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Beware of Raw Foods for Your Dog

Despite the best efforts of public health agencies, some dog owners continue to believe that raw meats are safe and beneficial for their dogs.

Louise Louis of www.ToyBreeds.com said many people believe the old wives tale that cooked foods are more difficult to digest than raw food. It’s true there is some structural change from the cooking process, but it works just as much in favor of digestibility, for example, by partially breaking down the protein structure.

As to feeding your dog raw meats which consist mainly of beef, chicken and lamb, your dog can get Salmonella or E. coli. and other food poisoning just as you can, Mrs. Louis said.

In June of 2005, one major manufacturer of dog food treats - T.W. Enterprises Inc. of Ferndale, WA. and Aron Pet Food of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada - recalled a number of products due to Salmonella contamination.

There have recently been three human illnesses caused by Salmonella bacteria in Canada linked to natural pet treats. This is one of several incidents where natural pet treats have been linked to salmonellosis in humans over the past six years, including previous Salmonella outbreaks in 1999 and 2002.

In response, the Public Health Agency of Canada advised people who give their pets natural pet treats and/or raw food made from raw animal materials to wash their hands thoroughly with warm water and soap after handling these products.

Mrs. Louis said natural pet treats include various dried or smoked products with animal or seafood contents. Animal treats include ears, hooves and hearts from a number of species. Products may be sold prepackaged or in bulk. Some of these products may be a source of Salmonella bacteria that may increase the risk of Salmonella infection in humans.

In comparison to products like raw chicken meat, commercial dog foods are relatively safe because they are cooked at high temperatures from eight to 24 hours -- a process that kills any bacteria on the product.

Salmonellosis is an infection with Salmonella bacteria. Symptoms of salmonellosis are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

In some people, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that hospitalization is required. Young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

Studies completed by the Public Health Agency of Canada have confirmed that some of these products may be contaminated and have shown that dogs fed these products can shed Salmonella bacteria in their stool for days. A recent study from the United States also supports these findings.

See the news article and warning from the Canadian government at http://www.news.gc.ca/cfmx/view/en/index.jsp?articleid=159639&

You’ll hear many people, especially on the Internet, singing the praises of raw food diets. Ask them for their educational credentials or for scientific evidence. Expect a stunned silence.

Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Public Health of Canada are warning consumers about using and serving raw meat products to their pets.

Here’s what the FDA says: "The FDA believes that feeding raw meat diets to pets is not consistent with its goal of protecting the public from significant health risks," says William Burkholder, D.V.M., Ph.D., the Food and Drug Administration's pet food specialist. In addition, he says, raw meat and bones do not have all the required nutrients that a dog needs on a daily basis.

Read the article at http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2004/104_pets.html

Doesn’t it make more sense to listen to people who’ve actually know what they’re talking about as compared with a stranger on the Internet? Avoid raw food diets for your pets!

Submitted by:

Louise Louis

Louise Louis is a certified canine specialist and creator of the popular website on small dogs, www.ToyBreeds.com





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