We recently published a post on how your dogs’ diet has an effect on his skin, coat, and overall well being. Today, as a follow up, we’re going to discuss raw meat diets and just how dangerous they can be for both dogs, cats and humans, as well.
In an article published by time.com veterinarians are now raising a red flag when it comes to feeding animals diets made from raw meat. In an analysis of 35 commercial raw dog and cat foods, studies showed that nearly 86% of these products contained bacteria that could be dangerous.
The study was conducted in the Netherlands, though raw-meat pet foods sold commercially in the United States were similar to those tested in the study.
The rise of raw meat diets for pets around the world has skyrocketed in recent years though the benefits of these diets have yet to be documented. Several studies, such as the one in the Netherlands, have also reported possible health risks to both pets and humans. Pet owners have been turning to raw-meat diets because they are convenient and require less preparation than dry or canned pet food. R
Humans can get sick from bacteria and parasites that may be found within the meat. Humans face a higher risk of illness than pets that carry the disease and shed it without becoming sick themselves.
Sickness occurs due to cross-contamination when raw food diets are prepared and food bowls are cleaned. Humans also fell ill when they came into contact with infected animals or the waste of an infected animal.
Thirty-five frozen pet-food products from eight different brands were used during the study. All of these brands were available at pet shops and grocery stores throughout the Netherlands. The pet foods contained raw meat, bones, and animal by-products from the following animals: Cows, ducks, chickens, lamb and even horses. Products contained other ingredients as well such as organs and sometimes even fruits or vegetables.
The greatest threat within the raw-meat diet appeared to be E.Coli. E. Coli was found to be above levels meant for human consumption. One strain of E.Coli in particular, E.Coli 0157, was found in 23% of the samples. E.Coli 0157 was responsible for an outbreak linked to lettuce in North America.
Listeria was found in 43% of samples studied, while salmonella was found in 20% of the samples studied. Parasites were also found in the samples, in particular, Sarcocystis cruzi and Toxoplasma gondii. Sarcosystis is dangerous to farm animals while Toxoplasma has been linked to mental illness in both cats and humans, as well.
While the study only tested a small number of pet food products, it did prove one thing:
Raw-Meat Diets may be contaminated with bacteria and parasites which pose a risk to both pets and to their owners as well. As stated above, contamination wasn’t just limited to food sold in the Netherlands. Food sold in the United States was just as likely to contain the same parasites and bacteria as food sold in the Netherlands.
Dogs and cats that are fed a raw-meat diet are also more likely to become infected with bacteria that are antibiotic resistant than those found in dry or canned pet food.
Not all raw-meat diets provide complete and balanced nutrition for pets. This often leads to problems with a pets’ skin and coat and it often leads to ear infections.
While it’s up to each of us to decide what to feed our pets, its best that we, as pet owners, become educated about what we are feeding our dogs and cats. Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions about what to feed your pet in order to make the best decision possible.
Today we would like to thank time.com for helping us with this post.
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