Facing Facts for our Furry Friends

Raw meat-based diets (RMBDs) are having a bit of a moment right now. Finally, after years of opinion-based arguments regarding the safety and value of RMBDs for our furry friends – we finally have some facts to chew on.

The University of Helsinki recently found that kibble-fed dogs had overall higher levels of stress metabolites. This finding corroborated research conducted by the New Zealand Premium Petfood’s Alliance – where it as found that high meat diets are easier for dogs to digest.

Why you ask?

Humans, over time, have given ourselves the luxury of a highly variable diet- canines, not so much. Dogs never became farmers, so they never got into carbohydrates the way we did. Sure, my beagle is ready to exploit any forgotten popcorn between the couch cushions- but that doesn’t mean it’s good for him- in fact, over time, it could become harmful.

Dr. Emma Beringham of AgResearch (New Zealand) asserted that “Dogs have no nutritional need for carbohydrates in their diet.” If that is the case, my Kibble belongs in the trashcan, not in my beloved beagle.

Now, let’s talk pathogens. Much of the opposition to RMBD is the potential for such foods to be contaminated with potentially harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, Yersinia, and Campylobacter.

In a separate study, the University of Helsinki found that RMBDs did NOT grow pathogens in the lab, even under conditions in which they should have flourished!

The take away here is: there is very little risk. Just as is the case with human food- it’s about trusting your supplier, and handling your meat responsibly.

Here are some ways you can do so safely, easily and without breaking the bank:

  • Buy your pet’s meat where you’d buy your meat (assuming you eat meat- if not, ask an omnivorous friend)
  • Look for sales, and buy in bulk!
  • Freeze ASAP
  • Refrigerator thaw- the USDA recommends against perishable foods being thawed on the counter or in hot water
  • Between meals, add to your furry friend’s diet with raw treats and supplements

Do you have any RMBD strategies, tips, or suggestions? Please let us know in the comments below!

Sources: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/the-big-thaw-safe-defrosting-methods-for-consumers/bigthaw2 http://www.mdpi.com/2306-7381/4/3/33/htm https://www.balanced-canine.com/science-and-the-natural-diet http://business.scoop.co.nz/2017/03/16/new-zealand-dog-diet-study-a-wake-up-call-for-dog-nutrition/ https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2017/11/08/kibble-fed-dogs-metabolic-stress-levels.aspx

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