New Trends in Pet Diets: Raw Diets and All Meat Diets
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PET DIETS: WHAT DOES SCIENCE TELL US?
Last week I discussed the many facets of feeding the increasingly popular grain-free pet foods. Two other trends that also deserve scrutiny are feeding pets an all meat diet and feeding raw diets.
In the wild, wolves and feline predators eat the hair, bones, cartilage, organs, and intestines filled with ingesta, not just the meat. For pet owners who do choose to feed their animals an all meat diet, it’s essential to add supplements to make sure their pet isn’t missing out on key nutrients since meat only provides protein, fat, and phosphorus. Supplementation with calcium, potassium, trace minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids is required. Expert assistance is required to insure the all meat diet is balanced.
Experts especially caution against feeding pets raw diets. It’s not uncommon to find bacteria like Salmonella, E.coli, and Listeria in raw meat. There are a lot of microbes present in our farming systems, and unlike when an animal is hunting in the wild, there are many opportunities for bacteria to contaminate meat between the time an animal is slaughtered and when it reaches our kitchens. Every week I receive alerts from the FDA concerning recalls on Raw Diets that were found to be contaminated by the bacteria listed above.
It is a fallacy to think that because the raw diet was frozen that the bacteria have been killed. In many cases, freezing shocks the dormant bacteria so that when they thaw out, bacterial growth and division occur at an accelerated rate. In addition, the bacterial enterotoxins and endotoxins also survive freezing very well.
Even if eating contaminated meat doesn’t make pets sick, it poses a health risk to pet owners and their children who handle the pet food and animal’s waste. The Centers for Disease Control and the FDA both warn against feeding raw meat diets to your pets, and I can’t advocate it, because it’s not safe for your family, especially the young, the very old, and anyone who is immuno-compromised.
Studies have found that feeding dogs and cats to maintain a lean body weight has very positive effects on their overall health and can even increase the span of their best quality of life. Please talk with our Doctors about any dietary questions you might have.
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