How To Safely Prepare Raw Food For Your Dog
The dangers of raw feeding your dog and the potential for bacterial contamination from raw food has become a hot topic after the BBC recently aired episode 1 of the series “Trust Me I’m A Vet”.
The series claims to use science to “seek out what is really good for our pet’s health”. However, in trying to discredit raw feeding this hugely biased program used very little GOOD science, failed to present all of the facts, and instead resorted to scaremongering with the intention of frightening people away from raw feeding.
If you didn’t watch the show but I have piqued your interest, here is a rundown of the main arguments they presented:
Raw feeding is a fad (umm what?)
This actually made me burst into laughter. The domesticated dog has been roaming the Earth for tens of thousands of years eating all manner of raw meats from the prey they have hunted and killed, scavenged or had thrown to them from scraps around the campfire.
Pokemon Go. Fad? Yes.
Dogs eating raw food. Fad? No.
Feeding your dog raw food will put you and your family at risk (because you are too stupid to follow basic hygiene principles)
The way they actually went about demonstrating this was to firstly have a person handle raw meats when feeding their dog, then take a bacterial swab of the person’s hand and dramatically reveal that they discovered bacteria present. WOW!!! Are you as amazed as I was?
I guess I won’t be preparing any more lamb roasts or chicken schnitzels in my kitchen. I’m sure that all of those meals I have prepared for the humans in my household using raw meat ingredients must have been terribly dangerous. How did we ever survive? Oh yeah, that’s right, we washed our hands, refrained from polishing our kitchen benchtops with chicken wings and cleaned up after ourselves.
Commercial pet foods are a safer option (so please feed your pets highly processed foods from a bag or can)
They conveniently forgot to mention the hundreds of commercial pet food recalls due to contamination.
I have been feeding a raw diet for years, and neither me, my dog or family members have ever been infected with any pathogenic bacteria as a result.
Obviously, I don’t go around licking up the leftovers from my dog’s bowl, or throwing raw green tripe around my kitchen like confetti, but here are a few common sense hygiene tips I follow to ensure that everybody is safe, clean and not swimming in salmonella (as that ridiculous show would have had you believing):
Wash your hands after feeding your dog, and after handling raw food or any utensils and surfaces the food has come into contact with.
Wash your dog’s bowl, as well as any utensils and chopping boards in hot soapy water (or in the dishwasher) after every use. I often leave bowls out in the sun after washing, as UV light is a natural disinfectant and has been shown to kill numerous pathogens.
Feed your dog from a stainless steel or ceramic bowl. Plastic bowls easily become scratched and can harbor pathogens in these crevices.
Disinfect your bench tops thoroughly after every use.
Store your dog’s food separately from yours in the refrigerator. I store all of the raw dog food in a large container covered with a lid to prevent cross contamination.
Sanitize the area where your dog normally eats. If you feed your dog indoors, a mat can be placed on the ground to allow for easy cleaning and disinfecting. If your dog is fed outdoors then hose down and clean the area regularly.
Don’t allow your dog to lick you (especially on the face) immediately after eating. If they do, be sure to wash the area.
So there you have it. 7 simple tips to keep you safe while preparing raw meals for your dogs. If you would like to know why I recommend a raw food diet, you can read more about that here – “10 Reasons I Don’t Feed My Dog Kibble”
Do you feed your dog raw foods? Do you have any tips to share for preparing them safely? Would love to hear from you in the comments section.