Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Washington Post Features

August 23, 2013

Raw pet food: Is it right for your dog or cat?

Max was a sick kitty with all kinds of problems: arthritis, bladder issues, recurring ear infections and chronic skin troubles. "Just about everything was a mess on him," said Andrea Tasi, a feline-only homeopathic veterinarian in Northern Virginia who was treating the 11-year-old ginger domestic shorthair. "Nothing would get better."

When Max's owner decided to put him on a raw food diet, Tasi was surprised by the results. Until that time, she had viewed these types of diets — which are a blend of raw organ and muscle meats, bones, vegetables and supplements — as "wacko nonsense."

Within months of the switch, Max's "ears got better, his bladder trouble got better, his skin got better," Tasi said. "You couldn't make all of his arthritis go away — he was an old cat, so it wasn't sort of a magic fix for everything — but this cat looked better than he ever did when he was in my care."

Animal welfare organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), warn that raw pet food is a health risk for animals and the people around them. Yet the diet is growing in popularity.

"Sales are going up and up and up," says Mimi Stein, retail division director for Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Va., which manufactures the Furry Foodie raw pet food brand. "It's almost doubling what it did last year."

Just as many people are turning to locally grown, organic, whole foods for themselves, they are also seeking out better foods for their dogs and cats. For some, that translates into a raw pet food diet.

According to Max's owner, that diet is what healed him. "It all made sense to me, because I was kind of playing around with human diets, too," says Tammy Droddy, a vegan who lives in Fairfax, Va. "What we eat impacts our health dramatically, so why would that not be true for cats?"

Text Only
Washington Post Features
  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 17, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 15, 2014

  • DayCareCosts.jpg Day care's cost can exceed college tuition in some states

    Most parents will deal with an even larger kid-related expense long before college, and it's a cost that very few of them are as prepared for: day care.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 9, 2014

  • news_twitter.jpg Travelers fly on Air Twitter

    The enlightened age of social media has dawned over the airline industry, casting shadows over telephone call centers and on-site agents. Facebook and Twitter are racking up the friends and followers while the hold music plays on.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • To get quality care, it helps to be the right kind of patient

    I am a family physician. Sometimes I must step out of the comfort of my clinical role and into that of patient or family caregiver. Generally, these trips to the other side of the exam table inspire a fair amount of anxiety.

    April 8, 2014

  • Fast, cheap test can help save lives of many babies

    As Easley did more research into her daughter's death, she learned that a pilot program had started just months earlier at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md. (Easley had delivered at a different hospital in the Washington area.) The program's goal was to screen every newborn with a simple pulse oximeter test that can help detect heart problems such as Veronica's, allowing doctors to respond.

    April 8, 2014