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Raw Meat Myths


Raw Meat Diets
for Cats and Dogs?
An Assessment of the Research and Arguments Related to the Advisability of Feeding Raw Meat-Based Diets to Cats and Dogs
by James O'Heare, Ph.D.

Raw Meat Myths

False: Chicken and turkey bones are soft and wholly digestible. Especially baby back and necks.

Truth: History and present records show that this is completely untrue. Thousands of dogs have died or been severely injured, over the years, from consuming raw fowl bones. Farm dogs and Coyotes are consistently treated for bone fragments and splintering in their stomachs or throats after having killed live chickens, hens and turkeys - yes, even baby fowl. Another way small fowl bones have painfully harmed dogs is they become jammed or lodged between teeth or through the palate. I receive email frequently from ex-barfers whose dogs have been harmed or killed from being fed raw chicken and turkey bones. Even Dr. Billinghurst, in his rebuttal to my website, admits there is risk. In his latest book he has a disclaimer that raw bones may be hazardous. Duh! Too bad he didn't mention it in his book when he recommended that you feed your dog raw bones!

False: Bones won't splinter on a full stomach.

Completely untrue! Many times jagged chunks of bone do their damage in the throat. Dogs have died from choking on bones. And, regarding the stomach, bones do not pass as quickly as the food. Digested food does not protect the lining of the stomach from sharp objects. Wolves eat fur, cartilage and muscle meat along with the bones which helps prevent injury from fragments. I'm not recommending you feed your dog bones in this manner, but it should be noted that your dog doesn't have this advantage on the barf diet. Click here to read testimonies about dogs harmed by raw bones".

False: Cooking the meat destroys the quality of enzymes and predigests the meat.

Truth: The benefit of meat for dogs is protein not enzyme. Secondly, cooking the meat makes it much more digestible as raw meat has indigestible collagen proteins. In the wild, mother dogs eat the meat from a kill and regurgitate for their pups - serving predigested meat. In addition, raw meat is very high in fat. Thousands of dogs die every year from Pancreatitis, and some are disabled by this disorder after being fed a raw meat diet for a short time. Not only is raw meat high in fat, but the pancreas is made to produce enzymes. Supplementing with too many live enzymes can cause the pancreas to shut down. If your dog has Pancreatitis and you aren't aware of it – a high fat diet of raw meat could kill them.

False: Freezing kills all parasites and bacteria.

Truth: Freezing kills some but not all parasites and does not kill most bacteria. The most dangerous parasite in raw meat is toxoplasmosis. It can kill your dog. I know of two recent cases where dogs died from this parasite after eating raw meat. Dr. Michael Harrington, a Veterinary Neurologist reported that he treated a dog with thousands of parasites from a raw meat diet, which turned to worms in his brain. An MRI showed the dog's brain looked like Swiss cheese. The parasites are usually much more dangerous than the bacteria. Cats and people are also susceptible to this parasite. Pregnant women are told not to change kitty litter when pregnant because toxoplasmosis can effect the baby. Cats who carry toxoplasmosis from eating birds and rodents, while pregnant, often birth deformed kittens.

False: Grapefruit seed extract kills all dangerous bacteria.

Truth: This is completely un-scientific and unproven. Furthermore, some bacteria thrive in the acid environment of the stomach. Grapefruit Seed extract is irritating to the dog's stomach lining and the taste is bitter.

False: Adding calcium through bone meal or bones balances the phosphorous/calcium ratio.

Truth: The phosphorous/calcium ratio in a dog's diet is one of the most critical for optimum health. It's difficult to provide an accurate balance in home-made diets. It's an uneducated, "amateur" idea to add bone meal because it contains both phosphorous and calcium, which negates any balance. There is also the threat of Mad Cow Disease in some locations. You would be better off giving them a Tums tablet or a serving of Broccoli. A few of the disorders caused by feeding raw meat are; Nutritional Secondary Hyperparahtyroidism (parathy gland) and kidney failure due to the inability of the kidney to remove high amounts of phosphorous from the body. When kidneys fail due to over abundance of phosphorous, the body compensates by robbing jaw bone for calcium to balance these circulating blood levels. This is also known as Rubber Jaw. There are also a number of osteopathic disorders.

False: Acidophilus and FructoOligoSaccharides will also kill dangerous bacteria.

Truth: Sound impressive? Acidophilus is a "friendly" bacteria that aids in digestion. It is not a bactericide. Fructo = fruit, oligo = few or decreased, saccharides = sugar. These sugars are added to provide a food source for the acidophilus.

False: Pasteurization leads to arthritis. The makers of raw meat diets often suggest a meal plan that contains whole, raw dairy.

Truth: Dogs in the wild (which is the basis of the raw meat argument) do not eat dairy. They eat eggs – eggs are meat not dairy. Dogs have a very low tolerance for dairy because of the lactose. They do not produce lactase (which digests the lactose) after being weaned from their mother’s milk.

False: Dogs drink the milk from lactating goats that have been killed.

Truth: Not many goats live in regions where large wild wolves do - unless the wolf is stealing from a farmer. The number of incidents where a wild wolf would have killed a female, lactating goat, are so few that this is not a standard ingredient of the wild dog's diet - nor should it be the domestic dog's.

False: Dogs are carnivores

Truth: Dogs are omnivores. They eat both vegetation and meat, of which vegetation is the higher percentage. Domestic dogs do not have the same skull shape or number of teeth that wolves do. You could say they are carnivorous. Cats are true carnivores, however, that doesn't mean that raw meat is safe for them either. There are very obvious differences between cougars, lions, tigers and your housecat.
 

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Raw Meat Myths

False: Dogs are carnivores

Truth: Dogs are omnivores. They eat both vegetation and meat, of which vegetation is the higher percentage. Domestic dogs do not have the same skull shape or number of teeth that wolves do. You could say they are carnivorous. Cats are true carnivores, however, that doesn't mean that raw meat is safe for them either. There are very obvious differences between cougars, lions, tigers and your housecat.
Wow, this one especially.. wow. Vegetation is the higher percentage?? Only in kibble!
And how about the obvious differences between a housecat and an African Wildcat?

What a narrow minded propaganda pushing vet!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I know! Some moron on craigslist posted about how raw is so dangerous because it is riddled with bacteria and "oh if i wont eat it, i sure as heck won't feed it to my dog!" So i e-mailed them telling them that they're ridiculously wrong and to please stop spreading lies and propaganda on craigslist. So they re-posted with that website link and yelled about how they aren't spreading lies and how toxoplasmosis from raw food kills dogs and cats on a regular basis. So I flagged their ad and posted my own. Ugh, I hate that I have to resort to their methods but you never know, someone might listen to it.
 

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Wolves eat fur, cartilage and muscle meat along with the bones which helps prevent injury from fragments. I'm not recommending you feed your dog bones in this manner, but it should be noted that your dog doesn't have this advantage on the barf diet. Click here to read testimonies about dogs harmed by raw bones".[
/I]

But most of us don't feed a "BARF" diet, we feed prey model diets with plenty of meat surrounding the bone. Right???
 

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This guy is just giving his opinion, he doesn't look to be much more than an opinionated guy with a Ph.D.

I love how he doesn't have any area to respond to.
 

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what is his degree in?
 

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Well, James O'Heare, you sir, are an idiot.

I hate that some people will read it and assume it's true because Mr. Hot Shot with a Ph.D said so. None of these even make logical sense. I'm sure Hills jammed these things into his head in vet school.
And dogs are omnivores? Is this fool kidding? Open a dog's mouth, look at his teeth, and show me ONE that is designed to eat plants. Show me one dog with the jaw structure to properly do it?

I hope no one is foolish enough to believe this junk.
 

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Well, James O'Heare, you sir, are an idiot.

I hate that some people will read it and assume it's true because Mr. Hot Shot with a Ph.D said so. None of these even make logical sense. I'm sure Hills jammed these things into his head in vet school.
And dogs are omnivores? Is this fool kidding? Open a dog's mouth, look at his teeth, and show me ONE that is designed to eat plants. Show me one dog with the jaw structure to properly do it?

I hope no one is foolish enough to believe this junk.
so this guy's a vet right?
 

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Truth: Dogs are omnivores. They eat both vegetation and meat, of which vegetation is the higher percentage.
Vegetation is the higher percentage???:confused:

I can understand some people making the arguement that dog are in fact omnivores, but to say they eat more vegetation than meat is absolutely, positively, 100% confirmed... complete idiot!!!:mad:

Does this guys have a phd for veternary medicine or a phd for being a complete idiot???
 

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Another pointless rant from some academic elitist snob who cobbled together a bunch of unreferenced anecdotal information, stamped his Ph.D. on it, and proclaimed it to be fact. Interestingly, his area of study is in psychology and animal behavior so that certainly makes him an expert on canine nutrition and diet. :wink:

On credentials, for anyone that cares... | James O'Heare, CABC, CDBC, PABC

Saying things like "dogs choke on bones and therefore RAW diets are bad" is idiotic. People choke on hotdogs all the time but I don't see doctors saying, "Don't eat hotdogs because you might choke on them" (although there are other legitimate reasons not to eat them).

I'm getting pretty sick and tired of all this anecdotal information flying around from both sides as though it is fact. Somebody needs to find a way to fund a real, unbiased, double-blind study comparing all the various canine diet options over a LONG ENOUGH PERIOD OF TIME to record disease and mortality rates. This is not to make the raw feeders (myself included) feel better about their decision, but to educate dog owners, especially new ones, with SOLID FACTS on the advantages and disadvantages of all the various diet options. Nearly everything published on this subject right now is speculative at best.

While there may be rare cases of the consumption of raw meaty bones causing mortality in a dog now and then, the results are usually rather instant and therefore easily blamed on the diet. Conversely, the crap in commercial pet food, especially the low-grade varieties, is probably killing many thousands of dogs by illness and disease every year, and making the existence for some of them downright miserable in the mean time. That's not to mention the incidences of contaminated dog food that has killed many dogs and resulted in the pet food recalls we are all familiar with. But the effects of a poor quality diet are spread out over time so it's hard to point a finger at the diet by anyone when a dog exhibits disease or dies. The pet food manufacturers know this, it's the perfect ruse.

One point of contention that Mr. O'Heare tries to make against raw diets is that they are "Profiteering Veiled as Advocacy". While it is true that there are commercial raw diets and that the manufacturers of these are probably no less culpable in this game than the kibble makers, there are no "profiteers" advocating prey model raw. Nobody promoting this diet stands to gain any monetary gain from it except maybe some book authors and publishers. Having an extensive background in niche publishing though, I can tell you that these fringe-interest titles are usually published for reasons other than profit because, frankly, usually there is little to no money in these ventures.

Jay
 

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Well, just because it says that he has a PhD on his website doesn't mean anything to me! Doesn't even actually mean that he has a PhD, I would have to see proof of it and not just his word. Even if he actually has one, he is obviously devoid of any logical thought and common sense...which to me can mean more than any degree. Especially a degree based on falsehoods.
 

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Somebody needs to find a way to fund a real, unbiased, double-blind study comparing all the various canine diet options over a LONG ENOUGH PERIOD OF TIME to record disease and mortality rates. This is not to make the raw feeders (myself included) feel better about their decision, but to educate dog owners, especially new ones, with SOLID FACTS on the advantages and disadvantages of all the various diet options. Nearly everything published on this subject right now is speculative at best.
Here is the closest thing I have been able to find:

Long Life Study Summary
http://www.ukrmb.co.uk/images/LippertSapySummary.pdf

Actual Study
http://www.ukrmb.co.uk/images/LippertSapyFullReport.pdf
 

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I'm getting pretty sick and tired of all this anecdotal information flying around from both sides as though it is fact. Somebody needs to find a way to fund a real, unbiased, double-blind study comparing all the various canine diet options over a LONG ENOUGH PERIOD OF TIME to record disease and mortality rates. This is not to make the raw feeders (myself included) feel better about their decision, but to educate dog owners, especially new ones, with SOLID FACTS on the advantages and disadvantages of all the various diet options. Nearly everything published on this subject right now is speculative at best
I would love to actually do something like this, but both time and money are not on my side. This would be a HUGE undertaking, and since there is really no money in it, investors would be hard pressed to help out. I guess it will have to wait til I win the lottery LOL!

I think the only way to do it would be based on case histories/studies, not trials. It would take 20 years or so to get any serious data or conclusive evidence, at least statistical proof of positive connections between a certain diet and health/longevity.
 

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I would love to actually do something like this, but both time and money are not on my side. This would be a HUGE undertaking, and since there is really no money in it, investors would be hard pressed to help out. I guess it will have to wait til I win the lottery LOL!

I think the only way to do it would be based on case histories/studies, not trials. It would take 20 years or so to get any serious data or conclusive evidence, at least statistical proof of positive connections between a certain diet and health/longevity.
So we should all chip in and find someone willing to conduct the study, yes?
 

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We can definitely work as a group of researchers, compiling case studies from people. Of course we would need things like previous diagnoses and vet records up to current records for every animal. So if people are willing to put forth the effort of doing that, I'm in :wink:
 

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I've already started with my beast.
Unfortunately, some health care professionals think and say, "leave the technical stuff to us". I respectfully disagree. People who do their homework tend to surprise the doctors. At least I have been complimented more than once.

Here's a tip. Make sure the blood work is done at the same lab to streamline with consistency. Some labs use different measurements than others, well, for humans anyway. :smile:

Keeping track of the nutrition is a huge part of any study. Both food and beverages.
Example: Reverse osmosis is also known as dead water. Everything is removed, even beneficial minerals are gone, only the H2O molecule remains.
 

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The problem is that there are so many variables. Suppose a 10 year old dog dies of some health problem. He has been fed a raw diet for a year. Was it the year of raw or the 9 years of kibble that contributed to his death? Of course we know the answer to that. What if he had been on raw for 2 years. Would that change anything? 5 years?

The way I see it, the only accurate way for such a study would be to track only dogs that have been fed the same diet since birth. Track their health records and longevity. But then what do you do if you are tracking 500 dogs and 25 of them change their diet after 2 or 3 years? Or what another 30 change after 10 years? How does that affect your data? See the problem?

Even if you had $1,000,000, I don't see a way for an accurate study unless these dogs were all lab dogs their entire life.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hmm I'm getting my puppy this Friday and plan to stick her straight on raw, should I take her to the vet for a check up as soon as I get her back to Reno on Monday and get some vet records started on her?
 

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Hmm I'm getting my puppy this Friday and plan to stick her straight on raw, should I take her to the vet for a check up as soon as I get her back to Reno on Monday and get some vet records started on her?
Yes, you should always do that with any puppy but beware. The vet is going to wanna stick some vaccines in her pretty quickly. Thats how they make a living. Do research, figure out your vaccination plan and stick to it. Don't let your vet talk you out of it. Remember, he works for you. Not the other way around.
 

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Todd, the guy isn't a vet.
It would say DVM after his name if he was.
 
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