Raw is the new buzz for pet food in 2018. Have you tried raw diets for your cat yet? The premise behind raw diets sounds good in theory, but here are some things to consider before diving all in to raw.
1. Talk to your veterinarian.
You just found an amazing raw pet food recipe on Pinterest and can't wait to make it for your beloved cat. Before you head off to the farmer's market for your ingredients, consider your pet's nutritional needs. Not all raw recipes are nutritionally balanced. If you want to make your own raw diet for your cat, talk to your veterinarian first. Your veterinarian should be able to give you a nutrition consult to help you determine the number of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals your cat needs to be healthy.
2. Salmonella and Listeria- It could happen to you
The FDA did a two-year study in 2012 that tested 196 raw pet food samples for Salmonella and Listeria. Fifteen samples were positive for Salmonella, and 32 were positive for Listeria (FDA, 2018). Imagine your cat's raw food sitting in a UPS truck all day waiting to be delivered... you can start to see the possible Salmonella problems here. How raw food is kept frozen or cold, should be something you consider before buying raw. Listeria is even more of a threat because it still spreads even when kept cold!
3. Do you love to clean?
If you didn't read point number two, go back and read it. To put this in perspective, when handling raw pet food, you are handling raw meat. When you handle raw chicken, do you wash your hands? Do you disinfect your cutting board it was on? Of course you do! Well, I hope you do at least. When you prepare or handle your cat's raw diet that you purchased or made yourself, make sure you are thoroughly washing your hands and bleaching everything that the food has been on. According to the FDA, when handling raw pet food, a solution of 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 quart (4 cups) water is an effective disinfectant.
4. Be ready to break open your piggy bank.
If you decide to buy raw, be prepared to pay top dollar. Though some are comparable to the daily cost of a high-quality kibble, many will cost you much more. For example, when searching on Chewy.com for raw diets, Primal, a popular raw food carried in mass markets, costs as much as $10 per pound (Chewy Inc., 2018).
5. Consider supplementing your kibble with cooked naturals.
If you like the idea of feeding your cat a more natural whole food diet, but think raw is not right for you, try adding simple cooked ingredients to your pet's daily kibble as a mix in. Cooked pumpkin and chicken are often cited by veterinarians as being safe foods you can mix in with kibble. As always, consult your veterinarian or pet nutritionist before making these types of changes to your cat's diet.
Chewy Inc. (2018).Retrieved from https://www.chewy.com/primal-chicken-salmon-formula- nuggets/dp/43387
Food and Drug Administration. (2018).Get the facts! Raw pet food diets can be dangerous to you and your pet. . Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/AnimalHealthLiteracy/ucm373757.htm