10 points you have to consider before feeding raw food

You love your pets and only want the best for them, and one of their basic needs is quality food. With so many options to choose from, the decision of what to feed is not easy. So many pet owners are talking about the health benefits of going raw with your pets’ diets. But before you jump onto this bandwagon, consider the following points.

“The feeding of raw diets is currently a very popular trend with many people claiming that their dogs are thriving on it with healthier coats and skin and fresher breath. Raw diets typically contain meat, bones, organs, raw eggs, vegetables, fruit and some dairy. However, there are a few potential risks that people need to keep in mind,” advises Dr Andrea Prigge, veterinarian at Silverfields Veterinary Clinic.

“This sort of diet is not scientifically balanced and does not contain enough calcium and phosphorous which is needed for bone health. Diets high in liver may also supply too much vitamin A which can lead to toxicity if fed for prolonged periods. Because raw diets are high in protein, they aren’t appropriate for dogs with late-stage kidney and liver failure. It is also not advisable for puppies as they need calcium and phosphorous for bone growth,” explains Dr Prigge.

1. There is the potential for whole bones to choke an animal, break teeth or cause an internal puncture.

2. Raw foods pose a threat to human and dog health due to bacterial contamination with salmonella and E.coli.

3. If you are considering feeding a raw diet, ensure that you thoroughly wash your hands, work surfaces and utensils after handling raw meat.

4. Freeze meat or poultry until you are ready to use it.

5. Avoid touching your face or mouth while handling raw food.

6. If your pet doesn’t finish his food, immediately refrigerate it or carefully dispose of it.

7. Your pets’ stool is a potential source of contamination. Be sure to collect and safely dispose of it, taking care not to come into contact with it.

8. When you buy ready-to-eat raw food you also have to consider the manufacturing process. Was the food prepared in hygienic circumstances? How is it stored?

9. It might not always be possible, but find out how the fresh ingredients were transported and delivered to the manufacturing plant. Are you certain that the food was handled hygienically and at cold temperatures throughout?

10. Is the packaging label of the prepared food clear enough as to what the ingredients and the nutritional values are? Does it feature the Pet Food Industry Association of Southern Africa (PFISA)’s logo on the label? If not, the manufacturers might not be a member and then you may want to reconsider feeding you pet that specific food.