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“When they go low, we go high.”Michelle Obama
Several times a year, someone writes a press release about the dangers of raw feeding and sends it to hundreds of online publications to publish. I've noticed an interesting pattern. When one of the large kibble brands has negative press, the press releases about raw feeding serve to distract the public. In 2019, we learned that one kibble brand has toxic levels of Vitamin D and another has toxic levels of lead.
Already, I've received several emails from people who are “confused” about raw feeding. What's the message this time? We're now being warned that not only is raw feeding unbalanced and ridden with deadly bacteria – if we kiss our dogs (or let them lick us) we're going to contract a deadly disease and die.
Paraphrasing here, but that's the gist of it.
On the heels of these articles, I receive loads of emails and Facebook “tagging” notifications. And there are loads of discussions with tons of comments from raw feeders expressing their outrage, anger, and frustration over the #FakeNews.
- Trust Me, I'm a Raw Feeder
- Bloomberg|My Dog Isn't a Wolf, But He Isn't a Rabbit Either
- 7 Reasons Psychology Today Knows Dick About Raw Feeding
- Psychology Today Says Raw Feeding is an Eating Disorder
I used to fight back with words. Writing blog posts to combat the information being put out there, but today, I'm silent. Why? Because these “articles” aren't going to stop. I'm tired of being angry (aren't you?); it's terrible for our health to hold on to negativity. And I figured out a better way to combat the #FakeNews.
When They Go Low, We Go High
I posted this in my old raw feeding group once and someone stated something like “if I would have known that this was a group run by snowflakes, I would never have joined.” Good Lord, People, can we stop already?
I have great admiration for Michelle Obama and although she said this quote when speaking about bipartisan bickering, it can be used to address so many conflicts, including the conflict in the pet food industry and in the raw feeding community.
Instead of writing sarcastic blog posts, instead of participating in drama filled discussions on social media, instead of attacking a stranger's character for publishing these “articles,” I've decided to use this as an opportunity to educate people.
I have a Google Alert set up for “raw feeding,” and when I see these posts come through, I have a canned response that I can add in the comments section or send to the author via email. These articles are all pretty much the same, word for word, but I respond to them all (or as many as I can) anyway.
My Email to the Author
I read your article about raw feeding for pets and wanted to offer an alternative point of view. My name is Kimberly and I’m raising four dogs and a cat on a raw food diet. I switched my dogs to raw in April 2013 and my cat has been feeding raw for a year (he was harder to transition and I gave up many times). There is a lot of information on the Internet about raw feeding and I quickly became overwhelmed and confused when I began researching how to switch my pets. That confusion inspired me to start blogging about raw feeding and today I manage Keep the Tail Wagging®, one of the largest blogs on raw feeding, and I published a book sharing my experience as a raw feeder, A Novice’s Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs.
Like many pet parents, I transitioned my dogs to raw dog food because one of my dogs kept getting sick and his veterinarian didn’t have a solution other than antibiotics. When the vet told me that my dog would live a short life, I saw this as him giving up, but I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. I had heard about raw feeding and decided to give it a try. Within two weeks of feeding my dogs a partial raw diet (commercial raw in the morning, kibble in the evening), most of his health issues had vanished. Today, he’s lived twice as long as his first veterinarian predicted. Imagine how many pets have died unnecessarily because someone refused to explore alternative medicine and natural diets.
I understand that there is a concern about bacteria and balanced nutrition and I believe that the concern is valid. I like to call myself a DIY raw feeder, which means that I make most of my dogs’ food at home. I practice safe food handling habits by washing my hands and thoroughly cleaning the kitchen and washing my dogs’ dishes to avoid the spread of bacteria. With regard to balancing my dogs’ diet, I did a lot of homework, worked with several veterinarians and nutritionists, and created a nutrient spreadsheet for my dogs. Also, I have my dogs nutrient levels tested annually to make sure I’m covering everything they need.
As humans, we’ve come to understand that eating a diet of processed foods on a daily basis isn’t healthy. Raw feeders have taken this understanding one step further as we see kibble as a processed food and believe that feeding it on a daily basis contributes to many of the health issues we’re seeing in our dogs. I don’t believe that kibble is all bad; I believe that our failure to add fresh food to our dogs’ diet is the problem. Therefore, I recommend raw feeding, home cooking, and adding fresh vegetable and cooked ground meat to a kibble. All of these, in my opinion, can help to improve a dog’s life.
With regard to the threat of bacteria, please remember that the same threat exists with kibble and pre-washed salad. We have a tendency to forget other salmonella and E.coli recalls and focus solely on raw feeding and I look forward to your article that explores why this is the case. If you're concerned about salmonella, kissing kibble fed dogs comes with a risk as well.
Thank you for your time.
Keep the Tail Wagging®
A Novice’s Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs
Founder of National Raw Feeding Week, April 1 – 7, 2019
Leaving comments and sending emails to people who don't appear to care about the facts of the stories they're publishing may seem like a colossal waste of time, but I do it anyway because the belief that raw feeding is dangerous makes sense. It sounds crazy to feed our dogs and cats raw meat. It's easy to believe that this is a screwy trend. So I send my emails and leave my comments because I hope that someone (the author, their boss, a reader) will see the comment and be inspired to dig a little deeper.
So far, I've received three emails thanking me for sharing my point of view. One person at a time, that's how we'll get them, one person at a time.
Share Content on Raw Feeding
Recently, I was informed a video by a veterinarian student who is telling people to stop feeding raw meat to their pets. When I saw the video, it had over 500 comments and 12,000 views. Today, it's now being recommended to me by YouTube because of all of the activity.
Guess what! Every comment (positive or negative), every reaction (thumbs up or thumbs down), and every share increases the video's rankings when I'm certain that the folks reacting/responding would like to see the opposite happen.
So, please do me a favor and head over to my response video and give it a thumbs up, leave a comment, and share it on social media so that we have equal space and people who are trying to educate themselves about raw feeding come across more than an anti-raw video.
Let's work together to turn their negativity into a positive boost for fresh food and our dogs and cats.