Is Feeding Raw Food Safe For My Pet?

When you look at your pet’s sharp teeth, raw food can seem like a logical answer for their dietary needs — just like wolves, right? But your dog is not a wolf, and what we know from science is that raw food does not offer a demonstrated nutritional advantage over cooked foods. Whether that chicken is cooked or raw, your pet’s body will respond to it the same — however, raw meat is not always perfectly safe.

The fact of the matter is, your pets are no more protected from salmonella and other foodborne illnesses than a baby, a child or even you. Because of this, feeding raw pet foods or BARF (bones and raw foods — biologically inappropriate for your pet), is not supported by any current biological science and not recommended.

Here are a few things well-meaning pet owners often don’t consider when they feed their pets raw foods:

  • Your pet does not have an iron stomach, contrary to myths
  • Pets often lick things — children, furniture and more — which can spread bacteria
  • It’s impossible to measure a dog’s instinctive desire for meat, but when given the choice, research shows pets choose higher fat foods, not higher protein

Research shows us that feeding raw food provides little to no documented benefits over cooked meat — yet comes with significant health risks for you and your family, including your pet. At Hill’s, we believe it’s not worth the risk when other pet food options are available. Beyond that, dogs are omnivores with great flexibility in the types of food they can and should eat for their optimal nutrition.

So why should you choose Hill’s products over raw foods for your pets?

  • They offer your pet the balanced nutrition they need, including carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and more
  • It’s supported by decades of data and research into your pet’s biological make-up and needs
  • It means your pets get the benefit of food produced with stringent testing and safety standards
  1. Weese JS, Rousseau J, Arroyo L. Bacteriological evaluation of commercial canine and feline raw diets. The Canadian Veterinary Journal. 2005;46(6):513-516.
  2. Weese JS, Rousseau J. Survival of Salmonella Copenhagen in food bowls following contamination with experimentally inoculated raw meat: Effects of time, cleaning, and disinfection. The Canadian Veterinary Journal. 2006;47(9):887-889.
  3. Schlesinger DP, Joffe DJ. Raw food diets in companion animals: A critical review. The Canadian Veterinary Journal. 2011;52(1):50-54.