The Dangerous Results of Feeding Your Canine a Uncooked Meals Food plan

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  • A raw dog diet consists of undercooked meat, raw eggs, and whole or ground bones.
  • However, raw food can be contaminated and lead to bacterial infections that affect your dog’s health and your own health.
  • Feeding your dog raw food can also cause your pup to be deficient in nutrients.
  • Please refer to Insider’s Insider Reference Library for more information.

A raw food diet is exactly what it sounds like – you’re only feeding your dog raw products like undercooked meat, bones, and certain vegetables.

Proponents of the raw food diet say it has important health benefits for dogs, but the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) does not recommend giving dogs raw animal products.

Here’s what you need to know about the raw dog diet, and why it might not be the best option.

What is a raw food diet?

A raw food diet for dogs usually contains various animal parts along with other raw food products. This can include:

  • Lean meat
  • Whole or ground bones
  • Organ meat
  • Raw eggs
  • A dairy product like yogurt
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

In comparison, most store-bought dog foods contain a combination of cooked meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Proponents of raw food diets say that commercial diets are “unnatural” and that raw food diets more closely reflect what dogs would eat in the wild.

Advocate for raw

Dog Food
claim it has numerous health benefits, such as a reduced risk of cancer, dental disease, and allergies. “However, there is absolutely no reliable scientific evidence to support these claims,” ​​says Brennan McKenzie, VMD, veterinarian at Adobe Animal Hospital.

Is a Raw Food Safe?

While the raw food diet can have some benefits, the risks far outweigh the benefits.

A small 2017 study found that dogs that ate raw food diets had a more balanced gut microbiome and showed signs of healthier gut functions. “However, there are no studies that show long-term health benefits of raw foods compared to other types of pet foods,” said Jennifer A. Larsen, DVM, director of nutrition at UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

According to Alison Meindl, DVM, veterinarian and professor at Colorado State University, putting your dog on raw food poses risks for the dog and the people in your household.

Some of the risks of a raw food diet are:

Bacterial infection. Compared to cooked diets, raw foods are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli, which can make your dog seriously ill. But even if your dog doesn’t get sick, your puppy could release bacteria into your household that could then be ingested by another pet or human.

“These infectious organisms can be very dangerous for immunocompromised people who live with dogs in the household,” says Meindl. These can be the elderly, young children, and people taking immunosuppressive drugs such as chemotherapy.

Nutritional deficiency. “Many raw food diets are also imbalanced and complete. If not formulated by a veterinary nutritionist, these diets can lead to malnutrition and health problems,” says McKenzie.

What the research says: A 2011 study that analyzed the nutritional content of raw food diets found that 60% of diets had significant nutritional imbalances.

Injury from bone. Bones are often a part of the raw food diet, but they may not be safe for dogs. Dogs can break their teeth while chewing on bones, and fragments of bone can pierce their intestines or cause blockages, Larsen says. In some cases, these injuries can be life threatening.

What should I feed my dog?

The best diet for your dog is a balanced cooked diet that meets the standards set by veterinary nutritionists. “This can be a canned or dry commercial diet, a freshly cooked commercial diet, or even a dog owner who cooks at home,” McKenzie says.

One way to tell if store-bought dog food meets these standards is to look on the bag for an “AAFCO” label, which stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials, Meindl says.

If you’d like to make your own dog food, check with a state-certified veterinary nutritionist, Meindl says.

Dog owners should avoid feeding pets homemade meals based on recipes not specifically designed for their dog by animal nutritionists. “There are dozens of books and websites out there that contain recipes and feeding advice, some even from veterinarians, that are not based on sound science,” says McKenzie.

Insider to take away

There are potential benefits to a raw food diet, but we don’t have any reliable studies to show that it is good for your dog’s health. However, there are many studies that point to potential health problems.

“If people want to feed a raw diet, they have to be aware of the risks to their pets, themselves and other family members,” says Meindl. If you’re looking to feed your dog raw foods, look for recipes that are AAFCO-approved or work with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, advises Meindl.

Always check with your veterinarian before making any major dietary changes. “Your vet is always the best resource when it comes to questions about the best diet for your pet,” says Meindl.