Myths About Raw Feeding


What does this mean, exactly? How does feeding a dog what it was designed to be fed make it bloodthirsty? By nature the dog is a carnivorous predator. A dog that chases things (with or without killing them) is just being true to what it is: a dog. Feeding a dog meat is not going to turn a dog into some vicious animal that will attack every living thing that moves.

People fail to understand that dogs are carnivorous predators. They are supposed to "have a taste for meat." They are supposed to go out and hunt their own food. Dogs NEED MEAT in their food; they are carnivores!! With the domestication of livestock and introduction of smaller pets, hunting and killing on their own became undesirable. People bred and selected dogs that could coexist peacefully with such animals but still retained enough prey drive to do things like retrieve and herd. This is why dogs retrieve balls and chase toys and animals that move quickly. It is interesting to note that herding breeds have coexisted peacefully with the animals they herded without savaging or killing them, even while these dogs were fed raw meat and bones from the very same kinds of animals they were guarding.

The dog is, by nature, a predator, and will chase other animals because it is hard-wired to do so, not because it is bloodthirsty or has a taste for meat in the human definition of the words. Feeding raw does nothing to change this. If the dog is full and happy with the raw meaty bones it is eating at home, why would it go out and kill things? It has no need to. If a dog is going out and killing other animals despite having its nutritional needs met at home, the link exists more strongly between the human-dog relationship and/or the vaccine-dog relationship, rather than the diet-dog relationship (one "exception" to this exists and will be discussed later). Dogs can be trained to not harm or bother prey-type animals. The dog should be respecting its human's leadership and should be able to sufficiently restrain itself (although with some breeds—like hounds and terriers, for example—and some high-drive individuals, this can be difficult to do regardless of diet. All dogs are individuals; some have high prey drives, and some could care less about moving things.). People would much rather blame the diet (that my dog gets meat with his kibble) than the fact that their negligence and the flaws in their relationship with their dog resulted in the death of another animal, or that the vaccinations they have had so dutifully administered (just like any good pet owner should, right?) could actually have harmed their dog and caused this 'killing for sport' behavior.

Yet the "raw meat-dog goes out killing things" link exists very strongly in people's minds, despite the fact that many commercially-fed animals still hunt or kill small pets. This link has been helped by the "discovery" that dogs are omnivores (which they are not! See omnivore myth). When a dog is being fed an inappropriate, grain-based diet, it will undoubtedly react more strongly to being fed what it was supposed to be fed as opposed to it being fed correctly (a raw prey model diet) from the get-go. So this means that someone who feeds their dogs raw meat occasionally and a crappy kibble the rest of the time might have a dog that will go out and hunt for its own food to eat real meat instead of that crappy kibble. In a sense, yes, they have given the dog a "taste for meat"—a taste for the real food it should be eating. But if the dog was fed appropriately, it would not need to go out and hunt. And it is a dog, so it is supposed to hunt! Does this mean adding raw meat to any dog's kibble will make it "bloodthirsty" so that it will attack children and other animals? Of course not! There are thousands of people who add raw meat to their dogs' kibbled food and have no problems with "bloodthirsty" dogs. But if you are going to add meat to your dog's kibble, why not just go all the way and nix the processed food? On a diet of raw meaty bones, the dog does not have any need to go out and find meat. Additionally, the excessive amounts of carbohydrates in the processed food plus all the additives and strange preservatives can have a negative impact on the dog; people have reported that their formerly aggressive and hyperactive dogs calmed down considerably once they were switched to a more 'natural' diet (see the Raw Meaty Bones July 2005 newsletter; scroll down to 'DOG BITES').

People are quick to blame the diet of meat rather than investigate the other issues. Does the dog hunt regularly? Why is the dog given opportunity to hunt? Why does the dog feel a need to hunt? Is the dog actively submitting to and respecting the owner's leadership? What is the dog fed normally? Does this hunting behavior increase in intensity after vaccination (particularly rabies vaccination)? Does the hunting behavior vary with what it is fed, or is it constant? Is there another dog it hunts with? What do they hunt, and how often? Can it be a "behavioral" issue or a relational issue (obviously, a dog left outside and neglected will be more likely to fend for itself)? What about temperament issues (some dogs are confirmed livestock killers or pleasure killers, regardless of diet) or vaccine-related issues (vaccinosis)?

Humans were the ones that deemed the killing behavior as inappropriate and unwanted. Humans tend to expect dogs to exhibit only the delightful behaviors that benefit us, and to act as little humans in fur coats. But when the dog acts in accordance to its canine behavior, some people get upset and think the animal is "messed up" or is a "bad dog." They do not work through the behavior and do not teach the dog the desirable behavior or get it treated homeopathically for vaccinosis issues (such as excessive fear and aggression), and then chain it in the backyard or dump it at a shelter. Or they do not want to take the time to feed a raw diet or work through the relationship issues, and thus condemn their dog to a lifetime of sub-optimal health or an inadequate relationship riddled with "problems" because they were too selfish to devote the necessary time to improving the dog's health or improving their relationship.

There are thousands of dogs being fed raw meat and bones with no ill effects. These dogs coexist quite peacefully with children, cats, rabbits, and livestock without even considering a "bloodthirsty" thought. Raw-fed herding German Shepherds are not out there savaging the sheep! Dogs fed raw have no need to go out and hunt to supplement their diet with real food; they are already eating real food. As for the dog eating kibble and meat: it is like giving a kid a taste of steak and then expecting him to continue eating Total cereal every day. I would go looking for the steak, wouldn't you?

If you are concerned about your dog eating meat and then attacking your cats, children, or small pets, you do not need to worry. Feeding raw meaty bones is not going to turn your animal into this half-crazed bloodthirsty maniac. The dog should recognize the kids, the cats, and the small pets as a) part of its own family, and/or b) under the protection of the alpha leader (which should be you!). In all likelihood, you will see a calmer, happier pet that is more of a pleasure to be around—not only because he is not hyperactive from all the carbohydrates and additives in the kibble, but also because his breath will smell better and his coat will feel and smell softer and cleaner. If people tell you the dog is going to become bloodthirsty or will have a taste for meat, ask them to explain that overused cliche. If you use those cliches, take time to think through what they mean and whether or not that is really a logical thought process. In reality, your dog is much more likely to exhibit behavioral changes of fear and/or aggression after receiving its rabies shot than become a half-crazed bloodthirsty hunter by eating the raw meaty bones it was designed to eat.

To see a brief photo essay that helps debunk the erroneous link between raw diets and aggressive, bloodthirsty animals, please visit Colby the "Killer".

For more information on overvaccination and the harm vaccines cause our pets, please visit the Holistic Cat webpage (even if you have a dog—the vaccination article is an excellent read), the Dogs on Holiday page, the Natural Rearing site to read an article on rabies vaccinations, and the Vaccines Page on this server. Another excellent site to visit is the Truth About Vaccines webpage.