Vets warn raw meat diet could harm pets' health

6:27 pm on 21 May 2017

Pet owners are being warned a raw meat diet could actually be harming their pets' health.

A raw meat diet for pets could be done, but it was very hard to do properly, said Dr Helen Beattie.

A raw meat diet for pets could be done, but it was very hard to do properly, said a Veterinary Association spokesperson. Photo: 123RF

Raw meat diets have become increasingly popular over the past few years and consist of feeding animals fresh or dehydrated meat, bones and organs.

It is meant to mimic the food dogs and cats would eat in the wild, but veterinarians said they were, anecdotally, seeing an increasing number of animals becoming sick from it.

New Zealand Veterinary Association spokesperson Dr Helen Beattie said vets were seeing more cases of animals suffering from nutrition deficiencies and obstructions from bones, which could even cause death.

"There's been cases where people have seen bone disease in puppies, so rickets for example, [because] they're not getting the ratios of what they're being fed ... quite right."

While a raw meat diet could be done, it was very hard to do properly and there was not enough scientific evidence on the benefits, she said.

"It's not just about providing meat and a bit of tripe, it's about the balances of the components in the food too."

There was also a risk of food poisoning to animals and humans who handled the raw meat, she said.

Anyone considering giving their pets raw meat should consult their vets for advice, Dr Beattie said.

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