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Raw vs. Kibble Debate

There are two topics in the dog world that bring more controversy than others: What to feed and How to train. Either topic will have two camps one arguing against the other, and a few in the middle ground. We're talking food in this one.

Earlier this week ASPCA and the FDA released statements about raw food. Both saying DON'T DO IT! They cite some research in both, we'll look at those too.

First let's start with a little history on the outcry of raw foods for pets. It's been around for quite some time and is becoming ever popular. In 2010 Delta Pets, the largest therapy dog certification organization banned raw fed pets from it's programs. A couple years later AVMA would follow with a mission statement against the practice as well. Both organizations are heavily funded by large pet food manufacturers. Of course the source of the pet food is going to say DON'T DO IT because they could lose sales if people are making their own food, and would want to discourage the practice. That's just business sense, if you can't get people to buy, you lose sales, lose sales you lose money, lose money, no job.

So there's that. Now the most recent from ASPCA and FDA.

They're citing public health risk from feeding raw foods. Raw meat has bacteria, your pet after eating raw food could carry that bacteria. What they fail to say in these warnings is that MOST pets carry the very bacteria they're warning of. Usually shed in feces. Take from that, don't eat dog poop, wash hands after handling dog poop.

Your raw fed pet poses no more danger to the public than a kibble fed pet. They all shed the same stuff in feces. I personally wouldn't feed a therapy dog, no matter what I was feeding a couple hours before a visit, and most organizations also require they be freshly bathed as well. So that solves that.

What I don't understand is all the OMG you feed raw! Your pet is dangerous! We'll get sick! hype. That's not true.

When push comes to shove I think raw feeders are more careful about what they're doing because they know they are handling raw meat. They take safe food practices into account and follow them. When you kibble feed you assume it's "sterile" and don't think about it. Take for instance the infant in Minneapolis who was infected with same strain of Salmonella (a rare one) as the dog food recall that was taking place. People were saying How did that happen? Not like the kid could eat the dog food (as some toddlers do)? Simple, dog feeding time, feed dog, oh crap baby wants bottle rush to make bottle without proper washing after handling dog food.

When you feed raw, you in general practice safe meat handling. How many of you do that with kibble or canned? You should, you never know when your pet food would be recalled because of contamination. Some parents even let their kids munch on the dogs food, laughing at it. Would you do that with a raw diet? Hell no, you wouldn't let your child eat raw chicken. Don't let them eat kibble either.

As long as the raw diet is balanced, and their are so many resources to make sure that it is it can be as safe if not safer than feeding commercial foods. With a raw food diet you know what you're dealing with, you take precautions. With kibble it's so easy to be lax on safe food prep.

I don't even think this would be an issue if the very same warnings they give about raw food (although exaggerated sometimes) were applied to kibble as well.

With ANYTHING anything eats you should practice good food handling techniques.

One last thing, since I mentioned above their are many resources to let you know if your dog is getting what it needs from a raw diet, I want to say this. We're allowed to feed children without a science lab, feeding our pets is really no different.

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