In this last part of my article, I give you recommendations on raw meat diets and alternatives.
Want to avoid feeding your pet with commercial kibbles?
It's possible. Here are your options:
-If the main reason for you is to give your pet the most natural food possible, know that there are complete and balanced recipes that you can cook yourself with fresh produce. Hilary Watson is recognized in the field of animal nutrition and has published several books on the subject.
-It is also possible for you to just cook the meat you purchase from your supplier. Thus, you reduce the risk of bacterial and parasitic contamination. Be aware that some preparations contains bones, and once cooked, if not ground enough, they can still cause lacerations and perforations.
-In one case or the other, meat should not be the only source of feeding. Vegetables and other fresh produce will be added to your pet's food in order to provide a balanced and healthy diet.
If you decide to feed with raw meat , here are the precautions:
- Follow to the letter the recommendations of MAPAQ on this subject. In addition to the precautions as with any raw meat handling, certain guidelines are directly aimed for animal diets containing raw meat.
-Clean daily, with a bleach solution, bowls and utensils that have been in contact with raw meat, including your sink.
-Defrost meat in the refrigerator, and only the required portion. Please take care that the meat does not contaminate other foods.
-Avoid to offer only meat.
-Never give bones or carcasses.
-Pick up stools with gloves, daily.
-Contact your raw meat provider. Ask if it is part of the Canadian Association of Raw Pets Foods Manufactioners. If he does not , show your dissatisfaction and encourage them to register with it.
-Questions your supplier as if it were a commercial pet food company .
* Who developed the recipes?
* Do they have a nutritionist or veterinarian employed by the company?
* Is it possible to get the nutritional analysis of the diet and the digestibility studies?
* Do the diets meet AAFCO nutritional requirements?
* Do the diets have they been tested by clinical trials as directed by the AAFCO?
* What are their quality controls? Bacterial tests? The frequency?
* What studies have been done on the diet?
-> Encourage your raw diet supplier to do a comparative study with a good commercial diet.
-Make sure the dog diet is formulated differently than the one for cats.
-If you buy the meat of your animal yourself, choose meat intended for raw consumption, such as tartar or sushi meat. Avoid any ground meat as well as any chicken presentation. Mention the butcher that's for raw consumption.
-Take close attention to children, elderly and people with weak or absent immune system. Do not let children play or walk barefoot on a lawn where animal poops.
-Avoid feeding the old and sick animals with raw meat. They are more at risk of getting sick.
-The growing animals (puppies and kitten) should never eat raw meat diets. Their growth could be severely affected.
-An annual review is recommended, as well as a blood test and a urine test. If changes occur, it will be possible to detect before the damage is too advanced or irreversible. Analyses of regular bowel movements for salmonella are recommended.
As we have seen, the subject of raw meat diets raises many questions. Those are legitimate for pet owners who wants to offer the best to their companions. Still is it necessary that '' best '' is safe and healthy. Ask yourself the question, would you eat raw ground beef or chicken?
Never hesitate to contact the Ste-Rose Veterinary Hospital for more questions. You can also do if you want to further discuss the points that I have not been able to address in these three articles.
Marie-Christine Hamelin, Veterinary Technician