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!
- 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 Record, 185(21). https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.105122