Raw food may sicken dogs and humans

Raw food is all the rage among plenty of dog owners. Pet lovers shell out significant sums to purchase fresh or frozen raw meats and other portions for their pups.

Maybe it’s the back-to-nature, basic food thing that appeals to these dog owners. After all, dogs survived for centuries in the wild by eating raw food.

Now, however, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says raw food may be dangerous to dogs. Apparently, such food-borne illnesses as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes can crop up in some raw foods.

These bacteria can possibly infect pets who ingest foods containing them, as well as the humans who feed those animals and handle them.

What is raw food?

Generally, raw pet food is comprised of uncooked meat. This may include beef, bison, pork, poultry, or a host of other types of natural protein. Often, raw food contains animal bones, organ meats, and skin as well.

What are the symptoms of raw food infections?

Food poisoning symptoms in pets and humans may include

  • appetite loss
  • decreased activity
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • joint pain
  • lethargy
  • nausea
  • stomach pain
  • vomiting

In the most severe canine cases, dogs may suffer neurological disease, particularly if such infections are not promptly treated.

Among humans, pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and individuals with immune system impairment are at particular risk.

What precautions can pet owners take to prevent raw food illness?

Ideally, pet owners will cook raw foods to kill any bacteria those products may contain.

Proper hygiene is essential for those who choose raw foods for their pets. These food products must be produced under strict quality control practices, packaged well, and used quickly to ensure freshness.

In addition, humans should wash hands thoroughly after handling raw foods. Cooking and serving utensils and dog dishes also need to be sterilized.

In the face of this FDA warning, dog owners may be well advised to pay particular care when feeding butcher bones and leftovers to their canine companions, in addition to products marketed specifically as raw pet foods.

Dog Eating Raw Bison Meat
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