Is Raw Meat Safe?

A diet of raw meat opens the way for many parasites to enter your dog's body.

By Jon Geller, DVM | Posted: Mon Feb 7 00:00:00 PST 2005

Q. We have an almost 4-year-old German Shepherd Dog. My boyfriend's mom gives the dog raw meat sometimes. I have read a lot of articles that is it not healthy feeding your dog raw meat. Is it OK for dogs to eat raw meat?

Dr. Jon GellerA. The raw meat diet is a topic of great controversy in veterinary medicine.

Most veterinarians don't like it because of the toxic bacteria that is present, such as E. coli and salmonella.

In addition, raw meat is often riddled with parasites that will take up residence in the intestines of a dog that eats the meat. These parasites can migrate about the body, often curling up in a little cocoon-like structure known as a cyst. They can live in the intestines, wreaking havoc with normal digestion and causing diarrhea and vomiting.

Once you have looked at these worms, flukes and tiny parasites under a microscope, you hope that they never make their way into your own body. Sadly, most humans are infected with parasites that coexist with their human hosts quite politely without even being noticed. We also get them from eating undercooked meat.

As one of my parasitology professors once said, "You are never truly alone."

So to answer your question, Jennifer, no, I don't recommend a raw meat diet. On the other hand, a homemade diet of ingredients such as cooked hamburger and rice makes a lot of sense. There are many recipes available if you have the dedication and interest to cook for your dog.
 
Best,
Jon Geller, DVM
 

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