Raw Food Diets May Be Dangerous for Pets

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 11:45am

Just like fad diets for humans, popular diets for your pets come and go. However, there’s one particular pet diet trend that gives us pause: ASPCA experts say raw food diets for pets that include raw meat, eggs and milk may be dangerous for your furry friends. We typically recommend that pet parents opt for well-balanced, high-quality commercial and cooked foods instead.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) agrees. In studies published in AVMA’s journal, homemade and commercial raw food diets for dogs and cats were found to contain dangerous bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella, just to name a few. Other tests showed that unprocessed food diets can lead to nutrient deficiencies or excess that can cause serious illnesses in pets. Also, pets chewing on raw bones can lead to obstruction or perforation of their gastrointestinal tracts, and fractured teeth.

If you don’t want to feed your dog or cat a commercial diet, consider a homemade diet that will diminish the risks of foodborne illnesses. These meals should be thoroughly cooked and need to be formulated by a veterinary nutritionist or by your veterinarian to make sure they’re nutritionally sound.

If you are passionate about feeding your pet raw foods, please consider the following tips.

  • Work with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet’s diet is nutritionally balanced.
  • Avoid feeding raw foods in homes with babies and toddlers (who put lots of things in their mouths), the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
  • Practice regular hand washing before and after feeding pets.
  • Practice appropriate disposal methods when cleaning up pet feces.

For more information about pet-safe diets, consult your veterinarian and check out our complete list of people foods that are dangerous to pets.

Tell us in the comments below: Do you feed your pet raw foods or a homemade diet?




Can someone explain to me why all my dogs growing up eating commercial dog food lived to be 14 and 15 and wolves in the wild only lived to be like 7?


I run a socialized dog boarding and day care business where all of the dogs run free together in a 1/3 acre field during the day. Our staff clean the field of feces every hour during the day. After a year of monitoring, we have found that when we have a dog boarding that is on a raw diet that all of the other dogs flock to immediately consume that dogs feces. These are dogs that would never eat feces before but would only consume the dogs feces that was on a raw food diet. We end up with a bunch of sick dogs and unhappy owners that pay substantial vet bills to get their dogs healthy again. We are always getting calls from these owners asking if we had sprayed the field or noticed if they had ingested something different. After a year of off and on hearing from clients and observing activity we were able to conclusively ascertain that the raw food diet dogs were causing the problem. We now separate or do not allow dogs on the raw diet at our facility. The problem has gone away. I wonder how many people take their dogs to a local dog park and end up with the same problem unknowingly.


My pitbull eats a raw beef diet. We buy a commercial made organic raw dog food formulated to the nutritional needs. My dog eats that with a raw bone daily. He looks amazing and I am stopped everywhere by folks asking about his diet. Raw is best.