Medicine

Giving your pets a raw meat diet isn't a good idea

Giving your pets a raw meat diet isn't a good idea

The study by Utrecht University, published in the journal, analysed 35 commercial frozen foods from eight different brands, widely available in The Netherlands.

It's noted that raw meat can be infected with bacteria and parasites, which could cause serious issues when consumed by your cat or dog, or when hanging around in your kitchen.

The raw meat diet has grown in popularity, as some believe it is healthier than feeding pets processed foods.

When the meat is thawed and then given to pets, the bacteria's still there to pose all kinds of risks to both pets and humans. "Yet claims of health benefits are not backed by evidence", they wrote, "and several studies have reported possible risks".

Fifteen products contained species from the nasty Listeria genus, eight products had Escherichia coli, and seven products contained at least one Salmonella species.

Pet owners who are interested in raw meat-based diets should talk to a professional rather than feeding their pets uncooked meat.

What's more, a pet's raw diet may put humans at risk for these infections, too.

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Despite the relatively low number of products tested in the study, the authors say it's clear that commercial RMBDs may be contaminated with a variety of zoonotic bacterial and parasitic pathogens, which can pose a risk to pets and to their owners.

"This can be through direct contact with the food; through contact with a contaminated pet, such as sharing the same bed and allowing licking of the face and hands; through contact with household surfaces; or by ingesting cross-contaminated human food", he added.

Wild relatives of domestic dogs and cats thrive on raw flesh, but a so-called "raw" diet for pets carries risks of their exposure to parasites and bacteria, a new study finds.

Marketing campaigns assure consumers that they have plenty of positive effects on animals, including facilitating digestion, reducing allergies, improving energy levels or even easing the treatment of diabetes and epilepsy.

Two potentially harmful parasites-Sarcocystis cruzi and Toxoplasma gondii-were also detected in 11% and 6% of the products.

Overgaauw said dry, semi-moist and canned pet food is rarely contaminated with pathogens. RMDB feeding was linked to gastroenteritis and diarrhea in dogs, and to a deadly type ofSalmonella infection in cats, according to the study.

On the contrary, cats and dogs that eat raw meat diets are more likely to become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria than animals that are fed typical pet food. That can have further implications for pet owners and for public health in general. Pet owners should also be educated about personal hygiene and proper handling of raw meat products.


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