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Every pet parent wants to provide the best food for their pet because, after all, good nutrition translates to healthy skin, a healthy coat and far fewer health problems.

In essence feeding good food to your animals is a recipe for peace of mind. So the question then becomes what kind of food do you feed your pet? Canned is pretty popular, dry kibble seems to be good, table scraps we know put on the pounds, but what about raw?

Bill Clinton went on a raw diet and lost a lot of weight and it seems to be keeping his health in check. His diet, though, contained mostly fruits and vegetables. Your animals might be a different story. A raw diet for an animal consists of basically raw meat or chicken as well as a few organs and bones thrown in.

The FDA wants you to know the risks of feeding a raw diet to your pet. Raw food is more likely to contain disease-causing bacteria, such as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, which causes the disease listeriosis.

People and animals can get both diseases by eating food contaminated with the harmful bacteria. That’s why salmonellosis and listeriosis are called “foodborne” illnesses — the bacteria are carried, or “borne” on, contaminated food.

The FDA recommends cooking chicken or meat before you give it to your pet as the bacteria is killed once it is cooked. Freeze raw meat and poultry products until you are ready to use them, and thaw them in your refrigerator or microwave, not on your counter top or in your sink.

Risks to humans

Here comes one of the harder situations. Those wet sloppy kisses that you love, you will need to hold back if your pet is eating raw food. Don’t kiss your pet around its mouth, and don’t let your pet lick your face. If there is any trace of Salmonella it can be transmitted via the love pecks from your dog.

Consumers also run the risk of getting sick if they handle contaminated pet foods and accidentally transfer the bacteria to their mouths.

Some of your household pets actually carry salmonella. Turtles for example, carry it on their shells. You touch one and don't wash your hands then start cooking or put a finger in your mouth, you have transmitted the disease.

Raw diets do have some pros especially if you have a dog who is allergic to certain things. By feeding raw, you will know exactly what is going into their system. If you have a dog on the chubby side the raw food can cut the fat. 

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