for better health. That’s why allergies disappear, along with obesity, lethargy and a significant amount of waste. Since the meat is easier to digest, your pet’s body will use more. Therefore, there’s less waste to clean up. In addition to raw meat, wild dogs have a carbohydrate requirement. Dogs are classified as carnivores since they hunt for meat in the wild. However, wild dogs do consume vegetables, fruits and beneficial grains. When a dog consumes a wild animal, such as a rabbit, it also eats the rabbit’s stomach and contents. These stomach contents have been predigested by the rabbit and provide the perfect carbohydrate balance for the dog. It is extremely important that we duplicate this need in our domestic pets. Corn, wheat and soy do not provide the proper carbohydrate balance for dogs. These poor grains contribute to hot spots, itching, scratching, shedding, digestive upsets, and many other common problems. Beneficial grains, such as Pearl Millet, should be used to provide the proper nutritional balance for domestic dogs. Pearl Millet helps settle upset stomach issues, lowers the glycemic index, and provides an unparalleled energy supply for your pet. Its very high in protein and amino acids. It is also completely resistant to Aflatoxins which are common cancer causing fungi found in problematic corn.
Why Doesn’t Everyone Feed Raw Meat?
Most raw meat diets are available in frozen form. Frozen diets require thawing, special handling, freezer space for storage, and usually have an additional cost to the consumer. Sometimes these inconveniences prevent people from trying a raw meat diet with their pets. However, the word “Raw” should never be confused with the word “Frozen”. The definition of the word “Raw” simply means “not cooked”. We freeze raw meat in order to preserve it for shipping and storage. However, there are other ways to preserve and store meat in its raw form. Dehydration is a process that removes all of the moisture from meat without cooking it. Dehydrated meats can mimic the nutritional benefits of frozen meats because the nutritional value of the meat is preserved. Dehydration only removes water. It’s the reason foods dried foods are used by NASA. It’s a convenient storage method that doesn’t sacrifice nutritional value.
Is it Safe?
When we talk about the safety of raw meat diets, the most common concern is salmonella. Dogs and cats are extremely resistant to Salmonella infections, therefore, there is little risk that your pet could be affected by salmonella bacteria in raw meat. However, as with any raw meat product, you must take precautions when handling this product. Always clean preparation and feeding areas and utensils immediately after handling a raw frozen diet. Raw dehydrated diets are safer from the standpoint that the salmonella bacteria cannot propagate itself the same way in the raw dehydrated meat that it would in a raw frozen meat. No special handling or cleaning is required.”
Some manufacturers, includingCanine Caviar, use dehydrated meat to provide all of the benefits of a raw diet without the special handling or storage concerns of a frozen diet. No freezing, no fussing, no preparation. Just dinner.”
Contribution by Jeff Baker, Founder, President and CEO of Canine Caviar