A BBC programme on raw dog food aired during lockdown this year, elicited a strong response from The Raw Feeding Veterinary Society (RFVS). The authors, Vet, Dr Nick Thompson and Vet Nurse Morag Sutherland wrote a comprehensive and detailed article which appeared in the 14 August 2020 edition of Our Dogs. Both authors are well placed to comment with Nick being the Senior Vice President, and Morag, the Secretary, of the RFVS. Nick Thompson was contacted by a researcher prior to broadcast to whom he gave a detailed reply to their questions with extensive references and links to research. However, the programme reduced this to a very brief comment which was wrongly attributed to the RFVS rather than Dr Thompson.
The Our Dogs article not only addresses this, but also serves to counter all the main arguments that are typically put forward against feeding a species-appropriate diet and is therefore of general interest if you are considering raw feeding your dog.
The following is an excerpt from the article. Links to the full article are given at the end.
The benefits of raw food
Veterinary professionals and owners alike, who are experienced raw feeders, will anecdotally and consistently report that feeding a Raw Meaty Bones Diet (RMBD) to both cats and dogs will:
- Improve their energy
- Bring a sheen to their coat
- Clear scurf
- Lessen unwanted odours
- Improve stool quality
- Make weight loss easy
- Thrill fussy eaters
This is to be expected of a diet that is species-appropriate, easily digested and eaten enthusiastically.
Impact of a species-appropriate diet on propagating a healthy microbiome
As raw feeding vets we observe clinical improvement in our caseload with a simple change to feeding an RMBD. It is not only that the diet is raw, but by definition a species-appropriate raw diet changes the macronutrient profile of the food being fed. Practical pet foods are carbohydrate-rich; raw pet foods are protein-rich and low in carbohydrates. We observe our gastrointestinal cases improving on an RMBD. Given the established and emerging science of the gut microbiome and its role in health and disease, we recognise the impact of a species-appropriate diet on propagating a healthy microbiome. A healthy microbiome is pivotal to a well-functioning immune system.
Raw food and immune- mediated disorders
As a result of feeding a species-appropriate RMBD we observe the resolution of an array of immune-mediated disorders. Atopy can be manageable without the long -term use of pharmaceutical drugs. In cats we observe that the alarming rate of inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases clinically improve in response to an RMBD. Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) can be addressed long term with RMBD in conjunction with short term medical management. In both cats and dogs, diabetes can be reversed if caught early. Weight loss is easy. Anecdotally it appears that effective preventative strategies to reduce the epidemic of pet obesity are in our hands when we recommend an RBMD.
The peer-reviewed literature highlighted in the Our Dogs article supports the anecdotal observations outlined above.
Nick Thompson BSc (Vet Sci) Hons, BVM&S, VetMFHom, MRCVS,
Dr Nick Thompson has a passion for all things holistic medicine and is the Founding President of the Raw Feeding Veterinary Society. He has been in veterinary medicine for over 30 years and studying raw feeding for over 25 of those. His practice, HolisticVet.co.uk is based in Corsham, near Bath, England Nick says his life mission is to spread the news of the remarkable health achievable through responsible, species-appropriate raw feeding.
Morag Sutherland RVN DMS Cert SAN
Morag is a Registered Veterinary Nurse and a member of the Association of INTO Dogs. Morag has a special interest in nutrition for dogs and horses, particularly in how it affects their behaviour. She is the owner of Gelert Behaviour Training, offering advice for dogs and other pets, as well as regular workshops, talks and events in west Wales and other locations by invitation.
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The veterinary Surgeon’s Act 1966 restricts the treatment of animals (usually other than your own*) by anyone other than a qualified vet. Always consult a veterinary surgeon if you are concerned about your animal’s health. *For full details visit the RCVS website