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Cleaning Procedures and Salmonella Regarding Raw Diets

You may find this surprising, but I don’t like handling raw meat, eating meat, or smelling thawed meat. So I make sure to clean every surface during and after prepping my dogs raw meals.

Not cleaning the surfaces raw meat has touched can be potentially harmful to you (the human) because of cross-contamination. This is not something to be overly worried about or prevent you from feeding your dog or cat raw, but it's something to be mindful of. “Salmonella may be found in the intestinal tracts of livestock, poultry, dogs, cats, and other warm-blooded animals. Salmonella must be eaten to cause illness. It cannot enter the body through the skin or cut. Cross-contamination can occur if raw meat or it's juices contact cooked food or foods that will be eaten raw, such as salad” (USDA). Some pet owners don't feed their pets raw simply due to their fear of salmonella and other food-born illnesses. This is one reason why some veterinarians are against raw feeding. However, harmful bacteria is more of a concern for the OWNERS handling the food, than the PETS that are actually eating it. This is why cleaning up after prepping raw is important, so you can avoid contamination and the potential for getting sick. We are not the same as dogs and we don’t have the same digestive system, saliva, or immune system. Therefore, a dog does not respond the same way to these food-born pathogens as a human does.

To reiterate, salmonella may only be found in the animal's intestines and therefore is not prevalent in other body parts that may be fed to your dog or cat. Salmonella food poisoning (Salmonellosis) can only cause illness if it's on food that you ate (ingested) and not by getting it in a cut, breathing it in, touching it, or any other way.

This is what I use when cleaning:

🌫 A roll of freezer paper to cover the counter

🥩A cutting board meant only for raw meat

🔪A cleaver

🧤Disposable gloves

🗞Paper towels

🚿Cleaning spray

👩🏼‍🍳An apron so raw meat doesn’t get on my clothes

✨ A scrubbing brush meant only for raw meat

I make sure the trash can is near me, empty, and has a new liner. This way I only have to fill the trash up and take it out once. I like to have the trash can near me to avoid anything falling on the floor.

After I have washed the tools used in the sink, I put these items in the dish washer to be extra sanitary. Then I scrub the sink down, spray the countertops and floors with disinfectant spray, and rinse off the surfaces with water and a paper towel. I try to minimize the amount of tools and bowls if I can because this makes fewer items I have to clean and sanitize. The entire process of cleaning up after prepping only takes 10-15 minutes.

Some of my dogs are trained and hand fed their raw meals, so we make sure that their meals are half thawed/half frozen while training in the house. This way if something falls on the floor, it doesn’t drip or make a huge mess. We don’t train with raw on carpets, only over tile or outside. However, I still spray and mop up the area after anyway.

✅ Places to feed raw:

  • Outside

  • On a towel that you can wash

  • Hard surfaces that can’t soak anything up

❌ Places to avoid feeding raw:

  • Carpet

  • A dog’s or cat’s bed

  • Surfaces that aren’t easy to clean or wash

  • Letting the dog or cat carry the raw food all over the house

I want to note that I have never been sick due to prepping my dog's raw food and have never encountered someone who became ill because of it either. Prepping your pet's raw food is the exact same process as if your family were prepping raw meat for hamburgers, making eggs, or cooking chicken. Just be mindful and clean up after yourself.


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