The Real “Foods that are dangerous to pets” List (for Raw Feeders)

If you’re like most people, you’ve read and seen a great number of articles online proclaiming “foods to avoid”, “common foods that are dangerous to pets” and “foods that are toxic to pets”.

Unfortunately,  many of these lists are confusing to lots of experienced dog/cat people because they can range from being wildly inaccurate (or perhaps just hyperbolic) for some items on the list, and spot-on for other things. So, unless you’ve done the research and really know which foods present a serious/life-threatening risk to your animal, it’s hard to know what’s really OK to feed (especially in reasonable/moderate or small amounts) vs. what’s going to actually/ quite possibly kill them.

As a raw feeder, these lists and articles are particularly perplexing/frustrating because they perpetuate common myths about foods we provide, safely and with great benefit, to our dogs/cats daily as part of their regular diet. Raw Feeders know that many things that end up being it on those lists are NOT at all toxic, dangerous, or foods we need to avoid: raw meat, raw bones, animal fat, avocado flesh, and garlic, for example.

So, from a fresh (cooked, home-prepared/raw) food feeder’s perspective – here’s your edited down “foods that are ACTUALLY dangerous to pets” list. We hope this provides some clarity to the confused – or frustrated and/or perplexed among us – while making sure that you provide safe meals and snacks to your animals!

Please refrain from incorporating the following foods that are toxic or dangerous to dogs/cats:


Onions – (all types of onions, leeks, scallions, chives and shallots) when fed in large quantities, or frequently in small amounts over time, can cause a specific form of anemia called Heinz-body anemia. It is, thankfully, a largely reversible, treatable, and rarely fatal condition – but most veterinarians, even those that promote raw feeding, concur that including onion in the diet is simply not worth the risk.  Note: cats are more susceptible to onion toxicity than dogs.

  • In severe cases, the anemia may lead to internal organ damage, organ failure or even death. Symptoms of toxicity include: lethargy, weakness, ataxia (lack of muscle coordination), pale gums, red or brown discolored urine, hyper-salivation, occasional vomiting and/or diarrhea.
  • Look for onion as an ingredient in seasonings, sauces, and broths. Avoid feeding your dogs or cats onion in any form (raw, cooked, dehydrated, powdered, etc.)

Garlic, while it has some of the same chemical compounds as onions, is actually beneficial to dogs and cats in small/moderate amounts, and when used intermittently instead of consistently over the long-term. Garlic is a wonderful, health-promoting addition to the natural diet, when used responsibly. Onion is, however, remains problematic..


Xylitol – this natural “low glycemic” birch sweetener is in a lot of foods these days. It is found in most sugar-free gums, toothpastes, mouthwashes/dental products, and sugar-free, natural/health food store/bakery candies or baked goods. Unfortunately, it causes a dramatic increase in insulin in dogs which can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar); a potentially fatal drop in blood sugar. This reaction can occur anywhere between 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion. Symptoms that your dog may have swallowed a product containing xylitol include:

  • sudden lack of coordination
  • vomiting
  • bleeding disorders
  • seizures
  • coma

Ultimately, for a dog that eats xylitol, even without experiencing hypoglycemia, liver failure may still occur (12 to 48 hours after consumption), resulting in death. Do not let your dog eat anything with this ingredient, even in small amounts, it is quite dangerous.

Death will occur if xylitol poisoning is left untreated, so early treatment is key. Your veterinarian will induce vomiting and then follow up with supportive care to treat hypoglycemia and any signs of liver failure.


Dark Chocolate is considered toxic for both dogs and cats, and should be avoided. That being said, the type of chocolate (how dark it is/what it is blended with) and your animal’s weight, plus their unique metabolism, all determine the level of toxicity. This is why some dogs/cats can ingest small amounts of milk or diluted/blended with other ingredient forms of chocolate, even on a regular basis, and do not suffer any serious consequences. Check out this awesome chocolate meter which can help you determine if your pet has ingested a toxic amount of chocolate! It is a great tool that we recommend consulting/using any time your pet has consumed any amount of chocolate. Symptoms of concern in dogs/cats that have eaten chocolate can include:

  • vomiting/diarrhea
  • increased body temperature/reflex responses
  • muscle rigidity
  • rapid breathing
  • increased heart rate
  • low blood pressure
  • seizures

Advanced signs of toxicity could include cardiac failure, weakness, and coma.

What about cocoa bark mulch used in gardens? Read more about this risk here. We suggest avoiding using this in your home garden and to be mindful of this risk when your mouthy dog decides to chomp on mulch while out and about in local parks or neighbor’s yards.


Macadamia nuts (and many other foods) are very rich in fat, which may cause a flare of pancreatitis in dogs that already have this susceptibility. However, because individual tolerances for fatty foods can vary significantly and healthy, working dogs (and cats) do exceptionally well with very high (up to 50% or more) fat diets, we won’t consider fat content a toxic or “to avoid” risk; fat content is not the big concern with these nuts.

The primary issue of concern is that macadamia nuts have been shown to cause a very painful toxicity due to an unknown toxin that may result in quite serious neurological symptoms in dogs. Only 2 to 3 nuts eaten by a 10-pound dog can cause severe pain in muscles, joints, and tummy areas anywhere from 2 to 12 hours after eating. Although this poisoning does not result in death in general, it causes extreme discomfort and several alarming symptoms including muscle tremors, paralysis, staggering, and high fevers.


Walnuts, pecans and hickory nuts may be risky to feed; not *usually* the ones you buy that are beautifully fresh, clean, and healthy from most retail outlets (particularly organic, clean, yummy and fresh ones), but there is a high risk for nuts found on the ground in orchards or perhaps sold at a roadside produce stand, or nuts that are of lesser quality, have been on the shelf for a long time, or from unknown origins.

Walnuts, in particular, can be tainted by a toxic mold called ‘Penitrim A’, which is produced by Penicillium mould that contains tremorgenic mycotoxins; toxins can cause potentially leathal seizures or neurological symptoms in dogs and cats. A large amount of this ingested mold may cause seizures, increased body temperature, liver damage, and possibly death.

Because of these issues, in our opinion, macadamias and walnuts are two nuts that are best to avoid entirely. With pecans and hickory nuts, simply limit consumption to a few here and there; and be absolutely certain they are fresh, clean and never suspicious (as far as handling or quality) or moldy.

Safe nuts and seeds: your pet can enjoy small amounts of many other nuts and seeds (no shells, of course!) including unsweetened, organic, unsalted:

  • natural sunflower seed butter (the BEST alternative to peanut butter!)
  • sesame/tahini (an excellent choice! This is a seed that we highly recommend including as part of a healthy diet!)
  • cooked/roasted cashews (not raw)
  • hazelnuts
  • chestnuts
  • almonds
  • flax seeds
  • hemp seeds
  • chia seeds
  • pumpkin seed/butter and pumpkin seed oil (pumpkin seed is super beneficial – so outstanding that we include organic raw ground pumpkin seeds in our Vitality Blend!)
  • coconut meat or oil
  • pistachios

Special Note About Peanuts: While peanuts are not immediately “deadly” to dogs or cats, peanuts and peanut butter are something we suggest avoiding completely due to the high risk for contamination with aflatoxins (linked to liver cancer in humans and dogs/cats) and the very serious health concerns associated with the ingestion of peanuts, peanut butter, and peanut butter containing/flavored foods.

You can read more herehere, here, and here.

  • Symptoms of aflatoxicosis (which can occur from eating ANY food containing this toxic mold – not just peanuts, but other grains and cereals, including kibbled foods and many pet treats) in animals include: severe, persistent vomiting; bloody diarrhea; lack of appetite; fever; sluggishness; discolored urine; and jaundice, especially around the whites of the eyes, gums and belly.

Some sources will include figs, almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, and pistachios as being at risk for aflatoxin contamination, too. However, in our experience, these are generally very safe organic foods, when purchased fresh from a reputable source, of high quality; fed in small amounts, on occasion; and are not anywhere nearly as high risk as peanuts when it comes to this specific toxic mold.

Go easy on Brazil nuts: Brazil nuts may cause problems, but ONLY if they are fed in large quantities/fed frequently. The occasional brazil nut is perfectly fine for most pets, and will do no harm. The issue is the brazil nut’s high selenium content. Over time, when fed regularly, “hyper-vitaminosis” levels of selenium can lead to injury to the nervous system, liver, lungs and spleen.

sultaninen_artikelRaisins and Grapes (dogs) – more here . Grape/raisin/currant toxicity has been documented only in dogs, although there have been anecdotal reports of a similar problem in cats and ferrets. It is potentially fatal. This issue is perplexinig to those of us that used raisins as training treats without any issues years ago. Knowing there is something causing a serious toxicity in dogs these days, we now suggest avoiding raisins and grapes.

atlantic-salmon-portionsRaw salmon or trout (dogs) involves the serious risk of Salmon Poisioning Disease. Unless salmon and all types of anadromous fish have been cooked or deep-frozen for at least 7 days, this is risk. Read more on our past blog post here. Avoid feeding raw, unless properly frozen, or cooked.

porkWild Game & Pork: Raccoon, fox and bear meat/organs/bones should be avoided entirely. Raw pork and wild game (fit for human consumption and USDA inspected) can be safe to feed, but only after it has been frozen for at least three weeks. Wild game purchased from your local human-food outlet/butcher including venison, duck, rabbit, elk, and moose are safe to feed your dogs and cats.

Wild game sourced in our area/region (San Francisco Bay Area/Northern CA) present a variety of parasite risks that are eliminated entirely when the meats have been either properly cooked or pre-frozen for three weeks prior to feeding to your pets.  It is important to properly freeze all wild game and meats for a minimum of three weeks in your deep freezer to eliminate the possibility of any health risks for you or your animals from parasites.

Fresh, raw USDA inspected pork carries the low, but possible risk for certain parasites including trichinella larva, Toxoplasma gondii, and a swine disease known as Aujeszky’s Disease (or “pseudorabies”).

The risk for these parasites is low with “fit for human consumption” retail-ready, USDA licensed and inspected meats (the only meats SFRAW uses and sells). The incredibly rare possibility may still exist though, so we continue to recommend properly freezing prior to feeding these meats raw to your animals.

Aujeszky’s Disease is incurable and fatal to dogs and cats – so it is not worth risking the feeding of FRESH raw pork (just one of several possible routes of exposure to infection); best to freeze raw pork before offering it to your dog/cat! When a pet has become infected, the outcome is fatal within 48 hours after onset of the clinical signs. Clinical symptoms may include acute encephalitis, with excitation and hypersalivation; anorexia, intense pruritus (which leads to lesions due to scratching and self-mutilation). The disease progresses to symptoms that mimic rabies, with frothing at the mouth, loss of muscular control and erratic behavior.

Trichinosis can be a significant disease in people, but presents far less of a problem in dogs/cats. This parasite often goes undiagnosed in cats and dogs since they frequently do not present with clinical symptoms. In rare instances, severe symptoms may develop. Signs to watch for include: weakness, lethargy, inflamed or painful muscles, fever, diarrhea (which may or may not contain blood), hypersalivation (excessive drooling) disorientation, and behavioral changes.

Thankfully, these parasitic organisms are all highly susceptible to freezing and cooking – so you can certainly feed raw (previously/properly frozen) or cooked pork to your dogs and cats without any concern.

Pork is one of our favorite meats for dogs/cats and there is no reason to avoid feeding it (unless you have your own ethical or personal reservations about feeding/eating pork, which we respect).

Any USDA inspected/approved raw pork or pork bones that have been frozen for three weeks at a suitably low temperature will be safe for your dogs (and cats) to eat! We rely on pork necks, ears, snouts, trotters/feet, tails, pork leg meat, and various excellent pork offal cuts (heart, liver, tongue, kidney) as major players in our animal’s diets and have done so for decades without any issues. Two of my own Great Danes enjoyed a diet of 30% raw pork for their entire lifetime, it was a wonderful food for them – they lived to be 12 years of age and we had no pork related problems at all!

Pork is a wonderful choice! Just be sure you adequately pre-freeze (or cook) this meat prior to feeding. Properly freezing is easy to do, and worth the great benefits of this cooling, novel, nutritious, and tasty protein that we source from excellent pastured, heritage local sources. We think pork is a great addition to the diet when handled properly!

How to make Pizza Dough Process Shot. A121217 Fast: Southern Italy, Gastronaut: Pizza April 2013Active yeast (raw dough) raw dough, when ingested, causes some rather serious and painful symptoms in pets; best to avoid and keep this way from your animals entirely.

Spent Hops and Alcohol – hops used in home-brewing has been liked to death in some dogsAfter consuming spent hops, clinical signs of toxicity can include agitation, panting, excitement, flatulence, rapid heart rate followed by life-threatening elevations in body temperature. Death has been reported in as little as 6 hours without appropriate treatment. Prognosis for survival is generally guarded after symptoms are present. Any breed of dog (or, rarely, cats) may be affected, but breeds that are predisposed to malignant hyperthermia (extreme elevation of body temperature for an unknown reason) tend to be more susceptible.  These breeds include Greyhounds, Labrador Retrievers, Saint Bernard, Pointers, Dobermans, Border Collies, English Springer Spaniels, and northern breeds.

If you suspect your dog or cat has consumed spent hops, seek veterinary care immediately! This is not something that should be managed at home. Quickly take a rectal temperature, and if it is found to be greater than 105 F, begin active cooling measures—such as dousing your pets body with cool water and wrapping icepacks in towels and placing them over its body—in addition to running the air conditioning in car while on your way to your veterinarian or local emergency clinic. This measure could help save your pets life and give him or her the best chance for survival.

Most people know not to give alcoholic drinks to their pets, yet many are not aware of just how toxic alcohol consumption can be to dogs and cats. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning may include:

  • Drooling
  • Retching
  • Vomiting or attempting to vomit
  • Distended stomach/bloat
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Coma
  • Hypothermia
  • Death

Ingestion of enough alcohol can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience metabolic acidosis, seizures, and respiratory failure. At this point, without treatment, death soon follows usually due to cardiac arrest. Even if a dog or cat doesn’t die from the acute effects of alcohol poisoning, the toxin can still harm the healthy functioning of their kidneys and liver, reducing quality of life over time.

Of course, due to the varied alcohol content (%) found in different drinks, some alcohol will be more dangerous to dogs and cats than others. In addition, your animal’s body weight and unique metabolism is a determining factor in their ability to “handle” the toxicity of different types and amounts of alcohol.

Beer contains the lowest concentration of alcohol, usually around 4%. Wine averages 10% alcohol by volume, but some hard liquor can be as high as 90% alcohol. Unfortunately, even small amounts of hard liquor can potentially kill a small dog or cat.

Remember, too, that alcohol can be found in foods and other consumables (not strictly in adult beverages) including: fruit cake, wine/liqueur-based sauces, and may be problematic if your pet consumes large quantities of fermented foods, etc. To be safe, we recommend that all alcoholic beverages and foods remain off-limit to pets regardless of their size and a drink’s alcohol concentration.

Corn Cobs, Seeds, Pits & Large Pieces of Raw Tubers/Roots/Vegetables are completely indigestible to dogs and cats, and can cause a fatal intestinal blockage with serious damage done to the GI tract.

Dogs and cats simply cannot digest/break down plant matter, especially these hard fibrous parts – leading to a life-threatening obstruction that may require emergency surgery that is not always successful and can involve deadly complications.  It is best to avoid these all together.

Corn cobs, in particular, are incredibly deadly and should be very carefully avoided. Be sure your pet does not get into the trash, or is handed a corn cob by a well-meaning house guest/visitor – this mistake could be potentially fatal!

If you suspect that your dog (or cat) has ingested a corn bob, pit/large seed (avocado, mango, cherry, peach, nectarine, plum and apricot pits) or any larger pieces of raw tubers or other whole, hard pieces of a solid vegetable – here are some good suggestions on what to do.

Sugar and Salt when sharing foods, or preparing meals, be very mindful of the food’s sugar or sodium/salt content. Never use ingredients that contain added sodium (enhanced meats, for example), sugar or salt to your animal’s meals, and refrain from seasoning their meals with added sugar or salt during preparation.

Enhanced or Preserved Meat & Poultry: AVOID! AVOID! When shopping for fresh, raw meat and poultry for your pet, it is critical to read the fine print on the labels at your local butcher/grocery/natural food store – and to avoid enhanced or preserved (even “naturally”) products.

Yes, even “natural” “hormone-free” and “antibiotic-free” meats/poultry can be enhanced and you simply must avoid these foods when shopping for your dogs or cat. Here’s a useful page that reviews statements to look for and how to identify enhanced meats. Statements that you may see on the product label (often in a very small print) include:

  • ‘‘ready-to-cook product to which solutions are added’’
  • “contains up to (added %) _______” – this indicates that the meat has been enhanced and pumped with a sodium containing solution.


A lot of fresh, raw meat is “enhanced”. It can also be “naturally preserved” (see above for an example of a product to avoid, with rosemary extract as a preservative). Preservatives, even natural ones like rosemary extract, present a possible – yet not very well documented/understood – issue for animals sensitive to these ingredients/additives. For example, rosemary extract has been suspected to be a trigger for seizures with some animals.

About 30 percent of all poultry, 15 percent of beef, and 90 percent of pork sold in the United States are injected with some kind of liquid solution before sale, USDA says, and it’s usually something high in sodium. These solutions pump up the meat’s volume and 6816299can “replace the flavor and moisture loss that results from raising leaner animals or from potential overcooking,” says the American Meat Institute. 

New labeling laws went into effect in 2015, but enhanced meats remain a concern for raw feeders; reading the labels carefully is vitally important when shopping for meats that won’t make your pet ill. 

If it’s not easy to find the “enhanced” statement on the packaging – and this may be very hard to read or find  – simply look at the nutritional analysis label to check the sodium content. Anything you purchase must contain under 100 mg sodium per serving. More than this means the poultry or meat has been enhanced in some way. Enhanced meats/poultry can cause vomiting and illness in your pet. Meat and poultry that you buy for your animals should not be enhanced, seasoned, or smoked in any way.

The above list includes FOODS that you need to avoid when preparing a fresh foods diet for your pets and sharing meals or snacks with them. Remember that any chemical-laden, processed, or non-wholesome foods and meals WILL have safety concerns and be damaging to your animal’s health.   

While on the topic, a few non-food/ common household, very high risk toxic items to know about include:

essential oils and medical flowers herbs

Essential Oils (cats) please avoid the use of essential oils on/around felines, period. While there are products sold for dogs/cats that are made with EOs – we think this is unsafe for cats and we do not recommend taking this risk. Hydrosols are a safer option for use around felines, should you want to incorporate aromatherapy in your home around your cats, choose to use hydrosols instead. If you use or diffuse EOs in your home, please be sure your cats are in a different room and be sure fresh air is available during and after use. Never put EOs on surfaces where your cat walks/steps, sleeps, or may be able to directly/indirectly ingest the EOs. Read more about this topic here.

Lilies and the pollen from these plants (cats) or, “When I order flowers for anyone with a feline household member, I ALWAYS ensure the bouquet will not include any lilies!”

It takes SO little exposure – just a bit of lily pollen blown into your yard is all it takes – and the consequences can be deadly! Members of the Lilium and Hermerocallis genera are highly toxic to cats. This includes: Easter lilies, day lilies, Tiger lilies, Japanese Show, rubrum, red, Western, wood lilies, and Stargazer lilies. Other plants with ‘lily’ in the name, such as peace lily (Spathiphyllum) or lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria), do not cause the kidney injury associated with members of Lilium and Hemerocallis. However, while Lily of the valley does not cause kidney failure, this common plant may cause life-threatening heart arrhythmia and death when ingested by dogs or cats.

Even the ingestion of small amounts (such as single bite of petals or leaves); exposure to the pollen (if they get it on their coat, for example) or taking a few sips from water from the vase of these flowers – can result in severe, acute kidney failure.  Download a flyer from UC Davis here.

If your cat is seen consuming any part of a lily or if your cat comes inside with pollen on her/his coat, bring your cat (and the plant) immediately to a veterinarian for medical care. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better and more efficiently the lily poisoning can be treated. Decontamination (like inducing vomiting and giving binders like activated charcoal) are imperative in the early toxic stage, while aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, kidney function monitoring tests, and supportive care can greatly improve the prognosis. Intravenous fluids must be started within an 18 hour window for the best outcome.

The death cap, Amanita phalloides, from button stage to full sizDeadly Wild Mushrooms (wild, found locally) – the Death Cap mushroom, a Category A toxic mushroom, is the most poisonous mushroom in the world and it grows right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Every year dogs die in our region from ingesting a deadly mushroom species appropriately named the Death Cap mushroom.  In the greater Bay Area, the Death Cap can be found at all times of the year, but most abundantly during fall and early winter rainy season. Be aware of mushrooms growing in your yard or places your pet visits. Death Caps can commonly be found growing around oak trees and cork oak, especially from late September through late October.

Besides Death Caps, two other types of poisonous mushrooms can be found in California, especially the San Francisco Bay Area region: the Destroying Angel and the Deadly Galerina, which is a distinctive orange. Be aware of this risk when out and about with your animals.


When ingested, even from just a single nibble/bite, the Death Cap mushroom causes acute liver failure and death. Clinical signs may occur as early as 6-8 hours or as long as 24 hours following ingestion. The initial gastroenteritis phase (which lasts about 24 hours) is generally characterized by profuse bloody diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, fever, tachycardia (irregular heartbeat), and hyperglycemia. The final—and often terminal, hepatorenal phase involves renal/kidney involvement with dreaded complications of end-stage liver disease that begins up to three to four days after ingestion. In addition, neurological dysfunction including hepatic encephalopathy and coma can occur. Typically, the animal dies three to seven days after ingestion.

However, some dogs show no real symptoms and quickly end up in a coma/death.  Some may just seem perhaps a little quieter, and not have an interest in food. These dogs can go from just being a “little off” to being in a coma and death within 24-36 hours. Sadly, there is no antidote for Death Cap mushroom poisoning; treatment is merely supportive.

Because the risk is fatal and there is no curative treatment, it is best to prevent exposure as much as possible, so walk your garden/yard regularly – without your animals – to inspect for mushrooms (collect and remove with gloves, then dispose of safely in a sealed plastic bag in the trash). When out and about with your animals, pay close attention to what your dog (or cat) might be nibbling on in the park or nature.

Death Cap mushrooms are unfortunately, good tasting and have a pleasant scent (like roses) — so they are appealing to many dogs and some cats. If you suspect your pet has eaten a wild mushroom, call your veterinarian immediately, induce vomiting (if easy and fast for you to do) and go straight to the veterinary ER. Bring a sample of the suspected mushroom for identification. For the sample, do not place the mushroom in a plastic bag, instead wrap in a moist paper towel, wax paper, or paper bag, if possible.

You may choose to induce vomiting right away by one of these methods – doing so immediately after they have eaten the mushroom may save your animal’s life:

  • Syrup of ipecac (1 teaspoonful per 10 pounds body weight)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide 3% (1-3 teaspoonfuls every 10 minutes, repeat 3 times)
  • One half to 1 teaspoonful of salt, placed at the back of the tongue

nwy-02070-2I would personally induce vomiting and then follow-up with a dose of a homeopathic remedy prescribed by my veterinary homeopath (more here) and activated charcoal. Giving activated charcoal pills, which are easy to administer on your way to the ER (dose is 5 ml/kg; a 50-lb dog would get 100-150 mg of activated charcoal — but the truth is, you can give more than this dose and not experience any adverse effects, so more would be OK) may help to reduce the damage done/inhibit absorption on the toxins within the GI tract. Repeated doses of activated charcoal by your veterinarian may be administered every four to six hours in an attempt to reduce the secretions from the liver to the intestines/blood of the mushroom’s amatoxins and may be of value up to 48 hours after ingestion.

If your animal actually survives an episode of ingesting one of these toxic mushrooms, I would suggest supportive care include starting them on therapeutic doses of Milk Thistle Seed powder/capsules — while there is no studies that prove this is helpful, I do not see how this could be harmful and it may be very beneficial.  Perhaps your veterinarian would even be willing to administer intravenous silymarin [milk thistle extract] in an ER setting – you will have to see what they are willing and able to do. Milk Thistle Seed may provide some hope in a rather hopeless situation, so it is worth considering.


Pet Treats and Pet Foods Found in Many Pet Stores: For decades now, I have personally completely avoided almost anything sold in pet stores for my dogs and cats; and have recommended the same to my friends and clients. Frankly, this is because it’s so much healthier, safer, less costly, and better to buy REAL, FRESH, WHOLE foods and ingredients sold in your local health foods store, high-quality local butcher, natural grocery/cooperative, or local food CSA program and to make your own treats & foods at home than to purchase overpriced/expensive and less healthy (and downright deadly!) options at most pet stores.

To put things into perspective, to date, it appears that even more dogs and cats have actually died and fallen ill from commercially sold pet foods and treats than all of the other foods that I have listed above, combined. This doesn’t include dogs and cats that suffer, and sometimes die, from chronic diseases such as autoimmune diseases, processed food/mold/mite and other pet food allergies, stubborn skin and gastrointestinal problems, obesity related illnesses (including arthritis and diabetes), and cancers associated from the daily consumption of commercially sold pet treats and pet foods.

Not all pet stores are made equal! Local, independent stores that are managed by knowledgeable owners/staff, with a dogged commitment to sourcing safer, healthier options for their customers DO exist (hey, just look at SFRAW/us, for example).

The reason why I started SFRAW in the first place was to source exceptional ingredients for people like me who were seeking out humane, ethically raised, sustainable, wholesome, fresh food ingredients from outstanding producers that we could trust when preparing our own foods at home. It’s generally less expensive and healthier for your animals to buy fresh, high quality “for human consumption” ingredients, and make your own treats & foods when you are able. Some of my dearest friends have owned/currently own independent local pet stores with outstanding care given to safe sourcing. For those of us that make our own food and treats, these exceptional local stores will remain your best choice for purchasing all your animal’s supplies: high quality litter, crates, gear/training equipment, beds, leashes/collars, toys, and sometimes even supplements or remedies to manage common health imbalances/concerns.