Raw meat-based diets have high levels of bacteria

Lurcher picking at large boneA recent study of 60 samples of raw meat-based diets has showed that they all contained high levels of bacteria harmful to humans and animals such as Enterobacteriacae, Clostridium perfringensSalmonella and Camplyobacter.

Raw meat-based diets are increasingly being fed to dogs and cats, partly due to an (incorrect) belief that they cannot digest carbohydrates.  The results of this study show that good hygiene is vital if raw meat-based diets are to be fed to reduce the health risks to both humans and animals.

Situations when raw food should definitely not be fed

  • Child cuddling tabby catDog or cat is in contact with small children, elderly or immunocompromised people (e.g. those on chemotherapy) – these groups of people are more susceptible to serious consequences of infection with these bacteria.
  • Dog or cat is on antibiotics – this increases the risk of antibiotic-resistant strains of these bacteria

Reducing the risks

Cat sitting in kitchen dishGood hygiene is vital when handling these diets.  Always wash hands before and after handling and use separate kitchen equipment to that used for human food.

Keep the raw food frozen until needed and then thaw at a maximum of 10 degrees centigrade.

Do not let your pet lick you around the face and wash your hands after touching your pet as they will spread the bacteria on their coats when grooming themselves.

Keep all surfaces really clean as any juices splashed around can spread these dangerous bacteria.

Homemade raw diets

It is almost impossible to provide a balanced home-made raw diet and there is a huge potential for nutritional deficiencies which can cause serious health problems.

If you do want to feed a raw meat-based diet, use a manufacturer who is a member of the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) such as Nature’s Menu or Nutriment.

Click here to see the study mentioned above.

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