Will the varied fresh food diet my pet loves kill him?

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    We have a 6 month old American Bulldog/Mastiff Mix and he has been on a raw diet because the processed dog foods were causing coughing and diarrhea issues and we realized that he also cannot tolerate chicken. At every meal (one in the am, one in the pm) we give him raw ground beef and/or raw chopped pork (approx 6 oz each meal), preference (from H.K.) and one raw egg with the shell slightly crushed (he loves to chomp and lick the shells). We also give him raw meaty bones once a day usually around lunch or a nice big one on a Saturday or Sunday morning when he can entertain himself outside for a little while: Turkey Necks (or part of it depending on the size), ox tails, pork chop bone with meat, pork shoulders, we also cut up a slab of ribs into two bone pieces and he loves those, along with a squirt of Salmon Oil now and then with heart/liver/gizzards once a week. He has been on this diet for 4 months now and he loves his food, is very healthy and has the most beautiful teeth and fresh breath and no health concerns or skin issues.
    My problem is that my sister-in-law who is a doctor and has a best friend that is a vet (she is not our vet, we use the Humane Society and they don’t really support raw diets either although they say our dog is very healthy and doing great). When my sister-in-law heard that we have our dog on a raw diet, she immediately told me of all the salmonella warnings, trichinosis warnings and told me raw meat and any, I mean ANY bones were dangerous especially pork bones and she called her friend the vet to have her tell me how dangerous this diet was.
    I would love to have your opinion/reply to this and I would really like to be able to comment back to them (and everyone else that tells me it is dangerous for my dog) that I believe and support my dogs diet as do many others including professionals. She is dead set that my dog will suffer the consequences if I do not stop immediately and put him on processed dog foods.
    I would like to thank you in advance and I hope to have a reply.

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    Thanks so much for your great question. This is a topic that’s on many pet owner’s minds.

    The current conventional wisdom is that feeding any of the commercial, processed, possibly questionable ingredient diets that are AAFCO-approved is just fine. In fact, it is “best” (or so we are told) to just stick with this same food for your pet’s life.

    Personally I strongly disagree. Our pets are not people. Granted. However the basic tenets of optimal human nutrition (and thereby optimal health) still apply IMHO.

    I advise my clients to feed the freshest food available (and that they can afford), in a wide variety and in moderation as advised at my [url=https://www.homevet.com/diet-discussion/item/313-how-important-is-diet-in-keeping-my-pet-healthy-and-preventing-illness?]feeding primer[/url] on this site. That’s it. Simple.

    The biggest mistake that I see which can harm pets is feeding the same unbalanced food every day. An example might be the small dog that only eats chicken breast. Many pets may do fine on this diet, but it can predispose to problems. That being said however, integrating chicken breast *into* a varied diet is absolutely fine.

    I feed my own rescue dog (who came with a “sensitive stomach”) a mix of RMBs (raw meaty bones), organic meat blends (our local butcher blends all of their leftover pieces together) Vital Essential raw whole meats, freeze dried meats, air-dried, and yes even the occasional dry Epigen and cans from Wysong.

    The well-balanced pet should be able to tolerate all of these food items. Just my opinion.

    Here are some [url=https://www.homevet.com/diet-discussion]articles[/url] about how I advise my clients to feed their pets.

    Have a great Sunday.

    Dr. Jeff


    I have been feeding my cats a raw diet for at least 15 years. They are now 17 1/2 yrs old. My girl is healthy. My boy almost died of fatty liver at age 2 when he was on a processed food diet and mostly dry kibble (before I knew better). Like you, I notice how fresh an healthy their breath smells after eating raw uncooked bones.

    One thing I would suggest is to feed chunks of raw meat vs. ground up meat. The chunks are closer to how animals eat in the wild as they tear the meat off their prey. It also allows their teeth to get a better workout.

    I love hearing how people are feeding their dogs/cats raw and healthy diets.

    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    Thanks for your input Beth. I agree that bigger is better when it comes to chunks of whole food. In general. Bigger pieces, meaty bones, etc. help in many ways.

    However, use caution when feeding big pieces (especially bone and less digestible pieces) if your pet wolfs down his/her meal. These pets need either supervision during feeding, or to eat ground food.

    Dr. Jeff

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