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Debate: should dogs only eat raw meat? Part 1

Debate: should dogs only eat raw meat? Part 1

The use of Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) - a simple diet of raw meat and bones - is dividing vets worldwide: some swear by it, while others advocate caution. In this first of two posts, BARF-devotee Dr Ian Billinghurst tells us why it works for him. Next Monday, vet Brian Faulkner will give us the other side of the debate.

"I believe that the healthiest diet for dogs and cats is a natural one. Raw meat, bones, vegetables and organ meats - anything that mimics the diet of a wild or feral animal is ideal. I call this the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) diet and it's what our cats and dogs have evolved to eat.

My views come from almost 35 years as a practice vet, witnessing the harm that commercially produced food can do to pets. It also comes from seeing at first hand with my own pets the rapid improvement to health when a natural diet is adopted.

Back in the 1980s, as I began to understand the value of the BARF diet, I handed out simple diet sheets to clients. These were mostly the owners of young pups and people whose pets had severe or long-term health problems.

The results were consistent and amazing. I watched as puppies that followed this regime thrived. I was astounded as unhealthy pets experienced the same dramatic improvements as my own, with many becoming totally drug-free. Skin and arthritic problems cleared up, and I saw incredible improvements in reproductive health and in orthopaedic problems.

I soon realised that most of the diseases in cats and dogs were due to nothing other than poor nutrition. Instead of an ideal intake of 'meat and two veg', they were getting salt, preservatives, refined sugar, heat-damaged fats, colourings and flavourings.

A natural diet is key to looking after our animals and giving them the best chance for a healthy life. As pet owners, that is surely the best we can offer our animal friends."

Dr Ian Billinghurst
Author of Give Your Dog a Bone and owner of www.barfaustralia.com

Do you agree or disagree with the raw meat diet? Let us know by commenting below, we'd love to hear what you think.

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Totally agree all our dogs and puppies are. fed a raw diet it is so much better all round they have better quaility coats, teeth , and muscle..none of our dogs suffer from any allergies unlike the past where some would get skin sores and collitas which all cleared up after switching to the raw diet also now the only they really go to the vet is For a check up and boosters and the best bit is there is always empty bowls within minutes as they never get bored there are several links on our site where you can all you need to know aling with suppliers
Thanks for your response, that's an interesting insight into the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) diet. Does anyone else out there have their own BARF story, either positive or negative?
Louisa Noble
I have been feeding my 4 cats a completely raw diet for almost a year and I have seen clear improvements in their health, especially in my 17-year-old who has a new lease of life. The raw diet makes complete sense for cats as they are obligate carnivores, have no requirement for carbohydrates and are unable to properly digest them. They get all the nutrition they need from meat, bones and organs in the correct ratio. This may seem difficult but in fact it's very easy since you don't have to achieve balance in every meal, but over a week or 10 days. Alternatively, there are commercially-prepared raw diets for cats, such as Natural Instinct, where each portion is completely balanced, so you just defrost and serve. Raw cat food like this is becoming more widely available and may eventually become generally available in pet shops, not only online. There are some very good online support groups for raw feeders where a wealth of help and advice is freely given. On a good raw diet, cats drink less water and urinate more because they are taking in the right amount of fluid in the food; there is much less solid wastage because they are digesting much more of their food, so they poop less, and the poop is fairly dry and has hardly any odour. As for expense, that depends on where you get the raw food, but in the long term you save on vets' bills because they are so much healthier. My cats, including my old man, have more energy, more muscle, shinier coats and clean teeth. And they absolutely LOVE their mealtimes. Make sure the meat is fresh and from a reliable supplier, always use clean dishes and clean up thoroughly afterwards. I would never go back to dry food nor any food from the leading brands containing 'meat and animal derivatives'. Many cat owners who have successfully switched to the raw diet have reported persistent health issues which have not been cured by vets' prescription diets, disappearing overnight never to return: irritable bowel, food allergies, UTIs, even diabetes. It's the way to go, people. After all, what do wild cats eat? Nutritionally, there's no difference.
Thanks Louisa. It's true, there are more and more food brands out there offering the raw option, so even if the idea of raw seems like a lot of work, it can be made easier. And we hadn't considered the benefits regarding hydration and reduced toileting. Anyway, thanks for commenting, it's great to get your feedback.
Margaret Crispin-Evans
I have been involved with dogs since 1959 and there were NO manufactured processed dog foods then - but they survived! I do not know how anyone can possibly think we can improve on what dogs and their relations would eat in the wild. We are not that clever! We used to go to the slaughterhouse and buy fresh meat, offal and bones. Sometimes the GSD has a bullocks head each (minus the tongue) so I would starve them after that for about 3 days - it worked. I still have their descendents to this day!. One male would catch rabbits and the last thing I would see would be the rabbits back feet as it descended down the gullet - not n ice but natural. I cannot remember when I had a sick dog, all fit and no skin or anal gland problems and their coats are fantastic!
Lynn Lamb
I started one of my Siamese queens on a raw diet after she had her second litter of kittens and the improvement in her condition in a week was incredible. Now she and my other girl have a combined diet of raw and processed cat food but when in kitten or feeding a litter the older girl still has mainly raw. The kittens enjoy it too. I can't see it being anything but beneficial. I use a commercially prepared raw diet to get the right balance of nutrients but the girls and kittens also enjoy a raw chicken wing to tear apart - great fun for the little ones that also learn to 'catch and kill' with it too. They even get the odd mouse - from the reptile food section - too.
Maria Broomfield
We have fed raw foods now for 10 years and would never go back to biscuits. We saw general health improvement, teeth coat, the developement of puppies was always very successful lovely chunky well boned pups, we saw a massive increase in appetite. Our very active nearly 11 year old English mastiff is certainly a good advert for the barf diet, she still runs upto the shed in the morning to get her food. I see biscuits like convenience foods...microwave meals or processed foods...full of alot of sub standard ingredients.
I have noticed a big differance in all my cats and kittens since feeding a raw diet every morning. I split feed, raw and Royal Canin dry on an evening, all the cats and especially the kittens really enjoy the raw meat and I am sure it benefits them in the early months of developement. The kittens appear to have a faster weight gain and muscle growth on a raw diet than those of my earlier litters when I fed only dry food. These are my findings, and it is trial and error, I have one stud who will not eat raw?
Norrie Crook
I have a 14 year old cat that has just been diagnosed with diabetes. Would a raw diet be a good thing to feed him? Is he likely to acquire tapeworms or other parasites if I feed him raw meat? Would I have to add minerals and vitamins to his food?
Hi I breed Gsds and have always fed a raw diet.my beautiful dogs are always healthy and happy. They all have great bone structure, fantastic coats no problems health wise what so ever. Thankfully living to a ripe old age.
Karen mcGowan-Olyott
I switched to raw foods 5 years ago, I have a Epyleptic GSD, and had been feeding a holistic dried food, but getting her to eat it was a nightmare! so was the expense! At the time she was having a fit at least every two months, on medication, someone suggested a raw diet, I was unsure at first and my vet was not very helpful either, but I made the switch anyway, and I'm so glad I did! She still takes fits, 3-4 times a year! they are not as bad as they used to be, and just like the others have mentioned her teeth, coat and general health has improved, She will be 12years old in 6 weeks time! I seriously do not believe she would still be with me if I'd kept her on a commercial diet.
Vicky Smith
Our three dogs have only been on a meat and bones diet for four months but they all look like different dogs on it. I have a horse with a metabolic problem as I have myself but with careful thought as to what myself and the horse SHOULD be eating the problems are resolving. Hence the realisation that the dogs really shouldn't be eating the mass produced, artificially engineered, wheat based 'stuff'. The trouble is, people want convenience which is why all these fancy products appear on the market. They all sell something special - performance enhancing, extra stamina, controlled growth etc etc. Rubbish, the body can look after itself with a NATURAL diet.
Becky Palmer
We are relatively new to raw feeding but I have seen the benefits already with my own dogs. We now have a 10 week old puppy who was commercially fed but from day 1 of arriving home to us she has been fed raw. She took to it like a duck to water. Watching this 8 week old puppy chomping her way through a chicken wing was the most natural thing I have ever seen. I will never return to commercial dried food. Many of my friends have now converted and we will be raising all our future litters on a raw diet.
Heather Head
In 28 years I have had 17 litters altogether of Bernese Mountain Dogs and Finnish Lapphunds. I always wean my puppies on raw mince and crushed chicken wings. Then I add vegetables/fruit/herbs and later a biscuit meal (Fish4dogs) as I know some of my new owners will revert to Complete feeds and I would like them to use a good one. The pups grow steadily and evenly, without any problems. Their faeces are firm and have very little smell. I follow the BARF in principle, making meat & veg/herb patties, which when frozen in quantity is so convenient to store and feed. My own dogs never see a vet, except for accidents, and after their initial vaccination at 5 months, are homoeopathically immunised for life against all the dog diseases. The whelping bitch never sees a vet! Why some breeder wean pups on tinned rice pudding (full of sugar and other additives) I shall never know!
Pat Smith
I find it difficult to understand how anyone can think that recycled industrial waste with added vitamins, minerals and flavouring can even begin to be considered a natural' food for any dog or cat. My golden retrievers and cocker spaniel all have a raw meat and bone diet. They are all as fit as fiddles. The only addition they have is garlic (helps with worm and flea prevention) The bottom line is that if there were no humans on this plantet tomorrow, would all the domesticated dogs queue up outside the local supermarket for their daily fix of rendered scuzz. Would the more brainy amongst them trot off into the countrside and attack a field of cereal or dig up the sugar canes for dinner? Of course not, they would do what they are designed to do, Catch rabbits, birds ect and eat every morsel, bones, muscle, offal, fur and feathers. With no ill effect. If the rendered waste is so wonderful, why isn't there a meat and thee veg variety ready to b shipped out to the famine areas?
Helen Nicholson
I have fed wild, minced, raw rabbit for 8 years now. The kittens I breed are healthy and are always of good weights. In fact I am well know at my local vets for them always being so. My queen regain their condition very quickly after giving birth and produce good quality milk for their usually larger than average litters.I have had people question my feeding in the past, one of their arguments being that I opening my cats up to parasite infection from the rabbit meat but the guts are removed prior to mincing. Tinned and pouched food is artificial but convenient in my mind. It is akin to feeding junk food like pizzas and burgers to children.
I have been raw feeding my dogs for nearly 3 years now, not long ago I decided to give a lunch time meal of a supposedly good commercial wet food - since then my male dog has had two bouts of pancreatitis. After looking into it I found that it was too high in sugar from the root vegetable content causing him to produce too much insulin to digest it - aswell as being too high in hidden fats (this was also confirmed by the vet that treated him - and she suggested a completely raw diet. I do not believe also any kibble is good for dogs - they contain too many additives and preservatives and hidden 'unexplained' ingredients - to me this is like feeding burger and chips for a meal. Kibble has no benefit on an animals teeth - the families yorkie has only 4 of her teeth left after always being fed kibble! I would be interested how any vet would explain how an unnatural dried food or a process wet food can outway the benefits of a correctly balanced raw diet. I will always recommend raw.
laura buckley
I would love to feed my cats and kittens raw meat, I know they love it. However I am worried that they may become infected with campylobactor or gardia and other pathogens found on raw chicken and meat and killed by cooking. Is this not the case. Is it safe for me to feed my cats/kittens on human grade raw meat? Many thanks Laura
Linda Benton-Taylor
I have been feeding raw foods now for two years. I reared two litters on raw food from Natural Instinct and they all thrived and well rounded happy puppies. I have seen an improvement in the dogs, teeth especially and coats. Wel muscled body and the oldies still have a vibrancy of youth. I do diferent but raw meals each day from meat/bone to liver, hearts eyc and then muscle meat - raw veg and fruit also youghurt and fish and eggs which the dogs had when on complete diets..
We feed meat from our butcher but we cook it. If my dogs eat it raw their tums suffer -cooked they are fine. All this dry stuff breaks my heart. We have owned dogs for all of my life (over 55 years) and as a child my Nan and my Mum cooked up lights and trimmings. Whole meat - cooked or raw is best.
karen clark stapleton
A dogs digestive system simply is not designed for grains and the many oddities added to canned or dried feeds, as with human diets a correlation with the over use of grains and poor carbohydrates is seen with an increase in some cancers and obesity. The human diet has seen great misfortune when a certain US grain manufacturer decided to feed his workers on corn, since then the USA has become obese happy and sadly the nation that sets the trends for others to follow with devastating effects, dogs are following rapidly because some vets think that food manufacturers who pay them great dividends are the ones who care most about diet when in reality they care far less about the health of pets in comparison to the wealth they can bring in. Dogs and cats need a natural diet free from chemicals, free from grains and free from colourings. Dogs should fast for a day per week to allow their natural behaviour to continue.A raw diet is one that keeps an animal satiated for longer, reduces cavities, poor oral hygiene and stops obesity from ever happening. Vegetables are the only carbohydrates a dog needs and meat should be fed daily in high amounts except if fasting. Protein myths need to be set aside and those owners who feel a dry diet is adequate ask yourself do they feed this to zoo animals?
Where possible I would always feed a raw diet. Many years ago, My dogs got parvo virus. The damage to the gut and bowl was immense. After the virus had gone. I would feed a complete food, it would go through their system so quickly and out through the bowl not really digested. I found feeding fresh raw tripe with the cows natral flora and germ, returned them to peak condition with out further bowl tummy and tummy problems with good weight gain. Since that time, I have advise many people where in some cases they were advised to have the animal put down
Patricia Radford
I like alot of people of my generation Fed and still feed raw meat to my cats puppies and adult dogs Also to dogs that come back to me for there holidays Dogs have come back hyper and after just a week of this diet have calmed down others fussy eaters wobbly tummies all sorted Teeth are kept clean with a good marrow bones which in turn will consipated for a couple of days helping to keep clean anual glands Puppies dont go to fat and because they are packed off with enough food for 10 days when going to new homes settal better My cats just help themselves when lm in the pet kitchen I have had a couple of cats in from owners of dogs to stay One was 21yrs had bad joints, kidneys were playing up,had a job getting round He had 6weeks with me on a natural diet beef, rabbit, fish went home Jumped on the table eat his owners meat of her plate The vet wanted to know what was differant She kept him on the diet the rest of his life he lived another 4yrs l should add l started feeding the animals in my care natural diets 50+ yrs ago while l can will contiune to do so Behind natural feeding 100c/o
I started feeding one of our dogs (a bitch) BARF diet 2 years ago, she had skin / nail problems and problems with her immune system, within weeks she was showing vast improvement, when she had pups last year we started the puppies in part raw. then progressed them on to chicken wings, It was just like having gremlins ion the house. WSe kept one of the pups and now feed them BARF all the time. would not go back to processed
Hi, I have been feeding my dogs on raw food for 18 months now and would never go back to kibble. They have gorgeous white teeth,shiny coat and are in fantastic health,they love their food now, when they on kibble, it was a struggle to get them to eat it, I would recommend this diet to anyone, now there is less 'waste'(and less smell) and my dogs dont have the doggy odour they used to have. I have had several people comment on their fantastic condition. Thanks
I totally agree with feeding raw meat. I have been doing so for 6 years together with vegetables and all my dogs are in fantastic order with no health problems whatsoever. The feces are solid and with no smell. Their breath does not smell. Their coats are great and none are overweight. All my puppies are weaned onto this diet. If you think this may not be a balanced diet for puppies you can add a natural feed supplement or add some dry puppy feed at the same time. When I tell my new puppy owners what diet the puppies many are surprised, thinking you could only feed dogs branded products. That's tells you something about the power of advertising. I think many Vets are against this natural diet because they sell the branded and expensive so called healthy foods. What can be more natural and fresh then raw minced meat and chopped vegetables ? I would never eat processed feed so why should I expect my dogs to ?
Advertising and taking what people think as an easy option is why so many people use dry foods, we are brain washed by ads! I feed rabbit, chicken carcasses, a range of raw meaty bones plus fruit and veg. Happy healthy dogs that love dinner time and have no tarter on their teeth, clear anal glands, and fit and muscular. They are working gundogs, my vet rarely ever sees them - no wonder vets sell and push dry food!
jackie ellis
I have fed a raw diet for nearly two years now, the improvement in my dogs health is very clear to see, they have very shiny coats & really sparkling eyes also. Raising litters of pups on a raw diet is much easier than using kibble, starting right at the beginning pups just love meat. I always struggled to get pups to eat kibble, i tried all kinds, but they never really enjoyed their food, i should have listened to them really, they were trying to tell me it wasnt good for them! Often i had a puppy go off its kibble at 12 weeks old, i think they were suffering then & really know what was good for them. Now feeding raw ( I feed Natural Instinct ) all pups from 3 weeks old love their food, & never go off it, the bonus is that they grow steadily, & dont have growth spurts. All mine have stayed sound, with no growing pains. I will never change & thank Natural Instinct for making raising healty stock so easy!
Alison Lesley Hunt
As a raw meat and bone feeder for 40years ,we have had very healthy stock-very few needing veterinary help in all those years,.We recieve many comments on the great look and condition of our German Shepherds and Shelties. None have ever had torsion, nor bloat either, which appears to be much more common in large dog ,kibble feeders. In my time in veterinary nursing many years ago, man made products were uncommon and certainly there was no dry-complete style stuff. The vets bred dogs and fed real meat .....but then, in those days, their waiting rooms did not look like pet shops with man made foods , chews etc on sale. They knew how to advise on natural rearing diets with customers as they were of a generation that was not taught only by pet food manufacture nor influenced by the new promotions that are about today. Thank goodness.there are some Homoeopathic vets,who have natural raw feeding knowledge.
Louise Balmforth
I have four cats, two moggies and two Bengals. I am ashamed to admit that my two moggies were forced to eat poor quality dry food for over 7 years, I was blissfully unaware of how poor a diet this was being brain washed by pet food manufacturers advertising. My journey on the road to a better feline diet came about when one of my moggies developed urinary problems, I was advised to cut dry food from the diet or at the very least to feed 50/50 wet/dry. The vet explained to me about cats not having the same thirst drive as other mammals and that feeding dry cat food results in them being in a permanent state of semi-dehydration. I switched them to a better quality dry food and a medium quality canned wet food, and over the next couple of months I ended up cutting out the dry altogether. When I got my first Bengal I had become more aware of feline diets, and wanted to switch them to raw food. However the information was scary with suggestions that failing to add this vitamin or that mineral would result in serious harm and the whole idea remained on the back burner. Then I got my second Bengal cat, he had quite bad issues with diarrhoea, on a good day it was pretty loose and on a bad day was completely liquid. I had him tested for all the usual culprits including Tritrichomonas foetus and everything came back negative, my vet at this point said I would have to give him a digestive comfort dry formula. I refused to do that, I told the vet that I would switch all four cats to a raw diet. My vet was quite abrupt and said that if I did that they would no longer support me and that it was extremely dangerous to feed I diet of almost completely protein etc etc etc. But I made the switch, and within 24 hours my Bengal produced the first firm stool, his weight started to rise significantly faster immediately (he was 5 months old at the time) and he went from strength to strength. The other 3 cats all continue to thrive on the raw diet, stools are always small, odourless and firm. They are all more active since the switch, and coat condition is 100% better, pre raw the two moggies were constantly shedding hair, the long haired one being especially bad but now they hardly shed hair at all. They have superb silky gloss coats, my overweight (well clinically obese I would say) moggy is now a lean mean toy chasing machine. At a recent vet visit with an accidental scratch to the eye my vet asked about my Bengal which had the tummy troubles, I told her that since the switch to raw he is doing better than fine, she asked if I would take him in for her to examine because there is some debate on the raw diet going on and I am the only client they have which feeds raw. I went home and collected him. The vet was absolutely astounded by how healthy he is, she said it is quite remarkable that a raw diet could make as much difference as it has. She said that he is without a doubt the healthiest cat she has seen for many years, perfect weight, muscular, exceptionally nice coat, bright white teeth with no sign of a problem. In short she was very impressed and asked me to keep in touch as she wants to monitor his progress as a personal research issue into raw feeding. There is no way I would ever consider feeding commercial pet food to my cats ever again, I may not be a vet but I do not need to be to see the benefits, my only regret is that I did not discover it 8 years ago!
laura buckley
Hi, Louise, I read with interest your remarks regarding the wonderful results you have had with your Bengal on raw meat. Please may i ask what you actually feed and how often. I have Bengals and Savannahs and have also had stools tested due to looseness and the results have come back clear. I would really like to sort this problem out. Many thanks Laura
Karen Randall
We have 3 GSD's all on natural, raw meat diets thanks to the advise our breeder Alison Hunt of Tor View Kennels gave. All (age range from 12 years to 1 year) thankfully are very healthy and happy they are all treated with homeopathic remedies.I, now would never go back to tin food in which is all of the food which is considered unfit for humans plus a few preservatives and additives for good measure!
Ann Gribble
I read Dr Billinghurst's book, Give Your Dog a Bone, many years ago (in fact it is still on my bookshelf somewhere). I have always given my dogs in the past raw bones but did not start to feed a completely raw diet until around 1995 when my collie cross was about 4 years old. Since then, I have never looked back. Mitch (the collie cross) passed on when he was 14 years old and up until the last, lived a very healthy life. My GSD was brought up on a BARF type diet had he is 12 years old, in good health and, although he is slowing down a bit, he still mostly behaves like a dog in his prime. He is a wonderful dog and very intelligent and enjoys his "mixed diet" of natural food as he would find it in the wild - he also has an apple a day which I swear has helped him keep an exceptionally good set of teeth!!I would recommend a BARF diet to any do or cat owner but do read Dr Billinghurst's book first so you are aware of dietry requirements. Just giving the "dog as bone" and hoping for the best is not enough!
I moved over to feeding a natural, raw diet 5 years ago and I would not go back to feeding a commercial 'kibble' diet. I was unfortunate to have a GSD who developed EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency) at the age of 2. For three years we worked our way through a wide selection of commercial diets, recommended by Vets. None of them worked for him, everything went straight through, he was rapidly losing weight and becoming very weak. Thank goodness that a Homeopathic Vet was recommended to us, who fully supported feeding a natural raw diet. The change in our GSD was immense; toileting, coat, teeth (lovely white teeth, no longer any brown tartar) all improved. It most definitely improved his quality of life.'Conventional' Vets only seem to want to 'push' commercial diets and appear to be unable to advise how to feed a dog with 'proper food'. If kibble is so great, how come people are advised to reduce the amount of processed food that they eat, and to consume more fresh food and fruit and vegetables to improve their health and wellbeing.On turning over a bag of kibble to read the ingredients, it is impossible to see what the contents really are - it lists a number of 'derivatives' and chemicals and no 'proper' food.I personally would recommend raw diet every time, and thank goodness for Homeopathic Vets.
Louise Balmforth
My main diet consists of oven ready chickens, ox heart, liver & kidney and raw eggs. I use 1kg chicken, 200g heart, 50g liver, 50g kidney and 2 eggs. I sometimes add some oily fish such as pilchards/ sardines or a splash of salmon oil. As available I sometimes substitute some of the chicken for beef/ lamb/ pork as available. They also get frozen day old chicks every other day as a treat - the bengals love them! As for testing, the PCR test for TF is unlikely to be done without specifically requesting it, for some reason many vets seem to think TF is not a problem - are you sure this test was done? The stool sample for TF testing also needs to be a composite taken over 24 to 48 hours as the organism is shed intermittently so a single sample is prone to false negatives. You should ensure that all the possible causes of diarrhoea are ruled out before using raw as a fix, even though raw may well help reduce symptoms the root cause (if there is one) needs to be identified and addressed otherwise you are just covering up a problem ;)
Margaret Crispin-Evans
Why would he get parasites from raw food? Make sure that you buy meat fit for human consumption and No, he will not need extra vitamins! He would if he was fed cereals with is not their natural diet.
I too thoroughly recommend a natural raw meat diet for cats. I have never seen a more miraculous improvement than to my 17 year old cat who had dietery problems following a diagnosis and operation for adhesions - she was a"bag of bones" with a horrid open coat and no muscle tone - she is now a wonderful example of what a cat should look like, and I will never feed dried food again. May I also suggest to the doubters a book titled Your Cat by Elizabeth M. Hodgekins, DVM., Esq.
Michelle Hillier
Hi Laura ...it's perfectly safe for you to feed your cats on raw meat, don't forget they hunt wild mice, shrews etc ...take a look at this site to put your mind at ease http://rawfedcats.org/index.htm ...you ill make stengthening your cats immune systems this way also :)
Jane Whiteley
Raw,raw,raw all the way.. Iv'e bred dogs for 30 plus years and pedigree cats for the last 12 .. none see the Vets,live into their teens and are happy,healthy with a good immune system.Pet people are brain washed by vets,commercial food companies and pharmeceutical companies.Multi million dollar industries that are getting richer at the Animals expense.. Canines and Felines are not designed to eat coloured balls !!!!!
Lesley Buchanan
I started my dogs on the raw meaty bones diet a few months back when my 14 month old GSD refused to eat his normal dried diet (just goes to show what a clever breed they are)! His weight had dropped rapidly and I tried expensive dog food brands and even tried to mix these with a puppy food to coax him into eating. I made the decision to feed him a raw diet - I had nothing to lose. Within weeks the dermatitis between his toes had vanished and his temperament has changed - he was quite grouchy but is becoming more loving. His coat is shiny and he has put on a significant amount of weight.My 12 year old GSD has had skin problems twice a year since the age of 4yrs and after years of creams, depression and steroid injections from my usual vet we asked to see a homeopathic vet to help and this has been successful for the last 2 years, but the most recent flare up has been proving difficult to settle down. Also, he has had anal gland problems for the past year and a half. I was hesitant to change him over to raw because of his age, but again he made the decision for me by reluctantly eating a few mouthfuls of his meal and then refusing anymore but finishing off the young male dog's meal when he managed to sneak in. His coat has a lovely shine to it and he is nibbling his irritated feet/skin less and less and his anal glands were empty on his last check whereas he was having them emptied every 6 - 8 weeks.I think that Vets are obviously going to promote the foods that Reps recommend to them, as they undoubtedly receive an exceptional mark up on the 'food' and in addition, look at the extra money they are making on the commercially fed animal ailments i.e. skin, obesity, anal gland problems, IBS and kidney problems - there seems to be an awful amount of animals with kidney problems these days! All that dried food must absorb fluid internally which would usually be used by the body including the kidneys. I have never seen an over weight raw fed dog which is good as I for one do not want an obese dog putting extra strain on his hind quarters. I imagine that vets probably welcome all of the problems these animals suffer, particularly with cats and their teeth! Afterall, I suppose they need to use the hi-tech dental equipment they have bought in order for it to pay for itself! I wonder how many people are asked "Is he/she insured"? before a course of action is taken by the Vet. Does this mean that extra unnecessary tests may be carried out on my animal simply because I have answered "Yes"?Hopefully, if more people raw feed their animals and their animals require less visits to the vet, there will be lower insurance claims made - premiums can be lowered and everyone will be happy all around!! Well apart from the obvious people that is!I don't know about you, but I get more satisfaction watching my dogs get a good jaw work out whilst tearing the meat from the bones and crunching them up, using their teeth for the purpose they are there for and also watching their faces whilst I prepare their meals in anticipation of what they may be about to recieve. Variety is the spice of life, I only have to watch my dogs tucking into their dinner to see that!! As far as I am concerned - not eating the same old boring, bland meal was the best decision my young GSD has made so far and my old GSD agrees!!
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