Raw feeding has become more popular over recent years and there are a lot of conflicting opinions on whether it should be considered as an option when feeding your pet. There is also some great information on the World Small Animal Veterinary Association website: https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Raw-Meat-Based-Diets-for-Pets_WSAVA-Global-Nutrition-Toolkit.pdf
What is raw feeding?
Raw feeding is feeding your pets uncooked ingredients rather than the more traditional cooked diets which are more commonly available. It will often consist of muscles, bones (whole/ground), organs (typically liver/kidneys), raw eggs, dairy, fruit and vegetables
Who do people feed raw diets?
Some owners feel that raw food is a more ‘natural’ option for pets as this is what they would eat before they were domesticated. It is important to note that modern dog breeds are genetically very removed from their wild ancestors as they have been domesticated for thousands of years.
Owners have also said that they can see an improvement with coat condition, faeces consistency, and energy levels. Again, there are no current studies to suggest this is the sole reason for these improvements and they should also be achieved by feeding an age appropriate, complete diet.
Raw feeding with puppies;
If you decide you feed your puppy a raw diet, it is very important to ensure it is a complete diet designed for puppies. Puppies require a different nutritional balance to adult dogs, with higher levels of proteins and fats, so it is important that they get the correct diet to enable healthy growth.
What are the problems with raw feeding?
Raw meat can contain bacteria and parasites which can be a risk for both human and animal health such as Salmonella, Campylobater, Listeria, and E-Coli. If you have children in the house then it is important to take into account hygiene in terms of handling toys, bowls, food, and touching your pet.
The meat may also contain bones which could lead to broken teeth, choking, and damage to the digestive tract if the pieces are not small enough. If you are feeding your pet a home-made diet or incomplete diet, there is a high chance this could lead to health problems if fed for a prolonged period. If you would like to consider a home-made diet for your pet, it is very important to consider the help of a qualified pet nutritionist to ensure your pet is getting a balanced diet.
When raw feeding dogs, we would also recommend more regular worming than dogs on cooked complete diets because they are at a higher risk of contracting tapeworm. We would suggest monthly worming for roundworm and 3 monthly worming for tapeworm (as opposed to 6 monthly tapeworm treatment for dogs on a cooked diet).