I find it interesting that because so many of you disagree with me you cast me as a lunatic. But whatever.
So, Don!, I think the diet you are feeding your dog is awesome. I am not completely against kibble. In fact, here at the Swamp, the dogs get high quality kibble and canned about once a month. We call it McDonald’s for dogs. Our dogs also eat a variety of other stuff in addition to RMBs.
One of the vets said that it is not possible to teach everything in vet school and that what education does is teach one how to think and how to solve a problem. Well that can be true of many other degrees and disciplines. I have a Master of Arts degree and I have also been taught how to think and research. Sadly for all of you, you do not have the market cornered on critical thinking. Now, let’s debunk some of the stuff you are saying about feeding raw.
First off one of you has pointed out that dogs are not true carnivores. You said they are opportunist scavengers and not hunters (although I am sure anyone who has ever lived with a terrier would argue that dogs are indeed hunters). So if dogs are scavengers it stands to reason that they would eat carrion and other such stuff. Carrion would be full of all sorts of bacteria and other stuff, yet the dogs can eat it and they have no problem. So if they can eat half rotten meat and other stuff why can’t they eat human grade raw meaty bones that come from the grocery store? I really would like an answer to this question. If you trot out the ‘Oh no the salmonellas will kill them’ argument you will lose. Please give me a reasoned answer.
Dogs are not meant to eat corn. In fact, if you do some research you will see that the same thing that happened to human food (over-processing, full of corn) is killing us. It is also killing our pets. Dogs are not meant to eat a diet where the first ingredient is corn! Then there is the ever ubiquitous ‘_____ meal’. This stuff is rendered parts of animals that humans don’t consume and turned into a meal for dogs to eat. Why would you want to feed your dog rendered ground up chicken feathers and other such crap? It is not bio-available to them for digestion. Then there is the ‘lets cook it at extremely high temperatures and extrude it out of machine’ process. Sounds nummy doesn’t it! Another huge issue with kibble is that dogs must reconstitute it in their guts so they can digest it. According to another vet this keeps them in a constant state of slight dehydration for their entire lives.
Now, lest you feel like you can just dismiss me as a crackpot why don’t you listen to some of your colleagues? Here are 2 links to other vets who disagree with you:
Dr. Karen Becker on why grain-free diets are not optimal for pets: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/11/08/new-trends-in-pet-food.aspx
Dr. Peter Dobias answering some of the common objections (remember the ‘oh no the salmonellas!’ argument.
In fact, Dr. Dobias has never seen a case of salmonella in a raw fed dog. How do you explain that? He feeds his animals raw.
I was against feeding raw for a very long time. I only came to it reluctantly because we had a 3-year old shihtzu who developed a bladder stone. When it was removed it looked exactly like a piece of Iams kibble which she had been eating her whole life. As we did research about how to prevent further bladder stones we discovered that she needed to eat a lower pH diet. Our vet could not recommend anything at the time that would meet this criteria (it was before grain-free kibbles and foods). The solution was raw. She never had another stone.
Now onto the vaccine issue as some of you think that raw feeders are also against vaccines. We vaccinate our dogs. We do not do it every year as protocols are slowly changing at least in Canada. After age 5 the only vaccine they get every three years is rabies. Again, critical thinking has been instrumental in our decision about vaccines. We believe puppies must be vaccinated but we don’t buy that dogs need them every year. We don’t need vaccines every year of our life so why would dogs? The only exceptions to this are the flu shot and perhaps bordetella for dogs.
One more thing about raw-fed dogs is that they are healthier. We have not had to treat for fleas in so many years I have lost count. Yet we live in a high flea area. Our dogs do not get parasites anymore. When we fed kibble we had to treat for worms yearly. Don’t even get me started about the hookworm infection of 2001! We had 6 dogs with bloody diarrhea. Since feeding raw the dogs have never had worms again. Parasites are just not able to overwhelm healthy raw-fed dogs in the same way they do with kibble-fed dogs.
Someone also questioned how much dog experience I have. My partner and I have been involved in rescue for 15+ years. We have fostered, adopted and reared over 25 dogs in that time. We have seen dogs given 2 months to live because of cancer come here and live for 2 years. I know this is anecdotal but I think it bears discussing. Cancers feed on carbs (it is the same thing in humans). If you deprive those cells of sugar they don’t grow as fast. We have never had a dog with pancreatitis or a bone obstruction. Dogs are meant to crunch up raw bones! (the exception, of course, being large ungulates).
I am not a crack pot because I feed raw. It was a well thought out decision. Once we saw the results we could never go back. I personally know at least 30 other raw feeders and no one has ever had a case of salmonella or bone obstruction or e. coli. All of these people are feeding anywhere between 2-11 dogs. We and other vets cannot all be wrong.