"Bad to the Bone"
MU Professor Advises Against Raw Meat Diet for Pets
Feeding Fido that raw ground beef
might not be the best idea. A University of Missouri-Columbia
veterinary professor is warning owners about the dangers of
raw meat diets for pets.
"We are experiencing a recent national
trend where pet owners are feeding their pets raw meat because
they think it is healthier, but that couldn't be further from
the truth," said Robert Backus, assistant professor and
director of the Nestle Purina Endowed Small Animal Nutrition
Program. "Feeding your pet raw meat puts the safety of
not only the pet in danger, but also the household."
Harmful bacteria, and other microbes and
parasites may live on raw meat, which is why Backus urges
pet owners to be careful about how they handle it. Salmonella
contamination from uncooked, meat-based pet treats has caused
outbreaks in both Canada and the United States, the most recent
case occurring in Washington, according to the Centers for
Additionally, raw meat can affect the pet's
health. Pet owners subscribing to the school of thought that
raw meat is what their pet would have eaten in the wild, may
be putting their pets' health in danger.
"Sooner or later an animal could hurt
their jaw or break their teeth while chewing on a bone. Animals
found in the wild have fractured teeth and tend to not live
as long as pets," Backus said.
Animals that consume cooked or uncooked
bones can experience tears anywhere along their digestive
tracts from their mouths to their intestines. Cooked bones
can actually splinter more when they are consumed. Pet foods
offer a safe alternative to raw meat diets.
"The ingredients found in pet foods
are generally more consistent and thereby better provide for
nutritional balance. Owners should pay attention to labeling
to ensure they are purchasing the correct food for their animal
that meets nutritional profiles or passed feeding tests recommended
by the Association of American Feed Control Officials,"
The Association of American Feed
Control Officials' recommendations are used by nutritionists
to evaluate pet foods and by federal and state officials to
regulate pet foods.
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