Feeding dogs raw meat has gained popularity in recent years, and many owners deem it the more ‘natural’ option as opposed to traditional cooked food.
However, raw feeding can pose a lot of problems to your health as well as your pets’, especially when prepared at home.
According to new research by scientists at Bristol University, raw meat contains drug-resistant bacteria and fuels superbugs that kill 700,000 Brits a year.
The trendy diet is said to be more nutritious and energy-boosting, and also helps to create a shinier coat, strengthen teeth and improve skin.
But studies show dogs given raw meat are more likely to excrete life-threatening strains of E. coli in their faeces.
Lead author Professor Matthew Avison said: “E. coli is a widespread bacterium found in the intestines of all humans and animals.
“However it’s a common cause of many diseases including urinary tract infection and can cause serious illness including sepsis if it spreads to other parts of the body.
“We should do everything we can to reduce the circulation of critically important antibiotic-resistant E. coli and other bacteria.
“Our research adds to the increasing evidence that not feeding raw meat to dogs may help in that objective.”
Two analyses, involving 223 puppies and 600 adult dogs, identified links between eating raw meat and excreting resistant E. coli.
The findings showed that bacteria can be passed from dogs to owners through everyday interactions – meaning a raw meat diet is not the safest option.
Scientists have advised owners to take extra precautions when handling it and be especially careful to clean up afterwards.
Co-author Prof Kristen Reyher said: “We know humans and animals share bacteria with one another – so what we find in your pet may well also be in you.
“Pet owners should be encouraged to practice good hygiene and not feeding raw food to your dog can be part of this.
“We can all do our part to decrease antibiotic resistance and its terrible effects on both human and animal health.
“Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are everywhere, but some antibiotics are considered critically important for use in humans.
“We have shown dogs fed raw meat are more likely to carry bacteria resistant to these important medicines. This doesn’t mean that the animal, or the owner, will become sick.”
Last year Portugese scientists branded uncooked dog food an “international public health risk” after finding multidrug-resistant bacteria identical to those found in patients.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described superbugs as “one of the greatest public health threats facing humanity.”