The State of the Commercial Raw Diet Industry
Guidelines for evaluating commercial “complete and balanced” raw diets.
Three of the most knowledgeable and experienced advocates of well-formulated raw diets for dogs have joined forces to explain how to evaluate commercial raw diets. We described them in the inaugural installment of this column last month: Dr. Karen Becker, a leading holistic veterinarian; Steve Brown, one of the founders of this industry; and Mary Straus, one of the most dedicated canine nutrition researchers and writers. This month, we’ve asked them to address the state of the commercial raw diet industry, starting with diets that are labeled as “complete and balanced” or “AAFCO-compliant” (formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials).
Their executive summary? More and more dog owners and veterinarians are learning that well-formulated raw diets are the best food for most dogs most of the time – but the commercial raw dog food industry has problems. They are disappointed with the apparent lack of basic nutritional knowledge demonstrated by many companies – as evidenced by the formulation of their products – despite the manufacturers’ good intentions.
They hasten to add, however, that consumers can learn how to evaluate raw products and the companies that make them, in order to avoid the poorly formulated ones and buy the best products for their dogs. While consumers have no way to determine the quality of the ingredients used by the manufacturers, or whether they really include the ingredients listed on their product labels, owners can evaluate the companies’ formulation proficiency and how that impacts the nutritional adequacy of their products.
Following are six guidelines to help you evaluate commercial raw diets. – Nancy Kerns, Editor