Albert North Veterinary Clinic - Alternative Diets
Myth: They are better because they contain no preservatives.
Fact: Many home made diets have been found to be nutritionally unbalanced and incomplete.**
The meal may contain an inverse ratio of calcium to phosphorus which is dangerous to pets.
There is a risk of exposure to dangerous bacteria (salmonella, listeria) to both the pet and the owner.
High quality foods use natural preservatives (tocopherols (vitamin E), spice extracts and citric acid) to prevent spoilage and rancidity in their diets.
Recommendation: In some cases a home cooked diet may be advised or an owner may feel strongly about feeding a pet this way. We have a number of recipes for home cooked diets that are nutritionally complete and suitable for your pet's special needs. Please contact us for information.
**Roudebush P, Cowell CS. Results of hypoallergenic diet survey of veterinarians in North America with a nutritional evaluation of homemade diet prescriptions. Veterinary Dermatology. 1992; 3:23-28.
BARF Diets (Bones and Raw Food)
Raw diets are generally made up of a combination of raw meat, eggs, meaty bones and vegetables.
Concerns with feeding BARF:
The diet is not nutritionally complete.
There is an excessive amount of key nutritional factors such as calcium, protein and phosphorus.
The pets and the owners are possibly exposed to bacterial contamination and food poisoning.
There is an increased risk of intestinal obstruction, fractured teeth and gastrointestinal perforation.***
We understand many clients would like to feed raw diets and many families feel very strongly about this. Please be advised there is absolutely no scientific evidence that feeding raw food is of any benefit. If you are feeding raw please advise your veterinarian to ensure that the diet you have is balanced and complete. We also very strongly recommend that families with children under 5 years of age or immunocompromised individuals not feed their pets raw food due to the risk of salmonella, e-coli and camplyobacter contamination in the mouth, feces and feeding bowls of the pet. Pets eating raw food diets should also not visit nursing homes or hospitals due to the same health concerns.
***Freeman LM, Michel KE. Evaluation of raw food diets for dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001; 218:705-709, 1553-1554 and 1716. Miller EP, Cullor JS. Food Safety. Small Animal Clinical Nutrition, 4th edition, pages 184-198.
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