The digestive tracts of dogs and cats are very different than those of humans. The human digestive tract is approximately 25 to 28 feet long with stomach acidity between 1.5 and 2.5. Dogs and cats have a much shorter digestive system at an average of 10 to 13 feet for dogs (shorter for cats) with an acidity of less than 1. Raw food moves through the dog or cat’s system in less than half the time it would through a human’s system, and the high acidity kills most bacteria such as salmonella. Even if the food was contaminated, it likely it would not enter the animal’s bloodstream.
If you eat meat, then you are aware of the precautions to take when handling raw meat. The same precautions apply to raw pet food as to raw meat destined to be cooked for human consumption: wash bowls, utensils and your hands after feeding and handling the meat. Keep the meat frozen until two to four days before feeding, and thaw in the refrigerator. Don’t leave the food down for your pet for more than 30 – 40 minutes, after this time throw any leftovers away. With a bit of common sense, raw food is no more difficult or dangerous to feed than any other pet food.
Some folks like to argue that the wild relatives of dogs and cats have shorter life spans than our companion animals and blame this shortened life on consumption of raw food. While it may be true that wild dogs and cats (or their close relatives) are less long-lived than our pets, it is not due to their diet. Animals living in the wild are at far more risk from predators, competition for food and the harsh elements than they are from eating raw meat. Our companions are living longer lives due to their comfortable living conditions with regular meals provided – no hunting required, and no stress.