In a warning published in Vet Record, researchers in the Netherlands caution pet owners against feeding dogs and cats a raw meat based diet. Such a diet can pose a significant health risk for both the animals and their owners, compared to a conventional dry or canned food diet.
Raw meat diets for pets have become increasingly popular, but according to the Dutch researchers, no health benefits have been proven and may be outweighed by the risks. The most serious risk associated with feeding pets a raw meat diet is contamination with bacteria and parasites that can be passed between pets and their owners.
For this study, researchers analyzed 35 frozen raw meat pet diets from eight different brands. They discovered Escherichia coli (E. coli) in 23 percent of the products, Listeria bacteria in 43 percent of the products, and Salmonella in 20 percent of the products. Four products contained the parasite Sarcocystis cruzi, four contained Sarcocystis tenella, and two contained Toxoplasma gondii. These bacteria and parasites are known to pose a health risk to animals and humans.