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Discussion Starter #1
I know a lot of people like raw feeding, but I thought I'd share some reasons why I do not like feeding raw and would never feed it to my dog. Raw feeding is a big lifestyle change for a dog. Also, it requires a wide variety of vitamins and supplements to keep the dog healthy and getting everything he needs in his diet. Next, it is very hard to feed raw food when traveling or boarding a dog. Once more, puppies, pregnant or nursing dogs, and any dog who is anemic should not be fed a raw diet. I do not like raw diets at all and have some very strong opinions and terrible experiences when it comes to feeding a raw diet to dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Believe it or not, how a whole-food diet should be fed is a contentious issue in the dog world. The issue is whether food should be raw or cooked. While raw-food proponents make a good arguemtn, I think the decision to feed a dog a raw-food diet should be approached very cautiously. Advocates of the BARF diet and other raw-food diets fundamentally believe that because dogs orginally ate raw food, they should still get their nutrients from fresh, raw foods. The theory is that the enzymes and nutrients a dog needs to remain healthy can be lost in the cooking process. Raw-food advocates report many health benefits from their diets, such as better breath and coat, longer life span and even cures for some diseases. Although the ingredients vary with the diet, raw-food diets usually consist of raw, meaty bones; raw muscle meat;raw organ meat - or any locally available meat, including beef, pork, poultry, rabbit or sheep. Raw fish, eggs, vegetables and ripe fruit; yogurt; cottage cheese; various yeasts; kep; and other natural supplements are also recomended. Depending on the diet, the quantity of grain included can range from very little to non at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
One the other side of the raw-food debate are those who argue that the potential risks associated with feeding a dog a diet of raw meat and bones far outweigh the possible beneifts. For starters, there is a very high potential for raw meat to be contaminated with salmonell and E. coli bacteria. These can pose a serious health threat not only to dogs but also to their significant humans, partically young children, elderly family members and people with compromised immune systems. All it may take to get infected is a lick on the face from a dog or contact with the contaminated food bowl. Some raw-food advocates argue that organically raised meat is less likely to be contaminated by bacteria and therefore safter to feed to a dog. This view, however, is not entirely correct. While the potential health risks associated with chemicals are eliminated, organically raised meat may be more at risks for these bacterial and parasitic contamination precisely because it lacks these additives. There are many reasons why organic meat may be preferable, but it must be thoroughly cooked in order to kill potentially harmful bacteria. Many testimonials allege that dogs fed raw-food diets have experienced dramatic improvements in their health.
 

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I've been on this site for a little while and I've learned quite a bit from both the kibble side of feeding and the raw side of feeding. But I must say, Well put LR. I have never heard this much information in one sitting and am delighted to hear what kind of debate this raises. Thank you for that info. I will definitely be rethinking how to continue feeding my pups (they are on kibble fed right now). Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Another concern is that some raw foods contain compenents that mayb interfere with the body's absility to use certain nutrients. When these foods are cooked, the harmful components are deactivated or detroyed, making them safer to confume. For instance, raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin, which binds up with biotin so that the body is unable to use it. Therefore, including too many raw eggs in a diet can cause a biotin deficiency. Cooking the eggs deactivates the avidin. Some types of fish contain a compound called thiaminase, which can interfere with the utilization of thiamin, one of the B vitamins. Cooking inactivates this compound, too. Raw salmond from the West Coast of North America presents an even more serious problem, as it may harbor a parasite that causes a canine condition known as salmon poisoning disease. This disease has symptoms that are similar to those of distemper or parvovirus and can be fatal is left untreated. Cooking the salmon kills this parasite.
 

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So there is actually more of a benefit to feeding cooked food on some occasions. What about chicken, beef, pork? Aside from the salmonella and e-coli standard, since I already know where some of the raw feeders on here stand with that. (You could probably find it in the "Why Not" thread)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Advocates of raw-food diets also recommend feeding bones to dogs to supply calcium. While a raw bone is les likely than a cooked bone to splinter and lodge in a dog's digestive tract, the risk is still present. Some raw-food proponents suggest that grinding the bones into a powder before feeding them to a dog eliminates this danger. However, it is still possible for dangerous splinters to be present if the bones have been less-than-thoroughly ground.
 

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Raw feeding is a big lifestyle change for a dog.
Lifestyle change is not necessarily bad. The lifestyle change from eating exclusively a highly processed grain or potato based cereal every day of your life to eating raw meat, bones and organs is a very very positive lifestyle change that will increase health and longevity of a dog. Your dog would be many times better off if you reconsider and begin feeding a prey model raw diet.

Also, it requires a wide variety of vitamins and supplements to keep the dog healthy and getting everything he needs in his diet.
There is no need to give vitamins or supplements to a dog on a prey model raw diet. Everything he needs is in the meat, bones, and organs of the animals he eats.

Next, it is very hard to feed raw food when traveling or boarding a dog.
It's a little more difficult to feed than kibble which is made from the throw away garbage from the human food processing plants. It's not that much more difficult. I have done it many times.

Once more, puppies, pregnant or nursing dogs, and any dog who is anemic should not be fed a raw diet.
The ideal diet to feed an anemic dog would be a raw diet. Isn't it amazing how wild dogs and wolves give birth while eating a prey model raw diet? I know many breeders who feed exclusively a raw diet to all their pregnant and nursing dogs. THese breeders wean their puppies directly to a raw diet. I know breeders who have 5 generations of raw fed dogs. Think about it ... no dog in 5 generations were fed garbage ... isn't that great? :smile:

I do not like raw diets at all and have some very strong opinions and terrible experiences when it comes to feeding a raw diet to dogs.
I don't think you are old enough, experienced enough, know enought people or have done enough research to make a statement like that. I am on other lists with 11,000+ members who feed raw. I have been feeding exclusively a prey model raw diet to 4 dogs and 2 cats for almost 7 years. I personally know people who have been feeding prey model raw for 30+ years. Your previous statement is entirely without merit.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Dogs and cats have been domesticated for thousands of years. How safe are these diets? Pets are just as susceptible to the bacteria and parasites in raw meat as humans are. The problem with these 'natural' diets is the misguided assumption that 'natural' is better. Many raw food proponents theorize that freezing meat will kill bacteria. Proponents also theorize that bacteria is destroyed by stomach acid. Cats are also susceptible to bacteria found in raw meats. In March 2001, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a paper written by Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, and Kathyrn E. Michel, DVM, and their evaluation of raw food diets for dogs. To date, there are no studies that conclude that raw diets are healthful for pets. Many diets also encourage the feeding of raw bones. You also have to consider the damage to teeth by chewing on raw, meaty bones. Raw food proponents also contend that a cooked diet removes enzymes from food, yet many add digestive enzymes to the raw diet as well. Enzymes are proteins. My puppy isn't a wild animal, and I refuse to risk his health with diets that have caused illness and death.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Pets are just as vulnerable to the microorganisms and vermin in uncooked animal protein as humans are. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that a high proportion of animal protein and fowl contains at least one strain of microorganisms. Toxoplasmosis, a scrounger found in warm-blooded animals, can also be transmitted from uncooked or rare animal protein. David T. Roan, DVM, writes, "A veterinary neurologist told me the other day that they have seen au increase in seizure disorders in dogs and cats caused by toxoplasmosis, especially in areas where raw meat diets are trendy." Many raw food proponents hypothesize that freezing meat will kill bacteria. Not so. Laboratories protect microorganisms and viruses by freezing them. Cooking animal protein is the best way to eliminate the potential for illness. Proponents also hypothesize that bacteria are destroyed by stomach acid. But Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, DVM, from the National Animal Poison Control Center, disagrees. "Pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli, clostridium and campylobacter have evolved 'coats' that protect them in their transit through the stomach, and this allows them to take hold in the intestines," she says. This could be the reason of the harsh diarrhea some raw food people attribute to "detoxing."
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Cats are also vulnerable to microorganisms found in raw meats. A case study, published in 2003 in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, involved cats that developed salmonellas as a consequence of a raw diet. "The salmonellas caused gastrointestinal upset, weight loss and anorexia, leading to both cats' deaths." Salmonella cultures from one cat were identical to cultures from the uncooked meat the cat was fed. "The resulting infection was confirmed as cause of death in both cases," the study said.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
In March 2001, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a document written by Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, and Kathyrn E. Michel, DVM, and their evaluation of raw food diets for dogs. Five diets were tested; three were home-based, and the other two commercial. The findings of Freeman and Michel pointed out a number of problems with uncooked diets, including low phosphorus and potassium levels, calcium-to-phosphorus ratios of 0.15 and high concentrations of zinc--all of which are areas of concern with growing puppies. One of the home-based diets yielded E. coli 0157:H7, which has been attributed to death in humans. Said the authors: "The results ... indicated that there are nourishment and health risks associated with raw food diets."
 

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Believe it or not, how a whole-food diet should be fed is a contentious issue in the dog world.
Not by people who have actually fed raw for more than a few months.

Advocates of the BARF diet and other raw-food diets fundamentally believe that because dogs orginally ate raw food, they should still get their nutrients from fresh, raw foods.
Stop and think about that statement a minute. Dogs/wolves have been eating and flourishing on a prey model raw diet for millions of years. If it weren't the perfect diet for them, they would have gone extinct hundreds of thousands of years ago. Kibble has only been around 50 or so years. It is the fad diet of garbage and chemicals. It is a highly processed grain based cereal. What thinking person would feed cereal to a carnivore?

The theory is that the enzymes and nutrients a dog needs to remain healthy can be lost in the cooking process.
Thats not a theory. It's a fact. No one disputes that cooking destroys nutrients.

Raw-food advocates report many health benefits from their diets, such as better breath and coat, longer life span and even cures for some diseases.
We don't "report it" ... we actually whitness it with every dog we switch to raw. I have helped switch many many dogs to a raw diet and these imporvements and many more you didn't mention actually happen. They have been observed by thousands of people. We don't just read this stuff in a book.

Although the ingredients vary with the diet, raw-food diets usually consist of raw, meaty bones; raw muscle meat;raw organ meat - or any locally available meat, including beef, pork, poultry, rabbit or sheep. Raw fish, eggs, vegetables and ripe fruit; yogurt; cottage cheese; various yeasts; kep; and other natural supplements are also recomended. Depending on the diet, the quantity of grain included can range from very little to non at all.
I feed my dogs meat, bones, and organs only. NO plant material whatsoever. THey are carnivores. They don't need plant material. Their bodies were designed to digest animals only. They do not have the ability to digest unprocessed plant material.

They health of the dog has gone way downhill since the introduction of kibble. Your parents are probably not old enough to remember but I do. Before kibble, it was unheard of for a dog to have an allergy. Dogs NEVER had digestive problems at all. Dogs lived longer. Just about the only reason a vet saw a dog for was an injury. Rarely an illness of any kind. The only coat problems dogs had was occasional mainge. Hot Spots never happened.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It's clear that puppies can suffer nutritional inadequacies on a raw food diet. This has some potential public health concerns for both the animals being fed these diets and their human owners. There is a greater apparent risk to animals and humans from feeding a raw meat diet. I really do not think that there is any advice we, as veterinarians, can give to improve safety. You can give basic food safety guidelines like hand washing, cleaning surfaces, and bowls, etc., not letting the food sit out for extended periods of time. I just think that it would be a disservice for a veterinarian to give any recommendation for the safety of dogs and their owners (except to not feed raw meat to pets). Bacteria are not the only health concern, there are also parasites and protozoal organisms that can be transmitted in raw meat, even meat labeled fit for human consumption. From my own clinical experience, owners that feed raw (meat) pretty much have their minds set that they are going to feed raw. There have also been very high levels of salmonella in meat lately. Levels have been on an upward trend and we certainly share U.S.D.A.'s concern.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Eight million years ago in what is now the Great Plains of North America two archetypes of early canid ancestors competed. Another early canid named Eucyon shared time and space with Epicyon. The larger Epicyon followed its very large prey into extinction. Eucyon migrated into the Old World and eventually evolved into modern wolves. Robert Wayne PhD, geneticist at the University of California at Los Angeles examined DNA in dogs and wolves. Wayne's work included 147 dogs representing 67 breeds and 162 wild canids of all species from around the world. Prior to this study, domestic dogs were thought to have originated only 14,000 years ago. This type of maternally passed DNA changes at a specific rate. "We expected to find DNA sequences in dogs that were closely related to those in wolves, perhaps even indistinguishable from those in wolves," Wayne said. Wayne found no evidence to support dogs evolved from jackals or coyotes. The researchers found four distinct genetic groups in the dog world. In a similar study conducted by Vila and Maldonado at the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University in Sweden, maternal DNA showed a separation of 135,000 years between modern domestic dogs and wolves.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Coyote, fox, and jackal DNA differ greatly from that of modern dog. Any comparison to this group of wild canids with domestic dogs is without merit, leaving the wolf as the only closely related wild canid. The carnivora genus also includes purely herbivorous animals like the Giant Panda Bear (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). In a suggested symbiotic relationship, domestic dog predecessors must have gathered around the campfires of early man to scavenge from the left over trash. As a consequence of natural selection those animals which survived also passed on a specific pool of genetic material. Less and less threatening animals, more and more helpful animals, and animals better suited to survive on scavenged human trash would be the winners in the DNA lottery. Evolution and mutation of the actual genetics of the wild canid ancestor were required to begin the process of domestication. Some genetic mutation was required. If not, then today's wild wolf puppies tamed from birth would be capable of domestication. Proponents of BARF claim that domestic dogs and wild canids are alike in their nutritional needs. Barfers' would have you believe that while the domestic dog developed eating anything and everything man threw away over the last 100,000 years, no variation in nutrient needs or digestive abilities developed.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
One of many good examples of internal changes that natural selection wrought is a significant difference in the eye of modern wolves and modern domestic dogs. A prominent feature of wolf retinae was a pronounced "visual streak" of high ganglion cell density. The estimated total number of ganglion cells averaged about 200,000 cells in the wolf and 115,000 in the dog. Yet Barfers' would have you believe there are neither biological nor physiological differences between the two. Further evidence of evolutionary changes in the dog compared to the wolf abounds in the literature. Differences in musculature, tendon strength, gut wall arterials and many other distinct differences in the internal organs and abilities are described. The Barfer emotional decisions to compare the feeding habits of wild canids to domestic dogs is without scientific foundation and places the domestic dog at risk. Comparing the needs of the current wolf to domestic dogs is not based in fact and certainly not based on 100,000 of years of natural selection and mutation inexorably forcing genetic change. The ancestors of today's domestic dog excelled at living on human trash that contained both raw and cooked meats, vegetables and grains.
 

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For starters, there is a very high potential for raw meat to be contaminated with salmonell and E. coli bacteria.
Those two things are not an issue. Yes, dogs eat contaminated meat. I personally have fed my dogs meat that smelled so bad I had to deoderize the kitchen after they ate. There was no ill effect. Dogs digestive juices are very acidic. So acidic as to kill these bacteria in the stomach. Their short intestines allow the meat to exit the body before the little bacteria that remains to cause any harm.

Neither my dogs nor cats nor any humans living in my house or any visitors have ever gotten sick from the dogs or their food. On the list with 11,000 raw feeders, no one has ever reported that their dogs have gotten sick from any of these bacteria.

Bacteria just isn't a problem in a dogs diet. The only people who worry about bacteria are the ones who don't feed a raw diet. Once you have fed a raw diet for a few months, any bacteria phobia you have will disappear.

BTW: Dogs lick their own butts and the butts of other dogs regularly. :smile:

These can pose a serious health threat not only to dogs but also to their significant humans, partically young children, elderly family members and people with compromised immune systems.
As I just said. It is not a problem. My grandchildren play with my dogs and get licked regularly. I often get my faced licked right after they eat. My daughter-in-law is severly immune compromised and she never has a problem. Don't worry about bacteria and dogs or their food.

All it may take to get infected is a lick on the face from a dog or contact with the contaminated food bowl.
Nope, doesn't happen.

Some raw-food advocates argue that organically raised meat ....
I don't feed organic so I won't even comment on those myths.

Many testimonials allege that dogs fed raw-food diets have experienced dramatic improvements in their health.
It's not just alleged, its observed by many thousands of people with new people switching to raw ever day. I get 5 or 6 emails a week asking for help in switching their dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Barfers' frequently infer that domestic dogs are plagued with disease and live miserable lives when fed a commercial food. The majority of such purported increased disease they attribute to domestic animals eating a prepared food and not eating a BARF diet. The domestic dog's lifespan has increased monumentally over just the past fifty years. Barfers' would suggest that we should imitate the food intake of wild wolves and other canids. The wolf on the other hand separated from the domestic dogs 100,000 years ago and is a distant ancestor. Grey Wolf lifespan 8 years in the wild, slightly more in captivity when fed commercial foods. Mexican Wolf lifespan 15 years in captivity, less in wild. Red Wolf lifespan 4 years in the wild up to 14 in captivity (fed commercial foods). Obviously a multitude of factors influence lifespan. Smaller breeds typically live longer among both domestic dogs and their wild cousins. It is interesting to note that feeding commercial pet foods to wild canids is the recommendation of the American Zoo and Aquarium, Nutritional Advisory Group. While the Barfers are busy claiming domestic dogs should mirror the feeding habits of wild wolves, the very people who know the most about caring for wild canids recommend the feeding of a "commercial pet food" to wild canids.
 
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