raw feeding safety
The #1 concern in the raw feeding world is, "will I or my pet get Salmonella?!" And this concern often leads pet parents to stray away from feeding a raw diet. But with the proper safety measures, there should be no concern of any food-borne illness.
what is salmonella?
"Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract. Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through feces. Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food" - Mayo Clinic
commensal vs. pathogenic bacteria
Bacteria create the world around us. Without it, all life on mother earth would go extinct. There are good bacteria, commensal, and bad, pathogenic. Commensal bacteria provide the host with essential nutrients, metabolize compounds, and defend against colonization against pathogens. Pathogenic bacteria are bacteria that cause diseases, such as Salmonella. These pathogenic bacteria attack the host cells and can cause a variety of side effects. Pathogenic bacteria can be eliminated by cooking above 73°C (163°F).
dogs & salmonella
As for your dog, they are designed and equipped to deal with these pathogens properly. For example, dogs can lick their rears and eat their feces without becoming ill. Healthy dogs also naturally have 36% salmonella in their GI tract.
Factors that increase salmonella contamination in an animal include age, poor nutrition, cancer, antibiotics, and chemotherapy. A healthy dog is appropriately equipped to handle more intense microbes than humans with short and highly acidic GI tracts.
According to Dr. Karen Becker, "Dogs and cats also produce a tremendous amount of bile, which is both anti-parasitic and anti-pathogenic. If the stomach acid doesn't kill a pathogen, chances are the bile will."
Salmonella is a serious concern, but there are minimal risks as long as you take the proper precautions. If you eat meat yourself, practice the same sanitation measure you take when handling raw meat.
🧼 Wash hands after handling raw food for 20 seconds with soap & hot water
🥕 Only rinse fruit & veggies. Do not rinse raw meat as it can spread bacteria
🔀 Do not cross-contaminate human food and raw dog food. Prepare raw dog food separately
❄️ Defrost prepped meals one day at a time
🔪 Have separate equipment exclusively for raw food
🧊 Store raw food in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent spoilage
⏲️ Do not leave raw meat out at room temperature for more than 30 minutes
🧽 Clean your work surface after every use
🦠 Provide quality probiotics to ensure a healthy & diverse gut flora
Dr. Karen Becker - How to Avoid Salmonella
Perfectly Rawsome - Food Safety 101
The Primal Pack - Can Raw Diets Give Your Pet Salmonella?
While no food is 100% safe, practicing safe handling and sanitization, the risk of infection significantly decreases and is no different from preparing raw food for humans.