Raw Feeding Myths

I have been involved in a discussion on Facebook over the last couple of days. It never fails to amaze me how the same myths seem to be perpetuated whenever the topic comes up. We have been feeding raw for close to a decade now and we have never encountered any salmonella poisoning or anything like it. Our dogs are healthy, parasite free and have gleaming white teeth. When dogs are fed a species appropriate diet they are healthier and require much less vet care. One example is that our dogs have not had fleas since we got rid of them in the house when we moved here in 2007. Now on to the myths!

  1. You do not need to transition a dog on to raw. You just switch. Feeding both kibble and raw in the same day can wreak havoc on some dogs. Kibble digests at a much slower rate than raw. Dogs have short digestive tracts and kibble digests slower than raw. So mixing the two together can cause gas and other digestive ‘issues.’ All that said, the best way, in my experience[1], is to start with chicken. Pieces of chicken have almost the perfect ratio of bone to meat. Chicken is not too rich and dogs seem to handle it well. A dog brand new to raw will generally get chicken for a couple of weeks until we see that they have perfect ‘bone poop.’[2] Once you have good solid bone poop you can move on to other meats.
  2. My most favourite myth is salmonella poisoning. It comes in various forms like we are going to get salmonella poisoning because the dogs licks us after eating or the dogs are going to it from eating raw meat. Neither is true. If you are feeding your dog human grade food and taking normal hygienic precautions[3] it will all be fine.
  3. The third myth is not really about raw food but more about kibble. I know there are lots of high-end kibbles on the market that are better than the cheap kibbles. But they are still kibbles. They have still been filled with things to bind them, heated and extruded. So while the high-end ones are better, raw meat is still the diet of choice for dogs.
  4. Again, not really a raw myth but it does fall rate a mention. Lots of people believe that dogs should also be fed vegetables. Personally, I don’t buy into it. We feed raw meaty bones. Does that mean our dogs don’t eat vegetables? No, it doesn’t. They get other stuff on almost a daily basis. Pretty much anything they want to eat they can eat unless it is dangerous for them.[4]

In my experience dogs should eat a varied diet. Ours eat all sorts of different meats and internal organs. Sometimes they get a cooked meal especially when we have lots of leftovers we will make them a ‘goulash’ of sorts. There are times when they get cooked rice and hamburger. And, on rare occasions, they get a high quality kibble with canned. We call those days ‘junk food’ days. The dogs love canned and kibble day! It happens about once a month.

Feeding a varied diet is important. Often when dogs are fed the same thing, day in day out, over the course of years they lose the ability to digest other things. Invariably, these dogs get into something too rich and they end up with pancreatitis. After that happens it is really too late – they will be stuck on vet food for the rest of their lives.

Finally, vets are starting to come around. One of our vets, who was vehemently against raw, has now come around. She is still not comfortable with it. It is interesting when she checks their teeth[5] and she asks how old the dog is and if they have ever had a dental. Generally I remind her that they are raw fed and that is what keeps their teeth clean.

If you have any questions or you want me to cover another aspect of raw feeding please let me know. You can also check out my Raw-Feeding 101 post!


[1] We have probably transitioned more than 15 dogs to raw. They all take to it with great abandon. I think Tucker loved it the most.

[2] Bone poop is generally white and crumbly. Another raw benefit is that you don’t need to scoop poop in your yard because it will just dissolve in the rain.

[3] Precautions like washing your hands after handling meat, storing it properly in the refrigerator, then everything will be fine. After all, how often do you give yourself or your family salmonella poisoning?

[4] Dogs should not consume raisins, grapes, and xylitol (an artificial sweetener).

[5] Which are usually very white and clean with no signs of dental disease.

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Published in: on August 14, 2011 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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