The Dog Blog

How to Talk to Your Vet About a Raw Diet

No one likes the feeling of being disapproved of by an expert. The frown of a vet and a few intelligent sounding reasons why a raw diet is bad is usually sufficient to cause most dog owners to shy away from sticking with a raw diet. The problem is that your dog’s health and well being are at stake. So it’s worth engaging in a conversation with your vet, but it’s important to do it from an informed but non-defensive position. So, as you engage them in conversation try doing the following three things:

1) Give them the benefit of the doubt:

The reality is that most vets just want the best for your dog. They aren’t trying to make you feel dumb, but rather, they are usually trying to help you make the best decisions for your dog’s health. When you come up against a vet who is opposed to feeding a raw diet it is usually because they are concerned that the raw diet won’t be balanced, the raw food may not be handled properly and get you or your dog sick, or that your dog will miss out on key nutrients. In most cases they haven’t had the opportunity to research the benefits of a raw diet for dogs. They are simply repeating what they’ve heard in vet school or from commercial dog food manufacturers.

Keeping this in mind the next time your vet tries to talk you out of raw feeding will help keep the conversation open and productive.

2) Share your own experience:

One of the best things you can do is share your own story with your vet. Explain to them the positive effects that raw dog food is having on your dog:

  • Cleaner teeth & ears
  • Shinier coat
  • Less/no more itching
  • Healthy weight management
  • Smaller poops

It’s hard for vets to deny that what you’re feeding works once they see the great condition your dog is in. That’s particularly true if they saw your dog’s condition pre-raw feeding!

3) Ask Good Questions:

Good questions you can ask your vet when they question the safety of feeding a raw diet:

  • What is the difference between preparing raw ground beef for burgers on the grill and preparing raw food for the family dog?
  • If raw food is so dangerous, why are there no policies discouraging humans from handling raw food and/or purchasing it at the grocery store?
  • What are the actual statistics on people getting sick from feeding raw pet food? How does that compare with bacteria borne illness from regular human food?
  • Don’t dogs have digestive enzymes and higher acid levels present in their stomach that naturally protect them against sickness from bacteria?

Good questions to ask your vet when they promote the nutritional value of kibble:

  • I know my dog’s digestive system can process carbs, but do they actually need carbs? Don’t dogs get their glycogen primarily from protein and fat?
  • Why is most kibble, including prescription dog food, over 50% simple carbohydrates (which convert to sugar)? Wouldn’t a balanced raw diet with less than 10% complex carb in the form of broccoli or green leafy veggies be a healthier alternative?
  • Aren’t high carb diets the leading cause of canine diabetes, obesity and cancer?
  • Wouldn’t the carbs and fillers necessary to make the kibble stick together in the rendering process also stick to my dog’s teeth and promote premature tooth decay?

Other good questions to ask your vet:

  • How important is moisture to my dog’s kidney health? Kibble diets are dry and keep your pet in a constant state of dehydration and tax the kidneys. Raw diets are naturally around 70% moisture!
  • So why would they get sick from human grade species appropriate raw proteins that are void of aflatoxins, synthetic unregulated vitamins and minerals and premixes from China plus fish oils that become toxic and rancid soon after opening the bag and being exposed to air?