Raw vs. Kibble debate

Food, Fitness and how to keep them healthy.

Postby LindsaySF » May 18th, 2006, 5:07 pm

I have a few questions about raw. I have concerns with raw anything due to my background in parasitology.

What types of meat are fed raw? How do you ensure it is parasite and bacteria free if you do not cook it? Are there special refridgeration or freezing requirements?

While I agree that many commercial dog foods aren't that great, why is raw so much better? What about cooked meats, like what we eat? (I feed my dogs (cooked) chicken and beef as treats).



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Postby msvette2u » May 18th, 2006, 5:39 pm

Well it's just been my experience but I've had success just feeding a dog a regular diet, not excessive amounts, just a regular diet, possibly half again what they "should" eat for maintenence. They regain the weight and hair they lost from poor nutrition.
I think raw is good for some people and their lifestyles their dogs but I see nothing wrong with feeding a quality kibble.
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Postby SisMorphine » May 18th, 2006, 6:08 pm

LindsaySF wrote:I have a few questions about raw. I have concerns with raw anything due to my background in parasitology.

What types of meat are fed raw? How do you ensure it is parasite and bacteria free if you do not cook it? Are there special refridgeration or freezing requirements?

While I agree that many commercial dog foods aren't that great, why is raw so much better? What about cooked meats, like what we eat? (I feed my dogs (cooked) chicken and beef as treats).



~Lindsay~

The cooking process takes away much needed nutrients (same with us and our veggies which is why it's better to eat a salad than boiled carrots). All of Wally's meats are frozen, thawed, and fed. I don't worry about salmonella, e.coli, etc because the carnivore's digestive tract is short and therefore the food gets processed quicker, allowing the bacteria and parasites little time to take hold before being pushed back out. I've also heard that they have different enzymes which can break this stuff down. Frankly, I don't know if either one of them is right, wrong, or what. All I know is that Wally has never been sick on raw and he's been eating it everyday for the past year.
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Postby SisMorphine » May 18th, 2006, 6:14 pm

Magnolia618 wrote:
I wouldn't do that to her right now. Her immune system is too far down to tolerate that.

Ummm... what better way to get her immune system UP then to feed raw?

I've always learned that most of the time you want to start a raw diet with a pretty healthy dog. Skin issues and allergies can bring the immune system down a bit, but worms and other such internal parasites are going to have the immune system at a low and their digestive system running slower, making them more suseptible to becoming ill. Especially if she had hooks because they chew away at the intestinal wall . . . yuck.
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Postby Magnolia618 » May 18th, 2006, 6:42 pm

What types of meat are fed raw? How do you ensure it is parasite and bacteria free if you do not cook it? Are there special refridgeration or freezing requirements?

While I agree that many commercial dog foods aren't that great, why is raw so much better? What about cooked meats, like what we eat? (I feed my dogs (cooked) chicken and beef as treats).


I feed beef, turkey, chicken, and pork. Many people dont feed pork, but I've never had a problem with it.

Dogs digestive systems are MUCH different than humans and can handle the bacteria and such. I know people who have fed meat that is pretty close to actually being bad and the dogs are fine. I have fed my animals questionable chicken before and there was no problem.

Think about dogs in the wild. They will munch off of a carcas for days. They dont worry about bacteria or any of that.
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Postby dogcrazyjen » May 18th, 2006, 7:06 pm

Humans also should be able to deal with certain amounts of bacteria. We didn't start having to be so anal about germs until our disinfecting addicting society started creating a lack of exposure and ability to deal with these things.

Obviously, bad meat will make us sick. Normal, fresh meat should NOT make us sick. My inlaws will eat stuff that will knock a normal person down, but they have great immune systems, and have been raised around animals and playing in dirt without running to the antibacterial soap every 5 minutes, for generations.

Think about it. Refridgeration is a very new invention. How did we survive this long otherwise?

Kibble was only invented in the last 100 years or so. What did dogs eat the previous 13,900 years?
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Postby msvette2u » May 18th, 2006, 9:53 pm

Humans also should be able to deal with certain amounts of bacteria.

Some humans could, but young kids and elderly people and those with weakened immune systems can't. Need I remind anyone about the problems with Jack in the Box in '93 or Odwalla juice in '96? Also here in this area a few years ago some kids at school got undercooked meat and became very ill, one almost died and will always have problems due to the E. coli infection. Some bacteria out there is just purely nothing to mess with.
This isn't an argument for or against raw for dogs, btw - just stating a problem with people and exposure to certain bacterias.

I've always learned that most of the time you want to start a raw diet with a pretty healthy dog. Skin issues and allergies can bring the immune system down a bit, but worms and other such internal parasites are going to have the immune system at a low and their digestive system running slower, making them more suseptible to becoming ill.

Makes sense to me...
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Postby turtle » May 18th, 2006, 10:06 pm

msvette2u wrote:
Humans also should be able to deal with certain amounts of bacteria.

Some humans could, but young kids and elderly people and those with weakened immune systems can't. Need I remind anyone about the problems with Jack in the Box in '93 or Odwalla juice in '96? Also here in this area a few years ago some kids at school got undercooked meat and became very ill, one almost died and will always have problems due to the E. coli infection. Some bacteria out there is just purely nothing to mess with.
This isn't an argument for or against raw for dogs, btw - just stating a problem with people and exposure to certain bacterias.



Yes good point.

And I might mention that the way food animals were raised 100 years ago (or even 50 yrs ago) has drastically changed. It used to be cattle, pigs, chickens, lamb, etc were raised by small farms.

Now meat animals are raised in totally different conditions. They are raised in super farms intended to produce meats in mass quality for profit. The animals are not grazing in a field, they are crammed in small feed lots living in their own waste.

Their feed is different too, now they get concrete, wood pulp, and even ground up other animals, some of which are diseased. Plus now they are pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones. So no wonder there are some nasty resistant bacteria out there.

If you buy "natural" meats or can buy from a small farm and pay the price, you are much closer to getting the type of meat that was available years ago. But the grocery store meats are not that safe...
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Postby a-bull » May 18th, 2006, 10:06 pm

msvette2u wrote:
Humans also should be able to deal with certain amounts of bacteria.

Some humans could, but young kids and elderly people and those with weakened immune systems can't. Need I remind anyone about the problems with Jack in the Box in '93 or Odwalla juice in '96? Also here in this area a few years ago some kids at school got undercooked meat and became very ill, one almost died and will always have problems due to the E. coli infection. Some bacteria out there is just purely nothing to mess with.
This isn't an argument for or against raw for dogs, btw - just stating a problem with people and exposure to certain bacterias.

I've always learned that most of the time you want to start a raw diet with a pretty healthy dog. Skin issues and allergies can bring the immune system down a bit, but worms and other such internal parasites are going to have the immune system at a low and their digestive system running slower, making them more suseptible to becoming ill.

Makes sense to me...


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Postby Magnolia618 » May 19th, 2006, 2:31 am

msvette2u wrote:
Humans also should be able to deal with certain amounts of bacteria.

Some humans could, but young kids and elderly people and those with weakened immune systems can't. Need I remind anyone about the problems with Jack in the Box in '93 or Odwalla juice in '96? Also here in this area a few years ago some kids at school got undercooked meat and became very ill, one almost died and will always have problems due to the E. coli infection. Some bacteria out there is just purely nothing to mess with.
This isn't an argument for or against raw for dogs, btw - just stating a problem with people and exposure to certain bacterias.


If you read the entire thread, notice she said "Human's also should..."

Like she said, in today's anti-bacteria crazed society this is no longer true.

Excellent post dogcrazyjen!
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Postby dogcrazyjen » May 19th, 2006, 8:38 am

Why thank you.

And yes, Small children and the elderly have always been at a higher risk, I agree. However, in my expirience, and in now being a member of a very old, large farming family, children used to be a LOT healthier than they are now.

When we were kids, I knew ONE child who had allergies bad enough to need meds. I had minor allergies to cat hair, so the cat just didn't sleep with me.

Nearly every child I know outside my own are on allergy meds. And one of mine was put on them for a while. I didn't know any asthmatic kids growing up, and I know quite a few now. We have the best medical care in the world, but are some of the most unhealthy people.

I can start a new thread to complain about our modern society and the way we treat ourselves and our environment if you like. :oops:
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Postby SisMorphine » May 19th, 2006, 9:31 am

dogcrazyjen wrote:I can start a new thread to complain about our modern society and the way we treat ourselves and our environment if you like. :oops:

Yes please!!!! I'd be very interested to read it all as I've been starting to look into all of that myself.
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Postby LindsaySF » May 19th, 2006, 9:33 am

Magnolia618 wrote:I feed beef, turkey, chicken, and pork. Many people dont feed pork, but I've never had a problem with it.

Dogs digestive systems are MUCH different than humans and can handle the bacteria and such. I know people who have fed meat that is pretty close to actually being bad and the dogs are fine. I have fed my animals questionable chicken before and there was no problem.

Think about dogs in the wild. They will munch off of a carcas for days. They dont worry about bacteria or any of that.

I agree that dogs are different from humans. Many of them have 'iron stomachs' that can handle a lot. :) But this really only applies to healthy dogs. Dogs with a weakened immune system (for any reason) could easily get sick from bacteria that a healthy dog could normally handle.

I would be VERY hesitant to feed raw pork. The most notable danger being Trichinellosis, caused by a parasitic worm called Trichinella spiralis. While infection in the U.S. is rare because our commercial meats are more regulated, I personally wouldn't take the chance.

The protozoan parasites Cryptosporidiosis (I believe Maryellen has a foster puppy with this?) and Toxoplasma, can also be found in raw meat, and these diseases are very concerning (in both humans and animals). (I don't have a lot of protozoan knowledge, but I can provide some very general info if anyone is interested).

There are also many bacteria that can be deadly including Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter. Dogs can and do get sick from these bacteria. One example: There are a number of confirmed cases of Salmonella poisoning in racing greyhounds as a result of being fed raw meat.

While dogs can get food poisoning just as humans can, we don't really know how often. Unlike humans which have the CDC to track cases of these infections, domestic pets have no such organization. So we really don't know how serious a concern these bacteria are to our pets. We just don't have the statistics. So until we do, I personally am going to err on the side of caution.

As for wild dogs eating the meat and being just fine, the problem with this is the life span of wild dogs compared to our domestic dogs. Wild dogs can and do die from bacterial and parasitic infections as a result of what they eat. They are not immune to this. The problem is that the only time such deaths are documented is usually when a human gets sick as well. Few scientists are interested in the 'food poisoning' of wild animals unless it has some significance and application to humans.

And wild animals often suffer from nutritional deficiencies as well. The thought that the diet of animals in the wild is perfectly suited to them just isn't true.

Another thing to consider (and someone here did mention this) is the state of our meat-packing plants and slaughterhouses. Tons of meat from many different farmers passes through a plant every day, very different from back when people only slaughtered and ate what they raised on their own land. Meat that is not already infected can easily become infected at the plant. We do have laws and regulations and meat is probably safer nowadays than it ever was before, but no regulations are perfect. Infected meat can and does get sold to the public.


dogcrazyjen wrote:Think about it. Refridgeration is a very new invention. How did we survive this long otherwise?

Well, we didn't actually. Before we had refridgeration we salted meats to keep them good. But it was not uncommon for people to become very sick or even die from severe bacterial or parasitic infections.

Any biologist will tell you that food-borne bacterial and parasitic diseases are most prevalent in developing countries, and this is because of this very lack of refridgeration (and improper cooking practices).


dogcrazyjen wrote:Kibble was only invented in the last 100 years or so. What did dogs eat the previous 13,900 years?

Dogs survived just fine eating table scraps provided by their owners. But survival is relative term. Think of the life span of dogs back then. You just did not see 16 year old dogs. This is due to a number of reasons, but I'm sure food and nutrition is a significant factor.


SisMorphine wrote:The cooking process takes away much needed nutrients (same with us and our veggies which is why it's better to eat a salad than boiled carrots). All of Wally's meats are frozen, thawed, and fed. I don't worry about salmonella, e.coli, etc because the carnivore's digestive tract is short and therefore the food gets processed quicker, allowing the bacteria and parasites little time to take hold before being pushed back out. I've also heard that they have different enzymes which can break this stuff down. Frankly, I don't know if either one of them is right, wrong, or what. All I know is that Wally has never been sick on raw and he's been eating it everyday for the past year.

Cooking does take away many nutrients, and this is a concern. But personally, I would rather use supplements to prevent this, than to feed raw meat.

Freezing the meat does kill many microorganisms. But I read somewhere that certain parasites (such as Trichinella, where the worm larvae is encased in resistant cysts in the meat) will not be killed by freezing unless it is frozen for 20 days or more.

What you said about carnivore digestive tracts is true. Humans are physiologically omnivores, so dogs can tolerate bacteria in meat that perhaps we could not.

As for the enzymes you mentioned, I have never heard of this. But it could be true. Does anyone here know more about this?


My final thought here is that the CDC still recommends cooking as the most effective way to kill harmful microorganisms in meat. Their take on raw foods for companion and non-companion animals can be found here.


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Postby SisMorphine » May 19th, 2006, 9:56 am

LindsaySF wrote:There are also many bacteria that can be deadly including Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter. Dogs can and do get sick from these bacteria. One example: There are a number of confirmed cases of Salmonella poisoning in racing greyhounds as a result of being fed raw meat.

Many, but not all, Greyhounds are fed raw while racing (over half of them I'd say . . . which is apparently down from what it used to be). So to have only a handful contract these things suggests to me that of this handful their immune systems were down. The cleanliness in many racing kennels is disgusting, and many dogs only see the vet for track mandated vaccinations. Also all Greys from one of the local tracks come into rescue infested with every worm possible, and many having broken legs or toes that have gone untreated for a week or more (worst I heard was for a month and a half with a broken leg, the kennel stated the dog was "waiting for rescue" . . . well why didn't the dog's owner pitch in and pay for at least a cast or something to aleviate the pain . . . that's a whole other issue). So many Greyhounds have a weakened immune system on the track, so I don't feel this is a good example to use because the varients are a bit much.

My ex-racing Grey has been on raw for over a year now and is doing better than I could imagine (not sure if he was raw fed on track or not). I don't worry about him getting sick. My Dutchie has been on it for only a week now so I'll let you now how that goes later on down the road.
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Postby msvette2u » May 19th, 2006, 10:16 am

Not to mention that prior to refrigeration and antibiotic use, along with a whole host of other drugs, the average lifespan (of a human) was what, 40? In the 1700's the average lifespan was younger than that! Now it's nothing for people to live to age 90 and 100, and sometimes older.
I think the greatest argument against feeding raw (and the reason I won't) is that in the wild, a "natural" diet for wolves is an entire carcass of an animal including the hair of the animal which binds and balls up the bones they happen to eat.
In zoos, veterinarians won't recommend giving raw bones (unless part of a carcass) for some or most of these canids - yet people believe it's better to give your dog raw bones :|
I personally would like to see actual (long term) studies on the health (or not) of feeding raw bones before I'd do it myself.

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Postby msvette2u » May 19th, 2006, 10:31 am

[quote="Magnolia618If you read the entire thread, notice she said "Human's also should..."

[/quote]

Uh huh. And I said some humans COULD. So...?
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Postby cheekymunkee » May 19th, 2006, 10:33 am

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Postby msvette2u » May 19th, 2006, 10:42 am

cheekymunkee wrote:http://www.netpets.com/dogs/reference/food/cookorraw.html


Now, cats I could see - I know cats are obligate carnivores. But if I was feeding them raw I'd be giving them the entire bird, or mouse, not just pieces and parts.
On the other hand, my mom's cat is 15 or 16 now, we forget which, and she's still going strong without ever having had anything but plain old cat food, some wet/canned food and left over salmon and other goodies when my parents eat it. You'd never know she was in her teens...
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Postby SisMorphine » May 19th, 2006, 10:50 am

msvette2u wrote:
cheekymunkee wrote:http://www.netpets.com/dogs/reference/food/cookorraw.html


Now, cats I could see - I know cats are obligate carnivores. But if I was feeding them raw I'd be giving them the entire bird, or mouse, not just pieces and parts.
On the other hand, my mom's cat is 15 or 16 now, we forget which, and she's still going strong without ever having had anything but plain old cat food, some wet/canned food and left over salmon and other goodies when my parents eat it. You'd never know she was in her teens...

My cat is 17 and was on Science Diet for the first 12 years of her life, has been on IVD for the last 5. She has had no kidney, liver, or heart issues. She is not afflicted with teeth problems or diabetes. She has the bloodwork of a 10 year old cat. Her only issues are that she has always had skin problems (the IVD switch helped a lot, but I feel that the raw would have done her better), she is now skin and bones (many many many tests done, no reason can be found for it other than age) and she has started in with feline senility.

Now I look at her and wonder how much longer she would have lived on a raw diet. Genes and family history have a lot to do with the health of an animal, and apparently my mutt cat has some good ones, but a healthy diet can support those good genes and take things even further.

Of course she won't even look at raw meats now (a very picky girl) so who knows what would have happened. But after seeing how my dog has changed for the better on a raw diet (he was on a high quality dry for a while which made him look really good, but the raw has made him look great) I really wish I could go back and change Whitney's diet from the time we got her.
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Postby Maryellen » May 19th, 2006, 10:56 am

my cat (DSH) lived to be 18 on fancy feast dry and canned.. she was healthy until her last 2 years...

my cousins siamese lived to 22, and he was fed a raw pureed diet...
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