Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?
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Thread: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

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    Senior Member spotted nikes's Avatar
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    Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    Just curious, but isn't feeding RAW dangerous, when it comes to things like Salmonella (which a huge percentage of chickens have) or E-Coli from uncooked beef, or Tapeworm/Trich from pork, or internal parasites from raw fish??

    Just something I've wondered about...

    Links to food disease-

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/f...7_chick_ov.htm

    http://foodpoisoning.pritzkerlaw.com...ple-tests.html

    http://www.nutrition4health.org/NOHA...easeHunter.htm
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    Senior Member Spicy1_VV's Avatar
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    Why would they get sick.

    Stomach Acid in dogs stomach kills Salmonella. Actually most healthy adult humans probably don't have to worry if they ingest Salmonella either although there are different strains so I'd imagine some would be more harmful then others, some have better chance of surviving, some have better chance of making us sick, especially if immunity is lower. Ground beef is where you are most likely to find e coli, I feed some ground beef but just add a little here or there. Otherwise they get cuts of beef or parts of cow and I don't have to worry about e. coli contanimation. I like to eat my bison or beef rare myself and haven't been sick from e. coli. I know someone who almost died from e. coli though, was a child, she became very sick, it made her as if she had a stroke that is how damaging it was. I used to not feed pork to my dogs, because I don't like pork. Now I do and I freeze it before feeding it. Wild caught I will cook as there is a chance of carrying blood born illnesses of which dogs can contract.

    Anyway dogs can and do get parasites from eating animals that are carrying them. I keep tapeworm meds on hand JIC because mine catch and eat rabbits or mice.
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    Super Moderator Curbside Prophet's Avatar
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    Yes, there are risks to feeding raw. There are documented cases of dogs and cats getting sick from eating raw meat. The reasons why we don't hear about it more is because a family pet presented to a local veterinarian for intermittent episodes of vomiting or diarrhea would initially treat the case symptomatically and not send samples for bacterial culture and identification. Hence, in most, if not all, cases of food poisoning in the family pet are not diagnosed and go unreported due to a low level of suspicion and financial restraints. Even upon the death of a pet, rarely is an attempt to isolate the causative agent made although it is more likely when the owner suspects a malicious poisoning. Polymerase chain reaction amplification and identification of a pathogenic organism is not within the reach of veterinary practitioners or owners financial commitments. Hence, it is highly unlikely that local veterinary practitioners are going to make a specific diagnosis of food poisoning, identify the organism and then the source.

    However, Salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter infections in people are notifiable diseases, i.e., physicians and health laboratories are required to report cases (even an individual case) to local health departments in accordance with procedures established by each State. Veterinarians who recommend the feeding of raw meat or eggs without giving full disclosure of the risks and precautions may face serious legal ramifications. The risks, no matter how small they are, are still risks that should be weighed when considering an unconventional diet.
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    Senior Member DJsMom's Avatar
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    I'm very glad this question was asked, as I've really wondered the same thing. And thanks for the info CP & Spicy.
    It sounds to me as if it's just as risky for our dogs to eat raw meat as it is for us to? Is that right?
    Cathy
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    We are conditioned by the media and medical community to be germ phobic. The phobia gets passed around from person to person and via the internet. We are constantly told to wash our hands, clean our eating utensils, clean our bathrooms, etc. We are bombarded with information telling us that we are going to become real sick if we don't wash this, that, and the other thing.

    Dogs don't get sick from eating bacteria contaminated food. They are well equiped to handle bacteria. Remember they lick their own butts as well as the butts of other dogs. They pick up dirty sticks and carry them around. Many dogs eat poop. They eat dead squirrels and other dead animals they can find. They eat dirt. They eat worms and bugs. Bacteria is not a problem for dogs and it doesn't make them sick. Vets don't report it because they never see it. I have never known of a dog with a confirmed case of salmonelly or e-coli poisoning. Dogs have been eating rotton stuff for at least 14,000 years.

    As for the risks, there are risks walking out the door.

    Adding: The only people I know who worry about bacteria and bones with a raw diet are people who have never fed raw.
    Last edited by Dad2labs; 02-01-2009 at 11:57 PM.
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    Senior Member DJsMom's Avatar
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dad2labs View Post
    We are conditioned by the media and medical community to be germ phobic. The phobia gets passed around from person to person and via the internet. We are constantly told to wash our hands, clean our eating utensils, clean our bathrooms, etc. We are bombarded with information telling us that we are going to become real sick if we don't wash this, that, and the other thing.

    Dogs don't get sick from eating bacteria contaminated food. They are well equiped to handle bacteria. Remember they lick their own butts as well as the butts of other dogs. They pick up dirty sticks and carry them around. Many dogs eat poop. They eat dead squirrels and other dead animals they can find. They eat dirt. They eat worms and bugs. Bacteria is not a problem for dogs and it doesn't make them sick. Vets don't report it because they never see it. I have never known of a dog with a confirmed case of salmonelly or e-coli poisoning. Dogs have been eating rotton stuff for at least 14,000 years.

    As for the risks, there are risks walking out the door.
    This all makes sense, & I DO understand what you're saying, but I basically HAVE to walk out my door some times, I don't have to eat raw.
    I have considered eventually feeding my dog raw, or at least doing more serious research on it, & this is the biggest worry I have about it. I would love to feed my dog raw, IF there wasn't the safety issue - it's obviously the most natural, healthy way to feed him. ...but there's that safety issue that holds me back.
    Cathy
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    Super Moderator Curbside Prophet's Avatar
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    Quote Originally Posted by DJsMom View Post
    It sounds to me as if it's just as risky for our dogs to eat raw meat as it is for us to? Is that right?
    I believe it's debatable whether the risks are comparable for the reason I described previously regarding documentation. What I read from raw meat advocates is that they don't deny the risks but they tend to downplay the risks. That's all well and good if it's not your dog that gets sick, but I believe the prudent thing to do is balance the risk to benefit ratio.
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    Senior Member briteday's Avatar
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    Canine stomachs have a much higher acidity than do humans. Also, their intestinal tract is much shorter. Those two things combined decrease the odds of dogs contracting many bacterial infections. If the acidity doesn't kill it, they pass it through too quickly for much to take hold.

    Also, having worked in medical labs most of my life, humans do contract things like salmonella and E. coli. However, a lot depends on on the bacterial load in the food eaten (how many bacterial particles in the food, bacteria multiplies rapidly at certain temps... so, how long did Aunt Jane leave that mayo salad out on the counter?), whether the person is immuno-compromised in any way (HIV, very young, very old, otherwise previously ill, already on antibiotics that have destroyed the protective normal flora in our bodies), and the strain of bacteria present.

    Personally, I am much more afraid of catching hepatitis from restaurant-prepared food than a bacterial infection. Bacteria are rarely fatal (see exceptions above) and can be treated with antibiotics. Viral hepatitis is indigenous in certain cultures and there is no real treatment beyond a liver transplant. I avoid eating in public restaurants / fast food because many food service workers come up positive for hepatitis when tested after an illness outbreak. Also, I worry about proper handwashing after bathroom use. That is how most human caused foodborne illness is contracted...food worker doesn't wash hands after toileting, touches your food, you eat contaminated food and get sick.

    Back to dogs...raw food for dogs is no more dangerous than raw food for humans. Some people eat sushi, yes? And I like my beef rare. It's all in how you handle your dog's food. Same as humans...freeze if not using immediately, defrost under refrigeration, use proper sanitary technique for serving (I sanitize cutting boards and surfaces before and after contact with raw food, bowls get put in dishwasher after each meal, never prepare raw dog meal while family food is out on counter...), freeze pork for one month before using (trich is very rare in US, but...), I only serve human grade fish or fish that I have caught / gutted / cleaned / inspected, serve wild game only from known and trusted sources and frozen for one month.

    I've never seen worms contracted from human grade meat. Freezing would take care of most of that anyway though. Most human parasite infections are caused by the oral-fecal route (hands to mouth after being contaminated), picking it up from infected animals, soil contact, ... Bacteria, viruses, and parasites are all over our environment. The marketing of "anti-bacterial" soap is a bunch of propaganda. Proper handwashing depends on the friction of rubbing the hands and fingers with any soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday or Yankee Doodle twice through while lathering and rubbing) and then rinse in a downward direction. Do not touch the faucet handles and try to hit the paper towel dispenser button or air dryer with your elbow. Then use the paper towel to turn off the faucet. When exiting the bathroom use the paper towel to open the door to the outside, then dispose of the paper towel.

    Alcohol based (60%) waterless hand sanitizers are an even better alternative to soap and water washing. I keep them in all of our cars, backpacks, purses as well as at the door where we enter / exit to our cars. I sanitize my hands frequently throughout the day...after touching shopping carts, dirty door knobs, after touching things in the meat case at the grocery, and when I enter / leave the house. None of us have had colds for a few years now. And need I say that most people should have flu shots yearly, pneumonia shots if you are at risk.

    Here's a good site on handwashing...

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hand-washing/HQ00407

    Oh, and an excellent moisturizer is critical if you properly wash your hands as frequently as is suggested by most health practitioners. Even rubbing a bit of petroleum jelly into your hands before bed can keep your hands from becoming dried out.
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    I've fed raw to dozens of dogs for over a decade, without a single illness.

    While I can't tell you that an immune compromised dog won't get sick from bacterial contamination, what I can tell you is that a healthy dog with a properly functioning digestive tract will have no issues handling even "ripe" meat (one of my guys favourite's is old chicken - not that I'm advocating it).

    The FDA will tell you that salmonella recalls on pet foods are done to protect the humans who handle the food/treats, not the pets who eat them.

    Handle the meat properly, wash bowls after use, and if you're really concerned purchase pre-made raw food from a reputable source that tests for contaminants and has sterilization programs in place.

    And finally, given that many raw feeders I know have been feeding raw for 20+ years, some kennels simply never started feeded kibble at all, I would hesitate to call raw "unconventional." I had a client the other day who commented that she recently moved to a new house, and when she met her neighbour and her neighbour's dog, her new neighbour was ecstatic to hear that she was a raw feeder. "I thought I was going to have to give you the raw speech!" she said. Later that afternoon, while walking her dog, she met the dog three doors down - also a raw fed pooch. We're not THAT rare...
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    Senior Member DJsMom's Avatar
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    Quote Originally Posted by babysweet View Post
    Handle the meat properly, wash bowls after use, and if you're really concerned purchase pre-made raw food from a reputable source that tests for contaminants and has sterilization programs in place.
    Like Nature's Variety? They sell raw I think. Maybe that's where I should start, if I decide to. Or can someone tell me any other brands that might be better?
    Cathy
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    I'm a big fan of Nature's Variety raw products, although it is rather expensive. It can be helpful to at least start with a commercial product before moving on to doing it yourself, or supplementing one with the other.

    We use Mountain Dog, Urban Carnivore, Paw-itively Raw and Nature's Variety - although only NV is available in the US, I believe.
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    I'm not going to lie and say there are no risks when it comes to feeding raw. But I'm being completely honest when I say I barely think about them at all anymore. Many of the posts above have already detailed the facts as to why there's not as great a need to worry about salmonella and etc as some may think, so I'm not going to get into that now. The thing is really to practise common sense when it comes to feeding raw. Wash your hands with hot water and soap before and after, clean countertops and bowls, use a separate chopping board, don't feed meat that's been sitting out for too long (though some assert that dogs can eat meat that's been sitting out for days).

    Nature's Variety does make good prepackaged raw. I think Addiction does as well, but both are rather pricey.
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    The misconception that dogs are somehow immune to the clinical effects of these organisms has been sadly demonstrated to be false throughout the veterinary clinics and hospitals in this country. Young animals infected with these organisms have died. Most adult animals survive the episodes of vomiting and diarrhea with IV fluid and antibiotic therapies, although some, too, have died. I just don't think it's good practice to downplay the risks, regardless of how many anecdotes we can come up with to the contrary.


    A few excerpts from the FDA Bad Bug Book:
    Salmonella; has long been isolated from the outside of eggshells. The present situation with Salmonella is complicated by the presence of the organism inside the egg, in the yolk. Foods other than eggs have also caused outbreaks of the disease. It is estimated that from 2 to 4 million cases of salmonellosis occur in people in the U.S. annually, and that the incidence of salmonellosis appears to be rising both in the U.S. and in other industrialized nations.



    Campylobacter; frequently contaminates raw chicken. Surveys show that 20 to 100% of retail chickens are contaminated. This is not overly surprising since many healthy chickens carry these bacteria in their intestinal tracts. Raw milk is also a source of infections. The bacteria are often carried by healthy cattle and by flies on farms. However, properly cooking chicken, pasteurizing milk, and chlorinating drinking water will kill the bacteria. Campylobacter is the leading cause of bacterial diarrhea in the U.S.


    Escherichia; is commonly found in raw beef and chicken, although any food exposed to fecal contamination is strongly suspected.

    Additionally, there is no nutritional advantage to feeding meat or egg ingredients raw, only the risk of contracting a mild to severe and potentially deadly gastrointestinal disease. The best recommendation is to cook all surfaces of the meat and not to feed raw ground meat. The pathogens are usually on the surface of the meat, but will be mixed throughout the meat in the grinding process. Feeding rare is safer than feeding raw. Many of the eggs in the USA are infected with Salmonella, and therefore eggs should never be fed raw to dogs IMO.

    http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/ANSWER.../ANS01183.html
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    Senior Member BoxMeIn21's Avatar
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    Quote Originally Posted by briteday View Post
    Canine stomachs have a much higher acidity than do humans. Also, their intestinal tract is much shorter. Those two things combined decrease the odds of dogs contracting many bacterial infections. If the acidity doesn't kill it, they pass it through too quickly for much to take hold.

    Also, having worked in medical labs most of my life, humans do contract things like salmonella and E. coli. However, a lot depends on on the bacterial load in the food eaten (how many bacterial particles in the food, bacteria multiplies rapidly at certain temps... so, how long did Aunt Jane leave that mayo salad out on the counter?), whether the person is immuno-compromised in any way (HIV, very young, very old, otherwise previously ill, already on antibiotics that have destroyed the protective normal flora in our bodies), and the strain of bacteria present.

    Personally, I am much more afraid of catching hepatitis from restaurant-prepared food than a bacterial infection. Bacteria are rarely fatal (see exceptions above) and can be treated with antibiotics. Viral hepatitis is indigenous in certain cultures and there is no real treatment beyond a liver transplant. I avoid eating in public restaurants / fast food because many food service workers come up positive for hepatitis when tested after an illness outbreak. Also, I worry about proper handwashing after bathroom use. That is how most human caused foodborne illness is contracted...food worker doesn't wash hands after toileting, touches your food, you eat contaminated food and get sick.

    Back to dogs...raw food for dogs is no more dangerous than raw food for humans. Some people eat sushi, yes? And I like my beef rare. It's all in how you handle your dog's food. Same as humans...freeze if not using immediately, defrost under refrigeration, use proper sanitary technique for serving (I sanitize cutting boards and surfaces before and after contact with raw food, bowls get put in dishwasher after each meal, never prepare raw dog meal while family food is out on counter...), freeze pork for one month before using (trich is very rare in US, but...), I only serve human grade fish or fish that I have caught / gutted / cleaned / inspected, serve wild game only from known and trusted sources and frozen for one month.

    I've never seen worms contracted from human grade meat. Freezing would take care of most of that anyway though. Most human parasite infections are caused by the oral-fecal route (hands to mouth after being contaminated), picking it up from infected animals, soil contact, ... Bacteria, viruses, and parasites are all over our environment. The marketing of "anti-bacterial" soap is a bunch of propaganda. Proper handwashing depends on the friction of rubbing the hands and fingers with any soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday or Yankee Doodle twice through while lathering and rubbing) and then rinse in a downward direction. Do not touch the faucet handles and try to hit the paper towel dispenser button or air dryer with your elbow. Then use the paper towel to turn off the faucet. When exiting the bathroom use the paper towel to open the door to the outside, then dispose of the paper towel.

    Alcohol based (60%) waterless hand sanitizers are an even better alternative to soap and water washing. I keep them in all of our cars, backpacks, purses as well as at the door where we enter / exit to our cars. I sanitize my hands frequently throughout the day...after touching shopping carts, dirty door knobs, after touching things in the meat case at the grocery, and when I enter / leave the house. None of us have had colds for a few years now. And need I say that most people should have flu shots yearly, pneumonia shots if you are at risk.

    Here's a good site on handwashing...

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hand-washing/HQ00407

    Oh, and an excellent moisturizer is critical if you properly wash your hands as frequently as is suggested by most health practitioners. Even rubbing a bit of petroleum jelly into your hands before bed can keep your hands from becoming dried out.
    Excellent post.

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    Senior Member Binkalette's Avatar
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    Wouldn't the bacteria also stay on your dogs face and in it's mouth? I would think that alone would be a problem. I wouldn't want her to be licking anybody then.. especially young children.
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    Senior Member Kyllobernese's Avatar
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    I can get pork bones with lots of meat on them from the Grocery store at a lot cheaper price than the beef bones that have no meat on them. Is it alright to feed them without freezing them for a certain length of time first? They come frozen but I have no way of knowing how long they were frozen before I got them.
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    It never ceases to amaze me how uninformed fear mongers come on the the discussion groups spouting the dangers of feeding raw to dogs. They have never fed raw to a dog and have no evidence to back up what they say. They say things like, "dogs die from salmonella and e-coli" and don't even offer any back up even so much as, "I know a dog who died of these things".

    I can't say it never happened but in all my years of owning dogs and feeding raw, I never personally knew a dog who died such a way. In many years on internet dog discussion groups I have never heard a raw feeder say "my dog died from salmonella". I have heard of many dogs dying from eating kibble. What about all the recalls? Doesn't that worry you? Do you folks actually think that kibble is completely sanitary? Even after it sits in your house for several weeks, has been on the store shelves for a month or more, been in the warehouse for another few months? Folks, there is salmonella in your dogs kibble. Don't you remember the recent recall for salmonella? Did you hear of any dogs dying from that? No.

    The above mentioned FDA book is talking about bacteria and humans, not dogs. Yes, there is bacteria on and in raw eggs. Yes, there is bacteria on raw chicken. Yes there is bacteria on all meats. There have been several actually experienced raw feeders her telling you that it doesn't matter. It doesn't make dogs sick. Using minimal sanitary habits, it doesn't make humans sick. There is bacteria everywhere. You can't get away from it.

    Somewhere in my Favorites list of hundreds of dog links on this computer I have information about how cooking destroys nutrients. I don't have time to find it right now. Enzymes are destroyed by cooking. I have one article that tells us at what temperature each of the vitamins are destroyed during cooking. Raw meat and even raw veggies are much healthier than cooked. Most any nutritionist will tell you that.

    Cooking meat surfaces for dogs actually makes "raw feeding" dangerous. Just a tiny bit too much heat on a bone and all of a sudden that bone is brittle and can splinter into sharp little razor blades. Even defrosting frozen meat briefly in the microwave is dangerous. Don't even think about searing meat containing bones.

    I think it would be best for people considering switching their dog or newbie raw feeders to listen to the people who have been feeding raw for many years instead of the fear mongers who have never fed one meal of raw meat or bones. These uninformed people are becoming a real problem.
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    Senior Member DJsMom's Avatar
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    Curbside Prophet, do you not feed raw?
    Please excuse all my questions, but this has been on my mind since getting DJ & joining this forum & 1st hearing about feeding raw.

    Quote Originally Posted by babysweet View Post
    I'm a big fan of Nature's Variety raw products, although it is rather expensive. It can be helpful to at least start with a commercial product before moving on to doing it yourself, or supplementing one with the other.

    We use Mountain Dog, Urban Carnivore, Paw-itively Raw and Nature's Variety - although only NV is available in the US, I believe.
    Nature's Variety would work really well for me, as NV Prairie is the only dog food we carry in our store & what I currently feed my dogs, so I would probably trust them most, to begin with anyway. And we can get it at wholesale cost, but that's not a big difference at all in the cost, as that's 1 thing we just can't mark up much & still be able to sell it!
    Cathy
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    Quote Originally Posted by Binkalette View Post
    Wouldn't the bacteria also stay on your dogs face and in it's mouth? I would think that alone would be a problem. I wouldn't want her to be licking anybody then.. especially young children.
    Kibble fed dogs have much more bacteria in their mouths than raw fed dogs. You can tell that by looking at the plaque on kibble fed dog's teeth and smelling the breath of a kibble fed dog. Plaque is bacteria. The sugars in kibble make the mouth a great place for bacteria to thrive.

    The mouth of a raw fed dog is many times more sanitary even immediately after he finishes eating than the cleanest mouth of a kibble fed dog.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyllobernese View Post
    I can get pork bones with lots of meat on them from the Grocery store at a lot cheaper price than the beef bones that have no meat on them. Is it alright to feed them without freezing them for a certain length of time first? They come frozen but I have no way of knowing how long they were frozen before I got them.
    If you buy them in a grocery store in the US, Canada, Australia and most of western Europe, definately yes, it's ok to feed them immediately.
    Last edited by Dad2labs; 02-02-2009 at 10:26 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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    Senior Member DJsMom's Avatar
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    Re: Why don't dogs get sick from eating RAW?

    Oh, I think it's great to hear both sides of this! Both the positives & even the remotely possible negatives, so that we can make an informed decision.
    I KNOW there are risks no matter what we feed, but people like myself, who have ALWAYS fed kibbles but am seriously considering switching to raw, it's a big switch & I do want to know both sides. And, like I said, the safety issue is what has been holding me back.
    So I really do appreciate all the info from both sides of the fence!
    Cathy
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