Experts warn dog owners about the connection between “superbugs” and the popular raw food.
University researchers warn that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are found in food and could encourage the spread of dangerous germs.
Such bacteria can turn routine infections into potentially fatal situations. TeamDogs reports.
The study was conducted at the University of Porto in Portugal and examined 55 dog food samples from 25 brands – including 14 raw frozen species – for enterococcal bacteria.
The results concluded that all raw dog food samples examined contained antibiotic-resistant bacteria and suggested a possible link between the raw meat diet for dogs and drug-resistant bacteria.
The World Health Organization previously warned that such antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest public health threats facing humanity around the world.
“The close contact between people and dogs and the commercialization of the brands examined in different countries represents an international health risk,” said researcher Ana Freitas of the Guardian.
“The European authorities need to raise awareness of the potential health risks involved in feeding raw food to pets and the production of dog food, including the choice of ingredients and hygiene practices, needs to be reviewed.”
But the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) has given “assurances” to dog owners in the UK who use raw foods for their pets.
The study covered products from the Portuguese market and “like all commercially prepared pet foods, commercially prepared raw foods are subject to strict legislation and require various tests to ensure that they are safe”.
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It added, “Commercial PFMA blanks manufacture their diets according to best practice guidelines developed in collaboration with Defra, the Animal Plant and Health Agency, Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency.”
While it poses no greater risk than handling fresh, raw meat intended for humans, pet owners must commit to good hygiene practices in the home and maintain high hygiene standards to prevent contamination, advises the PFMA.
Careful storage, handling, and good hygiene practices when preparing and feeding a raw meat diet are vital.
The PFMA encourages pet owners handling raw dog food to read the following hygiene and handling tips:
Buy products that are in good condition. You should not see any visible damage to the packaging such as dents, cracks, discoloration.
Wash your hands with hot water and soap after handling either your pet or their food and packaging.
Immediately after each use, wash and disinfect all surfaces, dishes and utensils that have come into contact with raw food.
Carefully remove and dispose of uneaten raw pet food once your pet has finished eating.
Once your pet has finished eating, clean and disinfect your pet’s eating area.