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Why You Shouldn't Feed Your Dog Raw Meat If You Have Young Kids

Dogs on a raw meat diet can potentially pass on dangerous bacteria -- including salmonella and E. coli -- to their owners.

Raw meat diets, in case you weren't aware, are all the rage these days and typically contain ingredients like raw muscle meat, whole or ground bones, raw eggs and uncooked livers and kidney.

Swedish researchers looked at samples from 60 packs of raw meat products in 2017 made by 10 manufacturers in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany and England.

According to the study published in Vet Record, all samples contained the potentially harmful Enterobacteriaceae family of bacteria -- and more than half had levels that exceeded the European Union maximum threshold.

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Gastro-causing salmonella was found in seven percent of samples while E. coli -- which is normally harmless but can result in food poisoning --was found in one-third of the samples.

Both bacteria can be fatal in the elderly, infants and immunosuppressed people.

The scientists determined that one of the easiest ways dogs can pass on this bacteria is by giving their humans a big sloppy kiss.

"A great opportunity for dogs to transfer potential pathogenic and antimicrobial-resistant bacteria to humans is by 'kissing' people in the face immediately after they have eaten," the researchers wrote.

Veterinarian and Pooches At Play star Dr Melissa Meehan gets a lot of 'kisses' from dogs in her line of work -- but she's not too worried about it.

"It's fine, it's not a big deal -- as long as they're not on a raw meat diet," she told 10 daily.

The raw end of the stick

Dr Meehan told 10 daily that she's "never been a massive fan of the raw meat diet." Why? Well, just like us, dogs are omnivores and our diets are pretty similar. We don't tend to eat much raw meat -- so why should they?

The FDA and the Center for Disease Control are also not keen on it and it doesn't provide pooches with a well-balanced diet either.

A raw meat-only diet would mean that dogs miss out on their all-important veggies -- "they'd probably be okay but not very healthy," Dr Meehan explained.

Cats, on the other hand, could survive on raw meat alone she explained.

Instead of raw meat, Dr Meehan recommends dogs stick to premium dog foods -- "you really get what you pay for when it comes to dog food," she told 10 daily.

READ MORE: Everything You Know About 'Bad' Dog Breeds Is Wrong

Healthy pups and people

The researchers had a few tips for keeping humans and their pooches healthy. Raw meat should be kept off the menu for dogs living in homes with infants, the elderly or immunocompromised people as they’re more susceptible to infections.

Owners who do choose a raw meat diet should keep it frozen and separate from human food. Thawing should take place at less than 10 degrees centigrade and pet owners should always wash hands and utensils after serving it up.

And try to keep your pooch kisses to a minimum -- the occasional smooch is okay but don't go overboard!

Pooches At Play airs 12.30 Sunday on 10 Bold and 10 play.

Feature image: Getty.