In 2004, Heidi Liedeker's 5 year old Rottweiler mix, Chevy, suffered from a variety of health problems.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t be helped by traditional veterinary medicine. Liedeker decided to visit a holistic vet who convinced her to feed Chevy a raw food diet. “In one to two months, I had a totally different dog,” Liedeker says. Chevy’s ear infections, skin infections and chronic diarrhea began to clear up. She also began to lose the excess weight she had been carrying.
Liedeker was so amazed by Chevy’s turn around that she started to do some research and discovered that few pet food stores in the Portland area carried supplies for a raw food diet and the ones that did, couldn’t tell her what and how much to feed Chevy.
That’s when she got the idea to start her own pet food store. She asked her holistic veterinarian if he thought a store that carried raw food diet provisions and also offered the expertise to get people started was a good idea. He did and he was very supportive.
In March of 2005, Liedeker opened Meat for Cats and Dogs, a healthy pet food store with a focus on raw food diets. Liedeker calls it an “Ancestral Diet” and says it’s what dogs and cats would have naturally eaten before the introduction of dry pet food. Many people worry that their animals will get sick, but their systems were set up to eat raw meat, bones, and organs. Through interviews with clients, Liedeker can help figure out what are the best raw foods, fruits and vegetables, and vitamins and minerals to feed their pets for optimal health.
For those who want to continue to feed dry food, Lieder cautions them to know what’s in the food they are feeding their pets. The larger the pet food company, the more the food is processed and the less likely people are to know what is in the food. “A lot of [health] issues that animals are dealing with are because of what we feed them,” says Liedeker.
Many will remember the recalls of dog food from 2007. The wheat used in pet food is poorly regulated by the FDA and can contain mold and/or carry toxins. Many dogs got very sick and some died from eating this tainted food.
Liedeker say she doesn’t “push” raw on everybody. She recognizes that there may be many reasons, including potential costs that might make people want to stick with dry food. Adding some raw to dry food is helpful, if possible.
So what kinds of raw food will you be feeding your pets? For cats, they can eat whole or cut up chicken necks or chicken wings. The bones are fine (actually good) for them, but they must be raw-the problems with bones come when they are cooked and can splinter, potentially causing harm to pets. Dogs can eat anything raw-turkey, lamb, or duck necks, ground meat, organs. Some people feed their dogs a whole raw chicken, by just throwing it in the back yard for them to eat.
The best part of her job, Liedeker says is seeing the animals’ health turn around. She recalls meeting a 6 year old Bull Mastiff who was overweight and very shy. The family started her on a raw food diet and within a year she had slimmed down and was playing a lot more than she ever used to. The raw food diet is a success and many are taking notice. Holistic vets in the area, now regularly send clients to Meat for Cats and Dogs to get expert advice on feeding raw.
If you would like to start your pet on a raw food diet, be sure to visit Heidi Liedeker at Meat for Cats and Dogs. 2205 E Burnside St. Portland, OR and on the web at MeatForCatsAndDogs.com