In a world where processed food has started to be demonized, many dog owners have begun to reconsider conventional pet food. We all think of what’s best for our health, so why not consider our beloved pets’ health too? But what if we’re making them and us sick in the process?
Raw Meat Diet for Dogs. Is it Good?
We thought that a raw diet for dogs is close to what they’d naturally eat, but a study shows otherwise.
Focused on health issues, the study points out that raw meat diet poses a risk of bacterial and parasitic diseases that also threatens us. It also mentions that there is not much evidence showing that raw meat diets are healthier for dogs. Another question arises: is that diet nutritious enough?
Dogs have evolved in the last 30,000 years since they’ve been domesticated and living with humans, so their diet was shaped by our food and living conditions. Now they can live on a mixed diet, eating leftovers, or homemade foods. Manufactured pet food contains all the essential nutrients, created after an increased number of research studies on what a dog’s nutritional requirements are.
Study Founds E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella in Frozen Raw Meat
The Veterinary Record released a recent study in which they analyzed 35 commercial raw meat products. They studied eight brands and found concerning results. There were 28 products infected with E. coli, 19 with Listeria monocytogenes and 7 of the products contained Salmonella species. Some of these products had parasites.
Raw pet food from Canada, North America, and New Zealand also tested positive for similar contamination.
The raw meat from the butcher is less likely to be contaminated, but there are no studies on small batches of meat from local butchers.
Dogs Are Going to Be Fine
Dogs are more resistant to the bacteria and parasites and rarely become ill. Salmonella can show some gastric illness in dogs, though.
But the primary concern is that once they eat contaminated raw food, the bacteria will spread through their feces and cause illness in humans. Infections of these bacteria are difficult to treat because they are resistant to antibiotics.
How Can We Minimize the Risks?
Storing and preparing raw food is the same when we handle raw food for human consumption. We should wash hands and all surfaces used for handling the raw food and prevent cross-contamination by storing pet food in different containers.
Pets can spread the bacteria through their saliva, feces and even by sharing the bed with the owners. Touching and petting them is also a risk. Bugs can also contaminate floors and toys.
So, we either stop feeding our dogs raw meat-based diet, or we minimize the risk by regularly cleaning our pets and cleaning after them.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.