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Should you feed your pet raw meat?

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Should you feed your pet raw meat?

Post by Dragon on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:38 pm

A recent study has raised concerns about the health risks of these raw meat based diet products as possible sources of some bacterial and parasitic diseases. But just how big a problem is this, and who is really at risk?

First it's worth pointing out that the evidence for the health advantages of raw meat-based diets is limited. Some research suggests they may enhance an animal's overall digestion (and so the size of their poos). But robust comparative studies are rare and there are still concerns about whether some of these diets provide enough nutritional value.

Domestic dogs aren't like wild carnivores. They have been evolving alongside humans for approximately 30,000 years, and their diet has been shaped by our own food and environment. They can easily survive on a mixed diet, often on waste from human settlements, and have even evolved to digest starch.

Traditional dog diets would have included raw meat but also table scraps and other homemade foods. And unlike most human processed foods, manufactured pet food is often tailored to provide a key range of nutrients. After all, the move to commercial pet food coincided with increased research into the nutritional requirements of the dog.

The recent study in the Veterinary Record analysed 35 commercial frozen raw meat products from eight different brands. It found E. coli in 28 products, Listeria monocytogenes in 19 of them and Salmonella species in seven. Several products also contained parasites. Other studies have previously highlighted similar contamination of raw pet food in Canada, North America and New Zealand.

By comparison, unprocessed raw meat from the butcher is less likely to be an issue than the products in the study, in the same way it is safer to eat rare steak than raw mince. The problem is that there is no study comparing commercially produced raw dog food with small batches of raw butcher's meat, so we can't be certain about how much riskier these manufactured products are.

For dogs, the bacteria and parasites found in food aren't actually that much of a problem. Dogs are pretty resistant to many of the possible bugs that can be isolated from raw meat and they rarely become ill, though they can suffer gastric illness as a result of Salmonella.

But dogs can become carriers of these bacteria and spread them through their faeces, which can lead to serious illness  in humans.

What is especially significant is these food products' level of contamination with bacteria that are resistant to treatment with antibiotics. This is a concern for both pet and human health. Infections with these bacteria are increasingly difficult to treat, and the spread of antibiotic resistance is a critical public health issue.

The parasitic pathogens found in the products can cause significant health problems, but aren't as common and can mostly be inactivated by freezing the food at -20℃.

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Re: Should you feed your pet raw meat?

Post by Cloud on Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:01 am

This is great to know, thank you for sharing with us all.
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