Raw Dog Food Could Be Bad for Dogs and Owners

Some members of a Facebook group I belong to swear by raw dog food — uncooked meats — and seem to want everyone else to follow suit.

Sorry, but if there’s one thing I’ll never feed a dog of mine, it’ll be raw dog food.

But some dog owners think that people who don’t feed uncooked beef or chicken to their canines don’t have their pet’s best interest in mind.

I’ve never understood that kind of logic.

Many will argue that dogs were originally wild animals and eating raw food is how they were designed. But couldn’t the same thing be said about early man? At some point, humans decided cooking a slab of beef made it better. But I’m sure, if you go back far enough, there were humans who ate raw meat to survive.

But you’ll notice our life expectancy seems to be going up, not down, since we’ve learned to do a better job of preparing our food.

My Collie certainly enjoys people food, but I buy him a no-grain dry variety and add a little cooked meat and broth to it to give it a better taste. He gets a clean bill of health at the vet, so I’m not convinced there needs to be any change to his diet.

And the research I’ve been reading lately makes me question the dubious “raw dog food” movement that much more.

Time recently reported warnings from veterinarians in feeding raw meat-based diets because of the risks to the pets and their owners. They quote details from a study published in BMJ’s Vet Record that looked at 35 commercial raw dog and cat foods and found that 86% of the samples contained potentially dangerous bacteria, including E coli and Listeria.

The study was conducted in the Netherlands and speculates that similar food sold in the United States “are without a doubt similar” to the samples they tested.

That’s not exactly what I’d call a stretch of the imagination, given the frequency of recalls of a variety of food products in the U.S. because of those same types of bacteria.

But a study published in 2003 in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association found that even if food is contaminated and it doesn’t make your pet sick, the human can still become ill:

“Salmonella infection can be acquired from pets through grooming, food preparation, scooping, cleaning bowls and litter boxes, or just petting.”

If that’s not an argument for making sure pet food isn’t raw, I’m not sure I could come up with one that is.

What’s most disturbing to me among some of the raw dog food enthusiasts I’ve encountered in the Facebook group is how adamant they are that anyone who isn’t feeding raw doesn’t have the best interests of their pets in mind.

I’m not sure how people get that arrogant, but they do.

As for me and my dog, we’ll have our dinner cooked, thank you.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.