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

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

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

We know you probably think you're doing a lovely thing for your cat or dog by giving them fresh, uncooked meat (that's what they'd eat in the wild, right?), but it turns out that a raw food diet really isn't the best option for your pets.

"Despite the relatively low sample size of frozen products in our study, it is clear that commercial RMBDs may be contaminated with a variety of zoonotic bacterial and parasitic pathogens that may be a possible source of bacterial infections in pet animals and if transmitted pose a risk for human beings", the researchers warned.

They wrote: "The presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in RMBDs could therefore pose a serious risk to both animal health and public health - not only because infections with these bacteria are hard to treat, but also because of the potential of it contributing to a more widespread occurence of such bacteria".

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Eight products contained Sarcocystes parasites and two products (6 percent) contained Toxoplasma gondii parasites. In a new analysis of 35 commercial raw dog and cat foods, researchers found that 86% of products contained potentially risky bacteria. Humans can get sick from bacteria and parasites lurking in raw-meat products, too.

The Utrecht study said claims RMBDs yield health benefits had no scientific evidence supporting them, adding: "in nutritional terms, these diets are often deficient in several nutrients and may therefore lead to serious health problems, especially in young animals that are growing".

It found that E. coli was present in eight products (23 per cent), Listeria species were found in 15 products (43 per cent) and Salmonella species in seven products (20 per cent).

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"Cats and dogs that eat raw meat diets are also more likely to become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria than animals on conventional diets, which could pose a serious risk to both animal health and public health". Humans may also be exposed to harmful pathogens when cleaning up an infected animal's waste or when an infected animal licks its owner's face or hands. The meat carries bacteria that can be unsafe to both animals 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. "I think that in the USA especially, owners are much more liking the convenience, and buy these products instead of preparing raw food on their own". Earlier analyses on raw pet food in the United States also found similar levels of contamination.

The research team urged pet owners to educate themselves before handling RMBDs and feeding them to their pets.

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