Raw Diets: Good or Bad?

Take Sensible Steps

If you are interested in exploring such diets, take care not to put your pet’s nutritional welfare and general health at risk in the process. You can do this by avoiding “experimenting” with growing, pregnant, lactating or aged pets (the times of greatest nutritional vulnerability), and by finding a diet recipe that is as complete, balanced and safe as possible. There are professional veterinary nutritional support services that provide both diet recipes and computer-based diet analyses. Ask your veterinarian for a referral and only utilize those that are supervised by board-certified veterinary nutritionists.

You can reduce general health risks by purchasing quality food ingredients, and by careful adherence to safe raw food handling procedures, such as those recommended by the USDA to reduce the risk of food-borne infectious diseases agents. Safe handling practices are not restricted to raw foods of course. Cases of contaminated dry pet foods and treats also have occurred, prompting the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop recommendations for safe handling and feeding of commercial pet foods and treats.

It also seems prudent to discuss your plans with your veterinarian. If he or she is unfamiliar with the feeding practices that interest you, they may be able to refer you to a colleague with more experience in this area, just as they would for a complex surgical or medical issue. Your veterinarian can also help you create an adequate description of your pet’s current health status, so that any changes — for better or worse — will be recognized.

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