12 May 2018

Paleo pets? Feeding your pet raw foods

From This Way Up, 12:15 pm on 12 May 2018

Feeding pets raw food rather than a specially formulated dry diet or tinned meat is an emerging trend - but its detractors say it's a fad with no scientific backing for any benefits.

Pet pie

Pet pie Photo: Charles Deluvio / Unsplash

Meaty mix

Meaty mix Photo: (Raw Essentials website rawessentials.co.nz)

To its devotees, raw pet food offers a true representation of the diet that our companion animals evolved to eat, keeping them healthy and reducing trips to the vet to treat conditions some claim are linked to a modern, more processed diet.

But opponents, many of them in the veterinary establishment, say it's a fad lacking scientific evidence that it's really any healthier.

One recent study from the Netherlands even suggests that it could be dangerous, with raw food in the kitchen increasing the chances that both you and your pet could pick up something nasty.

Dr Lyn Thomson, a vet, founded a pet food shop called Raw Essentials in 2008 and built up a chain of nine stores in Auckland and Hamilton, dedicated to promoting the benefits of a raw diet as a healthier option for our cats and dogs.

Green tripe

Green tripe Photo: (Raw Essentials website rawessentials.co.nz)

But she recently sold the business to focus on getting better scientific research done about the pros and cons of a raw food diet.

Dr Thompson is heading to the UK to work as a researcher with The Raw Feeding Veterinary Society.

Simon Morton met her at Raw Essentials' Grey Lynn store in Auckland to find out what's on the shelves and talk to some of the customers.