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?




If you're in the upstate NY Albany area, please consider registering and learning about raw feeding from a wholistic vet and a trainer. It helped me transition my dogs with plenty of info, Q&As, and hands-on application. Learn what's really in your pets' foods. Educate yourself and then make an informed decision, not one just based on opinion and hearsay.

Patrick Oliver

Yes. My pops found out not to give cats milk.
Sorry Maya and Jun!


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The pet food industry is not regulated, who know's what else is in it. My husky has suffered from dry black and red skin on her belly, chest and genitals for half her life. I blame all of this dehydrated chemically induced veternarian reccomended horse shite. Trust yourself, if your dog isn't thriving on the diet you feed him/her educate yourself THOUROGHLY. Every dog is different so do what you feel is right. I don't trust my vet, she's a pill pushing drug lord. By the way she's (Sydney) on a raw diet of chicken breast and drums (raw with bones) a probiotic formula i add to 4 tbsp. of plain yogurt with a tablespoon of flax oil. Plus a veggie cube with every meal I make in the blender with raw greens (kale, broccoli, spinach) and herbs (parsley, cilantro and dill) with eggs (shells a must). I freeze them in muffin thingys, pop them out and bag them. She is 6 years old and I haven't seen her this happy and energetic since she was a pup. Her black skin is almost completely faded. Good luck!


This is driving me crazy! I have read so much in terms of pros for a raw diet but then I am unsure about feeding my dog raw chicken and raw bones incase they choke. Someone help me!!!!!


Reply to Leigh -

This is a very polarizing topic and neither side has definitive scientific answers. For example, this article suggests that raw food is


As of August, 2013 there is NO scientific evidence to support:

* Raw = Healthier
* Raw = Dangerous
* Kibble/Canned = Healthier
* Kibble/Canned = Dangerous

However, there is plenty of evidence that salmonella is bad for your pet which is the only truthiness in this blatantly biased pos article.

Using the author's own sleight-of-hand journalism, you should avoid kibble because far more outbreaks and pet deaths are attributable to salmonella tainted kibble than raw feeding. (Wikipedia "Raw Feeding").

I'm so sick of this topic.