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To Raw or Not to Raw - Raw Meat for Fido?

We’re often asked if raw meat for Fido is ‘OK’. Proponents point out that wolves evolved and live today on a diet of raw meat and claim a number of benefits. Said claimed benefits include healthier digestion and reduced periodontal disease. Please understand these points:

  1. There is no scientific evidence of either improved digestion nor reduced periodontal disease when comparing a diet of raw meat and a diet of dry kibble. The causes of digestive issues like diarrhea and periodontal disease result from letting Fido have foods which aren’t good for him. These include human human foods like deserts (Fido does have a sweet tooth after all) and animal skin/fats/bones from the dinner table as ‘treats’.
  2. There is a reason why the US Food and Drug Administration requires all meat, without exception, which is labeled for human consumption to be served ‘cooked’ with recommended temperatures. The reason is, regardless of processing, all meats are subject to the possible presence of zoonotic bacterial and parasitic pathogens. E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella are all diseases which can make both you and Fido seriously ill.
  3. It’s now been confirmed [1] that the above diseases are commonly present in the raw meat diets prepared for pets. In 35 commercially prepared brands across 8 manufacturers, E. coli was present in 28 products. Listeria was present in 19 products. Salmonella was present in 7 products. Nearly all products had at least one of these diseases present. Note that these were just the 3 most common diseases. At least 8 products also contained parasites too.
  4. All these diseases can be transmitted to Fido’s pet parents/family through handling of the raw meat or through being licked by Fido
  5. The following are the most recent raw meat product recalls:
    • April 28, 2018 – OC Raw Dog – frozen chicken positive for Listeria
    • April 19, 2018 – TruPet – Beef Topper positive for Salmonella
    • April 18, 2018 – Carnivore Meat Company – Beef Topper and Beef Chub Entree positive for Salmonella
    • April 17, 2018 – K9 Natural – Frozen Chicken positive for Listeria.

At this time, we do not recommend feeding Fido a diet of raw meat. We strongly feel the benefits (if any) simply don’t justify the risk.

[1] Zoonotic bacteria and parasites found in raw meat-based diets for cats and dogs, 2018, Freek P J van Bree et al, Vet Record, Volume 182, Issue 2

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