I have a Golden Retriever and two cats. (All were rescues by the way.) All are obese. I recently spent a lot of time reading labels at Petsmart, trying to find both dog and cat foods that were low-carb. Nothing seemed to fit the bill. So I got the idea that perhaps I could just feed them all raw meat. I searched the web for advice and found that the whole subject of whether or not it is safe to feed pets raw meat has crazy parallels to the low-carb/high-fat for humans debate, that is the topic of this blog.
Advocates of feeding raw meat to dogs and cats are full of first hand accounts of curing their pet’s diabetes, irritable bowel disease, skin conditions, and of course obesity, and some advocates happen to be doctors of veterinary medicine. Meanwhile the vets that argue that it is unsafe claim that raw meat carries microscopic parasites that will cause illness. The raw meat people respond by saying that the animals are generally immune to these parasites and that vets are getting their information from pet food companies who are deliberately out to misinform. They even tout articles from scientific journals that back their position.
Of course you know whose side I am on in this debate. How anyone can argue with a straight face that feeding a domesticated wolf raw meat is dangerous for their health is completely beyond me. I’ve seen my Golden Retriever eat a rotting fish that was a least a week old. If that didn’t make him sick, then what’s in some ground pork from the supermarket that will?
And the debate gets truly absurd about cats. Unlike the omnivorous canines, cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they have to eat meat or they die. Their natural diet is field mice, and the occasional bird. Cats can’t handle the toxins in a host of plants. We all know not to let a cat eat your holiday poinsettia, but if you could somehow feed a cat some onion, this would kill it as well. Meanwhile we are told by manufacturers that feeding cats cereal grains is the healthiest diet for them, and that it is perfectly safe.
Well I’ve made the switch. I am feeding the Golden ground pork that I buy from the asian supermarket for under $2 a pound. It actually costs less per pound than the IAMS dry dog food it is replacing. The dog is clearly happy with the change. I am now feeding my cats partially cooked chicken. It is a little bit of a hassle and one of the cats is clearly unhappy with the change but I expect he’ll get over it. I’ll keep you posted on this grand experiment. For further reading on this topic check out: