What exactly is a raw diet and is it good for your pets?
By Henley Holland
Now, for those of you that might not follow cute animal accounts on Instagram, there has been a recent spike in popularity for a raw diet for most pets (particularly dogs or ferrets). Even in modern days, racing greyhounds and sled dogs are most commonly fed raw diets, but with the rise of social media, the idea has started to move down into domestic households for more than just dogs. While veterinarians are still debating whether or not this diet is optimal for many pets, there are known benefits and risks as well.
Some benefits of a raw diet can include a shinier coat, healthier skin, higher energy levels, and cleaner, stronger teeth. But, especially without the proper knowledge and research done in advance, this diet can pose a significant threat to both the owner and the pet. Bacteria from raw meat (especially seedier products) can be lethal to humans and animals, failing to balance the diet properly can be detrimental to the animals health, and raw bones can break teeth, puncture internal organs, and even become a choking hazard if not handled properly.
Now, one common misconception is that raw food diets consist only of the raw meat and bones, which is where that danger of malnutrition comes into play. Muscle meat, raw or ground bones, organ meats (such as kidneys or livers), raw eggs, vegetables mixed in or stuffed into the meat (obviously with vitamins necessary for their health), raw eggs, fruit, and even yogurt. Many backers of this diet insist that the lack of processed materials going into their dog’s diet is tremendously beneficial, and while it might cost a bit more, the overall health of their pet is worth the cost.
So, while the jury is out on whether or not a raw diet is truly superior, before you consider switching to this diet, contact your vet and do your research beforehand; it will prevent a lot of issues down the road with such a drastic change. Know that this diet is expensive, requires extensive and meticulous planning in order to keep your pets healthy, and is still controversial in this day and age. But perhaps your interest has been piqued, so my advice to you, is to read for an hour or two on it before you commit and contact your vet. They did not go to school for almost a decade and saddle themselves with extensive debt for no reason, I promise!