Veterinary Times article on raw feeding

Evidence based nutrition: raw diets is an article written by veterinary surgeon Mike Davies. It appeared in the Veterinary Times on 16th November 2015. It is a factual appraisal of raw feeding and might be of interest to would be raw feeders and, perhaps to a lesser extent, people who already feed raw.

As is the case with many veterinary surgeons, the author is not in favour of feeding raw meat and offers no information about any real or perceived benefits of such a diet. Indeed, early on in the article he says this:

There is no evidence eating a raw diet provides better health than eating prepared food.
. The article is well referenced and is well worth reading.

Not a good article, in my opinion. It is written about food standards in the US, Canada and New Zealand which are totally different to the EU - even though he does state ‘In the UK, strict regulations are in force’ but this seems to be an after thought. Refers to feeding ‘meat only’ and doesn’t reference that a raw diet should be balanced. Agree with the increased risk of swallowing bones, but I’ve had customers who’s dogs have swallowed whole tennis balls - everything has an associated risk. There is also a risk of handling uncooked meat but if you follow the same guidelines for handling human food then risk is lessened.

I don’t know anything about food standards in other countries. Please could you tell me how they differ to those of the EU? Do you think that they are somehow inferior to our own? On the subject of a balanced raw diet, he does refer to this here:

A cat or dog can meet all its basic nutritional needs from a raw carcase, as long as it obtains the correct balance of essential nutrients.

The comment that is interesting is this one: “There is no evidence eating a raw diet provides better health than eating prepared food.” If anyone can find information to the contrary I would be interested to know of it.

Raw feeding is without doubt very trendy at the moment and I suspect that there are pet owners who are encouraged to change to this by evangelical raw feeders. It is human nature to be led on by what is in vogue at the time - that is why the advertising industry is so successful. It is possible that there are people who feed raw but who do not have a great deal of knowledge about what constitutes a balanced diet and the safe handling of raw meat. It is not safe to assume that everyone who feeds raw has all the expertise or desire to do the job properly. I recall reading another forum some time ago and one poster was offering free meat because it was very fatty and their dogs wouldn’t touch it! To me, that is downright irresponsible and a risk factor for the onset of pancreatitis. Additionally, I have seen dogs who are severely underweight on a raw diet. It’s fine if the owner is knowledgeable and able to provide a good balanced diet but I suspect that veterinary surgeons more frequently see those who are not.

To me, the article was useful and informative, especially as it was written by a veterinary surgeon. I know it is easy to criticise vets for their supposed lack of knowledge of nutrition - we see lots of it on here but I don’t necessarily go along with that. If a dog is made ill by it’s diet, the vet is the first port of call, not the people who encouraged the pet owner to feed it in the first place. They are at the sharp end of all this and I am not so I would respect the experience of the vet.

From what I have read, EU food standards are extremely high, especially regarding pet feed. My gripe with the article is not necessarily with the level of standards but the lack of acknowledgement that they are different in these countries.
I missed the bit about the carcase - could be something to do with the spelling, I always thought it was carcass but apparently either will do!
My main gripe is that the author dismisses **all **raw feeding as irresponsible rather than saying ‘if carried out in a hygienic manner and to a balanced recipe, then raw feeding could show benefits however apocryphal the evidence currently appears.’
“There is no evidence eating a raw diet provides better health than eating prepared food.” I too would like to see the study done but seeing as almost all studies into pet foods are carried out by Nestle, Mars etc I doubt that they would fund a study into showing a non processed diet is better than a processed one,


You clearly have gripe with raw feeding. You are no different from the evangelical raw feeders. In fact I find your post quite insulting. “The article was usefull because it was written by a veterinary surgeon” as if that made it inherently correct and contrary views inherently incorrect.

Hello SD, There are many posts on the forum which support raw feeding but it is important to have as much information as possible. Personally I like to find out as much as I can. It is up to the reader to decide what to take on board. Nutritional theories are changing all the time. It is only by open discussion and varying viewpoints and opinions being expressed, that we gain more understanding and can make informed choices.

Hello SD. Personal attacks and comments on other members of this forum will not be tolerated. I have therefore removed the one that you made from your post. You are welcome to tell us of your knowledge and experience of raw feeding. However, please try to remain polite.

Regarding my own opinions on a raw diet, you are incorrect - I have no ‘gripe’ with raw feeding at all. I have raw fed my own dogs in the past and would do so again if needed. I recognise that it can suit some dogs very well.

As for veterinary opinions on the subject, veterinary surgeon Richard Allport argues for the raw diet in this article although he admits that much of the information regarding the benefits is ‘anecdotal’. He advises the use of commercially prepared raw food products. If you take a look at the Dog Food Directory of this website, this is reflected in the high scores that some of these products achieve. There are other vets who support the raw diet. BTW the author of the article in the opening post is also an Associate Professor of Small Animal Clinical Practice.

I cannot help but feel that many of the health problems mentioned in the article could easily be avoided if more vets were trained in raw diet formulation. I can understand why many oppose raw when they have seen animals die from related issues; but why not advise people how to feed a raw diet properly? If they don’t agree with feeding whole bones, advise clients to feed ground bones instead, and ensure the diet they are feeding is correctly balanced. Or at least refer them to a clinical nutritionist who can help them. Vets are in a very high position of trust so they have the optimum chance to help people. I am not a preacher of raw feeding but I do think it can offer considerable benefits if fed correctly. I aim to help people feed the best diet they can whether that be wet, dry, raw, or cooked. If some one came to me wanting to feed raw, I would give them my view on the best ways to do so. It is all about education and, in my opinion, veterinary medicine does not give nutrition the attention it warrants.

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…and for those keen on feeding raw but concerned about getting it wrong there are decent raw completes out there at relatively sensible prices - Nutriment gets my vote.


A good article. My vet says that there is 50 years of research that has gone into formulating good dog food and that he would not have the confidence of formulating a balanced diet. But I dont understand there statement about there being no evidence of benefits of raw food diet. I thought there was a longitudinal study of 900 cats that did support the claim for significant health benefits of this diet?

I don’t know of the research that you cite but I think that this particular vet was referring to the lack of research in feeding a raw diet to dogs.