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Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 05:22
I don't believe that I have ever heard of a domestic cat getting sick from eating raw furry or feathery things. I offered my cat some cooked chicken liver one evening after supper and he acted as though I had completely ruined some perfectly good food.
Posted: Thu May 22, 2014 04:25
Pet Food Recalls are Increasing
As a pet owner, I`m sure you`re aware of the vast number of recalls occurring in the pet food industry. What many pet owners do not realize, however, is that pet foods are recalled for two reasons. Either something has been found that could harm pets, or much more commonly, something has been found that is a potential health risk for humans.
Last year, the FDA launched a national effort to test products for the presence of potentially harmful microbes. The goal was to evaluate the prevalence of salmonella in pet foods and treats. This is because humans and animals handle this organism very differently. The identification of salmonella in pet foods is responsible for the majority of recalls due not to pet health concerns, but human health concerns. Many people have become sick by touching or accidentally consuming salmonella in dry pet foods or treats over the last several years.
Interestingly, there have never been any reported human or animal outbreaks of salmonella from consuming or touching raw pet food.
So salmonella isn`t a problem for most dogs and cats, but contaminants certainly are. In addition to foreign substance-related impurities, pets regularly become ill from dry foods manufactured in this country that are contaminated by aflatoxins.
In 2006, 76 dogs died from eating aflatoxin-tainted dry food. And in 2011, there were many brands of foods recalled for the same problem. Aflatoxins are a type of mycotoxins or fungal toxins that come from grains. So another benefit of feeding a grain-free or raw diet is you eliminate your pet`s risk of mycotoxin poisoning.
Speaking of Salmonella ...
It seems many pet owners are still concerned about feeding raw foods because raw meat can contain salmonella bacteria.
It`s important to note that salmonella can be found in up to 36 percent of all healthy dogs and 18 percent of healthy cats regardless of the food they consume. Many pets harbor these bacteria as a part of their normal GI flora and naturally shed salmonella organisms in feces and saliva regardless of what food they eat.
All non-typhoid salmonella species are ubiquitously present in the environment and reside in the GI tracts of many animals, including pets. The fact is the majority of human salmonellosis cases are acquired through ingestion or handling of contaminated dry pet foods and treats - not raw meat. In fact, as I mentioned, there`s no known incidence of human beings being infected with salmonella by raw-fed cats and dogs.
The points I want to make about salmonella are:
●Dry food and raw food can certainly harbor salmonella, so awareness is important.
●Regardless of what food you feed your pet, animals can naturally harbor salmonella which can be a risk to humans, especially if they are immunocompromised.
●The raw meat used in commercially available raw food diets is USDA-inspected and is no different from the steak and chicken purchased for human consumption from a grocery store. It should be handled with the same safety precautions you use when you prepare, say, burgers for your family. It`s all the same meat. Your counters, bowls, cutting surfaces and utensils should be disinfected whether the raw meat is intended for your pet or human family members.
●The FDA`s Safe Handling Tips for Pet Foods and Treats page recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap right after handling dry pet foods and treats. They also suggest you wash your hands before preparing human food and before eating. They recommend infants stay away from pet food areas and pet feeding stations, and that kids not be allowed to touch or eat pet food. The FDA also recommends washing pet bowls after feeding and sanitizing eating surfaces regularly.
So the takeaway on salmonella is that you should follow the same safe handling precautions regardless of what you feed your pet.
Posted: Fri May 23, 2014 15:11
I have often marveled at watching a farm dog drink from a hoof print full of water in the barn yard.