Feeding raw meat based diets (RMBD) to pets has been a growing trend in the past couple years as an alternative diet to commercial kibble. As vets, our first priority is the health of your pet but, we also want to ensure your health and safety as well.

My main concerns with feeding a raw food diet:

1. Incomplete and unbalanced diet: dogs require a certain amount of vitamins and minerals for proper growth and a healthy lifestyle. In one study, it was found that over 60% of the raw diets analyzed had one or more nutritional imbalances. Since majority of raw food diets are not formulated by a board certified small animal nutritionist, we can see multiple deficiencies/toxicities in the diets that can have detrimental effects on your pets health.

2. Human health risk: pets that eat raw food can shed harmful bacteria (Salmonella, E.coli, Listeria) in their saliva and feces without showing signs of illness. The bacteria that is in the raw food and that is shed by pets are both a possible source of infection/cause of abortion for people, especially immunocompromised individuals, children, and seniors. Parasites and protozoa have also been found in diets. Pets are also at risk to get sick from these bacteria, we just do not see it as commonly as in exposed humans. I posted a chart that compares common pet diets and amount of bacteria found.

3. Antibiotic resistance: the risk of feeding raw diets may also enhance the spread of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics - this makes it much more difficult to treat human bacterial illnesses. Some bacteria sampled in pets feces fed raw food are not killed by the same antibiotics that they are when they are found in the raw food diet.

As pet owners, we love our pets and all want to feed our dogs and cats the best diet possible. I understand, that it can be especially confusing to know what is best for your pet considering we are constantly being exposed to different opinions and recommendations. I understand because I was a pet owner before I was a vet and now that I know a bit more I want to help people make informed choices too.

If you are going to feed a raw food diet, please be especially cautious when handling the food and with your pet. You should work with a board certified veterinary nutritionist to ensure the diet is balanced or question your food provider to ensure they work with one.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to direct message me. If you want the references for the papers I read, I’m more than happy to provide them to you.

#rawfood #petsonrawfood #animalnutrition

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