In a new analysis of 35 commercial raw dog and cat foods, researchers found that 86% of products contained potentially risky bacteria.
The team concluded that warnings and handling instructions should be included on product labels and/or packages.
Pet foods and treats that include raw meat, organs or meaty bones have been found to include parasites such as Toxoplasma and tapeworms, as well as the bacteria Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Brucella suis and Salmonella, according to a study recently conducted in the Netherlands.
Veterinarians are warning people about the potential risks of feeding dogs and cats raw meat-based diets-not just for the pets, but for their human owners, as well.
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's a trend gaining momentum among pet owners who believe feeding their dog or cat such a diet is healthier and more natural, as opposed to giving their animals foods that contain additives. Humans can get sick from bacteria and parasites lurking in raw-meat products, too. In an email, the study authors said that raw-meat pet foods for sale in the United States are "without a doubt similar" to those tested in the study.
The Dutch study, which analysed 35 products, found E coil in eight, listeria species present in 15 products and salmonella in seven.
On the contrary, cats and dogs that eat raw meat diets are more likely to become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria than animals that are fed typical pet food.
Four products contained the parasite Sarcocystis cruzi and another four contained Sarcocystis tenella, both of which can cause nausea, stomach ache and diarrhea.
So, even if the daily opening of weird-smelling canned food seems like doing your fuzzy friend a disservice, if it's well produced and nutritionally balanced, it may just be the best thing for the animals and yourself. The meat carries bacteria that can be unsafe to both animals and humans. "I think that in the US especially, owners are much more liking the convenience, and buy these products instead of preparing raw food on their own".
While your dog or cat might love the taste of raw meat, a steady diet of it might be a bad idea, a new study warns.
"It is important to encourage awareness of the possible risks associated with feeding RMBDs to companion animals, and pet owners should be educated about personal hygiene and proper handling of RMBDs", said the paper.