A common argument against using commercial pet food is its cost. Other pet owners insist that raw food is better. What should pet owners know about this?
Pet food has been proven to be a more economical option, as creating one’s own pet food with complete and balanced nutrients is a time-consuming, complex, and costly process. The best advantage of commercial pet food is the extensive research and scientific formulation that goes behind each product, ensuring pet owners that pets receive all the essential nutrients they need to become a wellnourished companion. There are many affordable options for pet food, with a variety of flavors their pets will enjoy.
Raw feeding may be disadvantageous if the sourcing of raw ingredients, food handling and calculation for correct proportions is done incorrectly. Serious health risks may arise from over-feeding of protein or worse, from feeding contaminated meat! (Animal Scene note: This is a real risk given the many instances of the sale of “double dead” meat in local markets.)
The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) cautions pet owners that raw meat may be contaminated with diseasecausing bacteria. Two of these bacteria— Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes— are particularly dangerous to both pets and humans. Salmonella bacteria are commonly found in such foods as raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, and egg products. Salmonella can also contaminate raw or unpasteurized milk and other dairy products, as well as raw fruits and vegetables.
According to William J. Burkholder, DVM, PHD, Veterinary Medical Officer in the FDA Division of Animal Feeds, quoted on www.fda.gov, “Raw pet food consists primarily of meat, bones, and organs that haven’t been cooked, and therefore are more likely than cooked food to contain organisms that can make your dog or cat sick…moreover, raw food can make you sick as well if you don’t handle it properly. FDA does not believe feeding raw pet foods to animals is consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks. The agency therefore recommends cooking of raw meat and poultry to kill harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes before you give the food to your pets. And as always, when working with food, you should follow FDA’S instructions on how to handle it safely. While it is true that feral dogs and cats catch prey and eat it raw, it cannot be determined how many of these animals get sick or die as a result of doing that. Since sick feral animals are rarely taken to a veterinarian when they’re ill, there’s no way to collect that information.”