Since the beginning of 2018, we have seen reports of at least thirteen recalls for various pet foods or treats. The reasons for recall are all pretty scary, ranging from possible salmonella contamination (especially in raw food for pets) to the presence of euthanasia drugs – YIKES!
Many pet owners know that feeding your pet whole foods is a great way to avoid mysterious and potentially dangerous ingredients and opt for home-cooked or raw diets. But here’s the thing – many of the recalls in the past few months involve raw food for pets.
What’s wrong with Raw?
Don’t get me wrong, feeding your pet whole food in the form of a raw diet is a step up from the bagged or canned foods available on most store shelves. In many cases, you can clearly see what your pet is eating, and there are few mystery ingredients. Whenever you remove unhealthy ingredients and opt instead for whole foods, there will always be an improvement in overall well-being.
The theory behind raw diets means well. This style of diet is intended to deliver high amounts of nutrients to your pets, without unnecessary “fillers” (foods only present to make an animal feel full, without any nutritional value). But the very major flaw of raw food lies in the preparation or lack thereof.
The Potential for Illness is High
Without thinking too much about it, answer this: Would you yourself eat raw meat? If you answered no, what’s the reason? Probably because you’d be afraid of getting sick, right?
Even when raw meats and other foods are handled properly, there are still usually bacteria or other organisms present on the surface. Salmonella, E. coli, and even parasites and worms can lurk on the surface of whole cuts of meat and poultry. Ground meats are even more likely to contain these bacteria, though they could be present all throughout, not just on the surface.
Many of the recent pet food recalls were for raw diets, due to salmonella contamination. Salmonella infection can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever/chills, and bloody stool; though it is sometimes asymptomatic. While most of these symptoms will resolve in a few days, it could take several weeks for the digestive tract to return to normal.
Dehydration associated with vomiting and diarrhea can also pose a great danger to your pet. Furthermore, if salmonella bacteria enter the bloodstream, they can infect other tissues of the body – including vital organs.
It’s Hard to Digest
As far as Traditional Chinese Medicine is concerned, most raw food is considered “cold.” Thus, they require a lot of effort for digestion and put a damper on the digestive system.
Most raw foods, especially vegetables and fruit, contain cellulose and other highly fibrous structures that are extremely hard to digest. The high concentration of nutrients in raw food is often wasted, as it cannot be properly processed and absorbed.
Most animals’ stomachs are not equipped to work hard enough to properly digest raw foods. Cows even have multiple stomachs to help them handle the load of raw material they ingest. Because our pets have only one little stomach, their digestive system ends up working serious overtime to break down these hard-to-process foods.
When the body is exerting so much energy on digestion, less energy is available to support and maintain other systems and vital organs. Over time, overworking the digestive system will ultimately weaken it. A weak digestive system can cause indigestion, bloating, loose stools or constipation, malnutrition, weight gain, food allergies, and even a lowered immune system.
The cooking process breaks down the fibers in raw food, essentially changing their very structure and making them digestible. You may even consider the cooking process a “pre-digestion.” Don’t worry – there will still be plenty of fiber and nutrients present to help keep your pet’s body and digestion healthy.
How Home Cooked Food Measures Up
Supporters of the raw food movement tout several health benefits, including resolution of food allergies and improved dental health. However, it’s worth noting that any of these health benefits (and many more) can be attained with home-cooked diets, without the risks. When you cook for your pet with a recipe like The Original CrockPet Diet, you have the freedom to select the ingredients in your pet’s food.
This can eliminate any food sensitivities, and also reduce inflammation associated with other allergies (like those pesky seasonal ones) or health conditions.
Additionally, the easy-to-digest nature of homemade pet food will help improve the efficiency of the digestive system. Along with regular ingredient rotation, you can fully avoid and even reverse food sensitivities.
Cooking your pet’s food means your softening some of the ingredients that may help keep their teeth healthy, but they are not lost. Offering your pet healthy, crunchy snacks between meals will help keep those choppers chomping. Carrots, broccoli stems, and celery are all ok to give on occasion in small amounts.
The True Ancestral Diet
While some folks think that dogs and cats are “naturally” predisposed to eating raw foods, they couldn’t be more wrong. Like humans, our pets have been eating cooked food since the discovery of fire. From the beginning of the human-dog, or human-cat, relationship, our pets have been eating our scraps and leftovers.
All in all, what you feed your pet determines the health of their digestive system, and ultimately their entire body. A healthy digestive system is a basis for overall health. There is no better way to promote good health than with good food.
You can’t buy good health at the store – certainly not in a bag or can. So, why would you try? The Original CrockPet Diet is the best way to promote your pet’s best health right from your own kitchen. Adding a quality multivitamin is a must, and Holistic Total Body Support not only balances the diet fully but provides that extra boost for their vital organs and systems. All of this, without the risk of food recalls or illness.
If you need help tailoring a custom diet for your pet, that will optimize their health and quality of life, Dr. Ruth Roberts is now offering Holistic Pet Health Coaching. She will guide you through the basic foundation of this healthy diet, and create a lifestyle plan just for your pet. The Health Coaching Package includes a phone call with the vet and a personalized “Health Map” which specifies a personalized diet, supplement recommendations, and lifestyle plan. Getting your pet to their best health, and keeping them there, is not easy. You don’t have to do this alone!
Remember, your pet’s best health begins in the bowl.