Yes, you read that correctly; I am not in favor of any raw meat diet! I know this may sound like a big change coming from me, but it is not. Anyone who has been reading this blog or who has brought their pet to me knows that I am a huge promoter of balanced raw diets for pets. The key word here is BALANCED.
Of course, different experts have different ideas of what constitutes balance in a pet food. The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has their concept of balance based on the minimal levels of various nutrients to avoid diseases caused by nutrient deficiency. And I am in favor of conventional nutrition research. There is a lot for all of us to learn from this research. Unfortunately, because most pet nutrition research is funded by pet food manufacturers, the results must be taken with a grain of salt.
Those of us who favor the ancestral diet concept look to nature to determine balance. What would a dog or cat eat in the wild? What do their wild counterparts eat? What did their ancestors eat (from whom our pets have inherited their nutritional needs).
Instead of watching Purina commercials for nutrition advice, watch the wolves on Animal Planet. They do not graze in grain fields or dig for potatoes. They also do not whip out a George Foreman Grill and cook their catch. Our pets were designed by natural selection to eat a low-carbohydrate, raw diet.
While raw meat is a major part of the diet, an all-meat pet food would be very unnatural and unbalanced. Watch the wolves and wild cats closely. When eating their prey, usually the first place they go is to the abdomen. They eat the internal organs (loaded with unique vitamins and trace minerals) and get a dose of bacteria and veggies from the GI tract. Wild animals also eat many of the bones of their prey from which they get needed calcium.
Raw foods are important for pets because when food ingredients are heat processed, vital nutrients are destroyed. Not only that, the extreme heat processing that commercial pet foods are put through also causes cancer-causing compounds to form. For these two reasons I conclude that processed pets foods are unhealthy. However, unbalanced raw diets are equally unhealthy.
Raw meat alone does not make for a healthy pet diet! If you are homemaking your pet’s food it is important to get the balance right. I suggest reading Dr. Karen Becker’s book for more details on making a balanced homemade diet.
What is your experience with raw foods for your pets?