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Is Natural Diet Safe?

Sourcing raw food  

You do need to know that the raw food you choose is good enough for your dog. In the UK, vets and owners can easily source complete and balanced ready-prepared frozen raw food meals, formulated to the same European standards as the other pet foods we find in our supermarkets and veterinary surgeries.

High-quality prepared raw foods should come from Defra-registered producers. These foods are governed by more stringent bacteriological rules than even human-grade raw meat products, and are supplied in clean, easily understandable packaging.[1]

The issue of bones  

Bones are very contentious in the raw food debate because of the possibility of them damaging the mouth and digestive system. This is a real possibility, however most of such accidents veterinary practitioners deal with invlolve cooked bones. In over 10 years of clinical practice dealing with pet owners who feed raw I have never encountered any serious health problem caused by raw bones. 
When feeding raw bones we have to exercise common sense and distingusih between edible bones and recreational bones. On this page Dr. Becker provides useful advice about nutritional value and safety precautions about feeding bones. 

Bacterial contamination 

Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern within human and veterinary medicine. Dogs and humans may harbour bacteria with resistance in their gut, if these bacteria cause an infection, or the resistance is passed onto other more pathogenic bacteria which cause an infection, antibiotic treatment may fail. Further evidence on the risk of raw meat feeding from large cohort studies are required, in particular to determine the nutritional benefits and to further examine the pet and human risk from bacterial faecal shedding. However, funding for such studies is difficult to obtain to do such work on scale and derive bigger samples of dogs on a range of diets. Contrary to the beliefs of some, commercial food companies will not fund such work, due to conflict of interest.

Till further studies and data is obtained, thorough hand hygiene is strongly recommended after handling raw meat and thorough disinfection of all in-contact items as per normal handling of raw meat in a domestic kitchen. Furthermore, it is important to restrict the area where raw meat is fed to avoid any bacteria present on the meat being spread around the household environment and acting as a source of infection. In addition, it is recommended that, households which have very young or old members, or those who are immunocompromised and therefore more susceptible to illness should avoid feeding their animals raw meat diets completely. [2]



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