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If you are a beginner at giving your dog raw food, there may be some trepidation on your part as a dog owner. This is because there have been a lot of precautions when it comes to feeding your dog raw dog food. So is raw dog food safe? We answer this and give you tips on how to safely feed your dog a raw diet.
To put it simply, yes. We have long been taught that bacteria in meat is harmful to us as humans. Indeed that is true. However, for a dog, it is slightly different.
Yes, there are bacteria in raw meat such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria which can cause sickness and even fatalities. Because of that, it is better to take certain precautions when preparing the raw food for your dog.
The meat prepared for your dog should be handled with the same care as when handling meat meant for human consumption. This is so the harmful bacteria and pathogens do not spread to you as a pet owner or anyone else at home.
Your dog’s digestive system is also designed differently from us humans. A dog has an extremely acidic stomach that can kill many bacteria and prevent the said bacteria from colonizing. As their digestive system is efficient at processing food faster than humans, bacteria passes through a dog’s body at a much faster rate. This prevents the bacteria from populating any part of a dog.
Chances are, a dog falling sick from bacteria in raw meat is low. Yet, a chance is still a chance and with that in mind, a few safety tips as stated below will go a long way in further lowering that risk.
The basis of all food preparation is to practise basic hygiene. The following tips will go a long way in helping your dog eat their raw dog food safely.
Improper storage of raw meat is a risk to our pets. The raw meat that are meant for dogs should not be left out for long periods of time as bacteria multiply rather quickly when it is exposed to room temperature. Even though a dog’s acidic stomach can kill these bacteria, if the bacteria is present in a large enough amount, your dog may still fall sick.
If you defrost a large amount of food, the extra portions of raw dog food can be stored in the fridge for up to three days. Therefore, ensure that you take out a maximum of only three days of food for your dog.
The best scenario is keeping your dog’s raw food frozen until you want to feed your dog.
You should also be mindful of the material you are using to store the raw dog food. Stay away from plastic containers as plastic cracks and scratches easily, which is a host for harmful bacteria as bacteria may grow in it. Use glass, ceramic or metal containers to store raw dog food instead.
How you handle your dog food is very important. As active bacteria is likely to be present, you should always wash your hands with soap. Even if you are giving your dog other food such as kibble or treats, wash your hands as dog food may harbour bacteria.
Treat raw dog food the same way you would treat human raw meat and any other dog food - wash your hands before and after handling!
Many pet owners do not like to use disinfectants as disinfectants contain chemicals. That is in fact, a misconception. There are many natural and pet-safe disinfectants that can kill bacteria.
A great natural disinfectant you can use is vinegar. However, dilute it first with water so that it is not too overpowering. Pour 10-15% of vinegar into a spray bottle and fill the remaining space of the bottle with water and you have a natural disinfectant ready for cleaning.
Use the natural disinfectants after every meal on food bowls, counters and any utensils used so that your dog can eat raw food safely.
Remember that raw meat should never be left out for more than 30 minutes. Some dogs can guzzle down their food really quickly, which is not a problem.
However, some dogs take their own sweet time eating way past the 30 minutes mark.
To correct this, simply take away your dog’s food bowl when your dog walks away from its food. Store the food in the fridge until the next mealtime so that your dog is reminded to eat larger portions of raw dog food if it is unable to access it’s food for a long period of time.
As mentioned, plastic bowls can scratch or crack easily. The harmful bacteria can hide in these cracks and scratches. Use metal, ceramic or glass dog bowls instead. These materials are easier to clean, saving you time and effort.
Is raw dog food safe? Yes it is, if certain precautions are taken. If you are still rather worried about handling raw dog food, try the raw dog diet by Petcubes as it is individually packed and packed for a single meal so you can feed your dog pack by pack instead of defrosting an entire chunk of meat at one go. Since you are a beginner at raw dog food, it is best to follow the above safety tips!
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