Sunday, October 6, 2013

To feed or not to feed raw dog food: Pet Partners says no


Pet Partners, formerly Delta Society, is a 501(c)(3)non-profit organization that helps people live healthier and happier lives by incorporating therapy, service and companion animals into their lives.  We receive no government funding and rely on individuals, foundations and corporations for financial support.

What is a Raw Food Diet for dogs?

Raw dog food diets are controversial. But the popularity of the diets -- which emphasize raw meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables -- is rising.

Racing greyhounds and sled dogs have long eaten raw food diets. Extending those feeding practices to the family pet is a more recent idea, proposed in 1993 by Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst. He called his feeding suggestions the BARF diet, an acronym that stands for Bones and Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.

Billinghurst suggested that adult dogs would thrive on an evolutionary diet based on what canines ate before they became domesticated: Raw, meaty bones and vegetable scraps. Grain-based commercial pet foods, he contended, were harmful to a dog’s health.

Many mainstream veterinarians disagree, as does the FDA. The risks of raw diets have been documented in several studies published in veterinary journals.

You can read Delta Society's (Pet Partner's) Raw Protein Diet Policy right here:

Some have commented about negatively about the policy:

"Delta Society is one of the largest and best-known organizations that registers and insures “pet therapy” volunteers and their companion animals. Pet/handler teams – known as Pet Partners – brighten lives in hospitals, nursing homes, group homes, schools, pre-kindergarten programs, libraries, jails, women’s shelters, homeless shelters, senior centers, adult day programs, and a host of other facilities.

But on May 19, Delta Society triggered a firestorm of controversy, complete with conspiracy theories, angry denunciations, frustration, and confusion, when it announced that effective June 30, “any dog or cat from a household where raw protein food is fed is not eligible to be a Delta Society Pet Partner.”

Delta’s Raw Protein Diet Policy raises serious questions about the safety of feeding raw food regardless of an animal’s pet-therapy status. Are raw-protein diets truly dangerous for dogs and the people who touch them? We think not. Should responsible owners reconsider their feeding plans? We say no. ..."

"Author CJ Puotinen’s six-year-old Labrador Retriever, Chloe, has been a Delta Society Pet Partner since her first birthday. She can no longer participate in the Pet Partners program due to her raw diet.

Delta suggests that even a dog or cat who eats a conventional commercial diet and shares a household with a raw-fed dog or cat may be ineligible to be a Pet Partner. “If a Pet Partner has access to the food or bowl used, it would be best to NOT feed any of the other pets raw meats. Inadvertent eating of raw meat or cross-contamination is very real.”

CJ Puotinen was, until June 30, a Delta Society Pet Partners training instructor, and, with her Labrador Retriever, a Delta Pet Partner. She is also a prolific author of books on holistic health.

Personally, I will not feed a raw food diet to my dogs.  I grew up with dog's on canned food or dry food and our dogs lived well into their teens.

My husband and I have read and discussed this with our vets over the 17 years of having companion dogs, and never has one said that it is something that we should do.  They don't even try to encourage us to use their dog food.  That was surprising!

Our dogs eat kibble morning and night.  They have sweet potato and pumpkin and yogurt mixed in with their morning meal.  They eat raw fruits and vegetables that were designed by our vet for a small lunch.  Then they eat kibble with a small amount of "Spot's Chicken Stew" from the book, "The Whole Pet Diet" by Andi Brown.

Our treats are homemade and come from the book, 'Feed Your Best Friend Better" by Rick Woodford

We have spent hours and hours working on a diet for each of OUR dogs with our veterinarian.  I'm not going to talk about the kibble that they eat because it's only a "bone" of contention because people will argue this blog I have written as time goes on and they find it in a search engine and I do not promote any kind of arguments to be on this blog.

At age 53 I find that I prefer to write articles that are informational and the reader can decide for themselves what to do but I won't argue with them or tell them what they should do for their dogs (or any animal). Everyone has a right to their opinion but I choose not to engage in debate about the opinions of others.  <Smile!>

My husband and I also make and sell homemade dog and cat treats from my Etsy site (which is closed now while we restock for the holidays).  

I hope this informational article has been helpful to someone and I encourage everyone who has a dog to speak with their own veterinarian before making any dietary changes.

You can "google" Raw Diet and Kibble for your dog online and learn more about this and discuss this with your veterinarian or other veterinarians.

  Day 6:

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