Raw Food Diets

Raw food diets are seemingly increasing in popularity among pet owners. Despite the many claims of associated health benefits, research has failed to demonstrate that raw diets are any healthier than their safer, cooked counterparts. Additionally, there are numerous documented risks associated with raw diets, including individual illness in pets and the people who interact with them, antibiotic resistance, and public health hazards such as broader disease outbreaks. On this page, you can find the consensus statements on raw food diets, articles from various professionals on the subject, and links to any articles about raw food diets on this site. 

Doc of All Trades Articles on Raw Food

Consensus Statements on Raw Food 

World Small Animal Veterinary Association:

“Home-made RMBDs have a high risk for contamination with bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens. In addition to the risks of nutritional inadequacy and contamination with bacteria and parasites, other health concerns for an animal eating a RMBD include risks from ingestion of bones if they are included (e.g., constipation, diarrhea, dental fractures, gastrointestinal obstructions) and diet-induced hyperthyroidism from excessive ingestion of thyroid tissue. There is currently no properly documented evidence of health benefits for RMBD, but there are well documented risks. As such, the WSAVA Global Nutrition Committee recommends that RMBD not be fed to dogs and cats.”

American Animal Hospital Association, endorsed by American Association of Feline Practitioners and National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians:

“Past proponents of raw food diets believed that this was the healthiest food choice for pets. It was also assumed that feeding such a diet would cause no harm to other animals or to humans. There have subsequently been multiple studies showing both these premises to be false. Based on overwhelming scientific evidence, AAHA does not advocate nor endorse feeding pets any raw or dehydrated nonsterilized foods, including treats that are of animal origin.”

American Veterinary Medical Association:

“The AVMA discourages the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal-source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs as well as humans. Cooking or pasteurization through the application of heat until the protein reaches an internal temperature adequate to destroy pathogenic organisms has been the traditional method used to eliminate pathogens in animal-source protein, although the AVMA recognizes that newer technologies and other methods such as irradiation are constantly being developed and implemented.”

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association:

“The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) accepts the evidence for potential health risks to pets fed raw meat-based diets (RMBDs), and to humans who are in contact with RMBDs, or with pets fed RMBDs. The CVMA holds that the documented scientific evidence of potential animal and public health risks in feeding RMBDs outweighs any perceived benefits of this feeding practice.”

Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

“CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. Germs like Salmonella and Listeria bacteria have been found in raw pet foods, even packaged ones sold in stores. These germs can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.”

Food and Drug Administration:

“Based on the study’s results, CVM is concerned about the public health risk of raw pet food diets. As Dr. Reimschuessel explained, the study “identified a potential health risk for the pets eating the raw food, and for the owners handling the product.” Owners who feed their pet a raw diet may have a higher risk of getting infected with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.”

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