Archive for January, 2016

Raw Pet Food Diets

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Raw meat

At Carlson Animal Hospital, we strive to take care of our patients as well as their owners. As veterinarians we have a responsibility to care for animals, to promote public health, and protect pet owners.
One of the more worrisome diets for veterinary professionals is the raw food diet. This diet involves feeding “raw or undercooked animal-source protein, which includes meat or products from chickens (including eggs), turkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, fish, deer, buffalo, or other animal sources” to pets. The regimen includes raw, unpasteurized eggs and milk” as described in the American Veterinary Medical Association (Resources) raw pet food policy.


Raw chicken

Raw food health risk
Raw diets are a health risk to the animals being fed the diet as well as to the public. Raw foods can carry harmful bacteria and pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, Clostridium and Campylobacter, parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii, and Cryptosporidium and are often not nutritionally balanced. The rationale is that this is the diet animals would eat in the wild. Our pets have been domesticated over thousands of years, and their bodies are no longer accustomed to the diets of their wild counter-parts. Their GI tracts have evolved and no longer digest as their ancestors did.

Agencies not recommending raw food
The American Animal Hospital Association ( provided a policy in August 2012 discouraging feeding raw meat to pets, which has been endorsed by The American Association of Feline Practitioners ( and the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (nasphv). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (gov) “does not believe raw meat foods for animals are consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks, particularly when such products are brought into the home and/or used to feed domestic pets.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (features) states that “raw diets, especially raw meat diets, are not recommended because of the risk for salmonellosis and other infections that can affect pets and their owners.”

Raw eggs

Raw eggs

Nutrition imbalance and potential contamination
The American College of Veterinary Nutrition (acvn) states that “there are risks and concerns associated with the feeding of raw diets. One of these is the risk of nutritional imbalances, which is a reality for both home-prepared and commercial raw meat diets. Another important risk is related to bacterial or parasitic contamination. Of course, food poisoning is also a major concern for people, and the public health aspects of feeding raw foods to pets cannot be overlooked. Safe and proper handling of raw foods is crucial for reducing the risk, but safety cannot be guaranteed. At this time, the vast majority of purported benefits of feeding raw foods remain unproven, while the risks and consequences have been documented.”


Consult with us
Please talk with one of us about your pet’s diet and what is best for him/her. Not only is this our oath and our responsibility, this is our passion.