Thursday, August 14, 2014

Inadequate Arguments Against Raw Feeding

I have heard all sorts of reasons why I should not feed my dogs a raw diet.  Some are ridiculous, some border on paranoia, and some are truly valid concerns.  Following are some common arguments people come up with against raw feeding, and my thoughts and responses to them.

What about Salmonella?
Salmonella is not necessarily present in raw meat, just as it is not necessarily present in kibble.  However, I hear of far more kibble recalls for salmonella than I do for raw meat.

Healthy dogs have short, fast, acidic digestive tracts, designed to move food through quickly, reducing the risk of bacteria illness.  

I do not fear contracting salmonella (or any other food-borne illness) from handling my dogs' raw meat.  I practice good hygiene, washing all surfaces that come in contact with raw dog food or raw people food, the same as people should do when preparing their own food.  

It's a Fad
For some reason, many people think that giving a dog fresh (raw, cooked, homemade food, etc.) is a relatively new thing, a popular fad if you will.

What many people do not realize is that kibble has only been around for about 60 years.  Canned dog food is only a little older than that.  What did people feed their dogs prior to the invention of kibble?  They fed them table scraps, raw meat, and other fresh foodstuffs. 

I love this video of Jack Lalanne describing what he feeds his dog.  It's a raw diet.

You Don't Have a Degree in Canine Nutrition.
This one kind of makes me giggle.  You wouldn't eat nothing but donuts everyday, would you?  Give your dog variety.  Different proteins, different cuts.  See HERE for more information on balancing a PMR diet.  Give the dog some bone, some meat, some organs (and some fruits, veggies, grains if that is how you do it.)  It is really not difficult.  Besides, it's unlikely your parents had a degree in human nutrition, and you turned out alright.

It Will Make Dogs "Bloodthirsty."
Plenty of dogs have a high prey drive, including mine.  Feeding raw hasn't made it worse.  Plenty of livestock guardian dogs are fed a raw diet of sorts, and still able to guard the animals that they have been entrusted to do so.  

It will not make your dogs "turn on you."  I regularly offer my dogs my hands to lick if they are nearby when I am prepping or portioning out their raw food.  They gently lick my fingers, and know that my fingers are not food.

Wolves Only Live to be 6 or 7 Years Old
Sadly, this is true.  However, it is not the diet of wild wolves that causes them to have a shortened lifespan.  Wild wolves die of starvation, attack by other wolves, injuries and disease (source.) 

Captive wolves regularly live to 12-14 years old or older.  Wolf Park in Battleground, Indiana, is a captive wolf educational facility.  They have several wolves who have lived to be 14+ years old, including Kiri, who was 19 years old (!) when they made the decision for  him.

Many other arguments against raw feeding exist, and I have heard some of them.  Fortunately, I have yet to have a vet question it.  Instead, it is always other dog owners.  Many dog owners, while not raw feeders themselves, are supportive of those who do feed raw.

I do not attempt to pressure or push people to feed raw or fresh foods.  I just make information available.  If one researches what is best for their animals, and are doing what they feel is best, than I support them.  However, I will encourage including some fresh (raw or real cooked foods) in any dog's diet.

Further Reading
5 Raw Feeding Myths by Kimberly at Keep the Tail Wagging
Raw Feeding Resources
How I Feed Raw 


  1. Honestly as raw is as near to nature as one can get we cannot understand an argument against it. Each to their own we say. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. I don't know much about raw feeding, but have been interested in it for quite some time. The only thing stopping me is not having the time to prepare the meals like that. I was one who was worried about the whole salmonella poisoning, but I did do some research and found out all of the things you have just clarified. I agree that a lot of the skeptics seem slightly paranoid, and a little ridiculous!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  3. I love that you found the Jack Lalanne video! I would have guessed that raw feeding was a newer "fad" too, but that right there proves it's not. I believe everything you said, and honestly, I might be a little paranoid of salmonella. I know I shouldn't hubby is a meat cutter! My biggest thing though is having the time to do it. I barely find time to cook healthy meals for my hubby and myself, and it just seems like one more thing I'd be stressing about having the time to do.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  4. Hey, this is very informative! 8D I make homemade for Rara, some for Lancer, but usually just cooked chicken breast and the like, mixed in with other kinds of healthy whatnots.

    ALSO, that is a gorgeous photo. Gawjus.

  5. Sometimes our pups get some raw pieces for our case I guess it would be expense (my pups eat a lot!). So we have them on a super high quality kibble that uses human grade ingredients, grain free, corn free, soy free, and they love it!

  6. Yep, I cracked up (inside) when my mom told me that I'd make our dogs bloodthirsty. I've heard so many different myths and I'm looking forward to collecting more at an event I'll be attending this weekend.

    Thanks for the mention :)

  7. I think this is great. And I think that it's hard for some people to accept the fact that this type of feeding method is OK. For me, I think my biggest worry is that people aren't giving their dog the vitamins/minerals they need in their diet because they don't know enough about it. With more variety, you're probably covering your basis. But if you just feed your dog a chicken leg everyday for it's whole life, I'm sure that's got to have detrimental effects. I've met some people before who have fed their dogs some pretty weird stuff. Usually people who try to make homecooked diets, not raw feeders.

  8. I appreciate how your post leaves room to meet and even accommodate individuals where they are. Due to some of the work I involve my dogs in they aren't allowed to eat raw meat. While their diet is based on kibble I incorporate veggies, fruits, occasional grains and some lightly cooked meat. They're very thankful for it!

  9. Lovely write up! :D

    I've been to the wolf park multiple times great place anyone want to learn about wolves in the area check it out.. I seen Kiri multiple times and was there for birthday and he got around for his age. he was bit slow coarse being old you could tell he was old..

    I always show people the page of wolf park memorial whenever they use the wolves don't live long argument on why raw is bad.

    The wolves there get deer, cow, rabbit and something else I forgot what they said they all get, but those are what I remember.

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Thanks for the howls!!