AAHA Denounces Raw Food Diets for Cats and Dogs

American Animal Hospital Association joins AVMA in saying raw pet diets are unsafe.

By Anastasia Thrift | Posted: September 5, 2012, 4 p.m. EST

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In a statement, the AVMA recommended feeding “fresh, clean, nutritionally balanced and complete commercially prepared or home-cooked food to cats and dogs” but did not use the word “raw” when describing the commercially prepared food.
The American Animal Hospital Association has joined the American Veterinary Medical Association in taking a stand against raw food diets for cats and dogs.

AAHA published a position statement on the AAHA website that reported the association “does not advocate or endorse feeding pets any raw or dehydrated nonsterilized foods, including treats that are of animal origin.” The association based its decision on “overwhelming scientific evidence” and cited 50 sources.

“Homemade raw food diets are unsafe because retail meats for human consumption can be contaminated with pathogens,” AAHA reported. “Studies that have been done on both commercially available and homemade raw protein diets have found a high percentage (30-50%) of them contaminated with pathogenic organisms, and up to 30% of the dogs fed such diets may shed pathogenic organisms in their stool.”

Both the AVMA statement on raw dog and cat food, issued in August and the AAHA statement tiptoed around the issue of whether commercially prepared raw diets are safe.

In its statement, the AVMA acknowledged that “newer technologies and other methods such as irradiation are constantly being developed and implemented” but did not state whether those technologies are adequate to eliminate pathogens in raw dog and cat food.

The AAHA statement denounced “nonsterilized” raw foods for pets but did not say what constitutes sterilization. Otherwise, AAHA did not mention commercial diets other than in its cited sources.

An AAHA spokesman could not be reached for further comment.
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Reader Comments

k    k, KS

9/13/2012 10:40:26 PM


Elizabeth    Troy, NY

9/13/2012 12:26:39 PM

I am a 90% vegan and would only feed my pets what I would be willing to eat myself. Tofu and seitan are really great protein foods for pets. Seitan can be dehydrated and made nice and chewy like meat for dogs. Cats would really go for tofu with some kelp flakes and nut. yeast added for vits/mins. Dogs also really like peanut butter in doggie treats. There is no excuse for having ground-up farm animal parts in pet food. My pets do not need to eat discarded baby chicks, complete with feet and beaks or gelatins or fats that are the by-products of laying hen and hamburger beef industries. You can't feed that to a pet raw, because it is of such poor quality that it is ripe with contamination.

Anon    City, CA

9/11/2012 8:17:48 PM


Holly    Reno, NV

9/11/2012 12:53:21 PM

Raw food did not settle well with my cats, and one of them had terrible diarrhea from the diet. We found that a natural premium cat food was all they needed to stop the stomach upset and my other cat’s allergic reactions. I always recommend Natural Balance over raw.

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