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How can I minimize salmonella and E. coli risk?

2500 Views 6 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  3K9Mom
Hi everyone,
As I study more about the raw diet method of feeding my girl, I must confess I'm still concerned about the salmonella and E. coli risk. I'm pretty convinced by all of you and other sources as well that the raw feeding method can be wonderful for your dog...but I'm still nervous.

It seems like whenever you read about the BARF/raw feeding method, critics are quick to poo-poo this feeding method and often their first comment is the "You'll give your dog salmonella and/or E. coli" comment.

Do some of you worry about this as well?

Can you share with me what you do to mimimize (it's probably not possible to truly eliminate this risk, is it?) this risk to your dog(s)?

Thank you,
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Dogs normally eat:

Poop of other dogs
Poop of raccoons
Deer Poop
Opossum Poop
Cat Poop
Bird Droppings
Cow afterbirth on farms
Sheep afterbirth on farms
Bones left and buried for several days
Vomit-- from any critter
Discarded Gum
A Twinkie covered in ants on the sidewalk
Mice--dead or alive
Squirrels--very, very dead or alive

And with this raw diet you are feeding FRESH FOOD... that was in fact inspected and APPROVED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.

Dogs are designed to handle yuck. Tough-as-nails mouth enzymes, to a short, quickie, "drive-thru" style gut.
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If you practice safe meat handling/cleaning, you shouldn't have any problems. Dog are designed to handle bacteria. Their saliva contains an enzyme that destroys bacteria. Their stomach acidity is higher than ours. And they have a short, predatory digestive tract that allows food to move through quickly giving bacteria less opportunity to grow. As long as your dog has a healthy immune system, you're unlikely to have problems.
If your dog is healthy without a weak immune system, etc..then your dog should be able to handle it. The dog that I just started again on RAW, did get E. Coli about 5 years ago, HOWEVER, he had a horrible immune system, I've learned and researched ALOT since. I feel very comfortable feeding it now, and none of my other dogs have ever gotten sick from a RAW diet...
Quote: critics are quick to poo-poo this feeding method
If someone is determined to be critical of raw feeding, they can find lots of reasons.

Feeding your dog raw meat is not a mainstream notion. Anybody contemplating it should get used to the idea that most people will think you are either crazy or dangerous.
My dogs don't eat all the fascinating things Grimm eats. (Gosh, they're missing out!). The best they get is the occasional bug in the kiddie pool. And while I don't "worry" about funky bacteria, I do keep it in the back of my mind at all times.

I buy the freshest food: I fanatically check sell-by dates and buy the latest date packages, and I buy where I can get the freshest meat, which means I buy at Costco, my local co-op, or other sources I have. For example, the sell-by date at my grocery stores is a few days out. At Costco its 7-14 days out for chicken (not that it ever stays in the store that long), even longer for lamb. Grocery stores use warehousing that keeps meat hanging around longer. I avoid that however I can. Bacteria grows as meat hangs around.

Whenever I can buy organic, I do. I think organic meat is safer. Just my opinion, and I might be wrong. But I think it's safer.

When I'm shopping, my meat stop is the last stop. Then, I don't make any other stops. After I buy meat, I drive home, and it goes into the refrigerator or freezer asap.

I have plastic cutting boards that I can toss in the dishwasher (I don't let meat touch my counters to the extent I can control. This way, everything goes into the dishwasher. But of course, I have spills now and then.
). I actually toss my expensive knives on the top rack of the dishwasher too (gasp!). So everything is disinfected from one batch of meat to the other.

When I weigh and portion my meat, these portions go into zip-loc containers that after use go into the dishwasher as well.

Meat is defrosted in the refrigerator. When I forget to defrost meat, I usually have some MM that I'll boil up for dinner if I can't quickly finish up defrosting in a minute in the microwave or within two minutes in hot water. In other words, I don't leave meat lying around to defrost. I'd rather feed a cooked meat for one meal than let bacteria build up.

If my dog doesn't eat all his meat (it happens), I toss it. If it happens to be icy cold and clean (he eats in the back yard when it's nice out), I'll put it back into the refrigerator), but it's rarely still icy cold. Better to toss a chicken drumstick than get runny poop for 4 days, is my feeling. My guy is prone to SIBO, but I'd likely feel that way even if he weren't.

I wash my hands with plain old soap and warm water (not anti-bac stuff which just builds up bacterial resistance) before making the dogs' dinner, after, and anytime I touch raw food.

To me, none of these are crazy outrageous obsessive-compulsive steps. Just basic steps to ensure that my dogs are eating healthy food, and honestly, they're things that I did when I was just feeding my husband meat for dinner. Now, it's just bigger scale. More of an assembly line.

Oh, I also feed my dogs an acidophilus capsule daily. I figure that will give them good bacteria to fight any bad bacteria that manage to get through.

And, some dogs can't handle a raw diet, whether it's because of bacteria, because it's too rich, or too something. I don't know. My senior can't. So I feed her premium kibble supplemented with cooked veggies and cooked MM. Try raw and stick with it for a little while. If you or your dog don't like it or can't handle it, you'll know relatively soon. But it's worth trying, IMO.

And keep in mind that if you really can't get over the bacteria issue, home cooked is an option. But if I were you, I'd try raw first.
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