(Contributed by Dr. Jessica Levy)
Just recently I’ve read a couple of books which, while decrying the pet food industry and the health impact of feeding processed pet foods, then go on to say, “But I certainly don’t recommend a raw food diet!” Then the discussion begins of what makes a high quality dog food, etc, etc. Which is certainly an important discussion to have, yet why the avoidance of feeding raw food?
There’s always some discussion of whether dogs have evolved past the point of being wolf-like, and are no longer able to tolerate the raw diet of wild carnivores. Let’s be clear: Evolution takes a long, long time. Like tens of thousands of years. Processed pet food has been around for less than 100 years. No, dogs have not evolved into processed-food-eaters. It just ain’t so.
Dogs in the wild, while adept at catching mice and birds, are largely scavengers. The lions, hyenas, cheetahs, etc, do the bulk of the large-game hunting, and the dogs clean up the left-overs, often days later. Yes, dogs are made (or have evolved) to eat road kill.
This is what I love about dogs! They’re so adaptable, so opportunistic, so varied in their repertoire of things they can eat/pass through their intestines/digest. This is why they’re man’s best friend! Man trashes the planet, and dogs eat the trash!
When dogs are fed unnatural (processed) diets, disease results. Dogs do not naturally have delicate digestive systems, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, etc. These problems are induced by human actions upon the planet, which leaves us stuck in this 1950’s white bread, white rice, better-living-through-chemistry mindset.
People, of course, should not eat all processed foods, either. It induces disease in us, too. People should not suffer from delicate digestion, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, stomach cancer, diverticulitis, heartburn, gastric reflux, etc.
I encourage my clients to have courage, learn about feeding raw foods, and dive in! It's not nearly as hard as most people think! There is a ton of information available these days, both online and in books, about how to do it. The plethora of premixed raw foods on the market make it even easier to do right by our dogs.
Don’t be afraid to try it! You and your dogs will love the results!