Study: Raw Dog Food Diet Can Be Risky for Pet, Family
High levels of harmful bacteria found in many raw meat dog foods may be dangerous for more than just Fido, a new study suggests.
Not only can these foods put a dog at risk, but people who live with that dog, particularly the elderly, young and immunocompromised, are vulnerable, scientists say.
“This research offers further compelling evidence to support vets’ concerns about the potential animal and public health risks associated with feeding pets a raw dog food diet,” said veterinarian Dr. Daniella Dos Santos. She is junior vice president of the British Veterinary Association.
“Bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella can cause significant gastrointestinal disease in animals,” Dos Santos explained.
Researchers led by Dr. Ingrid Hansson, from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden, analyzed samples from 60 packs of raw meat products for dogs. The food came from 10 different manufacturers in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany or England. The products contained either uncooked meat and/or edible bones and/or organs from cattle, chicken, lamb, turkeys, pigs, ducks, reindeer or salmon.
The samples were checked for bacteria that could potentially pose a health risk to animals and people: Enterobacteriaceae species; Clostridium perfringens, salmonella and campylobacter species.
All 60 samples contained Enterobacteriaceae species, which are indicators of fecal contamination. Levels varied, but 31 (52 percent) of the samples had levels above the European Union (EU) maximum of 5,000 bacteria per gram.
Most of the species detected in the samples are not known to cause infection, but E. coli — found in a third of the samples — does produce infection.
But the researchers found salmonella in four (7 percent) of the samples, and campylobacter species were found in three samples from three different manufacturers.
The study was published online March 4 in the journal Vet Record.
Raw meat dog food should be: kept frozen until use, and thawed at 50 degrees Fahrenheit; kept separate from other food; and handled with separate kitchen equipment or with equipment that is washed thoroughly after use, the researchers advised.
Never let dogs lick people’s faces immediately after they eat raw meat dog food. Also, don’t give dogs raw meat products it they’re being given antibiotics, because this could increase the risk of antibiotic resistance.
“Dogs in families with infants, elderly people or immunocompromised individuals should also not be fed [raw meat products], as these groups are more susceptible to infections,” Hansson’s team wrote.
The British Veterinary Association also does not recommend making a raw dog food diet at home without veterinary guidance due to the potential for nutritional deficiencies in homemade diets, Dos Santos said.
“We would advise any owner wanting to try a raw meat-based diet for their pet to first consult a veterinary surgeon,” she said in a journal news release.
If you have concerns about the food your pet is eating – talk to us about it. We are happy to discuss the health aspects of your pet’s diet. Cal us for an appointment at 970-587-5140.
Attribution – PetsWebMd.com
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