The Dog Blog

Why Many Vets Don’t Like Raw Diets

It can be disconcerting to have your vet raise their eyebrows at you disapprovingly when you tell them you’re thinking of switching your dog to a raw diet. But why are so many vets reluctant to recommend a raw diet when the science so clearly backs the health benefits?

Training Plays a Big Role:

Veterinarians spend thousands of hours learning about anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, immunology, pathology, toxicology, biochemistry, surgical techniques, etc. With all these important and critical areas of study one subject that gets very little attention by comparison is nutrition, particularly canine nutrition. And it’s totally understandable, there just isn’t enough time for them to focus exclusively on it.

Influenced By Pet Food Companies:

The largest chain of veterinary clinics (Banfield) is owned by the largest pet food manufacturer (MARS Petcare). The largest manufacturers of pet food (MARS, Purina, General Mills, Smuckers, Hill’s Science) also donate heavily to the veterinary industry. Those same manufacturers provide nutritional training to vets which in turn relay that nutritional information to consumers. Veterinary schools publish scientific papers funded by the largest manufacturers – supporting the pet food industry. Veterinary continuing education programs are funded in large by pet food manufacturers.

Marketing Trumps Science:

The top five advertisers in the pet food category include Mars, Incorporated, Nestlé, General Mills, The J. M. Smucker Company and The Farmer’s Dog. In the first half of 2020 alone they collectively spent over $185M to promote their products. None of these companies produce raw dog food. This means that all of those marketing dollars go to promote processed dog food. The result? Most vets and pet owners are only exposed to one message, “Kibble is the best dietary option for dogs.” Unfortunately, that messaging drowns out all the scientific research to the contrary and leads to several misconceptions.

The Major Misconceptions:

Misconception #1: A Raw Diet Is Not Complete And Balanced

When most vets think about raw food they envision dog owners simply throwing some meat scraps and bones in a bowl. This kind of home-made DIY raw dog food probably wouldn’t have the proper amount of nutrients for a complete and well balanced diet. However, at Heritage Prime Pet our goal is to provide complete and balanced raw meals that meet your dog’s nutritional requirements and will cause them to thrive. That’s why we’ve partnered with top canine nutritionist, Amy Granillo, to ensure that our formulas meet or exceed AAFCO standards. If you show your vet the nutritional analysis of our food they’ll have to agree that they do in fact provide complete and balanced nutrition.

Misconception #2: There’s a High Risk of Salmonella and Contamination

Salmonella can indeed pose a health risk if treated lightly. However, that risk can be easily mitigated as long as you take the proper precautions. If you eat meat yourself, practice the same sanitation measures you take when handling raw meat. As for your dog, you can rest assured that their bodies are designed and equipped to deal with these pathogens properly. A healthy dog can handle much more intense microbes than humans due to their short and highly acidic GI tracts. According to veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, “Dogs and cats also produce a tremendous amount of bile, which is both anti-parasitic and anti-pathogenic. If the stomach acid doesn’t kill a pathogen, chances are the bile will.” Click here for a Raw Feeding Safety Guide.

  • Dogs and People are not created the same. Uncooked meat that would make us sick does not affect canines in the same way.
  • Dogs have highly acidic stomachs, natural flora, digestive enzymes, and bile to help them process bacteria without getting sick.
  • Most outbreaks of illnesses from pet food come from processed dry kibble or canned food brands – not from natural raw dog food diets.
  • There have been many recent recalls of dry pet food due to bacteria or mold in the food.
  • Kibble doesn’t consist of any of the healthy live enzymes that raw food does!

Misconception #3: Raw Meals Aren’t As Healthy As Processed Ones

The truth is, any time you cook meat and vegetables it destroys or alters some of the proteins, vitamins, fats, and minerals they contain. Therefore, cooking food makes some nutrients less available. Due to this nutrient loss when cooking meats and organs, cooked dog food requires professional formulation and supplementation in order to ensure all essential nutrients are provided. Many dog food manufacturers simply spray on supplements after the extrusion process and many of those supplements are synthetic and therefore not as bioavailable as natural ones.

Here at Heritage Prime Pet, we use only raw, all natural ingredients to ensure maximum bioavailability of the nutrients your dog needs. We’ve even taken nutrition to the next level by working with top canine nutritionist Amy Granillo, to ensure that when you feed your dog our blends you are giving them the best raw nutrition available. In addition, we also follow an appropriate Life-Stage approach to Nutrition. This means that our recommendation calculator adapts the nutrient profile of our food to the specific requirements of your dog based on their age, life-stage, size and activity level. We also specialize in blends that are particularly healthy for large breed dogs.

Do Any Vets Support Raw Feeding?

Due to dog owners educating themselves and passing that information on to their vets, we are slowly seeing a shift in traditional vets supporting raw feeding. The majority of them are still apprehensive about the idea and some might never be open, but having an honest and intelligent conversation can go a long way in helping bridge the gap with your vet.

Another alternative would be to find a Holistic Veterinarian in your area as they tend to be more focused on preventative care instead of just curing illnesses. This results in a vet who takes into consideration the nutrition, lifestyle and the environment of your dog.

But, at the end of the day, it’s your decision on how to structure your dog’s diet and daily routine. Our passion is to provide you with both complete & balanced formulas, as well as accurate and helpful information in order to keep your dog healthy and thriving for years to come!