A healthy diet is important for everyone, even your pets! When picking out the right food for your pet, there are important things to consider. Did you know that what you feed your pet can even affect your health and the health of your family?
Raw pet foods can make pets and people sick
You may be considering a raw food diet for your pets because you have heard that it is healthier. But raw food diets can make you and your pet sick, and for that reason CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. Here’s why:
Germs like Salmonella and Listeria bacteria have been found in raw pet foods, even packaged ones sold in stores. These germs can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.
What about dry and canned pet food?
If handled incorrectly, these foods also can be contaminated with germs such as Salmonella bacteria. Outbreaks of Salmonella infections have been linked to dry dog food. To stay healthy, it is important to always wash hands right away after feeding your pet and to store pet food out of reach of toddlers and infants.
Tips to stay healthy while feeding your pet
- Wash your hands right after handling pet food or treats; this is the most important step to prevent illness.
- When possible, store pet food and treats away from where human food is stored or prepared and away from reach of young children.
- If possible, store dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated plastic container with a lid, keeping the top of the bag folded or closed.
- Do not use your pet’s feeding bowl to scoop food. Use a clean, dedicated scoop, spoon, or cup.
- Always follow any storage instructions on pet food bags or containers.
- Keep dry pet food and treats stored in a cool dry place.
- Promptly discard, refrigerate, or store any leftover food.
How do I know if my pet is sick or might have germs that can make me sick?
Not every pet will get sick after eating raw pet food. Keep in mind that even if your pet eats raw food and seems healthy, they could still carry germs like Salmonella bacteria. As a healthy carrier, your pet could then pass on germs from the raw food to the environment when he or she poops.
A pet that develops a Salmonella or Listeria infection may show these signs:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea, which may be bloody
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased activity level
It is important to call your veterinarian if your pet develops any of these signs.
For information about keeping yourself and your pets healthy, visits the CDC’s Health Pets Healthy People page.