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Time for a chat with the vet

AtmanAs you may have read elsewhere on this blog, we now have a Manchester Terrier puppy, in the photo on the left, who goes by the name of Atman. He is a real little sweetie and is playful, good natured and great company. However, his presence has generated a little friction between my Italian other half and myself because I want to feed our pup some, not too much, raw meat, because I think it is more natural for an animal to eat raw food. Wolves and Coyotes seem to survive just fine on a diet of fresh raw meat, so why not dogs? Seems quite logical to me. But my other half, the pup’s breeder, and, I have learnt, our local vet all disagree.

While my other half cannot really explain why feeding raw food to dogs is bad, apart from saying that she has heard that raw food makes dogs more aggressive, the attitude of the breeder is a little more worrying. He even went so far as to say that we should definitely not feed our pup raw food as this will lead to attacks of diarrhoea. Oddly enough I have been giving our pup, twice a week or so, raw hamburgers, and, so far zero diarrhoea. As for the aggressiveness issue, it is possible that this is not really aggressiveness, but an indication of a dog being more lively, as a result, possibly, of being healthier. This is something else I may mention to our vet later on.

Moving on to the vet’s opinion, his comments are much more interesting, seeing as they come from someone who specialises in animal health. He claimed to my other half, I was not present, incidentally, that raw meat is potentially dangerous for dogs because it contains microbes. And he added that the packets of dry little brown balls made by various large multinationals provide a far healthier more balanced diet for dogs. This, I have to say, is not what I have read elsewhere on the Internet. But then again, I’ve read some articles that are for raw food diets and others that are not, so it is difficult to know, even if I can appreciate the logic behind feeding raw food to what are basically domesticated wild animals. However, what is particualry odd about our Italian vet’s opinion is that he seems to be forgetting that dogs have pretty strong stomachs, and that they often sniff/eat microbe ridden excrement, with little or no effect, and country dogs often kill and eat wild animals without killing themselves. I know because the Springer Spaniel we had when I was growing up in the UK, often killed and ate rabbits and pheasants. This dog, Muffin, lived until he was 15 – which is not a bad age for a dog from what I understand.

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There is also something else I don’t comprehend from the vet’s attitude towards raw meat for dogs. That is he would seem to be implying that raw meat, with all its dangerous microbes, must be potentially dangerous for humans too, and yet, Italians themselves often eat raw sausages (my other half), raw mince (with lemon and olive oil) and the very well know carpaccio dish which is raw beef, and is considered something of a delicacy in Italy. It is very good, to this I can attest, having eaten carpaccio on more than one occasion, and I am still around and I do not recall that the ingestion of this food led to my having had an attack of runny bottom syndrome. Then we have the famous, here in Italy, Fiorentina steaks, which are often served rare, so rare in fact that you could actually say ‘raw’. Again, I have tried this and I am fine. But, my vet’s opinion leads me to believe that I have swallowed a lot of very risky microbes.

This means, that I am probably lucky to be still alive and writing this by the sounds of things, especially when you take into account that I have tried most forms of raw or almost raw Italian cuisine. According to our vet, our dog, on the other hand, is likely to suffer more harm than good as a result of eating raw food than humans. Well, this is how I interpret the vet’s opinion. Strange. Or, maybe what the vet will tell me is that the raw meat sold in Italian butchers and supermarkets is really unfit for consumption by animals, which means he is indirectly claiming that this meat must be just about lethal for humans. Odd, I was under the impression that food that was considered unfit for human consumption could be, up to a point, quite safely eaten by animals that, as I believe, have much stronger bacteria killing enzymes in their digestive systems than homo sapiens. Well, I’m not a vet, so I could be mistaken, I suppose.

I can see that I shall end up having quite an interesting discussion about all this with our vet. I will post the outcome of this little discussion here, so you can read about it and establish whether Italian raw meat dishes are not the best thing, health wise, since sliced bread. I wonder if my little discussion will strike any ‘raw’ nerves. Oh, what a wicked little blogger I am. Of course, I shall publish a full retraction if my vet manages to convince me that raw food for animals really is so very dangerous. I’m quite open minded. Well, almost.

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