In a survey of dog owners who make raw, meat-based dog foods at home, researchers identified three main reasons people switch from store-bought kibble. The scientists also found that many people may be unaware of risks, such as pathogen transmission, with raw meat dog foods. Likewise, pet owners may use information found on the internet, as opposed to veterinarians’ advice, when deciding to make raw, meat-based dog food at home.
“As revealed by this study, most owners are unaware of the risks posed by the feeding of RMBDs [raw, meat-based diets] for both animal and human health, and they often rely on questionable sources for advice on pet nutrition,” wrote researchers from the University of Padua in the journal BMC Veterinary Research. “Owners see RMBDs as a more natural and healthier alternative to commercial pet food even if the actual benefits remain unproven. Consulting veterinarians for proper information and board-certified nutritionists for the formulation of complete and balanced RMBDs should be promoted.”
Study on pet owner knowledge of raw, homemade dog food
The researchers conducted their study using questionnaire answers from 218 dog owners. Of these, 62 lived with people whose immune system was impaired or weakened, such as young children, the chronically ill, the elderly and pregnant women.
More than half of the respondents stated that the internet was their preferred source of information about raw, meat-based dog foods. Only nine percent received that info from their veterinarian, and eight percent looked to vets for formulation advice.
Why dog owners switch from kibble to homemade raw meat diets
Although 94 percent had experience with commercial dog food, nearly 80 percent of participants had completely stopped using commercial dog food.
Respondents gave these three reasons for quitting commercial dog food.
- Lack of ingredient origin, quality and other data – 78 percent
- Inclusion of additives – 46 percent
- Presence of carbohydrates – 17 percent
The majority of respondents replied that giving their dog a healthy, natural diet was their primary motivation for making raw dog food at home.
Nearly all survey participants (94%) believed raw meat dog foods to be safe. Dog owners reported that feeding homemade raw diets resulted in their dogs having a shinier coat, muscle mass gain and cleaner teeth.