As feeding raw dog food continues to grow in popularity, questions regarding bacteria amongst dog owners is one of the most popular concerns, with a common one being “is raw dog food safe?” To that we answer “yes, of course!” This article will set your mind at ease.
A common question amongst dog lovers is whether it’s safe to feed dogs raw meat.
The truth is, raw feeding is safer than many diets (find out more in our raw vs kibble article), especially when following food hygiene precautions with handling, storing, and cleaning.
Such food handling practices are no different to those recommended for handling raw meat for your own consumption.
These practices require very little time, simply washing your hands for example, and are well worth the effort for your dog’s long term health benefits.
As raw meat can be vulnerable to bacterial growth, it’s understandable that dog owners are concerned about its safety. However, strict rules and regulations are in place to ensure this isn’t an issue.
ProDog Raw is a DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs) approved pet food company; this means we adhere to strict safety protocols in our manufacturing, storing, and delivery practices.
These protocols include rigorous microbiological testing via a UKAS accredited laboratory, regular inspections by APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) and the storage of our raw dog food meals in freezers at -18 until ready for despatch, assuring the freshness of the raw ingredient is always preserved.
DEFRA-approved raw pet food companies are subject to stringent hygiene and testing at all stages, even more so than meat produced for human consumption.
See how we make our food in this short video.
Is frozen raw dog food safe, you ask? Absolutely! Keeping raw dog food frozen until it’s time to defrost and serve is the best way to prevent bacterial growth.
Freezing temperatures are antibacterial, so just store in the freezer, defrost in the fridge before serving, and you’re set.
Our raw food tubs are easily identifiable in our custom bright yellow, which dogs recognise and associate with tasty food.
They are resealable and easily stacked in the fridge or freezer to avoid any spoilage.
The PP (polypropylene) plastic is 100% recyclable, and there are many craft and storage upcycling uses, too.
Dogs are naturally well-equipped to deal with bacteria. They are scavengers in the wild, and have survived for ages on a diet of raw meat from prey.
Dogs have a very short digestive tract, which means any unwanted pathogens are expelled quickly.
Also, a dog’s stomach acid is extremely strong and as such can destroy most bothersome bacteria with ease, while their saliva also has antibacterial properties.
Dogs are essentially designed to thrive on a raw diet.
As mentioned, the risks of raw feeding are minimal. In fact, having children (or being around them regularly) is more of a risk to your health.
Children spread viruses and infections among themselves so often that parents simply grow to expect and accept it, and rightly so .
However, you’re still less at risk of contracting an illness feeding raw to your dog than you are being a parent or caregiver!
There are several ways to ensure safe raw food for dogs at home, much of it beginning with your chosen supplier.
Here are some details we recommend paying attention to when purchasing raw dog food:
Aside from DEFRA, as mentioned above, there are other organisations that work to maintain the safety and quality of raw dog food.
The European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) assigns nutritional guidelines for pet food in order to provide appropriate nutrition to pets.
UK Pet Food (previously Pet Food Manufacturers Association or PFMA), provides education to pet food manufacturers regarding optimal nutrition and manufacturing practices.
These two organisations are helping to raise the standards for pet food production.
They are creating safer, healthier, higher quality food for dogs and cats. Suppliers associated with them are far more likely to produce safe, nutritious, quality products.
ProDog Raw is DEFRA and FEDIAF approved, and a PFMA member.
Plus, we ensure we achieve the nutritional balance of our products by utilising only natural, whole food ingredients in our raw meals, treats and supplements.
Smaller batch production companies are better able to guarantee the quality and safety of the raw dog food that they create.
The mass production of pet food often involves intensive refinement processes, the addition of fillers, and lower quality ingredients.
In contrast, small batch production raw dog food is minimally processed which allows for the nutritional value of the ingredients to be maintained.
The end product is a dog food as close to nature as pre-prepared pet food gets, and ultimately, a higher quality, fresher product.
ProDog Raw is a small batch raw food supplier.
In order to ensure dogs are getting the most out of their raw diet, the best raw food suppliers often enlist the help of veterinary professionals, as well as canine nutritionists.
These animal health experts practice a holistic model of canine health, assessing the needs of the whole animal from a nutritional perspective as well as a medical one.
Canine nutritionists have extensive knowledge about the best way to feed dogs for their optimal health. They provide nutritional advice to dog owners, to help their dogs achieve the balance that will contribute to their overall wellbeing.
Veterinarians and canine nutritionists are valuable contributors to the creation of ProDog’s range of species-appropriate raw dog food.
Aside from paying attention to the above factors, you can also practice simple methods to ensure safe raw food for dogs at home.
Keep the food frozen until it’s time to defrost and serve, practicing safety measures such as defrosting on the bottom shelf of your fridge.
This, along with handwashing, surface sanitising, and washing dog bowls in hot soapy water, makes it easy to keep raw dog food safe.
Our raw dog food tubs are resealable and easy to portion with a spoon; you don’t even have to touch the food!
Raw dog food is safer than the alternatives.
Even kibble fed dogs regularly shed salmonella and other bacteria; in fact, most of the reported cases of illness from pathogenic bacteria are from kibble fed dogs, not raw .
Commercial pet foods have been pulled off the shelf numerous times due to bacteria and deadly mould toxins that have formed.
Starches, rancid fats, sugars and mould toxins in kibble food provide a better source for bacteria to grow and thrive than in properly frozen and stored raw meat.
As long as you use common sense and practice safe hygiene, feeding dogs their natural, species-appropriate diet is far safer. Find out more in our guide to raw vs kibble dog food.
Any potential dangers around raw feeding can be prevented with a little effort.
Homemade raw dog food using refrigerated meat increases the risk of bacterial contamination , as there’s no guarantee of its freshness.
Ordering your dog’s raw food from a DEFRA approved manufacturer that adheres to safety protocols can mitigate this.
Proper storing, food handling, and cleaning practices minimise many risks when feeding frozen raw food.
Our raw dog food is produced under the highest quality standards to preserve nutritional value, freshness, and safety.
Dogs have evolved eating a raw diet without our help since the dawn of canine existence, so they instinctively know what’s good for them.
A raw diet is the most effective way to provide your dog with the nutrients they need for their optimal health. Find out more about the ingredients in raw dog food.
By taking a few precautions, you can ensure raw feeding is safe for all members of the family.
Our raw dog food adheres to safety protocols through lab testing, proper production and freezing practices, and careful packaging to ensure freshness. Just wait and see how much your dog loves it!
1. Lambert, S, MBBS., Allen, K, MPH., Duce, J, PhD., Birch, C, Phd., Mackay, I, PhD., Carlain, J, PhD., Carapetis, J, PhD., Sloots, T, PhD., Nissen, M, MBBS., Nolan, T, PhD. Oct 2007. Community Epidemiology of Human Metapneumovirus, Human Coronavirus NL63, and Other Respiratory Viruses in Healthy Preschool-Aged Children Using Parent-Collected Specimens. American Academy of Pediatrics Journal,; 120(4):e929-e937. Doi: 10.1542/peds.2006-3703
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