January 12, 2018 Research report~ “Raw food diet for your pets”

Get the Facts! “Raw Pet Food Diets can be Dangerous to You and Your Pet”

An emerging trend among pet owners is the practice of feeding dogs and cats raw meat.

This idea is that we should put our domestic cats and dogs on diets that more closely approximate what they might eat in nature.

New research from Europe shows the surprising degree to which germs and parasites can be found in commercial raw-meat products—

posing potential health risks to both pets and their owners.


An article in the Washington Post last year showed that grain-free, all-meat, and raw-food diets are one of the fastest growing sectors of the

pet food market.

It’s kinda like the Paleo Diet, but for pets.

Trouble is, there’s no evidence that raw meat-based diets, or RMBDs, are any healthier than conventional dry or canned pet foods.

And as new research published in Vet Record  for January 2018 now shows, these diets could pose a threat to both animal and human health.

 Zoonotic bacteria and parasites found in raw meat-based diets for cats and dogs:

  1. Freek P J van Bree, BSc1
  2. Gertie C A M Bokken, BSc1
  3. Robin Mineur, BSc2
  4. Frits Franssen, PhD2
  5. Marieke Opsteegh, DVM, PhD2
  6. Joke W B van der Giessen, DVM, PhD, DipECVP2
  7. Len J A Lipman, DVM, PhD, DipECVPH1 and 
  8. Paul A M Overgaauw, DVM, PhD, DipACVM1

A research team led by Paul Overgaauw at Utrecht University sought to

learn if zoonotic bacteria and parasites, that is, bacteria and parasites

that can leap between species, might be found in commercial RMBD

products, and to what extent.

To that end, they analyzed 35 commercial frozen RMBDs from eight

different brands.

 In a new analysis of 35 commercial raw dog and cat foods, researchers

found that 86% of products contained potentially dangerous bacteria!!

What they found was a bit disturbing.

The bacterium E. Coli was found in nearly a quarter of the products, and

Salmonella in 20 percent of products.

Both of these pathogens are dangerous to humans and pets.

In addition, the researchers found various Listeria species in 43 percent

of the products—bacteria that’s particularly dangerous to pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and people with weakened immune


Four of the products had the Sarcocystis cruzi and Sarcocystis tenella parasites (the former of which is transmissable to humans).

And finally, two of the products had Toxoplasma Gondii—a brain parasite that’s known to alter the behavior of animals, possibly even humans.

People could come into contact with these pathogens by touching the

infected pet, handling contaminated pet food and surfaces, or

consuming human food that has been cross-contaminated.

In addition to having owners educate themselves about the risks and engaging in good personal hygiene practices, the researchers advise

that manufacturers include warnings and handling instructions on their


“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,” write the researchers in their study.

“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.”

Jennifer Larsen, a clinical nutritionist at the University of

California Veterinary School in Davis who wasn’t involved in the

new study, agrees with the authors.

 “We do not recommend the feeding of raw animal products

(meat, egg, bone, etc), and these types of diets are not allowed

in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital per our Infectious

Disease Control Policy,” she told Gizmodo.

“There are risks to both animal and human health as a result of

this practice, with no proven benefits.

This is backed by previous research that has found similar types

of contamination in commercial raw pet diets, so the risks are well documented.”

Larsen pointed to policies and position statements regarding this issue from the American Veterinary Medical Association, the California VMA,

the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, and the FDA .

Larsen is unconvinced by arguments stating that dogs and cats should be given foods that they’re more likely to eat in the wild.

 “The goals we want for our pets include longevity, usually not reproducing, ideal nutrition and good body condition, and avoidance of trauma

and disease,” she said.

“We do lots of things to protect them from what would happen in

nature, such as starvation, disease, early and often reproduction, trauma

from accidents and fights, and very short lifespan.

We have the ability to do this thanks to scientific advancements in

nutrition, medical therapy, and preventative veterinary care (neutering,

vaccines), as well as the use of leashes and fences and moving them


Importantly—and as Larsen points out—dogs and cats are not “natural.”

We created them for our own purposes, using them for hunting

partners, companionship, farm work, and so on.

“Since they essentially evolved on human garbage and have excelled at

this scavenger lifestyle—and most dogs worldwide still live this way—it

is not realistic to imagine them as wolves,” said Larsen.

“Cats are closer to their undomesticated state, but we still want them to

live long lives and not transmit diseases to us when they sleep in our beds and walk on our kitchen counter tops!”


Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor-in-chief of the Petfood Industry/Petfood Forum (a business-to-business publication with an audience of pet

food professionals around the world, including people who make and market pet food), says her organization doesn’t advise pet owners on

what they should feed their pets, but she did point us to a study by scientists from South Korea,  who found that “eating homemade raw dog

food for more than a year correlated to different microbes thriving in dogs’ intestines compared to the guts of dogs fed store-bought dry



Chicken necks are a common treat for dogs, but pet owners are being warned they have been linked with a potentially fatal form of paralysis

As pet ownership increases across the world, our furry  friends have become firmly established members of the family.

Wanting the best for our pets, we often offer treats, and chicken necks are a favorite in many families – often considered a ‘healthy’ option. 

Vets are warning

raw chicken could

be dangerous and

owners should

stick with regular

dog food.

Particularly chicken

necks, can lead to a

debilitating and

potentially fatal

form of paralysis in


A new study, led by

the University of Melbourne’s U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital, found the consumption of

raw chicken meat increases the risk of dogs developing a paralyzing condition called acute polyradiculoneuritis (APN) by more than 70 times.

Dr Matthias le Chevoir, chief investigator on the project, says the cause of APN in dogs has baffled the veterinary community for a long time.


Vets are warning that raw chicken, particularly chicken necks, can lead to debilitating and potentially fatal form of paralysis in dogs.

Published on Jan 31, 2018~University of Melbourne study

 Perhaps the most damning evidence comes from the Canadian Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine tested over 1000 samples of pet food for bacteria that can cause food borne illnesses.

They were specifically interested in the bacteria which causes salmonella and for L. monocytogenes which cause listeria.

Their results were quite clear.

Salmonella appeared in 7.6% of the samples of raw food (that’s one out of every 13 samples tested) and the bacteria for listeria was more than

twice as likely to be present, totaling 16% of the samples tested (which is approximately one out of every seven samples).

These bacteria did not appear in any of the samples of other dog food tested whether it was dry dog food, semi-moist dog food, or jerky type

treats — that is 0% of the other samples.


Date Brand Name Product Description Reason/ Problem Company
03/26/2018 Blue Ridge Beef Complete raw pet food   May contain Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes Blue Ridge Beef
03/26/2018 Natural Selections and Zoologics   Fresh raw meals for dogs   May contain Salmonella and E. coli O128 Darwin’s Natural Pet Products
03/22/2018 Milo’s Kitchen   Dog treats   Products potentially contain elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone. J.M. Smucker Company
03/20/2018 Rad Cat   Free-Range Chicken and Turkey Recipes (Raw Diet) for Cats   Listeria monocytogenes Radagast Pet Food, Inc.
03/06/2018 Tucker’s  5lb Pork-Bison Box   Potential Salmonella contamination Raw Basics, LLC
03/06/2018 Redbarn, Chewy Louie, Dentley’s, and Good Lovin’  Bully Stick dog food   Potential contamination with Saslmonella Redbarn Pet Products, LLC
03/02/2018 Steve’s Real Foods   Raw frozen dog food turkey canine recipe   potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Steve’s Real Foods
03/01/2018 Blue Ridge Beef   Raw pet food for cats   Presence of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes Name Blue Ridge Beef
02/24/2018 Vital Essentials   Freeze-dried beef nibblets for dogs   Potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Carnivore Meat Company
02/23/2018 Trudog  Dog food   Salmonella TruPet, LLC
Date Brand Name Product Description Reason/ Problem Company
02/23/2018 Northwest Naturals  Dog food   Listeria monocytogenes Northwest Naturals
02/15/2018 Smokehouse   Dog treats   Potential Salmonella contamination Smokehouse Pet Products, Inc.
02/13/2018 Zoologics and more   ZooLogics Duck with Vegetable Meals for Dogs, ZooLogics Chicken with Vegetable Meals for Dogs and more   Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes Arrow Reliance Inc. dba Darwin’s Natural
02/09/2018 Redbarn   Dog Chews   Potentially contaminated with Salmonella Redbarn Pet Products
02/08/2018 Raws for Paws   Ground turkey pet food   potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Raws for Paws
02/08/2018 Smokehouse   Dog treats   Potential Salmonella contamination Smokehouse Pet Products, Inc.
01/19/2018 JustFoodForDogs   Dog Food   Listeria monocytogenes JustFoodForDogs

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