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Should I feed a raw food diet?

Should I feed a raw food diet?

Internationally, there is a trend towards feeding what have been named "raw-food diets", whether commercially prepared, or one that is made at home. These have been promoted, largely on social media, as being closer to what a dog would be eating in the wild (free of preservatives, cooking etc).

Many owners are spending considerable time researching information in an effort to feed their dog or cat the perfect food, and we have a strong respect for these efforts.  Unfortunately, many of the claims made by proponents of these sorts of diets are not backed by reasonable evidence, and as a consequence, vets are seeing a disturbing increase in health problems associated with these changes.

Raw diets are often not complete and balanced and fail to provide the essential nutrients required by dogs and cats.  Nutrient deficiencies AND excesses are resulting in visits to the clinic for issues such as weak bones which fracture easily.  Bowel perforations caused by sharp bone fragments are common, can be fatal and always require costly intervention.

Raw diets can also expose pets and their owners to pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria.  Please note that animals can contract these infections without showing any symptoms, but can still pass them on to their family members. It is essential that if you are choosing one of these diets, you practice a much higher level of hygiene when handling your pets and when preparing their food.

Many misconceptions around commercially prepared pet foods are also unfounded and you can be confident that the major pet food brands have been formulated using 100 years of scientific research.  Pets are living much healthier and longer lives than they were, even 20 years ago, and this is largely down to improvements in the quality of the food available.

We encourage you to discuss suitable options for your pet on your next visit to the clinic.  There are good options for everyone, including those made with more natural ingredients and less preservatives, if this is a concern for you.  Our team can provide you with further nutritional advice if needed; our sole concern is the health of your pet.

 

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