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  #1  
Old 04-18-2007, 12:15 PM
Gempress Gempress is offline
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Question Is raw for real?

Hmmm. With all these recalls going on, I was debating about starting Zeus on a raw diet. But after doing some reading, I don't know what to think.

My biggest issue is this: the raw sites I've seen smack of a fad. Many of these sites are a bit too propagandaish for my taste. Talking about the "toxins" and horrible things in kibble....if these sites are to be believed, then every dog on the planet that eats kibble should be dropping dead in their tracks.

I'm the type of person who takes nothing at face value; show me the facts. But the raw sites I've seen show little to no evidence of anything. Their content strikes me as very emotional "return to nature" appeals with no real substance.

And there are some very big inconsistancies. One says that dogs will be fine on a diet of chicken. Another says that a large variety in the meat sources is extremely important. Heck, there isn't even agreement over whether dogs need veggies or not. And I don't know if I feel comfortable putting my dog on a diet where people can't even agree on the fundamentals.

But on the contrary, I've seen several sites that show some X-rays of dogs that have been fed raw. You can see all the bone fragments lodged in their stomachs. It was horrible.

They say that dogs fed raw are very healthy and have beautiful coats. But frankly, I can't say that I can tell the difference between a raw-fed dog and one on a good-quality kibble. Many show breeders feed kibble, and their dogs certainly don't seem to suffer for it.

I don't know. Maybe I'm too much of a skeptic. But I just don't know about this raw thing.

Am I the only one who feels this way?
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Old 04-18-2007, 12:30 PM
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We did feel skeptical for a long time, now we're switching to raw feeding.

All I can tell you for sure is what we've seen first hand. Our handler feeds only raw and she has for 15 years or so. Beau was on high quality kibble his entire life and he's looked great on it. During the months he was raw fed, he looked better than I could have imagined. He gained a ton of muscle mass, his fringe looked thicker, his coat was amazing. He was in a condition that I truely believe is impossible to achieve on kibble. It's impossible to show you the difference in pictures, most of it had to do with muscle mass and such. Since he's been back from showing and on kibble, he's lost weight and his fringe has suffered again. His eyes stopped watering on raw too.

Beau on raw:


Before showing and being raw fed:


It's hard to really see a difference on him since he's long coated.

It's confusing with so much discrepancy in the websites, I agree. We'll probably model our feeding after Jackie's feeding plan as it seemed to work wonders. I really think it's the best for our dogs.
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Old 04-18-2007, 12:34 PM
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My dogs have been raw fed since the early 90s.

It is not a fad.

I do feel that just like in most healthy diets for any animal, variety is important.

I use very little vegetable material, and almost no grains except on pregnant and lactating bitches, and growing puppies, who need more carbs.

A good site for education is http://www.rawlearning.com
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Old 04-18-2007, 12:39 PM
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You aren't the only one who feels that way, there are many others. I did a lot of research before I started our dogs on raw. You have to be comfortable with feeding that way. After the research I did, talking with other people who fed raw, and weighing the options, I decided it was the best way to feed my dogs. You have to admit, if you read the sites that talk about how kibble is made and what is allowed and used by many brands, it makes you think hard about what to feed. How meat is rendered, what is allowed to be rendered, all of that stuff, is not propaganda, it's for real. I don't think it's valid to say that dogs should be dropping dead left and right, but it's more of a long term thing. Our dog Midnite had a large tumor on her spleen that probably was her cause of death. She had other fatty type tumors under her skin. Could those have been the result of 11 years of feeding Pedigree? Possibly. How many dogs suffer allergies and other ailments from the bad ingredients in dog food?

I wouldn't believe a site that says feed your dog nothing but chicken. Do you have a link to that one? I'd be interested in seeing it. Raw feeding isn't the same as feeding one kibble for years on end since kibble is supposed to be nutritionally complete. With raw you have to make sure your dog is getting proper nutrients, and that comes with variety- organ meats, various sources of muscle meats, different raw meaty bone sources. Eggs, fish, vitamin supplements. I don't see a need for any veggies in my dogs diets. I use pumpkin if they get stools that are too hard or get the runs, but that's the only veggie they get and only when needed. You can read the theories on how wild dogs/wolves eat the stomach contents of their prey, and you can read about how they don't eat it because it would be bitter tasting from digestive juices. Mainly what will be eaten 1st is organs like the liver and heart, other organs, then the muscle meat, then the bones. The stomach contents would be very little and would consist mainly of grasses in most cases, not corn, wheat, rice or other commercially produced grains.

In 2 years of raw feeding 3 dogs, we had one incident with bones, with Bruzer. It was my own fault for allowing him to keep eating a piece that could choke him. Many of the sites that show these xrays are anti raw and will pick the pictures that support their cause. I recently saw on craigslist and anti raw post by someone who posted pictures of their dog that had to be operated on because of eating a bone. It was a hard rec knuckle bone, not a bone that you'd feed your dog in his dinner. Again, keeping an eye on the dog while it had it's bone would have prevented the problem. They probably gave it the bone and went to work or something and left the dog unattended for hours. Dogs choke on more than just bones, they choke on kibble, they bloat from kibble, they choke on rocks, balls, socks, all kinds of things. To single out bones as a leading cause of injury is irresponsible. You also have to take into consideration that the most of bone ingestion problems are from being fed cooked bones. How many people give their dog the steak bone, the ham bone, etc? Many. Those cooked bones are the bad ones because they have chemically changed and are not as digestible as a raw bone, and they don't break the same way. They splinter vs crush, and that is where you can have problems.

Do some more research. Talk to people who have fed raw to their dogs. It's not as much of a fad as you might think, and most people who feed this way are not fanatics, they are level headed people who have taken a great interest in their dogs nutrition and health and have made an informed choice on how to best feed their pets.
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Old 04-18-2007, 12:42 PM
Saje Saje is offline
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There are a lot of hoaky sites out there and I wouldn't trust any that said "all kibble is bad..." or "raw is the only way to go..."

But... I fed raw for a year and my dogs did great on it. And did they ever love it!!!! I'd go back to it in a heartbeat if it was easier for me to get enough food for the dogs but I've got some big pups!!!

Maybe you'd feel better looking at some of the books mordy has recommended in the past?
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Old 04-18-2007, 12:49 PM
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I too am one who finds too many clashing things in the RAW feeding. People say that dogs are immune to salmonella yet vets say otherwise and if they are then why did we have pets getting sick from the contaminated food that did have salmonella ?
Animals that are wild eat bones hair and all. The hair wraps around the bone shards in the digestive tract allowing them to pass through without incident.
I have done my own tests on bones and raw or cooked they have sharp shards that I do not feel comfortable allowing my dog to have inside them.
I have been adjectivally studding and performing my own tests and to me the risk of raw just is not worth the claimed benefits. I personally am not going to do it until it is proven 100 ***37; to me. There are too many contradictions in it. I will not say it is wrong though because I am not a vet or dietitian so I have to rely on what is sensible to me and what is logical to me and what makes me feel that I am doing the right thing. I have to take the input of those who treat my dogs for tumors, viruses and the like as if they know what they are doing. A vet who can remove a tumor , fix broken bones, repair hernias and the like I must assume knows when he pulls bones out of an animals digestive tract. JMO
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Old 04-18-2007, 12:58 PM
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Personally I think the hair wrapped around the bone theory isn't very accurate. It would depend on how the dog eats the food. For example, Daisy will strip all the meat off of the bone and then eat the bone. So if there were skin/hair on that, she'd get it when she stripped the meat. Gunnar might benefit from that because he'll start at one end of a big hunk and work to the other end, eating bone and meat all at the same time. I'd think that a more reasonable explanation would be that the bone pieces have meat on them. I do agree that some bones can be pretty sharp. Mostly pork necks can have some sharp edges. I don't feed those or break the sharp points off. I can tell you that chicken bones dissolve very easily. In the cases where one of ours barfs up a piece of bone, it's always soft and rubbery. Daisy threw up a piece the other day that was like paper mache, it crumbled when I tested it.

I thought the dogs that got sick from the contaminiated food were sick from the chemicals in it, not salmonella? I saw one recall about salmonella but I think the risk was more for people who would handle it and transmit it to themselves. I can't imagine a food more susceptible to salmonella than raw chicken, and it's a staple in our dog's diet. None of them have ever been sick from it. We take great caution in preparing the raw food, and clean up thoroughly.

Also, I'm not doubting that vets pull bones out of dogs. What I'd be interested in knowing is how many of those dogs are raw fed and how many of the bones were actual raw bones. Throwing your pedigree fed dog the bone from your steak dinner is probably a more common reason for the vet to be involved in pulling out bones than a carefully managed raw diet program.

We've had discussions in the past about what kind of nutritional training most vets get. It's not much and mostly is seminars given by pet food companies. Do you think they are going to recommend a diet that takes money away from them? Also, there are many vets out there who support raw diets.
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Old 04-18-2007, 01:04 PM
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One thing I would like to point out is that some raw sites claim that you don't have to worry about salmonella and other bacteria if you use human grade meat. OH CONTRAIRE. Consumer Reports tested chicken in January and found the eight out of ten contained dangerous bacteria. (All human grade chickens from the supermarket.) Not only that, but organic chicken was MORE LIKELY to be infected.

Linkie: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/c...erm=salmonella

Now, eating a piece of salmonella-infected chicken doesn't automatically mean you (or your pet) will get salmonella. I ate cookie dough containing raw eggs all the time as a child because my mom didn't know about the risk of salmonella at the time.

BUT it's important that people realize that it IS a risk, even if it's a small one, so that they can make the choice that's best for their individual pet.
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Old 04-18-2007, 01:07 PM
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Well, technically with salmonella and E. coli they are both found naturally in humans (I assume it's the same with dogs). the risk is just depending on how much we have in us. Chicken does increase the risk of salmonella I know.

At least those are the words coming from my Microbiology prof.
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Old 04-18-2007, 01:08 PM
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Dogs are also much better equipped to deal with salmonella than humans are. Their digestion is much stronger and faster than ours.
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