k9 Things Won’t my dog (or my family) get sick if I feed a raw diet?

Won’t my dog (or my family) get sick if I feed a raw diet?

We, as humans, have always been told to cook our meat to eliminate pathogens like Salmonella, E. Coli, or Campylobacter. The truth is, there are very little documented cases linking raw feeding to enteric pathogens. In a study by DogRisk1, stool samples were tested in dogs who were fed raw diets and some who were fed kibble-based diets. It was discovered that “Zoonotic meat-borne bacteria—such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, and enteropathogenic Yersinia—were only sporadically detected in RMBD (raw meat-based diets) by PCR.”1 This means that there is no consistency with raw diets and enteric pathogens.

As long as basic, safe handling occurs (we do this for our own meat to prevent getting sick) — good hand hygiene, disinfecting surfaces after prepping, and not feeding meat that has gone bad, enteric pathogens should be prevented.

It’s also important to note that some of the largest and most significant pet food recalls in the U.S. have been linked to dry food. This means that heat-treated foods also come with significant risk of pathogens, and research tells us that most pet owners feed their pets and do not wash their hands or clean their pet food bowls regularly. In other words, it is important to practice proper hygiene regardless of the type of food you feed your pet!


  1. Anturaniemi (o.s. Roine), J., Barrouin-Melo, S., Zaldivar-López, S., Sinkko, H., & Hielm-Björkman, A. (2019). Owners perception of acquiring infections through raw pet food: a comprehensive internet-based survey. Veterinary Record185(21).
About author

Michelle is a Registered Nurse, holding her bachelor's degree in Nursing with both Emergency and ICU experience. It goes without saying that she has incredible attention to detail, the ability to see past the obvious and a knack for research. Like many in this industry, she had a sick pet which developed her keen interest in animal nutrition, and her experience in human medicine and the ability to think critically serve her well in this space. Her quest for knowledge drives her to dive into topics that may be considered controversial, or that don’t have much research in animal nutrition. This allows her to provide a unique perspective to other pet owners which also encourages them to ask the tough questions and challenge the status quo. When she is not working in the hospital or researching and contributing to the NPP Journal she can be found spending time with her Dog Susie and cats Stout and Archer. If you have a topic or a question you would like an evidence-based research answer to you can email Michelle here.

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