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Fighting the Fads
Everyone involved with the sale of pet foods will have been harangued about it. In every walk of medicine fads and crazes come along and the vocal minority can cause a lot of harm. One of the most frustrating is the raw food craze.
We will all have heard that we ‘only sell foods to make money’ and been told about the evils of processed food. People don’t realise that part of the increase in the life expectancy of our pets these days will be down to good nutrition. Let’s take a look at fad vs facts and see where you can help those misguided souls.
· It’s natural. It’s true to say that dogs’ ancestors ate raw foods. So did humans but we’ve both lost our ability to cope with this kind of diet. I’ve seen countless dogs fed raw meat with horrendous diarrhoea as a result. I once saw a dog recommended raw bones by a holistic vet for dental disease. As well as chronic diarrhoea, the dog’s mouth, gums and tongue were lacerated and infected and the resulting anaesthetic the owners had been trying to avoid for his teeth was twice as long as it could have been.
· It’s balanced. Wild dogs eat various parts of the carcass including stomach contents as well as grasses. Feeding just raw meat doesn’t achieve this balance. Some raw foods claim to be complete but the danger is that messages get lost and owners end up feeding totally unbalanced diets. I recently came across a litter of large breed puppies which had been fed purely raw mince. They were brought in with bladder stones at only 8 weeks of age and were certainly in danger of growth defects because of such a high phosphorous diet.
· Wild relatives of dogs still live on this diet. An undisputable fact but they are at the same risks from these foods as our pet dogs. Broken teeth, impactions and in some cases perforated guts can range from painful to lethal. None of us want to see this happen to our animals.
· Human and animal health. Raw food diets pose the risk of diseases and parasites like salmonella, campylobacter, Toxoplasma and Toxocara. All these things can cause serious harm to animals and humans alike.
So, yes, I suppose I do make some money from recommending good quality pet food. I’d pick that any day over money made from unnecessary anaesthetics, pathological fractures, deformities, gastritis and suffering though! I think we can all feel happy to sell these foods not because of the money but because it is simply the right thing to do for the animals in our care.