Myth #8  Pets should be fed bones and raw foods as they ate in the “wild.”


Feeding bones (raw or cooked) have caused esophgeal and intestinal perforation, septic peritonitis, and death in dogs of all sizes. In a published review of 90 cases, a bone was most often (65-80%) found to be lodged between the heart and diaphragm within the esophagus in two separate clinical studies [J of Small Animal Practice 1985 (26);521]. Intensive medical and surgical treatments are needed to survive such an insult. Obstruction within the esophagus carries the worse prognosis because the surgery is through the chest. There is no nutritional value in feeding bones, whereas the risk of illness and death is very real.

There is no nutritional advantage to feeding raw foods over a cooked diet, but there is the very real risk of illness and death. Dogs and cats are susceptible to food borne illnesses and can die from those infections.  Bacteria and bacterial toxins, fungal mycotoxins, and other contaminants all cause food borne illnesses. Animals that roam freely or are fed raw foods are at risk for suffering from food borne illness. The most common signs of food borne illnesses are vomiting and diarrhea; however, disorders of the liver, blood and nervous systems, kidney damage, and skin sores may also result.

1. Sato Y et al. Salmonella virchow infection in an infant transmitted by household dogs (fed raw diet). J Vet Med Sci. 2000;62(7):767. 
2. Stiver SL et al. (fatal) Septicemic Salmonellosis in two cats fed a raw-meat diet. JAAHA 2003;39(6):538.