KPBS Radio July 21, 2010 By Maureen Cavanaugh, Hank Crook
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I’m Maureen Cavanaugh, and you’re listening to These Days on KPBS. You may know enough about your pet to make sure they avoid certain foods. No chocolate for the dog, no bony fish for the cat because both can be very hazardous. But what exactly should your pets be eating? All the pet food in the grocery store says it’s nutritious and your pet will love it. How do you choose? And add to that, a growing movement to get pets eating a fresher diet. That effort ranges from new kinds of pet food in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, to specialty pet food stores selling raw meat for dogs and cats. For the rest of this hour, we’ll be talking about what you’re feeding your pet, and what’s the best diet to keep your animal companion healthy and happy for many years to come. I’d like to introduce my guests. Dr. Katy Allen, San Diego veterinarian and owner of Canterbury Tails Veterinary Services. Dr. Allen, Katy, welcome.
DR. KATY ALLEN (Veterinarian): Good morning, Maureen.
CAVANAUGH: And Tori Rosay is owner of Dexter’s Deli, which is a health food store for dogs and cats that has three locations in the North County. Tori, welcome.
TORI ROSAY (Owner, Dexter’s Deli): Thank you for having me. Thank you.
CAVANAUGH: Now, we’d like to invite our listeners to join the conversation. What are you feeding your pet? Table scraps? Specialty pet food? Have you changed your pet’s diet recently? Tell us why. Call us with your questions and your comments, 1-888-895-5727, that’s 1-888-895-KPBS. Tori, let me start with you. Tell us, what is a raw pet food diet?
ROSAY: Well, the raw pet food diet is a diet that has quickly caught on in the last probably, umm, the last six to eight years. And it’s – but it’s still a new concept for people that they hear from friends maybe at the dog park or they might know somebody whose pet is on a raw food diet but basically it’s exactly that. It’s raw meat that’s usually the muscle meat, like chicken, and it contains some organ meat and then a percentage of vegetable that’s pureed into the food. And now there’s actually manufacturers that make the food. When I started out with Dexter’s Deli, there was no one making raw food and so we used to have classes—and this was 14 years ago—and teach people how to do it.
CAVANAUGH: Right. So why, though, why would people choose this kind of diet for their pets?
ROSAY: Well, there’s a lot of different reasons. People have seen their pets become sick or they’ve had like pets in the past that have had cancers, allergy problems, skin problems, and they’ve gone the traditional route of going to vets and doing the medications and the specialty diets and aren’t getting the results that they want. Or a lot of people are into health themselves and there’s this disconnect between what people are eating and the whole food movement for people…
ROSAY: …and then they turn around and they open their cupboard and pull out a bag of dry, processed, denatured kibble and pour it into their dog’s dish and, you know, one day they make that connection of like why am I make – going through so much effort for my own food and then they’re pouring this dry food into…
ROSAY: …their pet’s dish, so…
CAVANAUGH: It makes them look twice at it, if nothing else.
ROSAY: So there’s a strange disconnect because of marketing that, you know, people don’t understand like that they can feed their pets themselves or learn how to do it.