Warning issued to dog owners over a common type of food that could cause E.coli in your beloved pet

Pet owners have been warned to feed their dogs raw meat after a study found that puppies eating such foods showed greater signs of developing E.coli.

Research from the University of Bristol found that feeding raw meat to dogs led to an increased presence of an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria in their feces.

The study, which was conducted on 600 healthy dogs, concluded that owners should consider switching to a raw food-free diet for their beloved puppies.

Alternatively, it suggested that owners should cook meat before feeding it to their dogs, or buy the best possible quality meat if they wanted to feed it to their puppies in raw form.

They also noted that good hand hygiene significantly reduces the immediate risk of ingesting E. coli. The report’s authors called on the raw dog food industry to source meat from farms with stricter antibiotic policies.

E. coli, which can cause food poisoning, is the most common cause of urinary tract and bloodstream infections in Britain, which can be life-threatening.

A cute beagle puppy eating from a bowl (stock image)

A particularly concerning finding in the study was that the E.coli strain detected appeared resistant to ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic used to treat a range of bacterial infections in humans and animals.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers these antibiotics critical and a high priority.

The findings say: ‘This study confirms that uncooked meat carries multiple drug-resistant E.Coli, typically including resistance to critically important antibiotics important to human health.’

Matthew Avison, professor of molecular bacteriology at CMM, who led the research, explained: ‘Raw meat – whether intended for human consumption after cooking or sold as raw dog food – is likely to be contaminated with antibiotic-resistant E. coli.

‘Cooking kills the bacteria and good hand hygiene reduces the direct risk of these bacteria being swallowed and entering the intestines.’

Professor Avison concluded: ‘As part of our response to the emerging crisis of antibiotic resistance, companies joining the raw dog food industry should be further encouraged to source meat from farms with appropriate antibiotic use policies, and to test meat for resistant bacteria before sale.

‘Stricter limits should be placed on the number of bacteria allowed in meat sold to be eaten uncooked than in meat sold to be cooked before eating.’

A stock photo of the E.coli bacteria found in the meat examined by the University of Bristol

A stock photo of the E.coli bacteria found in the meat examined by the University of Bristol

Dr. Jordan Sealey, research fellow at the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM), who conducted the study, said: ‘Our aim was not to focus on raw dog food, but to investigate what can cause a dog to excrete more urine . resistant E. coli in the feces.

‘Our study found a very strong link between shedding ciprofloxacin-resistant E. coli and feeding dogs raw food.’

He added: ‘Individual measures to reduce the risk of resistant bacteria being shed by dogs include switching to a non-raw diet or buying good quality raw meat that can be cooked, and then cooking it .

‘Most raw food sold for dog consumption is not of a quality that can be cooked and can pose a serious health hazard to dogs when cooked.

‘Choosing to feed dog meat from animals bred on farms in Britain or other countries with very low agricultural use of crucially important antibiotics could also reduce the risk of them eating resistant bacteria for dinner .’