We have always received advice to cook meat thoroughly in order to eliminate pathogens such as Salmonella, E. Coli, or Campylobacter. However, there is limited documentation linking raw feeding to enteric pathogens. A study conducted by DogRisk1 examined stool samples from dogs fed raw diets and those fed kibble-based diets. The study found that “Zoonotic meat-borne bacteria, such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, and enteropathogenic Yersinia, were only sporadically detected in RMBD (raw meat-based diets) by PCR.”1 In other words, there is no consistent association between raw diets and enteric pathogens.
By following basic, safe handling practices (which we already do when handling our own meat to prevent illness) – such as practicing good hand hygiene, disinfecting surfaces after preparation, and not feeding spoiled meat – the risk of enteric pathogens can be minimized.
It is worth noting that some of the largest and most significant pet food recalls in the U.S. have been linked to dry food. This indicates that heat-treated foods also carry a significant risk of pathogens. Additionally, research shows that most pet owners do not regularly wash their hands or clean their pet food bowls. Therefore, regardless of the type of food you feed your pet, it is important to practice proper hygiene.
- Anturaniemi (o.s. Roine), J., Barrouin-Melo, S., Zaldivar-López, S., Sinkko, H., & Hielm-Björkman, A. (2019). Owners perception of acquiring infections through raw pet food: a comprehensive internet-based survey. Veterinary Record, 185(21). https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.105122