Thank you for contacting Drs. Foster & Smith with your question regarding supplementing a raw meat diet.
Most raw ground meat diets are deficient in many essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Most raw food diets do not meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient profiles. The AAFCO nutrient profiles represent the minimum amount of the essential nutrients necessary to prevent disease. Some raw diets can actually contain toxic amounts of certain nutrients, such as high liver diets can contain toxic levels of Vitamin A.
Vitamins and minerals will need to be supplemented. There are many factors that would determine what vitamins/minerals need to be supplemented and in what quantity. This will vary from animal to animal. A few of the factors that will need to be considered are what type of raw meat is being fed (beef, chicken, organ meat, other), what species/breed is your pet, the age of your pet (young, growing or pregnant animals have different needs than adult or senior animals), if your pet has any underlying medical issues or health concerns, and other factors as well.
Feeding an unbalanced raw meat diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies resulting in diseases such as rickets or nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism. Bacterial contamination is also a concern with raw diets. Animals fed raw diets can fall ill from Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, or other bacteria and pathogens. Human exposure is a concern in these cases as well.
Due to the concerns associated with feeding a raw diet, we strongly recommend feeding a high quality commercial dry or canned diet. We strongly recommend discussing this with your veterinarian before feeding a raw food diet. Your veterinarian may need to consult a veterinary nutritionist to be sure that the diet is nutritionally balanced.
We hope this information is helpful. Thanks again for contacting us.
Drs. Foster & Smith