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Two quick questions for someone who knows very little about feeding raw:

1. It seems many people feed chicken/pork/fish bones as part of the raw diet. I've always been told that such soft bones are a choking hazard and should be completely avoided. Is this a myth or am I misunderstanding what is actually being fed?

2. Why is my vet so against the concept of feeding raw and why, if Science Diet is such a poor food, is my vet recommending it? (Please don't tell me that the vet is getting kick backs or there is some financial gain as the reason for the SD recommendation. I believe she, and many other vets, are genuinely concerned for pet health. I won't/don't give this argument much credibility.)

Thanks very much for your help! I find this concept very interesting and am impressed at the success so many of you are having!
 

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The concern about bones is if they are cooked. When cooked, they are hard and brittle, and can indeed be very dangerous. None of us would ever feed our dogs any of these bones cooked. But raw--they are very soft and easy to digest. Consider how a wild dog or wolf would eat a meal of rabbit or any wild bird---they eat it all. This is the basic idea behind most of our raw diets--to attempt to mimic a natural prey-style diet of feeding "whole" animal carcasses, bones, organs, meat, and all. We just do it in nice tidy pieces we buy at the grocery store!


As to your second question--I don't think that a whole lot of research has gone into the field of "natural" nutrition for pets. What is known about canine nutrition is as a result of pet food companies. And thank goodness for even that. But that's what most vets know about, so that's what they recommend. I'm not of the camp that believes all kibbles are necessarily inferior to raw feeding. It's simply a different way to feed. I do think there are some less-than-optimal kibbles out there...and hand-in-hand with that is a population with almost know understanding of what makes for a good canine diet. They have nothing but TV commercials to tell them differently, so I can't really blame them.
 

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As Tracey said, it's the cooked bones that can cause a problem.

In the past 9+ years I've fed over 10,000 pounds of raw meat AND bones to my dogs (and my fosters and my puppies). I have never had a puncture or other intestional problem and only once have I had a choking incident. My Corgi mix tried to gulp down a turkey neck without chewing.

As for your vet, some are for it and some are against it. The nutritional classes that vets receive in school (which are very few) are taught by representitives from Hills. I can't believe they are not biased towards kibble.

I also believe that most vets don't think the average pet owner would know HOW to fed a correct raw diet. When we moved to WI and I went around interviewing vets, I had a complete weeks meal plan printed out for them to see (if they wanted). I proved that I knew what I was doing.
 

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Having talked to a few vets I would agree that the majority don't think the average human pet owner population capable of putting together an appropriate diet. I'm not sure I disagree.

Vets spend a lot of time trying to make people understand that "people food" is not good for pets. (My aunt's rather round little small dog that has his own place at the dinner table comes to mind) And that's basically true, much of we eat is not appropriate for our pets.

Much of what goes into a raw diet also seems very counterintuitive to what we think we know about food. The bones being a good example. Cooking being another good example. We don't eat bones, and we cook all our food because then it's germ free. Why would we do anything different for our beloved pets?

So yes, if you don't take the time to really learn how to put together something appropriate you will hurt your animal, especially a puppy who needs balanced nutrients to grow well. I'm pretty sure you can't just slap a couple of chicken thighs down in a bowl and call it good. There's weighing and measuring and portioning and variety and rotation involved. That's why I personally choose to feed a high quality kibble, I can put my scoop in my bag, and Voila! I've fed the dog. I'm not sure I would trust myself to be directly responsible for my dog's nutrition and consequently raw diet intimidates me a little bit.

But I know people who have great success with it, and if they wanted to come to my house and prep my dog's meals for me, I would have no problem letting them feed my dog. I think you just have to really take the time to be educated and understand what you're doing. (Hence why Vets don't think people should feed Raw)

And as a side-note- Science Diet. Fed it to a dog we had for years. She loved it and flourished. Also had a kennel of top-quality show Mastiffs. Ring winers all, some shown in Madison Square Gardens. They ate Pedigree back in the 80s. Beautiful coats, seemed perfectly healthy. I think now we just "know better". I personally think it correlates with the interest in nutrition that has risen in people. We're feeding ourselves more healthy foods, so the interest has spilled over to our pets.
 

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Heyas Kate and Lucky!
Hi from Schweinfurt.
As mentioned, the bones are fed raw. Cooking denatures the bones. Raw bones are easy to chew and digest, and safe. Big wolves and tiny foxes eat bones raw. And when people say they fed an "RMB," that means a "raw meaty bone"-- which is a piece of meat that has a bone in it, like a chicken wing, a turkey drumstick, a chicken thigh, etc.

My last vet, when talking about raw, said this: "My education gave me 12 hours of nutritional study. That study was provided for me by the Hills company." And yes, in addition to only getting their learning from petfood companies, vets DO make money selling Science Diet. My USA vet was however thrilled with the raw feeding idea, and fed her dogs raw, too.

My current vet here in Germany is very enthusiastic about me feeding Grimm raw!
It actually is cheaper & easier to feed raw here in Germany that it is to try to feed a quality grain-free kibble.
 

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As has been mentioned, raw bones are safe to feed. Cooking changes the structure of the bones causing them to be brittle and splinter easily. They are not safe, but raw bones are.
Though I would caution feeding weight-bearing bones from large animals (beef, venison, elk, moose, pork) as they are usually too hard and some dogs can crack teeth on them.

Most vets do not receive a lot of education about pet nutrition. Vets are generalists anyway so one can't really expect them to be experts on everything. It is true that most of their nutrition education is taught to them by pet-food representatives and many vets do not choose to do any additional research to educate themselves on nutrition. Which is fine. I also agree that the majority of the population is NOT dedicated enough to properly feed a raw diet. It is far more complicated than just plopping stuff in a bowl. If you don't want to do the research and work, then you're better off sticking with kibble. However, you can still do your own research and chose a better quality kibble than Science Diet.

Vets do receive some benefits from stocking/feeding Science Diet. If I remember correctly, the vets I used to work for actually got bags of dog food free from Hills.
 

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If you want to feed a raw diet and your vet is completely against it you may have to find a new vet. My vet doesn't feed raw but is open to the idea when it's balanced and the dog is obviously (visually, health and test result wise) doing very well.
The problem with a vet that is completely against a raw diet is that some (not all) will immediately try to point to the raw diet for anything that is wrong with the pet. Though I was pretty sure Dante did not have Salmonella from his raw food I agreed to the test when I was having poop issues (it was Giardia) because my vet felt it important to rule out due to the raw food.
If my vet was completely against a raw diet I would suspect it would have been easy to go down a different path.
 
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