Saturday, June 23, 2018
Pets

Raw pet food: Is it right for your dog or cat?

Max was a sick kitty with all kinds of problems: arthritis, bladder issues, recurring ear infections and chronic skin troubles.

"Just about everything was a mess on him," said Andrea Tasi, a feline-only homeopathic veterinarian in Northern Virginia who was treating the 11-year-old domestic shorthair. "Nothing would get better."

When Max's owner decided to put him on a raw food diet, Tasi was surprised by the results. Until that time, she had viewed these types of diets — which are a blend of raw organ and muscle meats, bones, vegetables and supplements — as "wacko nonsense."

Within months of the switch, Max's "ears got better, his bladder trouble got better, his skin got better," Tasi said. "You couldn't make all of his arthritis go away — he was an old cat, so it wasn't sort of a magic fix for everything — but this cat looked better than he ever did when he was in my care."

Animal welfare organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, warn that raw pet food is a health risk for animals and the people around them. Yet the diet is growing in popularity.

Sales are going up, says Mimi Stein, retail division director for Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Va., which manufactures the Furry Foodie raw pet food brand. "It's almost doubling what it did last year."

Just as many people are turning to locally grown, organic, whole foods for themselves, they are also seeking out better foods for their dogs and cats. For some, that translates into a raw pet food diet.

This diet is "designed to mimic what an animal would eat if left to their own devices," says Julie Paez, co-owner of the Big Bad Woof pet store in Washington and Hyattsville, Md.

"Our cats and dogs — they need to eat whole prey," says Terri Grow, founder and president of PetSage, a holistic pet store in Alexandria, Va., that recommended a raw diet to Tammy Droddy, a vegan who lives in Fairfax, Va. "There are bones for calcium, there are organ meats for the vitamins and minerals, there are the areas for the fats — it's moisture. So you have to look at that whole prey and try to make a model of it. Just throwing out a piece of chicken or steak is not a balanced diet."

Commercially made raw pet food comes frozen in tubs, tubes or shapes such as patties. A portion is thawed out in the refrigerator overnight and then served the next day.

The ASPCA warns that pets on a raw diet, either homemade or store bought, might pick up a food-borne illness such as salmonella or E. coli, become malnourished or injure themselves while eating a piece of bone.

In August 2012, the AVMA adopted a policy that discourages the use of raw pet food. "Our full concern is the risk to animal health and public health from bacterial contamination," says Gary Chico, chairman of AVMA's council of public health and regulatory medicine.

Comments
Find A Friend: Tum Tum and Colt, the kittens

Find A Friend: Tum Tum and Colt, the kittens

Why is June named National Adopt-a- Cat Month? Because thousands of orphaned kittens across the country are ready for adoption in the warm spring and summer months. Tum Tum and Colt were part of a litter left on a doorstop. They went from cardboard b...
Published: 06/19/18
Hernando Pet of the Week for June 22

Hernando Pet of the Week for June 22

Hernando County Animal ServicesDusty is a 3-year-old black and brown tabby. She was found wandering in a yard off Spring Hill Drive and brought to the shelter. Dusty is sweet, friendly and looking for a forever home. Inquiries about adopting Dusty or...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Find A Friend: Sky the hound

Find A Friend: Sky the hound

It’s time to salute fathers, and Second Chance Friends has exactly what dear old Dad wants: a perky, young, blonde. Sky is a 2 and a half-year old fawn hound that came into rescue at the brink of starvation. Now a healthy 41 pounds, Sky deeply loves ...
Published: 06/15/18
Find A Friend: Charlie the Maine Coon Cat

Find A Friend: Charlie the Maine Coon Cat

There’s so much to celebrate, like Adopt-a-Cat Month and Father’s Day. In a proper salute to dads everywhere, Second Chance Friends proudly presents a very cool cat: Charlie, the man-sized Maine Coon. He’s large, rugged, golden-eyed, and so-o-o-o goo...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18
Find A Friend: Molly the Tortie Cat

Find A Friend: Molly the Tortie Cat

June is national Adopt-A-Cat month, and Molly’s ready. She’s all over this calendar celebration. Molly was rescued around Easter, just in time to give birth and TLC to five little ones. Now, it’s Molly’s turn to be a pampered inside kitty. The pretty...
Updated one month ago
Hernando Pet of the Week for June 15

Hernando Pet of the Week for June 15

Hernando County Animal ServicesNadaysha is a beautiful 2-1/2-year-old red female terrier mix. She is a sweet and shy dog. Nadaysha is being treated for flea allergies, and has been spayed, microchipped, vaccinated and has a 1-year county animal licen...
Published: 06/06/18
Updated: 06/13/18
Find A Friend: Delilah the puppy

Find A Friend: Delilah the puppy

Dedicated volunteers for New Life Dog Rescue often have their hands full turning around the community’s neediest pets. But they also save and foster perfectly healthy pups, too, like Delilah. This 9-week-old, 10-pounder is the princess of spunk. She ...
Updated one month ago
Hernando Pet of the Week for June 8

Hernando Pet of the Week for June 8

Humane Society of the Nature CoastBonnet is a 2-year-old pit bull terrier. He’s a show stopper and is looking for a family to love. Inquiries about adopting Bonnet or other dogs and cats can be made at the Humane Society of the Nature Coast shelter a...
Updated one month ago
Animal house? Colleges saying yes to pets

Animal house? Colleges saying yes to pets

Most dorm residents at Southeast Missouri State University will show up this fall with bedding, a laptop, a backpack and other typical accessories. A few dozen others will tote something furrier — and breathing: Their pets.The school in Cape Girardea...
Updated one month ago
Find A Friend: Jewel the Cat

Find A Friend: Jewel the Cat

June is National Adopt-a-Cat-Month, and this one’s a diamond in the rough. She once lived as a stray where neighborhood kids had created a homemade collar out of fishing line, adorned with a shiny little bead. That led the community to give her a pro...
Updated one month ago