Raw Meat Not the Best Choice for Your Dog ... or You


Raw Meat Not the Best Choice for Your Dog ... or You

Henrietta Brewer
January 13, 2018

Pet owners who choose to feed their animals with a raw meat-based diet (RMDB) may think that they're offering their pooches or felines a healthier choice.

"It has been claimed that feeding pets raw meat results in a better overall condition of the animals and could have a supportive role in controlling and preventing certain medical conditions in both dogs and cats such as allergies, skin and gastrointestinal tract problems", said lead researcher Paul Overgaauw, from Utrecht University.

In addition, four products (11 per cent) contained the parasite Sarcocystis cruzi and another four contained Sarcocystis tenella.

Michael Bellingham, Chief Executive of the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association, said: "We have seen a growing interest in raw pet food and we know from our contact with the veterinary profession that vets are getting more questions from pet owners on these diets and how they can feed them safely".


It is reported that humans could encounter bacteria from raw foods in several ways, including direct with the food or with an infected pet; through with contaminated household surfaces; or by eating cross-contaminated human food. Humans may also be exposed to harmful pathogens when cleaning up an infected animal's waste or when an infected animal licks its owner's face or hands.

It found that E. coli was present in eight products (23 per cent), Listeria species were found in 15 products (43 per cent) and Salmonella species in seven products (20 per cent).

The pathogens included bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria, which can cause mild to severe infections, and the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis with brain and eye damage in rare human cases. Besides the risk of germ infestation, many fear that raw meat-based diets do not provide all the nutrients our animal friends require. In a new analysis of 35 commercial raw dog and cat foods, researchers found that 86% of products contained potentially unsafe bacteria.

In general, the microbial evidence that the researchers gathered from their samples fell within acceptable limits for commercially produced pet products in the Netherlands.


The research concluded that raw meat products should come with health risk warnings on the labels and packaging.

Others argue that it's more natural for a carnivorous species to eat raw meat products.

Commercial raw-meat pet foods sold in the United States and Europe contain "all kinds of meat, organs, and bones, sometimes with vegetables or fruits added", says Overgaauw. They should be educated about proper handling of the products and personal hygiene measures, and the products should include warnings and handling instructions, the investigators said.


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