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Feeding Raw Meat Diet is Dangerous

Over time, the feeding regime of animals has changed dramatically.  We are now better educated as to the nutritional requirements of our animals for a healthier, longer life.  Originally, we fed our animals as carnivores-meat eaters as their sole diet.  Advances in science have given us a better understanding of their requirements, leading to quality, professional dry dog food formula’s.

Cat & dog owners have been warned against feeding their animals raw meat-based diets as it could prove harmful to both animal and human health.  As the name suggests, the diet involves feeding pets raw meat, bones and animal organs alongside vegetables. We were therefore feeding our pets as humans even though their dietary needs are different to our own. Previously raw meat became increasingly popular as many believed it was healthier to feed raw meat than give animals processed pet food.

Researchers have argued against feeding pets this kind of raw diet.  They warn that the foods can be contaminated with bacteria and parasites which could pose a risk to both animals and their owners.  The researchers set out to determine the presence of four zoonotic bacteria and two parasite species in commercial raw foods available in pet shops and supermarkets.  From 35 commercial foods tested, E. coli was found in 8 products (23%) and Salmonella present in seven products (20%). Both E. coli and Salmonella infections in humans have been linked with serious illness.  They also determined that animals that eat raw diets are more likely to become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria than animals on conventional diets, which could pose a serious risk to both animal and public health.

Pet owners and other household members can encounter bacteria from raw food in several ways, such as direct contact with the food or with an infected pet.  Also through the contact with contaminated household surfaces such as kitchen benches or by eating cross contaminated human food passing over the same bench tops.  It is crucial that pet owners who choose to feed raw meat-based diets to their pets are aware of these concerns.  The study group stated, “A raw food diet is not something that we’d recommend making at home, particularly without veterinary guidance, due to the potential for nutritional deficiencies and possible health risks.”

As diligent, caring pet owners, it is vital that we ensure that our pet’s dietary needs are met.  This is for our own health management as well as for the development of healthy young pets and for their sustained longevity.