Fresh food may be raw or cooked, but is differentiated here from highly processed food. While there are many advantages to feeding raw food, this type of diet may not be appropriate for all animals or in every household. Some animals with a highly sensitive digestive system, those prone to pancreatitis, and some elderly animals may not be able to tolerate raw food. Animals with compromised immune systems, due to viral diseases such as Parvo or Panleukopenia, those undergoing cancer chemotherapy or receiving other immunosuppressive drugs may be at increased risk of infection with organisms such as E. coli and Salmonella, which do not normally pose a problem for healthy cats and dogs. Because these organisms can cause disease in people and may be shed in the feces, animals fed raw food diets may pose an increased risk to immune-suppressed humans.
Every animal is unique! For all of these reasons the feeding of raw food diets has been very controversial and is generally discouraged by the conventional veterinary community. However, as the number of cats and dogs eating – and thriving – on raw food diets continues to grow, it may be most appropriate to evaluate each animal on an individual basis. Rather that making blanket recommendations for or against the feeding of any diet in whole or in part, we prefer to evaluate each individual with respect to potential risks and benefits, within the context of his or her specific environment.