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Issue 974

Sam Mazzotta

Is a Raw Food Diet Better for Pets?

DEAR PAW’S CORNER: Do you recommend feeding pets a raw food diet? A friend of mine who also is a pet owner told me that my dog would be much healthier eating raw meat than eating kibble. What’s your take? -Ð Confused in Seattle

DEAR CONFUSED: I try not to endorse one pet diet over another, but I do encourage owners to research different ways to feed their pets. Many owners are justifiably concerned over the ingredients contained in commercial “kibble” type pet foods.

Feeding pets a raw food diet needs to be done mindfully. The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both (unsurprisingly) recommend against feeding raw meat or poultry to pets, saying that bacteria like salmonella or listeria can contaminate uncooked foods. So there is a risk of pets getting ill.

If you’re careful about preparing their food, this risk can be minimized. There’s also an increasing amount of raw pet food available to purchase, making prep a lot easier and less time-consuming.

Another concern whether pets get the right amount of critical nutrients on a raw food diet. Dry kibble is often fortified with a mix of nutrients so that dogs and cats don’t suffer from nutrient deficiencies. You might consider continuing to feed your dog kibble at least some of the time, in addition to a raw food diet, if time or fresh ingredients are scarce.

Ask your dog’s veterinarian about the pros and cons of a raw food diet, and if they have any recommendations for foods to give your dog to ensure good health.

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