Food safety when feeding your dog raw

Honestly, handling the raw food products you feed your dog simply requires the same common sense you apply to the meat you prepare for your own use. Your dog will happily do the rest. In writing this article, I discovered so much fascinating information about dogs and their digestion and food safety I have to share!

Dog vs Human Digestion

Dogs are not as sensitive to bacterias as humans because unlike us, dogs have a shorter digestive tracts. Dogs do most of their digesting (70%) in the stomach, and the rest (30%) in the intestines. Humans are very close to the opposite with 10% of digestion occurring in the mouth, 20% in the stomach, and 70% in the intestines. If you are interested in finding out more about how a dog’s digestive system looks like and how it works, there is a very good blog post over at Dog Nutrition

Dogs also have stomach acids that are at a PH of 1 to 2 and humans are at a level of 5, which is much closer to neutral PH (so not very efficient for quick digestion compared to dogs).

High-Pressure Processing for Poultry

One of the biggest culprits for making humans sick, is poultry that has been improperly handled or cooked. Our biggest raw dog food seller, Primal brand, uses High-Pressure Processing (HPP) with all of its poultry products. High-Pressure Processing is a unique, non-thermal process that kills pathogenic bacteria by using high-pressure, water-based technology that unlike heat methods like pasteurization, does not sacrifice nutrients.

High-Pressure Processing is a USDA-approved, 100% natural process, and is allowed for use on organic and natural products. Think of it as a deep sea cleaning process. The amount of pressure the packaged poultry is subjected to is so high, it is very close to the same pressure level deep sea explorers found in the deepest water on Earth — the Mariana Trench near the South Pacific island of Guam, which has been recorded at 10,994 meters (36,070 feet) below sea level! That will pretty much kill anything nasty…

So how do you handle your dog’s raw food safely?

Our raw fresh foods are purchased frozen, and usually in bulk bags or whole chubs. Portion the food, wrapping each day’s portion individually. You can keep enough raw food in the refrigerator to last 3 to 5 days. Re-freeze any remaining food portions.


The least expensive because they are the least processed, chubs require you to do the work. It takes less than 15 minutes from the time the chubs are thawed enough to cut through for my husband and I to cut and wrap the portions, and clean up. It’s well worth the effort for the cost savings!

  1. Chub rolls thaw enough to cut them into individual portions after you cover them with cold water for 10 to 15 minutes. Use a very sharp, serrated knife (even a fine saw works well) and slice into patties. Hint: Protect your hands from the cold by using silicone gloves. Place individual portions into plastic bags, or use parchment between slices. Put the individual portions into a large plastic bag and re-freeze.
  2. Rinse your hands so they don’t get sticky as you handle each individual bag.
  3. When you are done, wipe down the counters with hot, soapy water, then spray with vinegar if you like. I personally don’t recommend using bleach or other harmful chemicals.
  4. Wash all your utensils and cutting boards in hot soapy water.
  5. Hang the dishcloth and towels to dry, then launder.

Serving raw patties, meaty bones and recreational bones

Remember, dogs are not as sensitive as humans, so what you are doing is more for you and your family. Keep young children away from your dog’s eating area, and clean it regularly. When my baby is born and old enough to crawl, I will simply section off the dog’s feeding area and then wash the floor.

  • Keep no more than 5 days of food in the fridge at one time.
  • Serve the food in a glass or metal food dish, and wash it regularly. Or wash your top rack dishwasher-safe plastic bowl every day.
  • When serving meaty bones or recreational bones, most dogs like a carpet to lie on. Keep an old rug or blanket handy, then remove it when your dog is done eating. Wash it regularly.
  • If you dog eats on bare floor, simply wash the floor each time. Or, in warmer weather, your dog can eat outside.

I personally believe that avoiding bacteria and germs at all cost does not help us to build up the resistance we need stay healthy. Like I said, these are simply common sense suggestions. How far you go depends on your preferences.