"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

Feeding a Raw Diet to a Dog

– Posted in: Columns, Health, Newsletters

Raw Diet Marrow BonesRaw Diets – Good or Bad?

I have met a lot of people that think a raw diet is the worst thing ever.

I have a Jack Russell and he has been eating a raw diet all of his life. He is very healthy and I have no problems with him at all, his coat is soft and shinny, teeth are perfect and he is always excited for dinner.

When I tell people all the health benefits of raw over kibble they are scared and say it will make the dog sick. Other than being uneducated these people are also naive.

-Nick

Hi Nick,

I’m feeding a raw diet to my new dog Odie but I would never have done so without having a mentor and access to a support group. Feeding a raw diet is a little like dog training – the devil is in the details. In this fast food driven world, most people can’t even figure out how to feed themselves correctly and so taking on the responsibility of getting it right with another species takes effort. Nothing insurmountable but do-it-yourself raw is like making your own baby food, it’s not something you “experiment” with.

The camps, one way or another seem firmly entrenched. What little actual research there is, isn’t conclusive. There certainly is way more research to support commercial diets but way more in the sense that there is way more support for Donald Trump by those investing in the hair spray industry. You have to follow the money so to speak and it might link to those that will benefit financially.

Some veterinarians support feeding raw but overall veterinarians tend to promote commercial food as a better choice. However, the nutrition component of the average veterinarian’s multiple years of education literally amounts to the same amount of time a lucky dog gets walked in a week. For the most part and for good reason their education encourages the resistance any “evidence” that is anecdotal and the “studies” supporting commercial foods is pretty much all they have to work with. That makes me chuckle sometimes though as when a layperson no matter how experienced offers an opinion contrary to traditional scientific thought it’s dismissed as “anecdotal evidence”, if a person of science says the same thing, then it’s a “theory.”

I’ve heard a lot about how a raw diet can really harm a dog but for the most part I’ve found the dog harmed was being fed by someone that was winging it. That’s basically the main problem for me. It’s not the dietary philosophy it’s how willy-nilly some people interpret and apply it. Sometimes the consequences of “winging it” don’t turn up right away. It might take a few months or even years.

For those that decide to feed a commercial food the need for research is no less. Quality varies from “will support life” to some sincere efforts to produce as good as you can get in a commercially prepared food. Many dog owners would be surprised to learn where on that line their own dog food falls.

For those that decide to go the raw route don’t just start tossing rabbits to your dog. Do your research including talking to people from both ends of the spectrum, and if you decide to “go raw” get some support from people with a few years experience.

Pawsitively yours,

John Wade

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