Ensuring the health and well-being of our pets is our prime responsibility as pet owners. One major aspect of this is their nutrition. With the increasing popularity of raw diets for pets, it’s essential to understand how to handle raw pet food safely. Incorrect handling can lead to various health issues, both for your pet and your family.
Whether you’re a seasoned raw diet pro or just considering the switch, this guide will help you navigate the process safely and efficiently.
Raw Food Safety For Pets
Proper storage is paramount when it comes to maintaining the safety and integrity of raw pet food. Raw food should always be handled with the same caution as human-grade meat to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Store raw pet food in the freezer until it is ready to be served to your furry companion.
What Research Says About The Safety Of Raw Food
The study entitled “Bacteriological Evaluation of Commercial Canine and Feline Raw Diets,” published on NCBI, underscores the significance of handling raw diets appropriately to mitigate the risk of disease transmission between animals and humans.
It emphasises the need for caution among individuals handling food bowls and animals that come into contact with raw-fed animals, prioritising safety measures to safeguard everyone involved.
Possible Risks Associated With Improper Handling Of Raw Pet Food
Bacterial contamination is another significant concern when it comes to serving raw meat. Raw meat and meat-based products, including those consumed by humans, can potentially carry harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli.
The risk of contamination is particularly high when the food undergoes extensive processing, leading to cross-contamination.
For instance, meat products like hamburgers and sausages are more vulnerable to bacterial contamination due to the chopping, mincing and mixing processes that facilitate the bacteria’s penetration into the meat’s core. While freezing can reduce bacterial presence to some extent, it does not eliminate all of it.
Importance Of Proper Storage And Meal Preparation
Many, if not all, of the reports and studies into the risks associated with raw pet food agree on one thing – the critical importance of the quality of the ingredients (human-grade is best) and the hygienic handling of the food, from paddock to plate.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) recommends that if you serve your pet raw meat, you should use human-grade raw meat to avoid the potentially dangerous bacteria in untested pet meats.
This is also important because some raw meat products marketed as pet food (pet meat/pet mince/pet rolls and bone) contain preservatives to keep them looking fresh, which can harm your pet’s health.
Many pet food safety incidents have been linked to sulphite preservative-induced thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency, which can be fatal. Sausages, sausage meat and cooked manufactured meats can also contain sulphite preservatives.
Five Tips On How To Store Your Pet’s Raw Food Safely
Properly storing and handling your pet’s food is of utmost importance to ensure their health and well-being.
Here are some helpful tips that will ensure you are taking the necessary steps to maintain the freshness and quality of your food:
- Store raw food for your pet as you would store food for yourself. Raw meat should be kept frozen until used. The temperature of your freezer should be close to -18˚C.
- Store your refrigerated and frozen raw dog foods separately from the family foods.
- Thaw raw food in your refrigerator or defrost it by microwaving it. Do not thaw it on your countertop or in your sink. Set your refrigerator to 0–4˚C.
- Tightly cover refrigerated pet food.
- Throw out old or spoiled pet food safely, for example, by placing it in a securely tied plastic bag in a covered rubbish bin.
Seven Safety Tips On How To Handle Raw Pet Food
With more pet owners jumping on board the raw pet food trend, knowing how to handle and store these foods becomes more important.
Here are seven safety tips on how to handle raw pet food:
1. Begin And End With Clean Hands
Both before and after handling pet food and treats, and touching surfaces that have come into contact with raw meat, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water.
2. Handle Separately From Human Food
Handle the raw food separately from human food, with separate kitchen equipment (or the same equipment washed thoroughly after use). Thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces and objects that come into contact with raw pet food.
First, wash with hot soapy water and then follow with a disinfectant. You can also run items through the dishwasher after each use to clean and disinfect them.
3. Don’t Rinse The Raw Food
Don’t rinse raw meat, poultry, fish or seafood. Bacteria in the raw juices can splash and spread to other food and surfaces.
4. Wash Pets’ Cutlery Thoroughly
Wash pet food bowls and scooping utensils with soap and hot water after each use.
5. Use A Clean Scooper
Do not use your pet’s food bowl as a scooping utensil. Use a clean scoop, spoon, or cup instead. Use the scooping utensil only for scooping pet food.
6. Avoid Kissing Around Your Pet’s Mouth
Don’t kiss your pet around its mouth, and don’t let your pet lick your face after it has eaten raw food. Thoroughly wash your hands after touching or being licked by your pet.
7. Clean And Sanitise After Picking Up Faeces
Wash your hands with soap and water after picking up your pet’s faeces.
Choosing High-Quality Raw Pet Food Products
When it comes to your pet’s nutrition, quality should never be compromised. The source of your raw pet food matters immensely as it directly influences the health and well-being of your pet. Opting for reputable brands and suppliers ensures that you’re providing your pet with a diet that is not only nutritious but also safe.
Biologically Approved Raw Dog Food
Biologically Approved Raw Dog Food, or BARF, is a popular choice among pet owners who advocate for a natural, raw diet. The BARF model consists of a carefully balanced ratio of raw meat, bones, fruits, vegetables and supplements, designed to closely resemble what dogs would naturally consume in the wild.
But not all BARF diets are created equal. It’s crucial to choose a supplier that prioritises quality, safety and nutritional balance in their products.
Prey Model Raw
The Prey Model Raw (PMR) diet is another approach to raw feeding that emphasises the dietary habits of wild carnivores. The PMR diet focuses on raw meat, organs and bones, excluding fruits, vegetables and supplements.
This model is favoured by owners who prefer a more ‘natural’ diet for their pets. However, the quality and safety of the ingredients used remain paramount. Therefore, selecting a reliable and trusted supplier is essential.
Get Your Pet’s Raw Food Diet From A Trusted Source
The raw pet food diet you choose can significantly impact your pet’s health and vitality. Whether you prefer the BARF or PMR model, the importance of sourcing from a reputable supplier cannot be overstated. For high-quality, safe and nutritionally balanced raw pet food, Raw K-9 stands as a trusted source.
We prioritise the health of your pet, ensuring our offerings are made with the utmost care, quality and safety standards. With Raw K-9, you can rest assured knowing you’re providing your pet with the best raw diet possible.