Raw Meaty Bones
The BVNA considers healthy debate on pet care issues to be good for the welfare of animals. With regards to the raw meaty bones debate we must concur with the BVA guidance, as follows.
BVA guidance - key facts:
- Commercially-prepared pet foods have been scientifically formulated to contain the optimum balance of essential dietary nutrients for each species. Some commercial pet foods have been designed to satisfy the requirements of certain types of dog or their different activities or the specialised dietary needs of animals with a range of illnesses. The use of such diets over the past decades likely accounts for the increased health and longevity of companion animals.
- These commercial diets are based on extensive research, performed both “in-house” and in collaboration with veterinary schools. Much of this research is published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. By contrast, there is no scientific evidence base to support the benefits of just feeding raw meat and bones.
- Dogs and cats may be fed with home-prepared ‘natural diets’, but it is very important to achieve the optimum balance of requisite nutrients in this fashion.
- The feeding of raw meat and bones, especially small cooked sharp or splintered bones, to companion animals carries particular risks. This includes infection with pathogenic bacteria associated with uncooked meats (e.g. Salmonella, Campylobacter) and injury (e.g. intestinal perforation) caused by bone fragments. The BSAVA (the BVA’s relevant specialist division) advises against the feeding of raw meat or bones to companion animals for this reason.
- The RMB lobby proposes that the feeding of bones is beneficial to oral health (teeth and gums). Although providing large raw marrow bones may be beneficial as something to chew, similar benefits may be achieved by feeding of purpose designed kibble food or dental chews, without the attendant risk of damage (e.g. fractures) of the teeth.