The study, conducted in the US, found most people do not know the official guidelines for safely handling their pet’s food, as set by the Food and Drug Administration in the US. The guidelines include advice for pet owners on how meals should be stored and served, how to clean and maintain food bowls, and how to report problems with food and treats.
The study found that these guidelines were largely overlooked, putting pet owners at risk of falling ill or their pet getting sick.
The authors of the study wrote: “Exposure to contaminated dog food can have implications for canine and human health.
“For example, there have been multiple outbreaks of both humans and dogs becoming ill after exposure to dog food contaminated with pathogenic bacteria.
“These risks may be amplified in households with children and/or immunocompromised individuals, which were over a third of respondents’ households.
“The preponderance of pet food recalls has heightened the awareness of the risk of illness.”
However, the researchers noted it isn’t all the pet owners’ fault, adding that Government agencies need to prioritise publicising their tips.
The team from North Carolina State University writes: “Pet feeding involves interplay between the pet, the owner, and the food.
“This interaction creates the opportunity for mutual exchange of microbial contaminants from food or water, dishes, and the food storage or preparation environment, which can cause health consequences for both humans and pets.”