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A raw meat diet poses pathogenic risks for pets

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel getting groomed
A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is groomed at the Westminster Kennel Club 141st Annual Dog Show. Photo: Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty Images

The raw diet trend for cats and dogs is coming under fire from researchers, who say the "natural" diet — which purportedly helps pets avoid allergies and other risks from processed food — actually puts pets at risk of becoming sick via pathogens, per The Guardian. Scientists in The Netherlands examined commercially-available, frozen raw meat and found antibiotic-resistant E.coli in 80% of samples, listeria in more than half, and salmonella in 20%.

Why it matters: The study shows that commercially frozen raw meat, which might be seen as a safer alternative to home-prepared food, still carries a huge risk of disease for pets. That's in addition to prior research that shows a raw diet for animals can lead to gut and dental issues as well as developmental problems. An animal clinical nutritionist who spoke to The Guardian also drove home the key point: “We don’t have any scientific evidence to support those claims [that pets can avoid allergies via a raw diet].”