News last update:6 Aug 2012

Raw meat for pets might be risky

Feeding pets raw ground beef might not be the best idea, according to Robert Backus, veterinary professor a the University of Missouri, Columbia.

"We are experiencing a recent national trend where pet owners are feeding their pets raw meat because they think it is healthier, but that couldn't be further from the truth," said Backus, assistant professor and director of the Nestle Purina Endowed Small Animal Nutrition Program. "Feeding your pet raw meat puts the safety of not only the pet in danger, but also the household." Harmful bacteria, and other microbes and parasites may live on raw meat, which is why Backus urges pet owners to be careful about how they handle it. Salmonella contamination from uncooked, meat-based pet treats has caused outbreaks in both Canada and the United States, the most recent case occurring in Washington, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Risks of bones
Additionally, raw meat can affect the pet's health. Animals that consume cooked or uncooked bones can experience tears anywhere along their digestive tracts from their mouths to their intestines. Cooked bones can actually splinter more when they are consumed. Pet foods offer a safe alternative to raw meat diets.
"The ingredients found in pet foods are generally more consistent and thereby better provide for nutritional balance.

AAFCO recommendations

Owners should pay attention to labelling to ensure they are purchasing the correct food for their animal that meets nutritional profiles or passed feeding tests recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials," Backus said.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials' recommendations are used by nutritionists to evaluate pet foods and by federal and state officials to regulate pet foods.

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