Some believe that the modern diet is more nutritious for pets, which increases the energy of man’s best friend. It also helps create a shinier coat, improve complexion, and strengthen teeth. Pet food companies also market it as a more “natural” pet food.
However, scientists have shown that dogs that eat raw meat are more likely to excrete life-threatening strains of E. coli in their feces.
“E. coli is a widespread bacteria found in the intestines of all humans and animals, but it is a common cause of many diseases including urinary tract infections and can cause serious illness including sepsis if it spreads to other parts of the body,” says Lead The author Professor Matthew Avison in a media statement.
We must do everything we can to reduce the circulation of antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli and other critically important bacteria. Our research adds to the growing evidence that not feeding dogs raw meat may help achieve this goal.”
These bacteria can be passed from dogs to their owners through everyday interactions, which means raw meat may not be the safest option. The study author says pet owners should take extra precautions when handling them and be especially careful with grooming after feeding.
“We know that humans and animals share bacteria with each other, so what we find in your pet may also be inside of you. Pet owners should be encouraged to practice good hygiene, and not feeding your dog raw food can be part of this,” adds the Professor Kristen Reeher, co-author. “We can all do our part to reduce antibiotic resistance and its terrible effects on human and animal health.”
Two analyzes, involving 223 puppies and 600 adult dogs, identified the links between eating raw meat and excretion of drug-resistant Escherichia coli. The use of data from different groups demonstrated the phenomenon, regardless of age or length of time spent on the diet.
Eating raw meat has been shown to be a strong risk factor for those who live in the countryside. The issue was more complex for urban residents due to the diversity of lifestyles and levels of exposure in urban areas. The owners also completed questionnaires about their dogs’ diet and living environment and provided stool samples from them as well.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are ubiquitous, but some antibiotics are of paramount importance for their use in humans. We have shown that dogs fed raw meat are more likely to carry bacteria that are resistant to these important drugs. “This does not mean that the animal or the owner will get sick,” says Professor Avison.
Last year, Portuguese scientists described raw dog food as an “international public health hazard”. They examined 25 major supermarket and pet store brands and found multidrug-resistant bacteria similar to those in patients.
Estimates predict that “antibiotic-resistant germs” will kill 10 million people annually by 2050. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes the problem as “one of the greatest public health threats facing humanity.”
The results have been published in one health and the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
Writer Mark Waghorn, columnist for the Southwest News Service, contributed to this report.