Do you remember 30 years ago when the style of wearing baseball caps backwards spread around the world in a year? Ideas spread unseen just like viruses. Paleolithic diets for us and raw diets for dogs are one of this decade’s social phenomena.  And just as there’s no sensible reason to have a baseball cap’s sun visor protect your neck rather than your eyes from glare, there’s no logical reason to feed your dog a raw diet.

At the London Vet Clinic we don’t worry as much as some other vets do about raw diets except in certain circumstances. Good raw diets usually produce small amounts of fairly odour-free faeces and we rarely see overweight raw diet eaters but these benefits are not because the food is raw. They are because the food is not processed.  (The idea that cooking destroys digestive enzymes is downright silly. Enzymes don’t arrive in food. They are secreted into the intestines.) On the other hand virtually all raw meat is contaminated by potentially harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. While cooking kills these bacteria, dogs that eat raw meat shed these germs in their faeces. That’s why most referral animal hospitals ban feeding raw food diets while dogs or cats are hospitalized. It’s also why if anyone in your household is immune compromised you shouldn’t feed raw meat to your pet.  For cats, fresh meat (raw or cooked) is more digestible than dry food although whether that’s relevant to cat health is debatable. In dogs there isn’t a single scientific study that shows any benefits to raw diets. Please go ahead and wear your baseball cap backwards and feed your pet a raw diet if you wish but don’t think that either is the healthiest option.

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