5 Mistakes People Make When Feeding Pets a Raw Food Diet

6 min read

Mistake #5: Letting Safety Issues Scare You


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The FDA warns about potential risks of feeding and handling raw meats, as they can be contaminated with Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli.


“The concern is not only that animals will become ill from contaminated food, but, more importantly, humans will become ill from handling the food,” says Alinovi.


However, these dangers might be exaggerated.


“With good handling practices, raw dog food diets are no more dangerous than handling raw hamburger meat before cooking it on the grill,” says Alinovi. “Good hygiene, frequent hand washing, and using food in a reasonable time period prevent human (and dog) illness.”


Still worried? Purchasing meat from a reputable source and using thawed meat within three days will keep bacterial levels low, according to Alinovi.


“Minimal bacterial levels do not present health issues for most dogs,” says Alinovi. However, she adds, “for the owner of a dog with a compromised immune system, raw feeding may be inappropriate.”


One thing to keep in mind: Some dogs do develop gastrointestinal issues—including diarrhea—when first switched to a raw diet. This is especially true of dogs with a sensitive intestinal tract, although the problem is usually not permanent.


“In some cases, the owner will need to add one new ingredient at a time to the diet until the dog can handle a full formula raw food meal,” Alinovi says. “In other cases, adding digestive enzymes or slightly cooking the food for a few days will help sensitive dogs transition to the new food.”



This article was verified for accuracy by Katie Grzyb, DVM