Scientist's warning: raw meat diets for your pet dog could be deadly to you too

Labrador with raw carrot in his mouth dog-serious
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If you own a pet, you want what’s best for them, which is why raw meat diets for dogs are on the rise – but scientists discovered they contain harmful bacteria.

By Memoona Zahid

Published on the 19/10/2019, 20:00, Updated on the 19/12/2019, 15:23

Raw dog meat-based diets are on the rise.

Popular Instagram accounts such as Perfectly Rawsome and celebrities such as Chris Packham, a Springwatch presenter, who has a website listing the supposed benefits of raw meat diets, indicate the popularity of such diets in the media.

However, raw meat is not healthy for dogs or their owners.

Disturbing findings

A recent study conducted by the Royal Society Open Science has revealed that raw meat products, which are often used as a healthier alternative for dog food, contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli.

Scientists at the University of Zurich conducted tests on commercially available raw meat-based diets (RMBDs) and discovered that of the 51 suppliers of raw dog food that were tested, 32 of them contained antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Raw diets are known as Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) and are one of the significant risk factors in the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria emerge through the use of widespread antibiotics and creates enzymes which are resistant to the bacteria, making the antibiotics ineffective.

Furthermore, theses samples contained the bacteria’s Salmonella and E. Coli which do not meet the health regulations set out by the EU for animal products.

Two of the samples contained bacteria known for causing diarrhoea among dogs and their owners.


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How to stay safe

Pet owners are likely to come into contact with these harmful bacteria when preparing dog food and when they are in close contact with their dogs. Close contact can cause the spread of the bacteria from the dog to the human.

Caution is advised to all dog owners who use raw meat-based diets for their fluffy friends: it is important to uphold strict hygiene. Another piece of advice given is to seek out alternative healthy foods, which are widely available and much healthier for pets and owners.