Dog owners warned about ‘kissing’ pets on a raw meat diet

Close up of dog licking
You kiss your owner with that mouth? (Picture: Getty Images)

Normally, letting your dog ‘kiss’ you is odd, but not dangerous (except perhaps for your reputation).

Warnings are now being issued, however, stating that you shouldn’t let your pup slobber on you if they’re on a raw meat diet due to potentially dangerous bacteria.

Raw meat diets have become increasingly popular, and consist of things like raw muscle meat, whole or ground bones, raw eggs, and uncooked offal like livers and kidneys. It may also contain fruit, veg, and dairy like yoghurt.

According to a recent study published in Vet Record, high levels of potentially harmful bacteria were found in the products, including E.Coli.

The Swedish researchers examined samples from 60 packs of raw meat products in 2017, made by 10 manufacturers in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, and England.

All samples contained enterobacteriaceae species, which could pose a risk to health, and more than half had levels that exceeded the European Union maximum threshold.

Although most of the species of bacteria were not likely to cause infection, one third of the samples also contained E.Coli, and 7% contained salmonella, both known to in some cases.

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The researchers warned the bacteria could transfer through contact between pet and owner, or easily spread onto surfaces and other food in kitchens.

‘A great opportunity for dogs to transfer potential pathogenic and antimicrobial-resistant bacteria to humans is by ‘kissing’ people in the face immediately after they have eaten,’ they wrote.

Researchers stated that dogs should not be fed a raw meat diet while living in homes with infants, elderly people or immunocompromised individuals as they’re more susceptible to infections.

Owners who do choose a raw meat diet for their pet should keep products separate from other food and handle them with separate equipment in the kitchen, the researchers advise. Products should also be kept frozen before use and thaw at 10 degrees centigrade.