Raw Diet a Viable Option for Dogs, Study Says
Nature’s Variety, a Lincoln, Neb.-based manufacturer of pet food, on March 26 unveiled preliminary findings of its study of raw diets for dogs. The findings suggest a raw food diet is a viable and healthy dietary option for dogs.
“It’s kind of a sigh of relief,” said Laura Duclos, Ph.D., director of research and development at Nature’s Variety.
Duclos said the company commissioned the study to provide veterinarians with science-based research on raw diets and their effects on dogs’ health.
“They know how kibble works, they know how canned works, but there’s nothing published on raw in terms of nutrition and its effect on the health of dogs,” she said.
Kelly Swanson, Ph.D., associate professor with the department of animal sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, led the study. As part of the research, Swanson’s team fed six healthy adult beagles (ages 4 and 5) variations of beef- and chicken-based raw diets over a four-and-a-half-month period. The diets were comprised of about 90 percent muscle meat, organ meat and ground bone, and about 5 percent a fruit and vegetable mix.
Swanson reported that the raw diets were highly digestible, produced desirable stool quality, volume and odor, and resulted in normal blood chemistry. In addition, the dogs easily transitioned from kibble to raw diets and were eager to eat the raw food, he said.
During the trial, the dogs maintained their weight and the quality of their skin and coat, according to Swanson, who is also a member of the university’s department of veterinary clinical medicine. He noted that the study was set up to maintain the dogs’ weight.
“There’s plenty more to do from a research point of view,” he said.
Duclos said she expects the study to be published in a peer-reviewed journal in about one year. She said Nature’s Variety will likely use the information to re-evaluate its raw diet formulas. <HOME>
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