Raw diets are becoming very popular currently and are available in most pet stores, usually marketed by promising better dental health, shinier coats and improved vitality. In much the same way that shampoo adverts always feature beautiful people with beautiful hair, the marketing shows dogs who look marvellous. That’s marketing! They are usually meat based and due to the high protein content can be very palatable, however before jumping on the bandwagon, please consider carefully.
Raw foods can contain food poisoning bacteria, including salmonella, campylobacter, E coli, toxoplasma and clostridia. Campylobacter is present in 65% of raw supermarket chicken, and we are all aware of how important it is at home to clean chopping boards, knives and our hands after handling it! In the UK pet food manufacturers are legally obliged to test their end products for E coli and salmonella, but this may not apply to imported foods.
These foodborne pathogens can affect pets, but more worryingly in many ways, the people in the home who are caring for them. This can be devastating if they have a weakened immune system e.g due to pregnancy , or health problems where people are being treated with immunosuppressive medication.
Our advice is to feed a good quality diet, ensure it is complete and if you do want to prepare your pets food at home, use a properly formulated cooked diet.