The recent 24-hour news cycle and the scenes of mass panic and hysteria in the aisles of shops hasn't been pleasant viewing. It has brought peoples’ fears into sharp focus.
It also reminded us of questions and concerns we’ve had from those considering embarking on their raw food journey. Food borne illnesses such as salmonella, listeria and E-Coli are issues that are regularly mentioned - in no small part due to those companies who'd rather you stick to their processed kibble and canned foods.
So we thought we'd pull together our handy guide to allay any such fears, and help support safe raw dog food handling (and no toilet paper is required!).Will Raw Feeding Make My Pet Sick?
A dog’s stomach is very acidic, with an average pH ranging from 1.5-2. This means that they’re perfectly designed to process raw meat and bone. In fact, studies have shown that, during digestion their stomach can reach >pH1- comparable to battery acid! This has a similar impact to cooking food - in that it eradicates any present food borne bacteria with super efficiency.
By comparison, or human stomach can range up to 3.5, making us much more susceptible to food poisoning - which is why we cook our meats!
And what about our feline friends?
No need to worry about them either. As obligate carnivores, their gastrointestinal system is also highly acidic and perfectly able to handle all that raw goodness.Will it Make My Family and I Sick?
While we pride ourselves on using only the finest human-grade ingredients in mixes, we don't recommend you eat it yourselves.
Any dog food companies that make grand displays of a human eating their own raw dog food are actually making grand displays that their food doesn't contain the stuff that dogs really need. When was the last time you crunched on a bit of raw bone??
As with any food preparation, it’s important to take precautions against potential risks and cross-contamination. Standard practices you already undertake when your when preparing your family's food are more than adequate to ensure you keep the human members of your family safe when prepping your dogs raw food:
- Wash your hands with warm, soapy water before you handle any raw dog food (luckily, hand sanitizer is not necessary!)
- Ensure all surfaces are wiped clean beforehand. If you portion out the food yourself, it may be a good idea to have a designated colour of chopping board for just this purpose and keep it stored apart from the rest of your kitchen utensils
- Similarly, have your pet’s Tupperware a different colour to the humans’
- Keep the raw meat away from the human foodstuffs in the kitchen (tempting as it may be to prepare the human and four-legged meals at the same time, it’s best to keep them separate)
- Thoroughly clean all utensils that you used in hot, soapy water and/or place in the dishwasher on a high setting
- Finally, after preparation, wash your own hands again for at least 20 seconds
Pretty simple, huh?
We’ve been feeding raw for years and the only time we’ve ever felt ill is when we've been researching what goes into the widely available commercial pet foods!Storage Tips:
We go to great lengths to ensure that our product leaves our facility and reaches your doorstep in pristine condition. It is produced in a temperature-controlled environment, shipped in temperature-controlled transport and packed in a freezer-grade box, with thermal liner and ice-pack.
So, by the time it lands on your doorstep, it has been kept consistently at a temperature of 0-4°C. The way it's packed means it’s fine to sit on your doorstep for a couple of hours until you wake up or until you can get to it.
Once you do, we recommend:
- Popping one to two day’s serving(s) into your fridge and the remainder into the freezer. We don’t use any preservatives whatsoever so, even though it will be fine in the fridge for a few days, doing this means it preserves as much freshness as possible
- Thawing out the following day’s serving(s) in the fridge overnight. Don’t worry if it’s not completely defrosted by serving time - this poses no risk and we find both of our pups lap up the change in texture!
- Storing the portions at the bottom of your fridge to prevent any juices etc. coming into contact with other foods
- If bulk buying, portion out the food as soon as it arrives - we find that Ziploc freezer bags or airtight containers work best
We fully expect your bestie’s bowl to be completely licked clean every day, but don’t forget to wash it yourself daily, just to be sure!
In these uncertain times, common sense and traditional knowledge and food safety standards still apply. Follow the guidelines above and food borne illness is not something you need to worry about.
Rather than let naysayers and senationalists take over our collective sanity, let's keep working together to support each other (two and four legged alike) as we move through the next weeks and months!