Raw dog food-Best feeding practice for your DDR dog
By Dr. Becker Recently the FDA issued an outrageous warning to pet owners on its website that is oh-so-subtly titled, “Get the Facts! Raw Pet Food Diets can be Dangerous to You and Your Pet.1
The warning cites a two-year “study” the FDA conducted in which the agency screened over 1,000 samples of pet food for bacteria that causes food borne illness. Curiously, according to the FDA, the only pet foods during that two-year sampling period that turned up positive for bacteria were commercial raw pet foods.
According to their study results, out of 196 samples of raw food tested, 15 were positive for salmonella, and 32 were positive for Listeria monocytogenes. But out of the 860 samples of processed foods — including “dry exotic” pet food, jerky treats, semi-moist dog and cat food, and dry dog and cat food — just one lonely sample showed positive for bacteria. Just one. So during their two-year study that ran from approximately July 2010 through July 2012, they found ZERO bacteria of concern in any of the processed pet food samples they tested? That is nothing short of miraculous given the number of recalls during the same period.
A cursory glance at the FDA website lists 13 pet food recalls from July 2010 through December 2010, seven of which were clearly due to salmonella contamination. In 2011, the FDA lists 18 recalls, seven for salmonella. And from January to July 2012, there were 16 recalls, 9 for salmonella contamination. Also interesting is the fact that none of those recalls were for commercial raw pet foods. Given these facts, how can anyone take the FDA’s “study” and its warning about “dangerous” raw pet foods seriously? What is the FDA hoping to accomplish with this misguided effort? I’d like to suggest they redirect their reportedly meager resources toward warning pet owners about the imported jerky treats that have been poisoning and killing dogs for nearly a decade.
The Anti-Raw Movement: Misinformed or Deliberately Deceitful? Like other oversight organizations that have taken a very public stand against raw pet food diets, it would appear the FDA is also woefully uninformed about the types of raw food currently on the market. There is a whole class of raw foods currently available that are sterile at the time of purchase. Just as much of the human meat supply has been treated with a sterilization technique called high pressure pasteurization (HPP), many raw commercially available pet foods have also opted for this sterilization technique to reduce potential pathogens.
As for “non-sterile” raw diets (which healthy pets should be consuming)… most adults understand that handling raw meat carries the potential for contact with pathogens, which is why appropriate sanitary measures are important whether you’re handling your pet’s raw food or your own. These risks are no different than the risks of handling burgers prior to grilling them, or making fresh chicken soup for your family. Despite the inherent risks associated with handling raw meat, pet owners have been feeding raw diets to their dogs and cats for decades, yet to date, not one documented case of raw pet food causing illness in humans has been reported. If you’re already successfully feeding your pet a raw diet, I hope you will disregard the FDA’s ill-informed warning and continue to offer your dog or cat real, fresh, living foods.
If you’re interested in feeding raw or learning more about it, there are many informative videos and articles here at Mercola Healthy Pets. A good place to start is my 3-part video series on raw diets for pets: The Feeding Mistake Linked to the Cause of Most Disease – Are You Making It? The Biggest Myths About Raw Food (and Why They’re Mostly Nonsense) Common Feeding Mistakes That Can Harm Your Pet.