Risks of Raw Feeding
The risks of raw feeding include the following:
Campylobacter, Salmonella and E. coli – whilst the risk should be minimal if food is purchased from DEFRA approved suppliers or human-grade good is bought, there is still a risk. Diarrhoea in the very young with immature immune systems or older dogs with compromised immunity can lead to dehydration. However, there have been several cases of kibble being withdrawn from sale for exactly the same reasons.
Parasites – pork, wild game and salmonid fish can contain dangerous parasites. Raw salmon can contain Neorickettsia elminthoeca, which attacks the small intestine and causes haemorrhaging an also Nanophyetus salmincola. Neospora caninum is found in raw beef and Trichinella spiralis is found in raw pork and wild game such as deer, elk, moose.
Nutritional deficiencies – if a balanced diet is not fed, nutritional deficiencies can arise. They only become apparent after an unsuitable diet has been fed for a long time. Not having an adequate calcium source can leave a dog at risk for severe orthopaedic problems.
Choking – if the size of bone offered is not suitable for the dog or a bone is eaten inappropriately (not chewed enough before being swallowed) it can become trapped and cause choking.
Internal perforation – dense or cooked bones can be prone to splintering, badly selected bones, bones that have been sawn or cut, or bones that have been inadequately digested can also cause internal perforation.
Fractured teeth – inappropriate bones that are too hard for the dog can cause fractured teeth.
Dog on dog aggression in a multi-dog household due to the high value of bones (particularly in the early days and is easily managed).
Campylobacter, Salmonella and E. coli – if area are not cleaned and hands are not washed (basic hygiene) then these can affect humans in the household. The bacteria can also be shed in dog stools, although this is no greater risk than with kibble fed dogs.
Resource guarding of high value food (particularly in the early days) means that aggression may be more common. Young children should not be round dogs whilst they are eating.
The dog can be so enthusiastic about a bone you are about to give that they bite you by mistake. One of my dogs misjudged the size of a chicken neck I was giving him, and bit my finger instead (totally unintentional).
Interestingly, some specialist referral vets will house raw fed dogs in the isolation ward so they don’t risk infecting other inpatients (often with compromised immune systems or open wounds).
There is also the risk to humans of freezer addiction! One freezer is never enough.