Safe Food Handling – Raw Pet Food

Environmental Public Health

It is important to follow safe food handling practices when handling all food, including your pet’s food. While all types of pet food may carry a low risk of containing bacteria such as Salmonella or Listeria monocytogenes, raw meat pet foods carry a much higher risk and can make both you and your pet sick.

Raw pet food (food that contains raw meat) has been linked to cases of human illness. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends against using raw pet food because there is evidence that pet food containing raw meat can make pets and their owners sick. This risk outweighs any benefits. For more information, visit the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association's page on Raw Meat-Based Diets for Pets.

Even if your pet is not showing signs of illness, it could be carrying bacteria, which can be passed on to humans.

Safe practices for handling raw pet food and any raw meat include:

  • Washing your hands after touching the food
  • Keeping raw meat away from other foods
  • Washing and sanitizing pet food bowls, cutting boards, utensils, counters, sinks and other items involved in preparing or serving the food

People should also wash their hands after touching their pet or cleaning up a pet’s waste.

If you have concerns or questions about potential illness, please consult a physician or call Health Link at 811.

More Information

There is evidence that pet food containing raw meat can make pets and their owners sick: