Warning! This blog post is a full on rant. If you are a person who promotes a kibble diet for dogs, you will be offended by this post.
Earlier this week, the Facebook raw feeding community caught fire as the series, ‘Trust Me, I'm a Vet,' took on raw feeding and BBC Radio Scotland shared their video.
Usually, these types of stories don't light me up because I'm used to the veterinarian community and Big Pet Food whining about us crazy raw feeders. But the timing of this series is curious because Pet Fooled, a documentary written and directed by Kohl Harrington and featuring Dr. Karen Becker, is also catching fire. Pet Fooled exposes the commercial pet food industry, showing us what's really going into pet food, something that has gone largely unchallenged until now (Source: IMDB).
I've received so many new followers – Welcome!!! – because people “just finished watching this movie about dog food” and now want to feed raw.
Pet Fooled is Now Available on NetFlix
Watching the BBC Radio Scotland special, I wanted to respond to many of their claims with a little reality.
Conclusive Evidence About Raw Feeding
While the big pet food brands and the AVMA haven't sponsored a study on raw feeding (that would be like shooting themselves in the face), there have been studies and had the folks of BBC Radio Scotland taken the time to truly research raw feeding they would have found the following:
- 2003 study conducted by Lippert and Sapy studied 500 dogs over a 5 year period
- 2005 study conducted at Purdue University on Scottish Terriers
- 2016 New Zealand dog diet study a wake-up call for dog nutrition
- On Going: Long Living Pets Projects
They could have also spoken to the many holistic veterinarians – also scientists – who support raw feeding?
Stop Knocking Anecdotal Evidence
Everyone keeps poo-pooing anecdotal evidence as if it doesn't count. So I guess it's just a coincidence that so many of us who are raising dogs that had a laundry list of health issues while on a kibble diet saw those health problems clear up and vanish once we transitioned our dogs to raw dog food. Or maybe it's witchcraft.
Why is it that people are so against natural food for dogs yet the medical community is telling us, the humans, to stop eating so much processed foods and sugars?
Is Raw Food Food Safe?
“Raw meat is known to contain many different kinds of bacteria.” Yeah, no shit, Sherlock. What the BBC Radio Scotland report failed to share is that dogs are equipped with antibacterial properties in their saliva and for the bacteria that makes it to the gut, well, they have a lovely environment waiting for them. A dog's gut is highly acidic, making it an unpleasant place for bacteria to set up camp and plan a Burning Man event. And a dog's short digestive tract processes raw quickly, not giving much of the bacteria time to even plan that event.
Yes, raw dog food is safe. What we should be asking is if kibble is safe. Is it safe to feed dogs a food that uses the most inferior ingredients a brand can find, that cooks the food several times to create a hard pebble for dogs to consume, and then injects loads of synthetic (aka FAKE) vitamins and minerals in the food (all cheap and questionably sourced) into the food to meet standards created by the big pet food giants who want us to believe that corn and feathers are healthy for our dogs?????
Dogs Can Spread Bacteria Around Your Home
Yep, dogs are disgusting creatures. So are their humans. But let's start with the dogs.
- kibble contains salmonella – remember all the recalls?
- dogs lick and eat disgusting things when they're out and about
- dogs do shed salmonella – even when they eat kibble
Now let's talk about humans. Did you know that we track all kinds of crap into our home, including “crap?” If you have a dog, then you've stepped in dog poop. I rinse my shoes off with the hose, but that doesn't remove every minute particle of dog poop. We're tracking bacteria and toxins all around our home just like our dogs. I don't know about you, but…
- I DON'T EAT OFF THE FLOOR
- I CLEAN MY HOUSE (MOPPING AND VACUUMING EVERY OTHER DAY)
- I WASH MY HANDS
- I WASH MY COUNTERTOPS, SINKS, DISHES, AND DOG DISHES
After serving a meal of raw dog food, bacteria is EVERYWHERE. I wonder if they did this experiment after I made a turkey dinner, what they'd find.
A Raw Feeder's Sanitary Practices
After I mix up a week's worth of raw or after I make my dogs' raw meals, I do the following:
I Wash My Hands
I wash my hands; several times if I'm making a week's worth of raw because I don't want to touch other surfaces with raw meat and blood on my hands. I use dish soap, and I wash my hands thoroughly under warm to hot water.
I Wash All Utensils, Bowls, and Dishes
Using the same dish soap and hot water, I wash all of the utensils used to prepare raw meals for my dogs. I wash the dog dishes by hand daily and run them through the dishwasher once a week. Confession time – sometimes I skip a day or two with washing the dog dishes. Bring on the pitch forks now!!!!
I Wash the Countertops and Sinks; I Mop the Floor
I wipe down the countertops and wash the sinks with a cleaning solution (nothing fancy). After I finish mixing a large batch of raw dog food, I mop the kitchen floor.
I Wash My Clothes
Every other Sunday, you'll find me making raw dog food wearing my favorite hoodie and sweats. I'm covered in raw meat. It all goes in the wash when I'm finished. I choose not to go out on the town dripping in blood and guts. Just a personal preference.
My Dogs Eat from Raised Dishes
My dogs have been trained to eat from their raised dishes. They eat ground raw and whole duck necks, all from raised dishes. They don't eat on the sofa, area rugs, or on their beds.
So As a Blogger and Pet Owner…
Raw feeding is not a fad. Raw dog food is species appropriate, which means that it's what our dogs are meant to eat. Just because dog food brands are using images of wolves running through the forest and claiming that their kibble satisfies the “wild” drive, doesn't make it true. It makes it a marketing ploy that dog owners need to ignore if they want their dogs to live longer, happier, healthier lives.
Raw Dog Food
Kibble Dog Food
|Digestibility||Raw is easier to digest because it's species appropriate, which means that our dogs are getting all of their vitamins and minerals naturally.||Kibble is hard to digest because it's over processed, contains synthetic vitamins that are difficult to absorb, and are filled with grains and starches that aren't natural for a dog's diet.|
|Immune System Health||The digestive system is closely tied to the immune system and when fed raw dog food, a dog's digestive and immune system are healthier. This is why we see fewer allergies and other health issues.||If you have a dog that has food allergies, environmental allergies, itchy skin, dull coat, itchy paws, and chronic ear infections – it's because of the food. Their immune system is fighting without its natural back-up – a healthy gut.|
|Dog Poop Size and Smell||On a balanced raw food diet our dogs' poop is smaller and less smelly because they are using all of the nutrients in their food.||On a kibble diet, our dogs have big, nasty poops because their body is pushing out a ton of ingredients that aren't useful to their system. That's your money your scooping up in the yard. What a waste!|
|Teeth and Breath||Our dogs enjoy raw meaty bones and recreational bones to clean their teeth, strengthen their jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles, and satisfy their chew drive. Their clean white teeth also come with the added benefit of fresh breath.||Does your dog's breath smell like he or she ate something rotten? That's because your dog has an unhealthy gut and a foul mouth. The pet industry will sell you fake teeth cleaning “treats” made with questionable ingredients that just add to the problem.|
|The Cost of Feeding Dogs||Today, I spend $250-$300/month on food, supplements, toys, and supplies on four dogs that weigh between 60-75 pounds.
And I now spend about $300/year on veterinarian care for blood work for all the dogs.
|When I fed kibble, I spent $300+/month on food, supplements, toys, and supplies for three dogs that weighed between 45-75 pounds. On top of this cost, I also paid vet bills between $50-$100 every other month to treat allergies, digestive issues, rashes, joint issues, and ear infections.|
Give it Up People! We Win, You Lose!
We know that raw dog food is better for our dogs. We know that your crap kibble is killing our dogs. And we're going to keep educating people about how to feed their dogs a diet of fresh food despite your FEAR (false evidence appearing real) tactics.
I've kept mainly silent about this in the past, but I'm tired of being silent.
- I am tired of seeing bloggers, publicists, and pet professionals promoting kibble as species appropriate.
- I'm tired of seeing people celebrating taking money from these brands (my biggest regret).
- I'm tired of kibble brands co-opting raw by adding a few freeze-dried protein bits to their food and calling it raw.
- I'm tired of people condemning raw feeders and telling their community that kibble is superior.
Yes, I understand that not everyone has the time, know-how, or resources to feed a raw diet to their dogs. I do believe most people, when given the information about what our dogs are being fed and how it's impacting their health, will find a way. I believe that we have a responsibility to give our dogs the best and the best is raw, not kibble. Every time I see someone promoting a kibble brand as beneficial for dogs, my heart breaks because I think of my dogs and many other dogs and their lives when they fed kibble. I think of how sick they were, I think of the diagnosis of a shorter life dog owners received, I remember how helpless I felt.
To continue to perpetuate the myth that kibble is superior to raw and that raw is dangerous just to collect a paycheck from kibble brands is irresponsible and infuriating.
You know they're desperate if they've reduced their argument against raw feeding to “you're too stupid to clean your kitchen so you shouldn't feed raw.”
What You Can Do to Help Raise Awareness of Raw Feeding
Please help us educate the dog lover community about the benefits of raw feeding. You don't have to be a blogger or vlogger and you don't have to have a large social media following. You just need to do the following:
- Participate open-minded discussions in our groups! I have a group called the Raw Feeders “Kicked Out” Club.
- Share our blog posts! If you have a favorite blogger (I hope it's me) share our blog posts, social media posts, and videos.
- Tell your friends about our blogs, videos, and workshops! Help us spread the word about the information we share.
- Post a review of Pet Fooled! Amazon, Netflix, and every other site that accepts reviews – head over and leave yours.
- Comment on our social media shares! Facebook likes to see comments and shares, the more you comment and share, the more people Facebook will allow to see our posts.
This is not about condemning people who feed kibble. It's about educating the pet lover community about what's in the kibble they feed and how to make kibble healthier and how to transition to a fresh food, raw diet.
If you'd like to learn more about raw feeding, check out my series Raw Feeding from A to Z which will be published as an eBook in June and subscribe to my free monthly newsletter. Also, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, I am hosting a raw feeding seminar on Saturday, May 28, 2017.