Home
Food & Nutrition
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Should You Put Your Dog on a Raw Food Diet?
Raw food: Yes or no? Strong opinions line up on both sides.
Pages:

Pages

Linguist George Lakoff rose to national prominence during the 2004 presidential campaign for pointing out that conservatives have done a much better job than progressives at framing political debate, and for encouraging the left to stop shooting itself in the foot with the words it uses. While no doubt the good professor would be surprised to hear it, his ideas also shed some light on a very canine subject: the war of words being waged over raw diets for dogs.

Pro-raw feeding extremists tend to be bombastic and refuse to admit any variation among individual animals, nor the needs, wants or desires of the owners of these animals as regards diet. Any problem can be solved by diet, and if problems persist after switching to a raw diet, then the diet needs to be further refined and tweaked. They tend to be anti-veterinarian, anti-commercial foods, anti-cooked food, anti-grain and often anti-supplement.

If your dog fell down the stairs and sprained his shoulder, diet caused it and a diet change will fix it. Raw meaty bones are the universal prescription.

Anti-raw feeding extremists tend to be bombastic and refuse to admit any possible benefits of a raw or homemade diet. They lump all homemade diets together as unbalanced and dangerous. All raw meat, from contaminated ground meats labeled unfit for human consumption to a $19-a-pound grass-fed steak, are considered equally dangerous. Commercial diets are above reproach, formulated by scientists who are completely removed from any marketing, pricing or competitive realities. Health comes in a sack labeled “Complete and Balanced,” and dogs fed raw meat and bones are doomed to have their skeletons dissolve and their intestines turn to bloody jelly, shortly after which they will all die long, painful deaths from parasite infestations.

If your dog is hit by a car, and needs surgery, the accident was caused by diet and putting the dog on kibble will fix it. Commercial diets are the universal prescription.

Forgotten on the sidelines is everyone else—those who feed a little “people food” to their pets but feel bad about it; those who wouldn’t dream of supplementing their dog’s “complete and balanced” commercial diet with anything beyond the occasional complete and balanced Milk Bone; those who regularly feed pizza, Big Macs and French fries to their dogs and can’t remember the last time they bought dog food for the dog or ate a salad themselves; those who use a wide variety of fresh foods with premium kibble; and those who feed an entirely homemade diet but aren’t “pure” enough to satisfy the raw-food extremists. And most importantly, there are the seekers—the legions of dog owners flooding the email lists and message boards trying to figure out how to feed their pets better; wanting to understand what “the raw diet” is, exactly; looking for hints on switching their pets; or trying to find out if changing to a better commercial diet or completely to homemade will help a pet with a health problem.

These folks are met with a hailstorm of advice, most peppered with acronyms that make no sense to them. Some people suggest books they can read, while others warn them to forget the books and listen to their common sense and/or Mother Nature and/or evolution. Feed bones, don’t feed bones, don’t feed raw, you are killing your dog by feeding him kibble, keep feeding kibble until you’re ready to feed raw responsibly, and above all, don’t commit heresy. (“Heresy” would be advocating Billinghurst to a crowd of Lonsdaleians—and if you don’t know what I mean, be thankful and move on.)

I have fed raw diets to my dogs for 20 years, and spent much of that time in the crossfire of this debate, criticized as “not holistic enough” by the raw-feeding extremists, and as a “wild-eyed fanatic” by the commercial foods camp. Although I’m always happy to share my experiences and ideas about canine nutrition, I don’t shove my way down anyone’s throat. I usually recommend several books representing a number of approaches to canine nutrition, and suggest that people experiment and see what they like best and what works well for their pets. To me it makes sense, but there’s a problem with that seemingly reasonable approach.

Pages:

Pages

Print|Email
CommentsPost a Comment
Please note comments are moderated. After being approved your comment will appear below.
Submitted by Greg Lucas | October 21 2010 |

It always annoys me that in all discusions about raw diets that raw feeders attack "kibble diets" as if there was only one type of dry dog food in all the world called kibble. In reality kibbles vary greatly in ingrediants and quality. Raw feeders attack kibbler for having ethoxyquin, BHT, BHA, grains, no live enzymes, etc. In reality the kibble I feed has live enzymes because it is coated with freeze dried raw, it has no preservatives like those listed above, is grain free. Nature's variety Instinct is far apart from Science Diet, yet raw feeders lump thsoe two kibbles together with all other kibbles, as if they were the exact same food. Distortions!

I tried a homemade diet for a month based on Lew Olson's book, Raw and Natural Nutrition for dogs. My dog had very small soft poops for a month. I got concerned and went back to the Instinct kibble. My dog will not eat raw frozen patties. And things like eggshells for meatless bone cooked meals, Yogurt or suppplements with ingrediants like weigh and lemon peel that Olson (an influential advocate of raw and natural feeding)that Olso has you feeding do not seem natural anyway.

Submitted by Anonymous | March 30 2011 |

This is a very good article that is well researched on the matter of canine nutrition:

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=5315

More From The Bark

By
Elizabeth Kennedy
By
Elizabeth Kennedy
The Well-Oiled Dog
By
Deva K. Khalsa