A Short History of Raw Pet Foods


The pet food industry in Australia started years after it did in the US. It was Australian veterinarian, Ian Billinghurst, who started the push for raw diets in the 80s and into the 90s. He grew up feeding his own dogs’ raw bones and table scraps, much like everyone else who owned a dog did. And the dogs were healthy. After completing veterinary school, he was taught that a commercially prepared dog food was superior to giving raw bones and table scraps. But after practicing for a while, he started to notice numerous health conditions he hadn’t seen in other dogs. The health problems were with the dogs on a “scientifically proven” commercial diet.  The healthy dogs were the ones who were eating like scavengers!

Is There Another Way?

Billinghurst then went on to experiment with a raw diet on his own dogs, and saw a dramatic improvement in their overall health. He wrote a few books about this, and his viewpoint hasn’t changed since. Veterinarians these days seem to have a hard time accepting this. They get minimal training in nutrition, and what training they do get is sponsored and taught by Hill’s and Royal Canin. (Guess what food brands they sell in their practices?!)  A little biased if you ask me. There are some, however, who have seen the problems with kibble and are advocating for raw diets.

Raw On the Rise

Raw Pet FoodTo me it seems common sense. A diet comprised of fresh, whole foods is healthier for humans. So of course, it is for your pet as well. I have witnessed the changes in my own dogs. And so have many other people, this is why the diet is becoming so popular. Kibble is processed food, so picture a big, greasy fast-food meal. Raw is made with fresh, real ingredients so picture a dinner plate with chicken, broccoli and a nice salad. For more information on kibble, read my previous article on The History of Kibble.

So Why Raw?

There many, many reasons why, if possible, you should switch your pet to a raw diet. I will go over a few quick reasons here. First of all, it is healthier. Raw is made with real food that contains real nutrients. Kibble is made from sub-par ingredients, including 4-D meats (Dead, Diseased, Dying or Disabled Animals). When kibble is cooked, EVERYTHING in it is killed. Fake vitamins and nutrients are injected back into the food, and these aren’t absorbed as well by your pets. This means raw is more bio-available, or more easily absorbed into your pet’s body. It is safer. Yes, safer. With common-sense hygiene practices, a raw diet is much safer than kibble. This is because there is no chance of death or poisoning from aflatoxins, which is mold found on foods like corn. And this is the main reason for the plethora of kibble recalls lately. Lastly, kibble is 45-75% carbohydrates. Carnivores have no dietary requirement for carbs, but they do utilize them for energy (glucose). So, some carbs are definitely okay for your pet, but not at the levels found in kibble. When carbs break down in the body they get turned into sugars and are then stored. This is why there are so many overweight pets eating kibble.

In Closing

I have witnessed the benefits of switching to raw from kibble. As I take more courses and learn more about kibble, I advocate for raw diets even more. Our pets look to us for protection and take care of them. We need to stop listening to the expensive marketing campaigns telling us that kibble is ideal. It works, sure, but at what cost? It is detrimental to a carnivores’ health and should only be used as a last resort. If kibble is your only option, stay tuned to my article series where I will help you with tips on how to improve the nutrition value of kibble.

Adam Harrington

View posts by Adam Harrington
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