Health risks associated with raw food diets, Eau Claire vet says - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Health risks associated with raw food diets, Eau Claire vet says

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The risk factor of eating raw meat is no secret. You wouldn't feed it to your family members on two legs, but what about the ones on four? The popularity of raw food diets is rising, but local vets said it might not be for the right reasons.

A common reason vets said people turn to all raw foods is to create a more natural diet, but they said what's natural for wolves isn't necessarily natural for pets who have been on dog food for generations.

"There's a lot of things that have been attributed to it, positive effects that have been attributed to it that simply aren't true," said Dr. Dave Menard, a veterinarian at Northside Pet Hospital.  He said if pet owners aren't careful with how the food is being prepared, they can also put themselves at risk.

"There have been a lot of cases of listeria bacteria and salmonella bacteria being shed by these dogs after on a raw diet because they're infected with it from the diet, from the raw meat,” Dr. Menard said. “Those are very common bacteria that are found through the butchering process that can contaminate the meat. It can be quite serious. They shed, and we get exposed to them. They affect people so there's zoonotic bacteria and can make people very very sick."

Vets said there can be a benefit to feeding dogs a raw diet if they have allergies to something that's in dog food, but said a very small percentage of dogs have these allergies. They said the most important thing to keep in mind is to just make sure your dog has a balanced diet.

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