A growing trend in feeding cats and dogs is raw.  A raw diet consists of muscle meat, bones and organ meat.  In a few models, vegetables and fruit are added, though in this case, we are sticking to the “pure” raw diet with no extra ingredients.

Sure it’s easy to pour some kibble into the bowl and be done with feeding the pets. It takes no thought, and less than 2 minutes to feed your pet. The question here is, is that the best and healthiest way to feed your pet?  There are of course varying opinions on this topic, for a wide variety of reasons.

What is Kibble?

I challenge you to stop and really think about what your pet eats when it is fed kibble. Most people don’t think about it. The product is convenient, and it’s a national brand, so it must be good for the pet right?  A really simplified, quick overview of what kibble is – it’s a product to which all sorts of ingredients are added, made into a sludge, heated to such extreme temperatures that all of the nutritional benefits are gone, then is “fortified” with synthetic vitamins and minerals to replace the natural ones lost in the process.  There are chemicals and preservatives added to maintain shelf life.

What is a Raw Diet?

Then there is the raw diet.  Various types of meat, including: chicken, beef, pork, sheep, rabbit, bison, venison, elk, moose – any type of meat you can eat, your pet can eat.  No cooking, no chemicals, no preservatives. You must take care to not purchase meat that has been “enhanced” as the sodium content is way too high.

Pets are Made for a Raw Diet

Dogs and cats are carnivores, and if left feral, they would hunt, kill and eat their prey.  They eat bones, most organs, and muscle meat.  The ratio of these is approximately 80% muscle meat, 10% bones and 10% organs.  Their teeth are those of carnivores, sharp and pointy, made to rip and tear chunks and swallow without a lot of chewing.  They don’t have the flat molars of herbivores or omnivores, which are made to grind the food eaten.  Our pets are made, by nature, to consume other creatures as the majority of their diet.  They thrive on their natural diet, and in the vast majority of cases, allergies disappear when a more natural diet free of chemicals is fed.  Ear infections are often caused by yeast – which carbohydrates feed.  When fed a diet without carbs, these infections typically clear up, and don’t return. That is not to say it will happen overnight!  It took a long time for the proliferation of yeast, and it will take some time for cleansing.  Be patient, and don’t switch back to chemical laden foods and treats.

Many raw naysayers will bring up the subject of raw meat and the threat of Salmonella or E Coli.  But the threat is no higher with feeding raw than there is in making your family dinner.  You handle the meat in the same exact manner – keep it refrigerated, wash hands, and wash bowls with hot soapy water. White vinegar sprayed over the counters and bowls and allowed to sit for 30 seconds, makes an excellent disinfectant.

One added benefit to feeding raw that dog owners really enjoy – less poop!  Since the food is nearly all digested, the output is much less.  Yard clean-up is easier, and the smell isn’t nearly as awful.

Feeding raw needn’t be intimidating.  Do a web search for raw feeding, check out Yahoo Groups, and if you are a Facebook member, there are many groups there as well. Often groups that work as a co-op in order to get fantastic prices on a wide variety of meats, as well as helping educate the newcomers to this method of feeding.  These resources can help you make the switch, and feed your pets not only a healthier new diet, but one they will love to eat!