After Tuesday's feature on the rise of raw meat in the pet food industry, hundreds of passionate readers responded, on both sides of the debate. Is returning to a 'natural diet' a dog's best bet for good health? Or is tried-and-true kibble ideal?
Here's what you had to say:
The reality is not that the raw food itself is what is making the dogs healthy, but rather that people who put that much effort into feeding their dogs are much more likely to also regularly exercise and play with their dogs. Therefore, fit and happy dogs.
I've never really understood the notion that because an animal did something in the wild, that is what's best for it once you've taken it on as a domesticated pet. Dogs in the wild also never had heartworm medication and other vaccinations, yet that is obviously an improvement on their lives. Dogs are dogs, they happily eat and drink pretty much anything you give them.
Our dog happens to love raw food (which we've fed her since adopting her a one year old last summer). She's a Chihuahua/Jack Russell cross who weighs in at a whopping 10 pounds... I don't need a scientific study to tell me what is best for my dog. On the rare occasion when she has eaten commercial food, she sneezes, is itchy and compulsively licks her paws. There are a lot of additives in kibble... When I have a choice, why would I give her food that she has a reaction to or causes an allergic reaction? For us it's a no-brainer.
I used to haul bulk meat meal from the rendering plant to the dog food plant, and I can verify that they put some nasty stuff in it to keep it from rotting. I think the negative reactions some dogs have to kibble and canned has to do with the preservatives.
- John Dixon
The strongest, happiest, most beautiful dog I've seen for the last 40 years is my friend's raw-meat fed black lab - he got ONLY raw meat. Oh, how sad it makes me to see all those fat, lazy, tired, sad looking dogs out there nowadays. All due to kibble and cheap owners! And vets paid by Hills!
Just because there is a building at OVC with a pet food company name on it does not mean they have vets in their pocket. Pet food is not some sort of Payola scandal. don't be ridiculous. Veterinarians are scientists and good pet food companies will do scientific research to ensure the nutritional needs of your pet are being met.
- concerned pet owner
The raw dog food industry, serving up $7 meals a day, is completely objective, uninterested in profit, and independently regulated. Or possibly not. If the raw food industry has peer-reviewed evidence that their product is better, let them produce it. Let the two industries go head to head on evidence. Until they do, I'm not going to put any more trust in the vendors of one product than of the other.
- Jacaranda Jill
Some kibble feeders say harsh things to raw feeders. Raw feeders call kibble feeders cheap. Some (like myself) straddle the line. Thing is this: nobody wants to hurt their chum, and I suspect nobody has posted here who wouldn't pay twenty dollars a day if they thought it were best... except maybe Pete S., who seems to think dog's eat discipline of the coercive variety (why am I reminded of the C-sandwiches in 'Harold and Kumar do Guantanamo Bay?). Bottom line, I think, is that if you love your dog, try hard to do what's right, and spend time with it, it will enjoy a good dog life, whatever its given to eat.
- Winston Churchill
I've raised many healthy dogs over the years, my last one prior to present adoptee a Wolf-hybrid that led a sled-team in the Yukon for thirteen years. The team were fed frozen *uncooked* chicken and salmon as treats. They were also fed kibble for bulk. Extremist views on any side do the discussion a massive disservice.
- Stephen Saines