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D2010-33

Dear Daisy Dog

I recently came down with a Salmonella infection, and in the process of investigating the source, my physician asked if I ever treated my dogs to rawhide or pig ear chews. He said they can be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria and infect me. Is this true, or is he just full of you-know-what?

Daisy Responds

Your doctor is correct. A number of pet products, ranging from chew treats to dry food, have been recalled recently because of bacterial contamination.

Moreover, a recent article in the medical journal Pediatrics detailed 79 cases of human Salmonella infection associated with contaminated dry dog and cat foods.

I eat dry food, and I’ve always considered it safe because it’s cooked at temperatures high enough to kill bacteria. But if a contaminated flavoring is sprayed on after cooking, the food will be unsafe.

To protect yourself and your family, wash your hands after handling pet food and treats, and make sure your children do as well.

Don’t use the same counters or utensils to prepare pet food and human food unless you’ve washed them well between uses.

The Pediatrics report associated feeding pets in the kitchen with infection of infants. So feed your pets outside the kitchen or as far from human food preparation areas as possible.

Finally, don’t let your dogs “counter surf” or your cats walk on kitchen counters.

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