Raw Protein Diet
AAHA does not advocate or endorse feeding pets any raw or dehydrated nonsterilized foods, including treats that are of animal origin.113 Feeding a raw diet increases the risk of bacterial and protozoal pathogen transmission to the pets consuming the diet as well as to people and other animals. Several studies have documented the presence of pathogens in raw diets for pets and in the feces of dogs and cats eating the raw diets.114,115 Importantly, dogs and cats can shed Salmonella without exhibiting any clinical signs of disease. 116, 117
Some pet food companies use high-pressure processing (HPP) to reduce bacterial numbers in their products. The efficacy of HPP to reduce bacterial numbers depends on several factors, including bacterial species, number of HPP cycles performed, pH, pressure achieved, processing time, and temperature.118 A pet food label claim of HPP does not equate to “sterile” food.