Pets: Why can raw food harm them?

BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) is a new trend that recommends that dogs eat a diet based mainly on raw foods, such as meat, organ meats and bones that have not been cooked. Depending on the final composition, in general, foods are usually higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates, although it will depend on the type of raw piece that is included in the pet’s dish.

According to World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), There is no evidence that raw meat-based diets provide health benefits compared to balanced homemade or commercial cooked diets. On the contrary, different studies show that this type of feeding can be a risk to the animal’s health.

Raw meat can harbor many bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Yersinia, Campylobacter spp, Listeria monocytogenes and Mycobacterium bovis. An infection can affect both animals and humans, in fact, it can be very serious and even fatal for dogs. The spread of these pathogenic bacteria can be carried out from the cut of meat itself or from pet feces.

Parasites have also been found in raw foods, some, such as Toxoplasma, They can infect humans. This is something that should be especially taken into account in pregnant women and people with low immunity, since they are at greater risk of contagion. However, many proponents of the BARF diet, who often appear on various social networks, argue that raw meat is safe.


The influencers who propose the BARF diet claim that raw meats have undergone prior health controls and are also frozen before consumption. But, according to specialists, this statement is not correct in terms of food safety. The Freezing does not kill the bacteria and some pieces sold for human consumption may be infected.

Scientific reviews focus on several critical points of the diet. Regarding offering bones to pets, this could lead to broken teeth, intestinal obstruction, and constipation. Nor have any benefits been found from feeding bones or in the reduction of bacterial plaque or tooth loss. Symptoms such as gastrointestinal problems or diarrhea may even appear. Finally, for the European Pet Food Federation (FEADIAF), It is important to avoid this type of diet in domestic animals.

by RN

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