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Is Raw Meat Safe?

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The issue of feeding raw meat as part (or the entirety) of a domestic dog's diet, has proven to be very dangerous. What started out as an unresearched and unsubstantiated diet that qualified veterinarians dismissed as a "fad", has now become a real threat for the well meaning dog lovers who are striving to give their dog's the best. click here to hear what just a few vets have to say. Additionally, dogs who are not on a raw meat diet are still at risk because of parasites and bacteria spread through feces at commonly shared parks.

Veterinarians across the United States have grave concerns about raw meat and bones in a dog's diet. History and current statistics show us that both wild and domestic dogs who eat raw meat and bones can and do become very ill for a number of reasons.

There has been a significant increase in a variety of illnesses due to a raw meat diet. Some dogs become ill right away and others have severe pancreatic, kidney, heart and brain illnesses due to a long-term raw meat diet. Most dogs that die from a raw meat / bones diet do not show signs of illness until a few days before it kills them. This is true with Pancreatitis and with the raw chicken or turkey necks and backs that injure the stomach and intestinal area.

Advocates of a raw meat/bone diet make a giant leap from a low quality kibble to raw meat and bones, skipping over a more common sense solution. A home-made diet with cooked meat. Any initial results they might see with a raw meat diet are a result of an "absence" of one or more ingredients of the kibble - NOT the "presence" of raw meat. I am very much in favor of home-made diets made with cooked meat and grains, raw veggies and fruits, as long as you have researched your dog's current health status and breeding history if possible.

I considered a raw diet for my dog and decided to challenge the idea by thoroughly investigating everyone's claims (on both sides of the fence). It has evolved into an 11 year independent study. The most compelling evidence are the growing number of dogs I have known to actually die from a raw turkey or chicken back/neck tearing apart their stomach. Intestinal parasites from the raw meat causing a slow death or severe illness. Female dogs on a raw meat diet are more commonly dying while giving birth to a litter.

Throughout my research, I have interviewed and collected data from several top veterinary universities and nutrition experts with degrees in science and biology. Not one of these credited experts could honestly say that a raw meat and/or bone diet for domestic dogs was anywhere near the realm of safe. In addition, I have not found a holistic practitioner or raw meat advocate that can provide evidence that raw meat actually benefits the dog. For example, I'm often told "my dog has a beautiful coat". Raw meat is high in fat - this could also be accomplished with olive oil added to their diet, without the risk of illnesses associated with raw meat. New studies are coming out frequently - all opposed to raw meat and bone diets.

Advocates of a raw meat diet feel that it's "bringing your dog back to a more natural style of living". None of the people who are promoting a b.a.r.f. diet (that I have encountered) have actually had contact with a wild dog. Dr. Billinghurst admittedly has never done any studies on wolves or wild dogs. I have. I have a wolf sanctuary, and the truth is that wild-born wolves taken into captivity are typically malnutritioned. Most people *assume* that because wild dogs don't have the opportunity to cook their food, that nature has set up the perfect diet for them. This is simply not true. We know from their carcasses that they die of splintered fowl bones and have very bad dentalia (dental problems).

As for the statement that raw meat is a biologically correct food, Humans have survived healthfully on cooked foods for thousands of years. It is more than safe to say that diseases such as Cancer are not caused by cooking your meat.

There are a variety of raw meat menus being offered. You can also find several home-made raw meat diets on websites. It's possible that some of these menus or products are better/safer than others. However, I have been told by experienced veterinarians and nutritionists that they all have in common - they are extremely unbalanced and also put your dog at risk of contracting dangerous bacteria and parasites. This is not my own opinion, but that of the top veterinary universities and true nutritional experts. Anyone to deny there is risk, is fooling themselves!

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