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Old 10-09-2013, 06:56 PM
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GoingNowhere GoingNowhere is offline
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Default Is there any Scientific Data Supporting Raw Diets?

Annnnnnnd I step into the line of fire.

I'm researching the topic for a presentation as well as for my own information. I see loads of anecdotal "evidence" and plenty of unsupported claims. But I haven't seen a single scientific journal article that touts the benefits of raw food over the potential risks/issues. Why? I'm a skeptic and this isn't helping.

Obviously, I'm sure it partly has to do with the politics of the field (e.g. no kibble company will want to put forth research that suggests that their kibble is crap and maybe some vets get money for supporting certain brands of foods...) But I would've thought I'd find at least one scientific, peer reviewed article plugging the positives over the negatives. But as of yet, nada. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places.

And go.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:22 PM
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I have never found one either. Raw feeding obviously has a massive following, but they are by and large all individuals forming a community. In other words, there is nobody to fund a study of raw vs kibble, and certainly nobody to organize it.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:31 PM
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Don't have an answer, but this is something I'm really interested in. My "nutrition" professor (we only have ONE semester-long nutrition class and it's totally open-book, even the final exam) gave us an assignment "Would you recommend a raw diet to clients - explain why using peer-reviewed research" and OF COURSE no one could write a stance that was pro-raw -- there isn't any research on it! I wish I had called him out on it.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:52 PM
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Nope.

Tbh, I don't think raw is all it's cracked up to be. I used to think it was "the best" even though I never fed it. But really, I've come to the conclusion that all dogs are going to be different and do better/worse on different things.

I've seen some very gorgeous athletic on Purina, RC, and Eukanuba. I've also seen some really crappy looking dogs on Orijen and EVO and vice versa. And I am sure and know that some dogs do amazing on raw. But I've browsed enough dog forums through the years and I have seen some very scary advice regarding raw. People who come on and complain of their dogs having loose bloody stool and told it's 'normal at first'. And basically just scary stuff in general.

And the whole 'wolf' argument. I'm not denying the similarities but really, dogs have been domesticated SO much throughout the years, who is to say their digestive systems hasn't changed either? Certain breeds are prone to or known for specific food sensitives, for example.

Raw (PMR or BARF) is just not something I'm comfortable with, and have no desire to feed, and I used to feed bad about it, once I joined internet forums -- it just seemed this was "THE BEST" and you were inferior if you did not feed raw. A lot of things are spoken repeatedly like a gospel and then people just start to believe it, including myself. It USED to be as simple to me as suggesting: "look for no by-products, first 3-4 ingredients being meat, no corn, wheat, or soy" without ever even paying attention to where the food was being manufactured, company history, quality control, testing involved, etc. At one point, I emailed a few of the 'better' 'high quality' 'holistic' type foods and was very dissatisfied with their answers and what kind of information they could/would provide.

So yeah, I'm kind of 'meh' about the whole thing. I don't care if people feed raw or don't, I think it will work well for some dogs and not others, just as certain kibbles work better for dogs than others. In the end, I think more important is genetics, lifestyle, exercise, physical condition, when or if you spay/neuter, and vaccinations (less of them).
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:58 PM
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Not that I've ever seen.
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:12 PM
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Not that I know of. Honestly it's one of the things that's always bugged me about RAW. It's logical that it would be better than kibble in general, but I wish there were actual studies. Personally, if I did RAW it would be the whole ground type (Jack is a big time gulper), but we currently do not have the freezer space.

I think someone on here did post an article about a study done with homemade food vs. kibble for dogs....Does anyone remember that?
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:48 PM
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Nope, never seen one.
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:48 PM
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Unfortunately no, but I wish there was. I'm a big fan of raw but mostly come across as a looney-tune since there's "no science" behind it (I think anatomy is considered science).
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:17 AM
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It bothers me how raw is a huge cult. It bothers me that a lot of the raw community preach it... but with no scientific backing. If they want to say that their dogs do well on it and it's the best thing they've done for THEIR dog... I'm totally fine with that and I will accept that at face value.

And here's the thing. I'm a vet and I'm okay with people feeding raw. Heck, I give my dogs the odd raw in their diet (marrow bones, green tripe, the odd turkey neck). I am not totally against it. I am not denying that some dogs seem to do better on it. But I have a multitude of concerns with it for the general population. The main one for me being that the owner then becomes the one balancing the dog's diet. If they do their research or buy a commercial raw diet then that is generally fine. Unfortunately, a lot of people are getting their advice just from the person they buy their raw food from. I went to a new raw supplier just to pick up some tripe and some chicken feet and got preached at for an hour about how going 100% raw was the only way to go, all the bad stuff that is in kibbles, etc. etc. I listened and then politely told her that Kili cannot tolerate anything other than raw tripe and the odd marrow bone or she breaks with explosive diarrhea. I think she told me to stick it out because that might just be her system adjusting to the raw. I'm sorry... but something that causes my dog to wake me up to go out 4 times in one night and then have explosive diarrhea in her crate while I am gone at work... is not something I will be "sticking with" to see if it improves. She doesn't do well on raw. End of story as far as I'm concerned. She gets her tripe and her marrow bones and that is it. Summit can also have chicken backs, turkey necks, chicken feet, pork hocks, ground beef. He would do fine on raw.

Then you've got the potential salmonella issue. If there are no at risk individuals in the household it doesn't bug me so much. After all, kibble gets recalled from time to time for Salmonella contamination. As long as people know the potential for risk exists and take precautions I'm happy. But I can see why some vets get really worked up about it. It IS a potential for serious problems. So is competing in agility or off leashing your dog to run in the bush. I still do both of those things.

It's not the raw diet that really irks me. It's the cult that sometimes surrounds it (and I don't mean to suggest that everyone that feeds raw is a part of this cult, so please don't be offended... just making a generalization). I admit that greyhounds are a bit of a cult, but I don't think we tend to suggest that people who are ill fitted for the breed get one... which is kind of how I sometimes feel when being preached at by followers of the raw.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:20 AM
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Nope, there isn't. And that's not why I feed it, lol.

I'm personally willing to take the leap that in general, fresh, whole foods are going to be superior to processed dog pellets. I feel no need to eat premade, "perfectly" formulated foods myself to maintain health and don't see why it would any different for a dog, who like humans, are typically quite flexible in their dietary needs. I don't think that's a stretch at all but I guess after years of pouring kibble into a bowl some people might. Dogs have been eating kibble for a far, far shorter time than they have been eating various fresh foods in the grand scheme of things. And I figure I'm putting a lot more effort to my dog's diet than people 100 years ago who just tossed scraps into the bowl, and they're likely to be just fine.

That being said, I'm hardly anti-kibble and certainly not a part of the "death nuggets" camp. And I realize that most pet owners are going to feed kibble, and for good reason.

I wish I could agree that dogs do fine on all sorts of kibbles but my sincere experience has been that dogs generally reflect what they eat in coat and condition. I often see smelly, flakey, funky dogs in daycare, and then when they come to board, I am not surprised by what they are eating. The reverse is also true. I am pretty open-minded and not closed off to the idea that dogs can do well even on lower quality food, but this has been my honest experience. I don't see a huge difference between dogs eating, say, grain free or grain inclusive food, necessarily, but I do tend to see dogs on junky foods (foods that are mostly carbohydrates and may contain food coloring) and foods that have a good amount of meat and a reasonable amount of carbohydrates. Out of all the dogs I see at work, there's only one I know of who eats junk (like, "Whatever's on sale at the grocery store" junk) and looks great. The rest... yeah, they mostly reflect what they eat. Is it the only factor? Certainly not. But I have seen it play a big role, especially in skin, coat, and weight in a fairly large sampling of dogs. Correlation and not causation is possible, of course.

That said, I don't see a huge difference between dogs on good quality food and dogs on a raw diet except in dental health, breath, and stool quality. Ollie eats mostly kibble but gets a little premade raw with breakfast and canned food at night. He's shiny as a new penny and doesn't smell doggy at all. He's lean and muscular but I attribute that more to his exercise routine and being intact. His teeth are fine but they do already have a little bit of build up on them, which even Macky barely has at 8.5 years old. And his breath smells like cat food. LOL

But, I can do a great raw diet and see all the benefits of dental health and firm, small, easy to pick up poops for cheaper than good kibble. So why would I do anything else?

Plus, ugh god, when my dogs eat kibble they poop like 8 times a day and it's like horse poop. I honestly don't know how people do that long term. LOL.

Anyway, I don't see there being any studies regarding raw happening anytime soon. Who would fund them? If they're funded by kibble companies they're immediately suspect anyway, and I don't know who else would have the money and the backing to do it.
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