Thinking about raw food for your pet?

By: Anne Shilston

Raw food diets are becoming more popular, but their benefits are controversial and the risks are well documented.

The concept behind RFDs is that it is what dogs used to eat in the wild.

The reality, however, is that our pets live in a very different world to that of their ancestors.

Wild dogs only lived for a few years compared to domesticated dogs and cats, that can live a long and healthy life.

A number of scientific studies highlight the risks of feeding pets RFDs. These include nutritional imbalances, health risks to the animal and public health issues.  

Dogs and cats need a diet that is complete and balanced for their species and stage of life. Most RFDs are not complete and/or balanced for adult maintenance, let alone growth.

They often have too much or too little of essential nutrients, which can lead to health problems over time.

Feeding raw or cooked bones - whole and ground up - can cause serious problems, from tooth fractures and intestinal blockages to vomiting and diarrhoea.

Chunks of bone can get stuck and pierce an organ, or smaller fragments can slowly accumulate and block passages. This can result in high risk and  expensive surgery.  

There is a significant public health risk, as any diet containing raw animal products can carry a risk of harmful bacterial contamination such as salmonella, campylobacter and E coli. There is a potential risk to pet owners or anybody handling/preparing the raw food and also picking up contaminated faeces.

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