Yesterday, I was reading Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog by Wendy Volhard. This book is geared toward providing the scientific information in why your pet needs certain nutrients and how to get them as well as different type of holistic services available for your pet, but this book makes it easy to understand for those without a medical background. All of the information in this book is centered around Wendy Volhard’s Natural Diet. The Natural Diet was first developed in 1972 and was the first dehydrated dog food on the market.
While I think this is a good book that everyone considering feeding raw dog food should read, there are definitely some things I don’t agree with. I don’t agree with some aspects of her diet, like including a grain or cereal mix. I also don’t agree with adding brewer’s yeast to any diet for dogs, but I will write a post later addressing those topics.
But, when I came to a page about making yourself feel safer giving your dog raw meat that may possibly have bacteria… I almost screamed.
There are some pages in Chapter 3 (I’m not sure which exact pages, since I was reading it on my Kindle) that say, “Hazel Parcell, Ph.D., D.C., N.D., developed a system of cleansing food of pesticides, fungi, parasites, bacteria and heavy metals using bleach. Add a small amount of Clorox to a large amount of water, and soak raw foods in this mixture. The bleach acts like a magnet to toxins and pulls them out of the produce.” It then goes on to give a mixture amount (1/2 teaspoon of Clorox to 1 gallon of water) and for how long to soak the vegetables and meat.
…Have you picked your jaw up off the floor yet? Because I read this at about 8PM last night. It’s 9:30AM, and my jaw is still on the floor.
I know this is a good informational book, and I will finish reading it (maybe once I can pick my jaw back up), but I just cannot believe I read that. I HATE bleach. I have never once purchased bleach in my life. When we use it at work, there is a strict protocol for diluting it and cleaning with it. We also only use it when there are known cases of transmittable diseases (like parvo or FIV). Luckily our regular cleaner that doesn’t stink to high heaven is much safer yet almost nearly as strong in killing disease.
I’ve seen bleach eat through countertops at work. I freak out when I get some on my skin. I cannot even fathom soaking meats or vegetables that my dog will eat in even a drop of it.
So, let’s talk about the safety of raw dog food that does NOT include using bleach.
One of the reason I love Stella & Chewy’s is because they use an independent lab to test for E.Coli and Salmonella before shipping the product off to be sold and fed to your pet (Primal also does this). That alone makes me feel safe and reassures me.
Here are some other safety guidelines for making sure your raw dog food is safe:
- Keep your raw food frozen until it’s ready to use
- Defrost in the fridge (3 days prior to feeding… at the most)
- Only leave the raw dog food down for about 30 minutes for your pet. If he doesn’t finish it, stick it back in the fridge for later use or throw it away
- Always feed raw dog food in a stainless steel bowl. NEVER use plastic.
- Wash all surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water
- I soak all of the stainless steel bowls in soapy water (I use Mrs. Meyers dish soap) for at least 20 minutes after Buster is done eating. I wipe dry and then leave it to finish air drying. I sanitize all of the stainless steel bowls a few times a week in the dishwasher.
- Be especially careful in sanitizing if there are immunocompromised humans in the household
Remember, healthy dogs and cats generally already shed salmonella; it’s part of their natural GI flora. (Also, think about how many kibble recalls you’ve seen because of salmomnella.) Dogs also have a shorter digestive tract and more acid in their stomach, which is the perfect genetic makeup for digesting raw dog food.
So, use common sense in cleaning up after you handle the raw dog food, and you and your pet will be fine! Your dog will thank you for the delicious better-for-him food 🙂