OK, you read that title, and you’re thinking “What kind of person says this?”
I say this, not because I am cold-hearted, or because I do not love my dog. Quite the opposite.
Recently, my dog had pyometra, and it nearly killed her. She had emergency surgery, just in the nick of time. Had we waited any longer, she most likely would have died. But throughout the diagnostic process, we discovered in her bloodwork, that she also has kidney disease, in its initial stage. So, you could say, that the pyometra saved my dog’s life!
Kidney disease is caused by too much protein in a dog’s diet. I had been feeding Zephyr a homemade raw diet for about 20 months. She was getting one pound of meat (protein) per day, in addition to all the cheese treats/rewards that she got whenever she ran a search. Now this article is not to bash on raw diets, nor anyone who chooses to feed raw. Had this not happened, I would still most likely be feeding raw. I will not now, nor ever, judge anyone for their personal choice in how they choose to feed their dog. All I ask of you is that you do your due diligence and research, from reputable sources (NOT social media!), sources that include science-based research. For the life of your dog, that is the minimum you should be doing. Additionally, dog owners should get full bloodwork, annually, on their dogs. That bloodwork will identify any deficiencies that your dog may have.
For all the benefits of raw feeding, I believe that there is still much to be researched and discovered. The two sides in this highly charged debate, need to stop attacking one another, and come together to conduct some good SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH about raw feeding. I do believe that raw has its benefits, but there are also some serious flaws to it. My dog’s diagnosis is just one example of one of those flaws.
I was following a few select folks in my ‘education’ on raw feeding, but never once did I see anything science based on raw feeding; it was all anecdotal. One of the sources, was simply using this latest fast-growing trend, to promote and sell their products, by creating fear in dog owners. And that fear does wonders to sell a product! In all the sources, I also regularly saw conflicting information; NEVER feed ‘this food’. Then a few months later, I would see recommendations for that same food. What?
We all want what is best for our dogs, right? Well, if we want the best, then we, as dog owners, need to step up and DEMAND more serious scientific research, not more anecdotal stories about select dog owners’ experiences.
The commercial dog food industry does use science in formulating dog foods. The top three dog food companies have research scientists/veterinarians on staff. But nowhere in the raw feeding community have I seen one shred of scientific evidence, to back up the claims that this is good for dogs, for their lifetime. And that right there is the BIG problem in this debate over raw vs commercial dog food!
One thing that absolutely makes me crazy, is when those in the raw feeding community, continually bring up that your dog must eat the way his ancestors did, in order to thrive in the healthiest manner. This means eating the same as wild dogs, such as wolves. Well, newsflash for you folks; our present-day dogs are NOT wild dogs nor wolves. They are dogs, that have been domesticated for CENTURIES! And in that time, we have genetically changed our dogs, from their wild ancestors. So please stop with the comparisons and eating habits of dogs’ vs wolves. To use a phrase that I learned many years ago, “that dog don’t hunt!”
The paper listed below is a scientific paper. It contains some very good information on raw diets and the risks and benefits associated with them.
“Current knowledge about the risks and benefits of raw meat–based diets for dogs and cats.” vma.org/doi/pdf/10.2460/javma.243.11.1549