Bacteria: The RAW Truth

The presence of bacteria in raw meat diets has been a controversial issue for many years and as with many other fears, it usually derives from a lack of knowledge on the subject.

Stephanie Minturn · June 12, 2018

Bacteria: The RAW Truth 

By Stephanie Minturn 

Most people can easily see the incredible benefits of a raw diet for their pets. They often hear about it through the grapevine from friends and read about it online. More and more raw-fed dogs are thriving with healthy digestive systems and a significant decrease in the incidence of complications such as allergies, pancreatitis, arthritis, and hot spots. Their coats are soft and shiny, their teeth are strong and they have as much energy as a young pup, even as seniors! 

You may be asking yourself, if raw is so great then why isn't everyone feeding it? What are they afraid of? The answer is the fear of harmful bacteria. The presence of bacteria in raw meat diets has been a controversial issue for many years and as with many other fears, it usually derives from a lack of knowledge on the subject. 
Don't be afraid of bacteria in raw meat.
Humans have been taught about the dangers of harmful bacteria in raw meat for many decades. The production and popularity of kibble and dog biscuits in the 1930's made raw feeding a thing of the past; until the effects of kibble began to take a toll. Vets were bombarded with visits from grain-fed dogs. Autoimmune disease, cancer, kidney, pancreatic and liver disease, digestive disorders, skin conditions and allergies were becoming more prevalent. Eventually, people began to catch on and cycled back to a natural approach. Mimicking a natural, wild diet, raw diets were recognized for their undeniable and unmatchable benefits but the fear of harmful bacteria remained. By understanding the biology of the canine's body, specifically the digestive tract, it is easy to comprehend why dogs can tolerate a raw diet without complication. 

Dogs are very well equipped to handle bacteria. Let's start at the beginning of the digestive tract, the mouth. The enzyme, lysozyme is present is a dog's saliva and is designed to destroy harmful bacteria before going any further in the digestive tract. The tract is much shorter than that of a human, so if the bacteria gets through the lysis in the saliva, it doesn't have time to colonize in the body before being expelled as waste. The increased acidity level in a canine's gut, is another defense, also making it difficult for bacteria to colonize. This being said, kibble sits in the digestive tract much longer as the body struggles to digest and absorb the sugar and starch. This is to blame for the inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and other degenerative problems. In reality, delaying the digestive process and promoting a favorable environment for bacteria to grow, places kibble consumers at a higher risk of bacterial complications than raw fed dogs. 

Another interesting fact that most people are unaware is that dogs are actually carriers of salmonella. 36% of healthy dogs, whether kibble or raw fed, harbor salmonella bacteria as a part of their normal flora and shed the organism through saliva and feces. This is why it is very important to practice good hygiene after handling pet feces regardless of the food they consume. 

These factors should ease any concerns you have if you are thinking of switching to raw. You understand now that your dog isn't just safely eating a raw diet but he is eating the very bestdiet! The diet that nature intended; but what about exposure to humans? Another cause for concern is bringing the raw diet into the household. Raw meat dog food diets should be handled the same way you would handle your own meat when cooking your family's dinner. Washing your hands and disinfecting the area where the food is prepared is important, as well as washing your dog's dish upon completing the meal. There has not been a single documented case of human salmonella arising from raw fed pets. The majority of human salmonella cases are actually acquired through the handling or ingestion of dry dog foods and treats rather than raw food. Commercially produced dry food has been pulled off the shelves a number of times for the presence of bacteria and mold, causing lists of health problems for pets and costing pet owners thousands of dollars in Vet bills. 

Dog's will benefit from bacteria in raw meat.

Sure, the fear of bacterial contamination is a serious concern and completely understandable but most people do not stop eating chicken because of the salmonella risk; they simply wash their hands and the area and continue on. It's simple to feed your dog the most natural and best diet on earth, especially when choosing BARF World. At BARF World, the guesswork is taken out of feeding. You can be assured that your dog is receiving a complete and balanced raw diet and it's delivered frozen, right to your front door. If you would like to learn more about BARF World's raw diets and safety, please visit us at or call our Raw Food Specialists at 1-866-282-2273. They are standing by to answer any questions you may have. Join the thousands of pet owners who have switched to raw and watch your dog make the transformation! 


Stephanie Minturn

Stephanie Minturn

Stephanie, is a Registered Nurse and proud mother, of 4 whom has always loved animals and the purity and beauty they bring into the world. She enjoys researching current trends and evidence based practice in the pet industry and relating it to the healthcare industry for humans. She has passion in discovering new found knowledge with other pet owners like herself.


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What is BARF?

"BARF®" is our acronym that means Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. It is a complete and carefully balanced blend of raw meat, fruits, vegetables and bone. Our formula mimics what nature has designed our pet's to thrive on in the wild. The result is a pet free of allergies, digestive problems, and full of life!