Animal Doctor Articles Weekly on August 15, 2011


Does your dog food recipe use cooked or raw hamburger mixed in with brown rice?

K.S., Ellicott City, Md Aug 15, 2011


I appreciate this question about giving raw foods to pets, as will many readers. Bacterial contamination, especially of ground meat, is an increasing public health concern. It is responsible for thousands of cases of food poisoning annually, as well as massive recalls of contaminated food.

First, always handle raw meat and poultry products with care. Place them on surfaces that can be thoroughly cleaned, along with utensils and, of course, your hands. Soap and hot running water should suffice, or hand-sanitizer solutions.

The dog food recipe on my website calls for combining raw rice, raw ground meat and other ingredients and then cooking the mixture to eliminate the risk of bacterial contamination. However, if you thoroughly mix raw hamburger (ideally from grass-fed, organically certified animals) into rice immediately after the rice is cooked, the high temperature of the rice is sufficient to kill potentially harmful bacteria. Preparing the dog food in this way also helps preserve the nutritional value of the animal protein.

Organically certified meat and poultry products have been shown to have less bacterial contamination and are preferred by those informed pet owners who feed (and handle with care) raw or partly cooked pet foods.

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