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Is Raw Food the Right Choice?

What the science says about raw, partially raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, and freeze-dried dog food items and Aardvark Policy.


Important News Regarding Raw Diet, Resistant Bacteria and AAH Policy


As you know, raw, partially raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, and freeze-dried dog food items have become quite popular in recent years. At this point, it is hard to list all the specialty foods available to pet owners. However, new scientific studies have shown that feeding raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, and freeze-dried pet food diet to your dog puts your family at high risk for illness.


But isn’t it better for my pet?


Raw food brands advertise that a raw, partially raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, and freeze-dried dog food items mimic the one that wolves and wild, non-domesticated dogs ate before their evolution to pets. It is important to note that the domestication of dogs created genetic modifications that enable their metabolism to differ significantly. They have evolved alongside humans to be able to eat much of what humans eat including a diet consisting of meats and starches.


Feeding a raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, or freeze-dried pet food diet has the potential to deprive your dog of vitamins and nutrients that are vital to their health. In addition, the presence of bones in a raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, and freeze-dried pet food diet can lead to potentially deadly gastrointestinal tract perforations. There are also no clinically proven benefits of a raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, or a freeze-dried pet food diet.


What’s the big deal?


While each of us wants the very best for our pets, new studies have shown that what appears to be helpful may prove to be just the opposite. The CDC, Center for Veterinary Medicine, the FDA, the AVMA, and the World Health Organization stand united in their position, (with very strong data) that feeding raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, and freeze-dried pet food to dogs is potentially hazardous to both your dog and your family.


It has been well-documented that both commercial raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, and freeze-dried pet foods have high rates of dangerous bacteria many of which are antibiotic resistant. A new study from the World Health Organization and the One Health CDC website describes a global health threat due to the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. In addition, their research shows a rise in antimicrobial bacterial infections in humans and animals through raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, and freeze-dried pet food products and that shedding of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria has been reported. (Please note, there is minimal guidance in the USA for by-products of slaughtered animals intended for these types of pet food creating a high risk for exposure to this antibiotic resistant bacterium.)


Here’s the bottom line…your dog may shed organisms (often asymptomatically) that cause serious illness to both humans and pets.


What does that mean for you?


The possibility of transmission of bacteria from your pet and your family poses a severe health risk, particularly to vulnerable groups such as infants, the elderly, pregnant or immunocompromised individuals. This risk far outweighs the scientifically unproven benefits of a raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, or freeze-dried pet food diet.


How can I protect myself and my family if I want to feed my pets a raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, or freeze-dried pet food?


The best protection is to avoid raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, and freeze-dried pet food altogether. There is no protection for your dog from being exposed to these antibiotic resistant bacteria if they are eating a raw, partially raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food or freeze-dried diet. While washing hands, disinfecting surfaces, keeping raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, and freeze-dried pet food frozen and away from other foods may assist in prevention, something as heartwarming as your dog licking your face can be a source of spread. It’s safe to say that would be reason enough to evaluate your dog’s diet.


Are there any restrictions for my dog if I continue to feed a raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, or freeze-dried pet food to my pet?


It is important to note that many animal care facilities and hospitals will not accept animals for boarding or as in-house patients that are fed a raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, or freeze-dried food diet due to the potential for disease spread. The American Veterinary Medical Associations recommends that “animals that have been fed any raw or dehydrated (but otherwise raw) foods, chews or treats of animal origin within the past 90 days should be excluded from health-care facilities.”


As always, Aardvark is taking proven scientific research seriously and will be doing everything possible to keep our owners, their pets, and our staff safe while making the health of the raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, and freeze-dried pet food diet fed pet a priority. Therefore, we feel it is important to treat all our patients whether they are on a raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, or freeze-dried pet food diet or not.


All pets eating raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, or freeze-dried pet food diet will enter, exit, and be examined in our isolation hospital to avoid potential contamination of our facility with multidrug resistant bacteria. These examinations will be conducted in full PPE to protect our hospital from potential spread, as well as protect the owners and pets in our care, our staff, and Dr. Thomas.


Due to the risk of contamination with no way to isolate, our grooming salon will no longer service dogs on a raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, or freeze-dried pet food diet. Please discuss alternative options for grooming services with our grooming team.

The Takeaway


There are no clinically proven benefits of a raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, and freeze-dried pet food diet, however there is a proven high risk. Due to all the negative components of a raw, frozen raw, gently cooked food, or freeze-dried pet food diet, research has shown that a commercially prepared, age and health appropriate, balanced, commercially available, non-grain free dog food is a better choice for your pet. Please contact us if you would like more information on veterinary recommended commercial diets.


At Aardvark we believe that one-size doesn’t fit all, and each pet should be approached with that in mind. Dr. Thomas is always available to assess your pet’s individual needs and suggest nutritionally appropriate food and feeding guidelines for your dog.


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