In our opinion, this myth has been perpetuated by McKibble and McCan to discourage pet parents from fooding real food. It is true that few research projects involve real food. However, the “no scientific research” declaration is a standard cop-out claim that has been used to “debunk” raw diets and in the process economise the truth regarding commercial pet food and associated industry. But one must realise that there is no evidence, whatsoever, to prove that kibble or processed foods are good for your fur kids as well! So, let’s make sure you are comfortable with this concept – no long-term research has been done to determine the long-term effects of feeding kibble, nor to determine if it is actually healthy for your dog, as the norm is to just assume it is healthy because it has passed a 6 month feeding trial, after which manufacturers will advertise their product as healthy, nor to determine if raw diets is better or worse than kibble, and so the list continues. Read the Raw Feeding Veterinary Societies position statement, WSAVA Problem 1: The Lack of Documentary Evidence of the Health Benefits of RMBDs here (https://rfvs.info/rfvs-position-statement-2019/).
This myth is a corollary of “Fooding Raw places your pack at risk of salmonella (or other bugs)” myth. Within the veterinary profession there is a very vocal lobby opposing the concept of real raw food. The anti-raw-food lobby is keen to point out that raw foods are laden with bacteria and pose a risk for both the pet and the owner. Firstly, our pet parents, guardians and slaves must understand that the risk in fooding a raw diet is not as simple as being touted by the “anti-raw” movement. ALL foods have some degree of risk, so the question isn’t whether risk exists. The question is whether the risk is unacceptable. The reality is that ALL foods carry some type of risk, from the meal out of a 5-star restaurant kitchen, to the hotdog from the roadside stall, to the chicken and eggs you buy from your favourite retail outlet. Secondly, canines and felines are not humans. They have a disparate digestive tract and process. For example, we can eat all the onion we want without harm, but some dogs can get anaemic from a single, small portion of them. We can eat many slabs of chocolate and merely get fat or nauseous, while dogs can die from even a lesser amount. We can get extremely sick from raw meat, while our pets thrive on it as their natural diet. Again, they are not human.
This myth has a corollary in “dogs and cats have evolved into omnivores” and “cats and dogs are obligate scavengers’” myths. This myth is another perpetuation where if the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts. Species behave in their own way, regardless of its genetic similarity to some other species. For a longer or shorter time, the species “dog” has been living in its own ecological niche and has become adapted to that niche. No matter what it started out as, and no matter when it stopped being a whatever else it was, the dog is now a dog, a facultative carnivore.
The size of your dog (or cat) does not mean they are “more or less” suited to real food, it simply means you would need to adjust the size of the foods or portions you give them. For small dogs and kittens, choose smaller cuts of meat and cut portions into smaller chunks to help them chew more easily if you make your own. For example, you might give smaller pets raw mince portions or pure meat chunks, combined with smaller chunks of vegetables. Sizing also applies to larger pets, who are at risk of choking on smaller chunks of food. In these cases, larger cuts of meat, fish or portion sizes are more suitable for them. At Raw Food for Pets, we offer Doggobone, Simply Pets, Dogmatters and Raw Love Pet pre-made meals that makes this easy, with raw food formats to suit all needs, ranging from pure meat portions and minces to complete and balanced meals. Our fooding calculator can help you understand just how much you should be fooding your pet.
In all fairness, and in our opinion, costs will depend on the outcome you want to achieve. If you are transitioning your dog (or cat) from a low cost, generic store-bought feed to real food, chances are that it won’t cost much more. If you are transitioning from high-end imported feed, then you will find it costs less or similar. It is like project management, nobody ever has the time and money to implement a project correctly the first time, yet, they always seem to have money and time to fix it the second time? Of course, we all wish that money was no object when it came to our fur kids. Many pet parents believe that spending money now will prevent the costs associated with health problems later. Based on our experience, in the long run, fooding real food will cost less than you think, as you need to factor in cost deferral or avoidance with reference to veterinary services and many other health related issues (arthritis, allergies, diabetes, bad teeth, etc).