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You shouldn't feed your dog raw meat. This is why

13 January 2018

The research concluded that raw meat products should come with health risk warnings on the labels and packaging.

The increasingly popular practice of feeding dogs and cats raw meat may be unsafe for both the pets and their owners, according to a new study.

Overgaauw set out to determine the presence of four zoonotic bacteria (diseases that can pass between animals and humans) and two parasite species in raw meat diets, which are often found in pet shops and supermarkets.

Four products (11 percent) contained the parasite Sarcocystis cruzi, another four contained Sarcocystis tenella and in two products (6 percent) Toxoplasma gondii was found.

When the meat is thawed and then given to pets, the bacteria's still there to pose all kinds of risks to both pets and humans.

To see what microorganisms might be lurking in the food, they tested 35 products containing different types of raw meat and meat by-products, including chicken, beef, lamb, duck, rabbit, horse and turkey.

The same study also recognized the safety risks surrounding possible pathogens in the uncooked meat.

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The researchers found that 43% of the products (15 packs from eight brands) contained species of listeria, which causes extremely invasive illnesses.

The growing trend of feeding dogs and cats raw meat is putting the health of animals and their owners at risk, a new study warns. Do you feed your pet raw meat, or do you think it's too risky?

It said the pathogens can be transferred "through direct contact with the food; through contact with a contaminated pet, such as sharing the same bed and allowing licking of the face and hands; through contact with household surfaces; or by ingesting cross-contaminated human food".

Marketing campaigns assure consumers that they have plenty of positive effects on animals, including facilitating digestion, reducing allergies, improving energy levels or even easing the treatment of diabetes and epilepsy.

If you're planning to do the switch, keep in mind, that some pets develop gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhoea, when changing to a raw meat-based diet. Introducing these pathogens into homes through contaminated pet foods presents the possibility that they could also sicken people, the study authors reported. That can have further implications for pet owners and for public health in general. To avoid contamination, pet owners should also be educated about personal hygiene and proper handling of raw meat-based diets.

Caroline Kisko, the organisation's secretary, said: "We would recommend that dog owners speak to their vet about which option might be best for their individual dog, particularly if they have concerns over a product".

You shouldn't feed your dog raw meat. This is why