A study presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology shows that feeding dogs raw food may be spreading bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

The study was conducted by researchers in the University of Porto in Portugal. 55 samples of dog food (14 raw, frozen) were tested for enterococcus–a bacteria that causes urinary tract infections, meningitis, blood infections, and others. Enterococci was present in more than 50% of samples. Samples came from different types of dog food: wet, dry, semi-wet, frozen raw, and treats from 25 different brands. 21 brands are exported to different nations, even the raw ones.

The findings are concerning because the bacteria found inherently repels antibiotics and they can cause outbreaks. Improper handling of raw dog food poses a threat–a potential international health crisis. Bacterial and protozoal pathogens can be transmitted to pets consuming the diet, people, and other animals. These pathogens have been found in raw diets, and feces of dogs and cats eating raw diets. Both dogs and cats can also transmit Salmonella without showing any clinical signs of any disease.

The FDA also conducted a study where the results were: compared to other types of pet food tested, raw pet food was more likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria.

Due to the study’s results, CVM (the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine) is concerned about the public health risk of raw pet food diets. In conclusion, the study “identified a potential health risk for the pets eating the raw food, and for the owners handling the product.”

Pet parents who feed their furry friends a raw diet may have higher risks of getting infected with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.