For millenia, dogs and cats ate real food. Raw prey animals.
Its only the past 100 years of so that "pet food" in the form of dry pebbles or cans of cooked mush have been available. Before this convenience foods were invented, cats hunted, and dogs got food bought from the butcher. Scraps or horsemeat, bones and liver were the basis of a dogs diet.
Then someone discovered that they could feed pets stuff that couldn't be fed to people, and it wouldn't kill them. Still today, the majority of pet food is made from ingredients unfit for human consumption.
Most of the time, it won't kill your pet. But is it the healthiest choice? Many holistic vets link obesity, diabetes, dental issues and more to the diets we are sold by big corporations. If you ask a nutritionist, for humans or pets, not one will say that you need to eat foods that are processed, artificially flavoured or chemically preserved. They will all tell you to eat cleaner, fresher foods.
There isn't a cleaner or fresher food for a carnivore than meat. Fresh meat. Fed in a balanced, prey model diet (containing meat, bones and organs), there is not a more appropriate food you can find.
Most dry kibble is rendered, cooked, enhanced with artificially produced vitamins to replace what was destroyed in processing and preserved with chemicals, some that have been banned from human consumption. What meat there is in the food is usually outweighed by proteins from plant source, and even carbohydrates, which no carnivore has a metabolic requirement for. In spite of all this processing, dry kibble products are still recalled for salmonella, or worse.
Is raw more of a risk to feed than kibble? If done wrong, sure. The potential for issues is there, and we stress that you do proper research before starting. Handled properly, and fed properly, it is very safe for you, and much better for your pets. And it is very easy to do it properly.
The benefits of feeding raw are pretty amazing, though. Raw fed pets generally have wonderful teeth and great coats. Those are things you will actually be able to see. But beyond the visible, good things happen inside.
Raw fed pets suffer less health issues like obesity, diabetes, kidney/bladder problems. Pets with allergies are often cured by a change to raw. They tend to have less body odour, yeast infections, far less gas, and their feces are 1/4 the size of a kibble fed pet. Not only is the waste reduced in size, it also is more biodegradable, in a few days it just disappears. Really, no crap!
A simple Google search will result in so much positive response to raw feeding. Yes, there will be negative stories, there always are, from those that fear new things or have an agenda. But the vast majority are stories of pets whose lives were turned around, or even saved by getting back to a species appropriate diet.
A balanced prey model diet that includes raw meat, bones and organs is what your pet as designed to eat. Feeding it little brown pebbles probably won't kill your pet, but until you try a fresh food diet, you may never know just what your pet can be.