Linda Arndt ~ Canine Nutritional Consultant

Cautions Against "Totally Raw" Diets

Editorial Comment:

This research is one of the primary reasons I do not promote a homemade raw diet. The key word here is 'homeade'.I understand the need for, and value of a raw diet, or raw component to a feeding program, but I also understand owners do not generally have enough resources or knowledge to do it right. This is why I promote a commercially prepared balanced raw diet as a better option- here is information to help you:

How to Feed a Homemade Raw Diet.

I am honored to share this article with you by the esteemed Dr. Lisa Newman and Dr. Lee Veith.

An Evaluation of Raw Meat, Bones and Food in healthy dogs and cats.

Lisa S. Newman, N.D., Ph.D., Azmira's Director of Research
Lee Veith, D.V.M. Veterinary Regulatory Board

It is shown that a long term B.A.R.F. (bones and raw foods) diet is likely to decrease the overall health of the pet. The pet's ability to digest the raw foods is compromised by evolutionary changes to the digestive tracts of domesticated pets. The difficulty in digesting raw foods combined with this evolutionary weakness creates a systematic breakdown of immune responses, leading to a variety of nutritionally-based symptoms. Elimination of the raw foods protocol resulted in a reversal of the obvious symptoms reported during long term use. When the B.A.R.F. approach was resumed, the return of symptoms occurred within two months. Nutrients including viable proteins still available in slightly cooked foods and some higher quality, easy-to-digest commercial diets -- to fuel curative processes such as detoxification (blood purification), improved organ function (to increase nutrient utilization), and superior tissue growth -- can be utilized, long term, with vastly improved "health responses" to substantially mitigate chronic conditions.

The interest in the B.A.R.F. method during the early Eighties prompted Dr. Newman to recommend a raw foods approach, as she was already recommending Macrobiotic diets with her animal and human clients, often with mixed results.

One of the most frustrating conditions in both dogs and cats fed raw foods, particularly the yeast, bone meal, muscle and gristle trim tissues and chicken parts such as necks or backs commonly used, is that of digestive disorders and the resulting deeper weaknesses, such as allergies, arthritis, I.B.S., liver, kidney or thyroid imbalance, poor immune responses and other organ issues, including diabetes and seizures. These diets prematurely age the pet, especially when symptomatic holistic or medical suppression is also being applied rather than addressing the digestibility of raw foods. In 1985, Dr. Newman concluded an initial one-year study of household dogs and cats with a history of good health and no compelling conditions who where separated into three groups; the raw food eaters, home cooked diets and healthy commercial diets supplemented with Dr. Newman's recommended foundation supplements (Mega Pet Daily, SuperC2000 and Garlic Daily Aid). These results have recently been re-confirmed after an additional five years of nutraceutical data and several six-week follow-ups with previous test subjects who remained on their group's dietary recommendations.

All of the above-mentioned changes became even more pronounced for some pets during the second study with the utilization of Azmira's Animal Nutrition Formulas, not available during the first trial. These award-winning formulas contain fresh human-grade ingredients, rather than the less potent, basic animal grade or rancid "human-grade inspected" (but NOT "approved") ingredients as found in the other "top Natural Brands" previously used in 1984-85. All dogs and cats were healthy at the onset of this study, regardless of previous diets used and lifestyle.

There was a comparative one year study done on immune enhancing, tissue building nutrients, in particular protein, found in fresh animal tissue and the optimal delivery system for their assimilation. These nutrients, combined, have been noted for their ability to address various conditions, especially the six common conditions behind the majority of prematurely aging dogs and cats. Although causes are numerous and often in conjunction with one another, nutritional imbalance, poor digestion and assimilation are the basis for the majority of chronic conditions today, including arthritis, allergies and endocrine issues such as low thyroid levels commonly associated with improper protein utilization.

These healthy dogs and cats were separated into three dietary groups and one control group which consisted of eight dogs and twelve cats left to the owner and vet's discretion to use allopathic methods of feeding and care; First group contained sixteen dogs and seventeen cats who were supplemented with Dr. Newman's vitamin/mineral protocol while fed a high quality commercial dry and/or canned food. The second group of twenty-two dogs and nine cats was fed the same home cooked diet with no other supplementation than available within the ingredients. Subject group three contained twenty-one dogs and eighteen cats (six of which where champion Siamese cats who belonged to one of the top breeders and staunchest advocates of raw food for pets), following the same 75% raw meat, 25% raw vegetables recommended at the time. To be chosen for participation, each animal was particularly healthy and well adjusted.

With sixty-seven mature dogs participating, ranging in age from 2 yr to 11 yr, half the dogs were small and medium-types, mostly Cockers and Terriers plus mixes, while the other half were full breed and mixes of Shepards, Rotties, Goldens and Labs; the same quality ingredients free of artificial ingredients and chemical preservatives for the three study groups was followed, while the control group under individual and random feeding guidelines choose foods within, as well as outside, the study parameters. All animals were given fifteen minutes of exercise and fresh air daily to aid in detoxification and nutrient utilization. No other digestive support or veterinary medication was applied.

Before the beginning, and after the end of this initial study and the follow up in 1991, an objective veterinary assessment was compiled for certain medical parameters: all the dogs and cats were photographed, confirmed on their weight, passed basic blood profiles, plus clinical absence of internal and external parasitic, fungal or viral infestation (to rule out underlying weakness) and given a behavioral assessment regarding their particular environmental or behavioral triggers.

During the whole period of research, subjects' caregivers kept a daily log that recorded how the animals acted, slept, how stable was their appetites (acceptance of ingredients), the specific changes observed after so many days, including the overall condition of the animals and rapidity in loosing health or gaining wellness. Each section was scored on a "1 to 10" rating and the score combined for the final analysis and percentages reported. Feedback gathered was utilized, not only to explain the symptoms still present on raw foods yet eliminated with other diets, but to help formulate Award-winning Azmira Animal Nutrition to the best standards available in the industry, improving commercially available natural diets.


By far, at 61%, the pets in group one, fed a high quality commercial diet plus Dr. Newman's daily supplementation protocol faired the best, cats slightly over dogs - with a total absence of nutrition-related symptoms; 73% of these animals showing improvement within the first week and 92% by week six.

Subjects that were only fed home cooked foods, with slightly steamed or broiled meats plus cooked and raw vegetables came in a close second at 29% improvement, dogs improving some over cats, most within the first four weeks.

The group on raw meat, bones and vegetables, responding with a poor wellness rate of only 8%, also had the lowest maintenance success other than the control group when reexamined in 1991.

For more articles by Dr. Neuman go to:

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