Study Warns Raw Meat Based Diets May Be Harmful To Your Pet And You

A study of 35 raw-meat pet products showed high levels of bacteria

By Justyne Yuen-Lee

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This pupper can howl like his ancestors, but can he eat like his ancestors?

Being descendants of wolves, we’d assume that dogs could eat anything – scraps of meat that fall from the table, old chicken bones, and raw meat! But that’s like assuming since we descended from Neanderthals, we’d be able to thrive on those exact same things. A recent study of frozen, raw meat products done in the Netherlands showed high levels of bacteria and parasites in the food. This study, published in the journal Vet Record, investigated raw meat products found in supermarkets and pet food stores, and discovered pathogens which are harmful to both humans and pets. E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, which can cause mild to severe infections, were found in these raw meat products in an uncomfortable frequency. Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis with brain and eye damage was also found.

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These types of bacteria can cause animals to become sick, but are also a threat to the humans handling the food or even receiving licks from their pets who consume the infected food.

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In all fairness, our pets will probably eat whatever they find off the floor, but not everything is good for them!

While the study looked at a small sample set, the findings are concerning.

Eight out of the thirty-five raw meat products showed traces of E. coli, half tested positive for Listeria, one in five tested positive for Salmonella, and two products were infected with Toxoplasma gondii.

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The research team wrote that, “this [the findings] is in contrast with dry, semi-moist and canned pet food, which is rarely contaminated with pathogens.”

While some question the study, it is always important to research the benefits and the risks of any kind of diet for your pet. Do you feed your pet raw?

With so much information and misinformation on the sides of pet diet debates, we’d like to see larger studies done in multiple regions. Keeping pets healthy should be everyone’s top priority.