Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wanna Go Raw?

During my recent 5-day bout with food poisoning (from an unknown source), I was understandably suspecting my dog's raw chicken backs as the cause. My symptoms, which I won't go into detail about (!) absolutely matched the lists of salmonella enterocolitis symptoms I found on numerous websites, so I decided to do a little research into the chances of improper handling of Savage's raw food being the source. What I found is that the bacteria Salmonella can be present in any food, depending on the right conditions and unsanitary preparation. Because I'm generally careful about where and how I feed my dog, I'm inclined to think that this illness could have been caused by pretty much anything, but specifically (and probably) a certain pre-packaged "convenience" food I consumed the day before the onset.
In any case, I decided that this experience was a good opportunity to learn more about food poisoning in general, Salmonella in particular, and because of my immediate suspicions: the various myths about raw feeding that make pet owners wary. I gathered a few links containing some relevant, interesting information, so please visit the websites and judge for yourself.

Myths About Raw Feeding - check out the myth about raw feeding making dogs "bloodthirsty"! I have gotten this comment more times than I can count.
The Salmonella Myth (requires Abobe Acrobat Reader)
Raw Feeding FAQ -This one is very aggressive and anti-kibble, but also explains the many benefits of feeding raw, for those who have never considered it.
Medline Plus Encyclopedia food poisoning information, including steps to prevent infection.
The Raw Diet: Getting Started 101 - Last but not least, Eastwood Danes' recommendations for beginning the transition to raw.
There is a lot to learn on these sites, though the tone of some may make people who feed commercial dog food upset. I personally don't try to force my opinions on the raw diet onto other dog owners, but I respect people with enough of an open mind to explore different options than kibble.
Savvy was weaned on raw, and I've fed him raw for over 2 and a half years without any bacterial or digestive problems, and I am thrilled with his overall condition. Obviously Savage himself is quite enthusiastic about the raw diet (see the previous post)! I've recovered from my food poisoning episode, but it has made me more aware of the way I package, handle, and prepare both Savage's and my food. Which is a good thing.


  1. Danyel said...
    Most people don't realize that they can pick up the same bacteria from kibble, that they can from raw meat. That always surprises people.
    Biggie-Z said...
    This is a terrific post! Biggie the kuvasz has been on raw since he was 3 months old, and his parents are raw fed to. It's only been 10 months (with a little detour when he had to go to kibble for a longer stay at the kennel)* but everyone remarks on how healthy he looks. I also try not to force my opinions on raw diet on other dog owners, but I probably sound like a proselytizer anyway, because I've seen the effects of both, and Biggie is just so much happier to eat raw.

    Hope you are recovered from your food poisoning.

    *our kennel will feed raw, but for a 10-day trip this meant about 25 lbs of raw food packed into 20 freezer bags.
    DESERT PUPS said...
    Holy puppy poop, that's a big dog!!

    Desert Pups here roaming the neighborhood and meeting everyone cause we're new in town. The only on of us that is on a raw diet is Scuba who has had a problem with urinary infections. It seemed that the raw diet was the only thing that would clear it up so the Doggie Doctor said stick with Raw.

    Woof, woof,
    Scuba, Keiko, Norman and Toby from Life Inside The Fence.

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