AAHA Denounces Raw Food Diets for Cats and Dogs

American Animal Hospital Association joins AVMA in saying raw pet diets are unsafe.

American Animal Hospital Association joins AVMA in saying raw pet diets are unsafe.

The American Animal Hospital Association has joined the American Veterinary Medical Association in taking a stand against raw food diets for cats and dogs.

AAHA published a position statement on the AAHA website that reported the association “does not advocate or endorse feeding pets any raw or dehydrated nonsterilized foods, including treats that are of animal origin.” The association based its decision on “overwhelming scientific evidence” and cited 50 sources.

“Homemade raw food diets are unsafe because retail meats for human consumption can be contaminated with pathogens,” AAHA reported. “Studies that have been done on both commercially available and homemade raw protein diets have found a high percentage (30-50%) of them contaminated with pathogenic organisms, and up to 30% of the dogs fed such diets may shed pathogenic organisms in their stool.”

Both the AVMA statement on raw dog and cat food, issued in August and the AAHA statement tiptoed around the issue of whether commercially prepared raw diets are safe.

In its statement, the AVMA acknowledged that “newer technologies and other methods such as irradiation are constantly being developed and implemented” but did not state whether those technologies are adequate to eliminate pathogens in raw dog and cat food.

The AAHA statement denounced “nonsterilized” raw foods for pets but did not say what constitutes sterilization. Otherwise, AAHA did not mention commercial diets other than in its cited sources.

An AAHA spokesman could not be reached for further comment.

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