Dear Daisy Dog
I am considering a commercial raw diet for my dogs. What do you think of them?
I think raw diets, whether commercially prepared or home made, are risky, because laws that minimize bacterial contamination of meats sold for human consumption do not apply to pet food.
A study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association examined 20 commercial raw meat diets, made with beef, chicken, turkey or lamb.
Researchers found E. coli bacteria in multiple samples of all the raw diets.
Moreover, Salmonella bacteria contaminated ten of the diets, and Cryptosporidium parasites fouled two.
These organisms cause food poisoning that can be life-threatening, not just for dogs, but for you.
If you don’t handle raw meat carefully, you can transfer pathogens to your counter and utensils. It’s only one step from there to your mouth.
Furthermore, dogs fed contaminated meat excrete the pathogenic organisms, endangering anyone who comes in contact with their feces.
Most at risk are children and people with weakened immune systems, such as those with transplanted organs or human immunodeficiency virus, and people undergoing treatment for cancer.
To protect the health of your dogs and your human family members, stick with a high quality dry or canned food that’s been cooked to destroy bacteria.