What precautions should I take when handling raw pet food? - The Raw Dog Food Co

What Precautions Should I Take When Handling and Storing Raw Dog Food?

Dog holding Dinner Bowl in Kitchen


As a responsible dog owner, you want the best for your four-legged companion, including their diet. Raw dog food, often referred to as a "raw diet" or "BARF diet" (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), has gained popularity among pet owners seeking to provide a more natural and nutritious option for their pets. However, handling and storing raw dog food requires special care to prevent contamination and ensure your dog's well-being. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the essential precautions you should take when handling and storing raw dog food.

What Precautions Should I Take When Handling and Storing Raw Dog Food?

Raw pet food can provide a range of health benefits for your canine friend, such as improved coat quality, dental health, and digestion. However, it also comes with a risk of bacterial contamination that can pose health hazards for both dogs and humans. To ensure the safety of your pet and your household, follow these crucial precautions:

1. Maintain Clean Surfaces and Utensils:

When handling raw pet food, cleanliness is paramount. Use separate cutting boards, utensils, and bowls designated exclusively for raw dog food preparation. This prevents cross-contamination with human food and reduces the risk of harmful bacteria transfer.

2. Practice Proper Hygiene:

Before and after handling raw pet food, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This helps prevent the spread of potential pathogens to other surfaces and minimizes the risk of infections.

3. Store Raw Food Separately:

Raw pet food should be stored separately from human food items in your refrigerator or freezer. This prevents any potential leakage or contact between raw meat and food meant for human consumption.

4. Monitor Temperature:

Maintain proper storage temperatures to inhibit bacterial growth. Store raw pet food in a refrigerator set at 40°F (4.4°C) or lower, and in the freezer at 0°F (-18°C) or lower. Always use a thermometer to ensure accuracy.

5. Use Airtight Containers:

Store raw pet food in airtight containers to prevent odors and potential contamination. Glass or plastic containers with secure lids are ideal for both refrigeration and freezing.

6. Thaw Safely:

When thawing frozen raw pet food, do so in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature. This gradual thawing reduces bacterial growth and maintains the food's integrity.

7. Avoid Overbuying:

Purchase raw pet food in quantities that your pet can consume within a reasonable timeframe. This prevents excess food from sitting in storage for extended periods, reducing the risk of spoilage.

8. Regularly Clean Feeding Bowls:

After each meal, clean your pets feeding bowls with hot, soapy water. Bacteria can accumulate if bowls aren't properly cleaned, potentially leading to health issues.

9. Rotate Food Varieties:

To provide a well-balanced diet, rotate between different protein sources and include vegetables and supplements as recommended by your veterinarian. This minimizes the risk of nutrient imbalances and allergies.


Can I prepare raw dog food in advance?

Yes, you can prepare raw pet food in advance and store it in appropriate portions in the freezer. Thaw only the amount you'll need for each meal to maintain freshness.

Can I mix raw dog food with kibble?

It's generally not recommended to mix raw pet food with kibble in the same meal. Different digestion rates and potential interactions may lead to digestive discomfort.

How often should I clean my pets food bowls?

You should clean your pets food bowls after each meal to prevent bacterial growth. Use hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly.

Are there any risks associated with a raw pet food diet?

Raw pet food diets have both benefits and risks. While they can provide nutritional advantages, the risk of bacterial contamination is a concern, so always practice good hygiene standards.


Handling and storing raw pet food requires careful attention to hygiene, temperature, and proper storage techniques. By following these essential precautions, you can provide your beloved pet with the benefits of a raw diet while minimizing the risk of health hazards. Remember, practicing good hygiene practices is key to ensuring your pets health and well-being.

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