Raw Meat Not the Safest Choice for Your Dog … or You

Raw Meat

They added: "Cats and dogs that eat raw meat diets are also more likely to become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria than animals on conventional diets, which could pose a serious risk to both animal health and public health".

Researchers analysed 35 raw meat products from eight different brands on sale in the Netherlands (where more than 50% of dog owners feed their dogs raw meat).

To make things even more appetising, eight products contained a type of Sarcocystis parasite, and two had the mind-altering cat nasty, Toxoplasma gondii.

A team of researchers in the Netherlands have said that the foods could be contaminated with bacteria and parasites.

Of course, there are reasons people look to raw pet food in the first place - they're concerned about what's in the processed food options available for cats and dogs, and what these ingredients could do.

What they found was a veritable smorgasbord of pathogens that can pose risks not just to pets, but to people and farm animals as well.

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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. Do you feed your pet raw meat, or do you think it's too risky?

23% of the products tested contained E coli - a type that can cause kidney failure in humans - and 80% contained antiobiotic-resistant E coli.

They wrote: "The presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in RMBDs could therefore pose a serious risk to both animal health and public health - not only because infections with these bacteria are hard to treat, but also because of the potential of it contributing to a more widespread occurence of such bacteria". "I think that in the US especially, owners are much more liking the convenience, and buy these products instead of preparing raw food on their own".

A 2013 study in Vet Med Today expressed concern over this trend, saying that despite the belief that these diets are considered healthier and more natural by pet owners, they actually have a high incidence of nutritional imbalances.

That's why it's important for companies to inform pet owners of the possible risks that come with feeding their pets raw meat-based diets by including warnings on packages and labels. The food also carries a number of bacteria that could infect dogs and spread to their owners.

Commercial dry or canned pet foods are safer because the composition of the food is complete and optimally balanced in terms of nutrients, he said. 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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