Raw food diets are diets which are based around feeding your dog (or cat) uncooked, raw meat and bones, including offal or organ meats. There is currently no scientific evidence available to suggest that feeding your dog (or cat) a raw food diet will provide them with any health benefits, compared to commercial diets or balanced home cooked diets. However, there is growing evidence that feeding a raw food diet to your dog (or cat) can be a health risk for both your pet and for you and your family. Feeding a raw food diet to your dog (or cat) is essentially a public health risk, as raw meat can harbour bacteria which can cause food poisoning, as well as parasites which can infect your dog, and people. Members of your household can become infected with these bacterial infections and parasites, when handling the raw food or handling your pet’s stools for example.
Individuals with a compromised immune system are particularly at risk of acquiring these foodborne infections, e.g., small children, pregnant women, babies, the elderly, and individuals with long term illnesses or those on certain medications, for example, those on chemotherapy, even if they are not actively involved in feeding your pet. It is for this reason, that Peata Pet Therapy strongly recommends that Pet Therapy dogs are not fed a raw food diet, as the residents of care homes, nursing homes and hospitals would be at an increased risk of becoming very ill, if they contracted any of these bacterial or parasitic diseases that can be present in uncooked raw food diets.
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Current knowledge about the risks and benefits of raw meat-based diets for dogs and cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2013;243(11):1549-1558; Nemser S, Doran T, et al.
Investigation of Listeria, Salmonella, and Toxigenic Escherichia coli in Various Pet Foods. Foodborne Pathog Dis 2014;11:706-709; Schlesinger DP, Joffe DJ. Raw food diets in companion animals: a critical review. Can Vet J. 2011;52(1):50-54; Van Bree FPJ, Bokken GCAM, Mineur R, et al.
Zoonotic bacteria and parasites found in raw meat-based diets for cats and dogs. Vet Rec. 2018;182(2):50.