Raw Food Diet for Pets - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-19-2011, 07:07 PM
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Does anyone else on here feed their dogs or cats a raw food diet? If no, why not? If yes, how did you transition them? How do they do on it? Have you noticed any changes in them - positive or negative?

Any information would be appreciated!
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#2 Old 09-19-2011, 07:33 PM
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Raw food diets are very dangerous for animals. Mostly because of the meat. Meat can potentially carry many different types of harmful bacterial like E. coli and salmonella, as well as parasites like tapeworm and roundworm. Feeding a from-scratch food is fine if the meat is cooked. Raw vegetables are fine is they are washed thoroughly.

But it is VERY important that any animal, unless under a vet's instruction, eat meat! Dogs are omnivores and need both meat and veggies, while cats are true carnivores and should have a high protein diet. If you are concerned about animal rights for your food, there are many organic, cruelty-free pet foods out there (as well as fresh meat if you want to cook it yourself).

Let me end by saying that you should bring up any diet changes with your vet. You need to make sure that you have the correct ratio of protein and carbs. Also, you need to make sure that all supplementation is met (for example, cats require taurine in their diet because they can't make it themselves).

EDIT: Also! Any transition should be done slowly over about 1-2 weeks. Usually increasing the portion by 1/4 ratio ever 3 days or so. Start with a 1/4 new food, 3/4 old for 3 days, then half and half, then 3/4 new, 1/4 new. If your animal has a more sensitive stomach, it may take a while longer.
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#3 Old 09-19-2011, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Autumn.Movement View Post

Raw food diets are very dangerous for animals.

But it is VERY important that any animal, unless under a vet's instruction, eat meat! Dogs are omnivores and need both meat and veggies

Maybe your first statement is related to animals that are kept under a humans' care and fed by the human store-bought (raw) foods, but either way.....

Disagree with both.

I would love to see a fox with a fire roasting up his meal. lol
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#4 Old 09-19-2011, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by penny79 View Post

Maybe your first statement is related to animals that are kept under a humans' care and fed by the human store-bought (raw) foods, but either way.....

Disagree with both.

I would love to see a fox with a fire roasting up his meal. lol

It's different when it's wild, because they eat it as soon as it dies. For a companion animal, they eat meat that's days old, where bacteria has had a chance to grow. Chicken and beef aren't likely to contain parasites, but fish and pork is.
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#5 Old 09-19-2011, 08:48 PM
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so you haven't heard of vegetarian dogs before? my niece is. <3 Omnivores CAN digest plant and animal foods, but that doesn't mean they NEED to eat plant and animal based foods to survive or thrive.
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#6 Old 09-19-2011, 08:58 PM
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I have heard of vegetarian dogs, but I'm also in the veterinary field. I, along with every other vegetarian/vegan in the field I've met, have their pets on a meat based diet. Speak with any vet. The only time I've heard an animal being recommended put on a low protein diet is if they are in kidney disease because it's better to eat something than have a major organ system fail.
Dogs eat mostly meat, cats eat almost all meat. Not all omnivores are the same. Humans are meant to eat mostly plants. Our teeth are flat for grinding, our GI tracts are fairly long, we have the correct enzymes. Dogs, however, have pointed teeth for tearing, have shorter GI tracts, and have more meat digesting enzymes. One of my coworkers put it wonderful when I asked if she fed her cats a vegan diet. "It's not my cats fault that I'm vegan." It's easy for people to get protein out of nuts and soy, but dogs and cats have a very hard time thriving on a diet without meat.
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#7 Old 09-19-2011, 09:06 PM
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I don't know why you would assume a vegetarian dog food would be a "low protein diet." I'm so glad the dog I speak of is being fed veg; her hip problems went away. Vets are not infallible, nor omniscient, and sometimes you have to experience something to know whether it works [best] for you [or others] or not.
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#8 Old 09-19-2011, 09:09 PM
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just quickly comparing, a vegetarian dog food's protein min for Natural Balance is 18% min.; Iams omnivore dog food is 22.5% min. That's not a huge difference, and not one to warrant an adjective of "high" versus "low" protein (nor should we fail to realize that there is "just right" or "balanced" protein amounts).

http://www.iams.com/dog-food/iams-pr...lt-large-breed
http://www.naturalbalanceinc.com/dog...n.html#Product


But there ARE other threads for this topic, I was simply responding to your statement which I found to be inaccurate.

THIS particular thread is about raw diets.
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#9 Old 09-19-2011, 09:20 PM
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I don't know why you would assume a vegetarian dog food would be a "low protein diet."

After looking at three separate dry dog food analysis, all of them were about 10% lower in protein for their vegetarian formulas.

I'm mostly getting at you can't feed a RAW diet without meat. That's what this thread is about is RAW diets.
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#10 Old 09-19-2011, 09:41 PM
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After looking at three separate dry dog food analysis, all of them were about 10% lower in protein for their vegetarian formulas.

I'm mostly getting at you can't feed a RAW diet without meat. That's what this thread is about is RAW diets.

I guess you picked a small sample that had a larger difference in protein minimums. *shrug*
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#11 Old 09-19-2011, 09:54 PM
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I guess you picked a small sample that had a larger difference in protein minimums. *shrug*

Royal Canin, Avoderm, and Evolution Diet. All are commercial foods and I compared within their own brand. Royal Canin veggie to Royal Canin large and small breed adult. It's not fair to compare out of brand like Natural Balance to Iams. They are totally different recipes and company standards.

If you wish to continue this discussion, you can message me.
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#12 Old 09-19-2011, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Autumn.Movement View Post

Royal Canin, Avoderm, and Evolution Diet. All are commercial foods and I compared within their own brand. Royal Canin veggie to Royal Canin large and small breed adult. It's not fair to compare out of brand like Natural Balance to Iams. They are totally different recipes and company standards.

If you wish to continue this discussion, you can message me.

I think it *is* fair to compare a grain-free vegetarian one to a conventional omnivorous one (or a grain-free as well). Because the legumes and such in the grain-free will have more protein than the brown rice, etc. [also, personally, i wouldn't feed a companion animal grains, for their health.]

Within Natural Balance, it looks like the omni to veg comparison of protein minimum (guaranteed anal.) is a 2-3 % difference.

okay, good night.
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#13 Old 09-20-2011, 05:42 PM
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It's different when it's wild, because they eat it as soon as it dies.

They do? Every time?

Raw food diets are not dangerous for dogs and cats if done properly.
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#14 Old 09-20-2011, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by pandora9kry View Post

Does anyone else on here feed their dogs or cats a raw food diet? If no, why not? If yes, how did you transition them? How do they do on it? Have you noticed any changes in them - positive or negative?

Any information would be appreciated!

No, because I don't want to kill my family.

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#15 Old 09-21-2011, 02:08 PM
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Raw food diets are very dangerous for animals. Mostly because of the meat. Meat can potentially carry many different types of harmful bacterial like E. coli and salmonella, as well as parasites like tapeworm and roundworm. Feeding a from-scratch food is fine if the meat is cooked. Raw vegetables are fine is they are washed thoroughly.

Freezing for an appropriate time and temperature will kill most parasites. E coli, salmonella and other bacteria aren't a problem for healthy dogs. They have a short GI tract so the bad stuff doesn't sit around in their gut forever. Dogs also have more acidic gastric fluid than humans which can effectively handle bacteria. That's why my dogs can raid the litter box and eat crap, literally, that they find in the woods with no ill effects.

I think raw is a lot closer to the way dogs aren't meant to eat than the grain-filled nuggets most people feed their dogs.

To answer the OP's question, my dogs eat a partial raw diet. They have had zero problems. My friend's dogs eat probably 90% raw and have had no problems. In fact she said it stopped the one dog's chronic GI issues.
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#16 Old 09-21-2011, 02:56 PM
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I think raw is a lot closer to the way dogs aren't meant to eat than the grain-filled nuggets most people feed their dogs.

2nd. I think first best is raw meat & veggie diet (for dogs) (just meat for cats usually unless they like veggies); and second best is grain-free processed/dried/canned foods.
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#17 Old 09-21-2011, 06:34 PM
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No, because I don't want to kill my family.

Please explain.

Also, interesting how everyone immediately jumped to dogs, which is cool, but I'm specifically a cat owner, if that means anything to anyone.
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#18 Old 09-24-2011, 12:30 PM
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Cats are specifically carnivores, so they do need meat. A few fruits (cranberries are great for urinary health) and veggies will add some vitamins and minerals. If you want to feed raw, I'd recommend getting sushi grade fish or something along those lines. If you wouldn't eat it raw, don't feed it to your kitty raw. Humans and cats have E. coli naturally in their intestines, but it can cause problems if there's an over abundance in their intestines (hence why people freak about E. coli outbreaks). Try rinsing everything in warm water to rid the meat of as much bacteria as possible. If you feed raw fish, even sushi grade, it's not guaranteed to be parasite free. Having your cat on a a monthly dewormer like Heartgard Plus will keep them from getting an infestation of things like roundworms and hookworms. Watch for any changes in their coat, skin, or appetites. A poor skin and hair coat with an increased appetite can indicate tapeworms. I still think it's much safer to feed a cooked diet but if you're set on feeding raw, then I'd want you to do it safely. You should model their diet around what they would eat in the wild.

Cats also need taurine, and amino acid that humans and dogs make on their own. Cat's can't make it themselves, so they need it in their diet. Natural sources of taurine are eggs, meats, dairy products and fish proteins. (Personally, I'd go with eggs or fish.)

http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood
http://www.holisticat.com/rawrecipe.html

These sites have a recipe for a raw diet.
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#19 Old 09-24-2011, 12:34 PM
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Please explain.

Also, interesting how everyone immediately jumped to dogs, which is cool, but I'm specifically a cat owner, if that means anything to anyone.

Because standard animal agricultural practices are over run with campylobacter, and other diseases for which i would NOT want to subject my cat or dog to. There is no such thing as 'clean meat' and cooking it (thoroughly) is the only thing that can kill those bacterias to not make animals (and humans who eat meat) sick.

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#20 Old 11-02-2011, 06:11 AM
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I know this is an old thread, but I figured I'd put my two-cents in anyway in hopes that someone will read it. I have 1 dachshund, 4 cats, and 3 ferrets. My adventure into the world of feeding raw started with my ferrets. At the time, I only had one. We were feeding her the normal ferret kibble and we thought everything was fine. Then one day I happened upon a wonderful ferret forum and was introduced to raw feeding. I did as much research as I could, and soon I began switching my little baby over to a raw diet. She took to it like crazy. A few months later, we got two more ferrets. These ferrets were also switched over to eating raw. I can tell you, feeding ferrets a raw diet is incredibly easy and makes a big difference in the smell. They smell less, poop less, and their fur is so much softer. With the great experience we were having with feeding the ferrets raw, we decided to do an experiement and feed the 4 cats and dog raw as well for a month. While expensive, we did so and the results were amazing. I have never seen cats so excited about meal time. Our youngest cat would actually crawl into my lap and want to be hand fed. At 9 months old, our oldest male cat had gingivitis and we were supposed to brush his teeth with special paste from the vet. (I did a bad and went against my vet's recommendation and did not treat his teeth with the paste) Instead I fed them all raw and within days I began to see improvement in his gums and the smell of his breath. By the end of the month, his teeth were squeaky clean and the gingivitis gone. He also slimmed down as he had been getting a bit pudgy. At 9 months old, he was over 10lbs.


Raw food is by far one of the best diets you could put your dogs, cats, or ferrets on. While I do not feed mine raw right now (money is tight) I will be switching them back to it hopefully by next year.(Please do not use this as the only information for switching your animals over to a raw diet. Please do more research and consult with your vet before making the switch. Some vets will be receptive to the idea, some won't. I was fortunate to have a vet that was all for it.)
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#21 Old 11-06-2011, 05:20 PM
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I was feeding my dog a raw diet, and he did wonderful on it. Unfortunately, I can no longer afford to feed him strictly raw, so now he gets Natural Ultramix kibble, and raw beef ribs or chicken quarters to keep his teeth sparkly white.

ÂAn animalÂs eyes have the power to speak a great language.Â
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#22 Old 11-07-2011, 05:34 AM
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Yes, raw can be quite expensive. I spend roughly $160 a month on food for my 4 cats, 1 dachshund, 3 ferrets, and rougly 30 snakes. If I were to switch the dog, cats, and ferrets to a raw diet, I'd spend about $300 a month. I was thinking of 2-3 times a week giving them all a little raw just to help with their teeth. My biggest cat, Ramman is prone to bad breath and gingivitis. His breath is getting really bad lately so I was going to start giving him at least a meal or two of raw meat every week just to get his teeth back in shape.
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#23 Old 11-07-2011, 06:23 AM
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I started a similar thread some time ago, and the responses I got convinced me that it probably isn't a good idea for my cats.

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#24 Old 11-08-2011, 07:25 AM
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Wait....people convinced you NOT to feed a raw diet? Why? A raw diet is one of the BEST diets out there for cats. My cats thrived on a raw diet and I hate not being able to provide it to them now.
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#25 Old 11-08-2011, 08:17 AM
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Wait....people convinced you NOT to feed a raw diet? Why? A raw diet is one of the BEST diets out there for cats. My cats thrived on a raw diet and I hate not being able to provide it to them now.

Could you give examples of what you were feeding your cats on a raw diet? I have two cats, but the idea of handling any type of dead flesh is pretty repulsive to me :P Did they eat raw fruits/veggies as well? Not that I would feed them just plants! haha! I'm just curious.
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#26 Old 11-09-2011, 05:13 AM
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I fed them 2-3 times a day as when you feed raw, they eat much less food. Because it is so nutrient dense they don't need to eat near as much food, but they still need more than one meal a day. I know for my ferrets they were getting 1-2oz (per ferret) per meal and were fed twice a day. An example of a weeks menu would look like this (I don't remember the amounts as it depends on their weight and energy level)

Ground Turkey
Ground Beef
Chicken Legs
Chicken Wings
Chicken Liver
Chicken Hearts and Gizzards
Turkey Necks

You want meat from at least 3 different protein sources (the more the better). The above is a typical week and it wouldn't be just one kind of meat per day. We'd pick a different meat source for each meal, so a day would look like this...

Sunday AM: chicken legs
Sunday PM: Ground beef

Monday AM: Turkey necks
Monday PM: chicken hearts and gizzards

We would also pick different meats like salmon (fish should not be fed more than once or twice a week), pork (also should not be fed too often), cornish game hen, and duck.

You want to make sure that 4-5 meals a week contain some kind of bone. There is a myth that bones cause injury and you should never feed them to a dog or cat. The truth is, COOKED bone splinters very easily (much like the ones you get from the pet store). Raw bones are much softer and while they do break, they rarely break into sharp points. My cats and ferrets could easily down a chicken bone. You don't want to give them weight bearing bones as those are too thick for cats and ferrets. Organs should be fed for at least 1-2 meals per week. Hearts are considered a muscle not an organ.

Cats do not need plants in their diet though some feed things like cranberries for good urinary tract health. Though, this is not required for a healthy diet.

Dogs can be fed plants but it is recommended that you either blend them (like baby food) or lightly steam them to simulate the digestion process of their prey animals. Wild dogs and wolves are known to eat the stomach contents of their prey, but this plant matter would have already begun the digestive process so it is easier for the dogs to consume and digest.

Cats and dogs should be fed 2-3% of their body weight per day. So a 10lb cat only needs to eat 3-4.5oz of food.

http://rawfed.com/myths/cats.html

If anyone has any questions about transitioning their cat or dog to a raw diet, feel free to send me a message or ask me here. I'm far from an expert but I know enough that I feel comfortable feeding my animals a raw diet when the time comes to do so. I fed my ferrets raw for roughly 2 years. Typing out all this info makes me really want to make a raw shopping trip so I can switch my kids over again.

And I know what you mean about handling the meat. It is very gross and I used to wash my hands 4-5 times after handling it because I couldn't get the sight of all that meat on my hands out of my head. But after a few weeks of feeding them raw, I got over it. The way I see it. My furry and scaled kids don't care about how I feel about handling meat. They need to eat what is good for them and I need to provide that to them. Gloves help if you don't want to touch the meat directly.

A even better diet is a whole prey diet. Now, THAT I know a lot of people would have a tough time doing. We did it with the ferrets for a short time, but at the time, we just couldn't vary their diet enough. My ferrets still get whole prey from time to time. When one of my snakes doesn't eat and I'm left with a rat that no one can eat, I feed it to the ferrets for their evening meal. By morning there is nothing left. I plan on putting the ferrets on a whole prey diet when I do switch them again as now I know where to get a more varied whole prey diet for them.

And again, if anyone has any questions about a raw or whole prey diet for dogs, cats, or ferrets, please feel free to send me a message. It really is one of the best things you can do for your furry babies. I know this is a vegetarian forum and meat eating is frowned upon but obligate carnivores like cats and ferrets SHOULD NEVER be fed a vegetarian or vegan diet. It isn't natural and its not fair to them. I'm a supporter of natural diets. Naturally, I am meant to eat a plant based diet. Naturally my furry kids are meant to eat meat.
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#27 Old 11-09-2011, 07:21 AM
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Wow, very extensive. Thanks for the info!
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#28 Old 11-10-2011, 04:33 AM
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No problem. Let me know if you have any questions.
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#29 Old 11-10-2011, 05:01 PM
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Do you freeze your meats first? Raw salmon scares me even if it has been frozen.

I have been looking for ways to feed my dogs more raw but w/o adding to the demand for meat. I need to suck it up and see if the meat market will sell me the extra stuff people won't buy for themselves. They will sell bones cheap I know. It is just so gross to go in there. The smell.
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#30 Old 11-11-2011, 04:52 AM
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Some butchers will sell the "leftovers" pretty cheap. Some even give it away. They'd have to dispose of it anyway. We never got ours from a butcher because we didn't have a butcher nearby that sold or gave away "leftovers"

I did freeze the meat. I would go on a big shopping trip about once every 2 weeks and get all the meat I would need. From there I would take it home and using a scale, would portion out the meat and seal them in tupperwear. After that was done I would lable and freeze them. I would usually time it so the next day I would begin using meat from this shopping trip so it wasn't frozen long. Two years of feeding my ferrets raw and I never had a problem. The carnivores digestive tract is very short so it is very hard for bacteria or parasites to take hold in their digestive tract before they are excreated. Humans on the other hand have to be very very careful with meat because we cannot remove bacteria and parasites like carnivores can. Our digestive systems are long and gives the bad stuff time to settle in and get comfy.

Handle the meat properly (wash hands, clean surface and cutting utensils, etc) but I wouldn't worry too much about freezing it for X amount of time to kill off everything. They do recommend if you get any meat from wild sources (deer, rabbit, etc) to freeze it for a specific amount of time (I feel like its a few weeks) because wild game is more likely to carry disease and parasites.
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