At BPE we’ve been huge frozen raw and freeze-dried raw advocates for years now. There has been a lot of discussion about the safety of raw but as the years go by, raw has evolved to be one of the safest options you can buy. It’s safe and maximizes nutrition for your pet. Ask anyone that is feeding raw and you’ll be sure to hear all about how it helps with coat, eyes, elimination, etc. It just helps your pets feel their best. Until now, however, we’ve had to rely on anecdotal evidence (a LOT of it, but anecdotal nonetheless) to make our case. 

That’s changing. 

Research 

An independent research program called DogRisk has teamed up with veterinarian and research scientist Anna Heilm-Björkman, DVM, PhD to focus on how genetic, nutritional and environmental factors influence disease in dogs. 

So far, the joint team has surveyed more than 16,000 dogs on all aspects of their life including what they were eating, where they were living, and how old they were when they contracted a disease.

This DogRisk study is being performed overseas, but one of our favorite brands, Instinct, is sponsoring the research. Instinct is serious about pet nutrition.

Susan G. Wynn, DVM, DACVN, Sr. Director of Scientific Affairs for Instinct, is actually a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. There are more current US Senators in the country than there are board-certified veterinary nutritionists. Having one on staff full-time is a BIG DEAL. I have more to say below, but honestly, go check out their website about the research. If you’re looking for information, they have it all laid out for you. 

“Raw food is healthier because it contains thousands more bioactive factors than processed food, in which they have been destroyed by heat,” says Susan G. Wynn, DVM, DACVN. “Many of these bioactives can reduce inflammation, and suppress damage to DNA.”

So why buy dog food at all? Just throw some raw meat in the bowl and call it a day, right? No. It’s not that simple. “Perhaps the biggest misconception [about raw dog food]—even among veterinarians—is that raw diets are all homemade, and therefore nutritionally unbalanced and full of harmful bacteria,” Dr. Wynn says. “Instinct®, at least, is nutritionally complete, and does not contain pathogens.”

“Perhaps the biggest misconception [about raw dog food]—even among veterinarians—is that raw diets are…nutritionally unbalanced and full of harmful bacteria”

Safety

For raw food to earn that nutritionally complete label, it has to be tested and prove that it includes all of the nutrition that your pet needs. The ingredients are analyzed before they are formulated into a recipe and then studied after the fact to ensure they are still where they need to be.

“Raw meat very often contains harmful bacteria that make dogs, cats, and the people who feed them sick,” Dr. Wynn says. (File that under “reasons not to feed your dog that raw steak.”) 

All of the frozen raw foods that we carry here at BPE have a zero-tolerance policy for these harmful bacteria. There are a couple of ways that an individual company can eliminate bacteria but one of the most common is high-pressure processing (HPP). HPP will destroy bacteria at the cellular level, but leave the animal cell wall intact.

Results

The research is ongoing, but some interesting data is already coming to light. Instinct has this graphic on their site as one example of what we’re learning already. That’s a 30% reduction in the chance of developing environmental allergies as an adult. And that’s just the start!

Needless to say, we’re watching DogRisk and the studies closely and we’ll be sure to pass along any additional information that is released. This is exciting stuff!