We started feeding our dogs and cats a raw diet around 2000, when my dad told us about the Bones And Raw Food (BARF) diet proposed by Australian vet Dr. Ian Billinghurst. All of our animals have been on the diet and have done pretty well. It takes a little more work and attention, but I believe they are much healthier than they would have been. Boots, our Queen Feline, is currently 17 years old and shows no sign of slowing down. I’ve never had a cat reach her age and be so healthy.
It’s true that two of our dogs have died from spleen problems, but we’re suspecting now that there may have been extenuating circumstances due to the black mold that has been found in our roof recently. I also believe it has affected our health as well. Our dogs and cats don’t have arthritis, hip displaysia, cancer, or any of the other “old age” diseases that animals get when on a cooked, grain-based diet. And boy howdy, do they love feeding time!
A raw diet is no guarantee of perfect health, but I have to say that our dogs have lived longer than the average life expectancy for their breeds. Their quality of life has been excellent, with a breakdown occurring only at the far end of their life spans. Our black lab lived to be 14 or 15 (not sure of his age – he was a stray) and our Doberman/St. Bernard cross lived to be almost 13, which is considered pretty good for a giant dog breed.
As I mentioned, one of our cats is 17. The other cat eats almost exclusively what she hunts so I imagine she’ll live to be thirty! The BARF diet may seem extreme to you at first, but I would suggest that you at least incorporate some raw food into your pets’ diet. They will benefit greatly. Find all about it at http://www.barfworld.com/html/learn_more/Learning_directory.shtml. Be sure to look for Dr. Billinghurst’s book, “Give Your Dog a Bone” on amazon.com.