Dr. Ruth Roberts, DVM, CVA, CVH, CVFT
Feeding your pet whole foods is a great way to avoid the mysterious and possibly dangerous ingredients that find their way into commercial pet food. Many pet parents opt for raw or home cooked diets to feed their furry friend wholesome foods. Unfortunately, raw food may cause just as many problems as commercial food. Here’s why.
The big problem with raw food lies in the preparation, or lack thereof
Rest assured, feeding your pet whole food via a raw diet is a step up from commercially made, bagged or canned foods. Usually, raw diets allow you to see clearly what your pet is eating, and there are very few mystery ingredients. Whole foods will always be better for your pet than over processed or unhealthy ingredients.
The theories behind a raw diet are pure of heart, for all means and intent. This type of diet is intended to deliver vitamins and nutrients to a pet, without unhealthy “fillers” (foods that will make an animal feel full, but lack nutritional value). But the big problem with raw food lies in the preparation, or complete lack thereof.
The Real Risk for Illness
Let’s flip the script for a moment. Would you yourself eat raw meat, as the main component of your diet? Why not?
It should come as no surprise that almost all of the raw commercial foods that are recalled (and many of even the coked versions) are due to Salmonella or E. Coli contamination. Yikes.
Even with proper food handling techniques, raw meat still carries bacteria on its surface. E. Coli, Salmonella and even some parasites hang out on the surface of whole cuts of meat and poultry, and are found all throughout ground raw meats.
When we cook meat properly (through any process), those bacteria are destroyed, making the food safe to consume. And while our bodies, and our pet’s, are equipped to deal with small amounts of bacteria, large amounts will cause a serious problem.
Salmonella infection can cause lots of nasty symptoms for your pet. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever/chills, and bloody stool are common with this infection. While most symptoms will usually resolve in a few days, your pet could also need professional medical treatment. Even then, the digestive tract will take many weeks to return to a healthy, normal state.
Sometimes, these bacterial infections can even be asymptomatic. This spells out bad news for YOU and your family (not just your poor pet), as you can become ill by handling your pet supplies, letting them lick you, or handling their waste.
Furthermore, if salmonella bacteria make their way to the bloodstream (which is likely if the infection goes undetected and untreated), other tissues of the body can become infected – including Fluffy’s vital organs.
Raw is Hard to Digest
In the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine and food energetics (which is the baseline for The Original CrockPet Diet), most raw foods are considered “cool” foods. And while it’s good to have a balance of hot and cool foods in your pet’s diet, feeding all cold foods will create an extra challenge for their digestive tract.
The majority of raw foods, veggies and fruit especially, contain lots of cellulose and other fibrous structures. Your pet’s GI tract can’t always break these foods down properly or completely, so their awesome nutrients are often wasted.
Most animals’ stomachs are not designed by nature to digest raw foods (fun fact: cows have multiple stomachs to handle the load of raw material they eat). As dogs and cats have only one little stomach, their GI system must put in serious overtime to break down the hard-to-process foods in a raw diet.
If your pet exerts too much energy for digestion, there is less left over to support the rest of their body and vital organs. Over time, the digestive tract will become weak due to overexertion. This can lead to indigestion, bloating, constipation or loose stools, malnutrition, weight gain, food allergies and even a lowered immune system.
Cooking your pet’s food breaks down the fibers in the raw ingredients, making them easier to digest. Think of the cooking process as a “pre-digestion” process. While cooking makes raw fiber more digestible, it still leaves plenty of fiber and nutrients in the final product. In fact, they will be better absorbed and create healthier GI function for your pet.
Bones found in raw diets can also pose a serious health risk for your pet. Splintering is common (especially with poultry) and can lead to intestinal perforation, blockage, broken teeth and many other painful issues for your pet.
The Home Cooked Solution
Those who support raw diets claim many health benefits, including improved dental health of resolved food allergies. However, these same perks can be achieved with a home cooked diet, without any risk of illness or contamination.
Cooking your pet’s food with a balanced diet like The Original CrockPet Diet gives you the freedom to select the ingredients, while also ensuring food safety. You don’t need to worry about food sensitivities or potential allergens in your pet’s food, and can even help reverse those sensitivities through proper ingredient rotation.
Providing your pet with an anti-inflammatory diet is much easier when you create it yourself at home. The Original CrockPet Diet was created to help reduce inflammation associated with many health conditions, restoring your pet’s health and improving their digestion.
While cooked food is much softer than raw ingredients, it actually encourages chewing – which means increased saliva output and cleaner teeth! Offering healthy, crunchy snacks (like carrots, apples or broccoli stems) in small amounts between meals can also help remove plaque and keep teeth and gums healthy.
The Right Food for Good Health
The food your pet eats affects their digestive tract directly and immediately, but it also controls your pet’s overall health. A healthy digestive system sets the stage for a healthy body, delivering all of the nutrients derived from the healthy foods your pet eats. The best way to create great health for your pet is by feeding them great food.
You know you can’t buy good health at any store – and it definitely doesn’t come in a bag or a can. Home cooking with The Original CrockPet Diet is an easy way to create your pet’s best health, right in your own kitchen. Even better, you’ll never need to worry about pet food recalls again.
If you’d like help tailoring a custom diet for your pet, to optimize their health and quality of life, Dr Ruth Roberts now offers Holistic Pet Health Coaching. Dr Ruth will guide you through the fundamentals of this healthy pet diet, and create a lifestyle plan just for your pet. Helping your pet get healthy, and keeping them there, is not always easy. But starting with this simple step can make it easier.
After all, your pet’s best health begins in the bowl.
Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash
Dr. Ruth Roberts, DVM, CVA, CVH, CVFT is a holistic integrative veterinarian, who has been healing pets for over 28 years. With extensive knowledge and training in holistic veterinary therapies, she uses a combination of diet therapy, Chinese herbs and other natural methods to help cats and dogs recover from illness and enjoy their healthiest, happiest lives. Dr Ruth provides remote consultation for pets, guiding pet parents through effective and gentle treatment for their furry friends.