You’ve probably seen this super viral diet in some form or another on your #foryoupage, but do you really know what that entails? Here, we break down the somewhat controversial eating practice. Like always, we recommend that you consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet.
What is the raw diet?
Raw feeding involves serving your dog fully raw ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and meat. There are often caricatures of dogs gnawing raw steaks in kitsch cartoons, but the idea behind raw eating makes them kind of come true. Also, think about richer proteins like livers, hearts, and whole duck heads in a pet’s bowl for dinner, all of which are meant to help your pet’s gut bacteria. People are now obsessed with making beautiful plates full of raw food to present to their pets.
How popular is it? And Why?
Raw food is incredibly popular in Australia because that’s where the whole concept was founded. Dr Ian Billinghurst is credited as one of its founders.
Billinghurst told Delish:
When you buy your new car which has been designed by its manufacturer to run with original spare parts, the right fuel, oil and maintenance, and you go to your local mechanic who says “N never use those original spare parts, the right fuel, oil and maintenance as they are all dangerous and will destroy your car, do you believe? Do you go ahead and watch your car deteriorate ahead of its time using these wise tips? Our pets are no different. They have an evolutionarily designed genome that requires whole raw foods.
This belief, along with the virality of platforms like TikTok, explains why raw food has its time. Daniel Thomas, founder Chefs & Dogs with his girlfriend after using holistic methods to treat one of their dogs for an autoimmune disease, has racked up over 1.8 million followers on Instagram and TikTok.
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On both platforms, he posts insanely complex meals for his dogs (he has three: two kelpies and a border collie, all rescues) that look so good you almost want to grab your screen and grab a bite to eat. -even … until you realize what ingredients they’re actually made of. I’m talking about lasagna made with raw kangaroo, pumpkin and beans and an ice cream cone made with bananas, peanut butter and beef liver. Thomas’s dogs love birthday cakes (made with salmon and yogurt) and bubble tea (with bone broth and mango).
Do vets recommend it?
The concept of raw food is tricky. Dr Gary Richter, a veterinarian specializing in holistic approaches and founder of Ultimate Pet Nutrition, says traditional vets tend to disagree overwhelmingly with the concept of raw food. “The dominant opinion in the veterinary profession is that raw food is a terrible idea,” he said.
More traditional veterinary professionals, like Dr. Jerry Klein, who is the chief veterinarian of the American Kennel Club, strongly disagree with the trend. Klein told Delish that the CDC doesn’t recommend raw feeding, so pet owners should take this into consideration before getting started. “This can be problematic if you have young children or people in the home who may be immunocompromised,” he said.
Why is this so controversial?
The main reason raw eating is so controversial is the risk that pets (and, more likely, their owners) will contract food-borne illnesses. Among these threats are infections like salmonella and listeria, which are often the cause of mass food recalls. the FDA encourages pet owners to take precautions if opting for raw diets, such as freezing raw meats until ready to serve, safely disposing of uneaten leftovers, sanitizing all surfaces involved in food preparation and not letting your dog lick or “kiss” you after eating. The latter can be the most difficult to follow.
How can I start to feed my raw animal?
For those who really want to experience feeding their own pet raw, Thomas says seeing a holistic vet is the first step, just like a human would see a nutritionist. From there, you can start by trying little tricks like soaking your dog’s treats to relieve dehydration and adding leftovers from your own dinner to their bowls.
Per Thomas: “If you’re doing something for yourself, save leftovers, soak your dog’s cookies, add little pieces of meat here and there. It doesn’t have to be scary or overnight. “
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