At KMC we've had many customers ask us about Raw Diet.  Personally we do not endorse this as there are just too many risks involved with it.  Although commercial dog food can be/does get contaminated with salmonella it is more common in raw food.

Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, writes on veterinarypartner.com that adult dogs fed a raw food diet are more at risk of becoming infected.

It has, unfortunately, become popular to feed raw foods to pets with the idea that a raw food diet more closely approximates the natural diet that the feline or canine body evolved to consume, and thus such a diet should be healthier than commercially prepared foods,” she writes. “In fact, the cooking of food is central to removing parasites, bacteria, and bacterial toxins from food. A recent study evaluating raw food diets found that 80 percent of food samples contained Salmonella bacteria and that 30 percent of the dogs in the study were shedding Salmonella bacteria in their stool.”

Dogs in stressful environments, such as crowded shelters with poor sanitation, are also more at risk to become infected, according to petside.com.

Can I Get Salmonella from My Dog?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Salmonella infections are “zoonotic,” meaning they can spread between animals and people. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Salmonella is transmitted through your dog’s stools or saliva.

Salmonella can be shed in your dog’s stool for 4 to 6 weeks after he is infected. If your dog is diagnosed with Salmonella, the CDC recommends taking the following precautions to prevent the spread of infection:

Use a plastic bag to pick up your dog’s stools, tightly seal it and dispose of it in a sealed trash can.

Always wash your hands right after handling pet feces or cleaning up after pets.

Use a mild bleach solution to clean areas that may be contaminated.

A study released earlier this month found that people, especially toddlers under the age of 3, can become infected by handling contaminated dog food. For that reason it is important to keep young children away from dog food and treats, as well as your pet’s feeding areas. You should also routinely clean and disinfect your pet food and water bowls, preferably not in the kitchen sink.

Further information about how Salmonella infections affect people can be found at WebMD.com.

Salmonellosis is an infection caused by bacteria from the genus Salmonella. The infection is usually confined to the intestinal tract resulting in diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping.

Salmonella in dogs can spread from the intestines to the blood and then to other organs, leading to severe illness. Although, disease from Salmonella spp is not common in dogs or cats, the disease can be transmitted to humans through contact with contaminated food and fecal material.

Common name: Food poisoning Scientific name: Salmonellosis

What are the Symptoms of Salmonella in Dogs?

Salmonellosis is an infection caused by bacteria from Salmonella, according to petside.com. The infection usually stays in your dog’s intestinal tract and can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping. It can spread from the damaged intestines to the lymph nodes and then onto other organs, leading to severe illness.

The majority of adult dogs that have been infected with Salmonella have what is referred to as a “subclinical carrier state,” according to the University of Wisconsin – School of Veterinary Medicine. This means that although they are infected, they show no clinical symptoms.

In fact, studies of sled dogs, Greyhounds and other working dogs found Salmonella in up to 63 percent of their stool samples – and most dogs showed no signs of illness, according to petside.com. Since Salmonellosis rarely occurs in dogs, it is believed they may have a natural immunity to it.

If a dog does show signs of being infected, the CDC reports that the most common symptom is diarrhea, which may contain blood or mucous.

These are other symptoms to look for, according to petMD.com:
Weight loss
Skin disease
Abnormally fast heart rate
Swollen lymph nodes
Abnormal vaginal discharge



Salmonella in Dogs Signalment All dogs are susceptible to Salmonella infection, but the young and elderly are more likely to develop systemic infection. Dogs under stressful conditions (crowding, poor nutrition, and poor sanitation) may be more likely to become infected.

Salmonella in Dogs Incidence/prevalence In a single study conducted in north-central Colorado, 71 dogs with acute diarrhea were tested to see if the cause could be identified. In those with confirmed cause(s) for diarrhea, 2.3% were infected with a Salmonella species. Studies in working dogs such as sled dogs and racing greyhounds found incidence of Salmonella shed in 11-63% of fecal samples, with most dogs showing no signs of illness.

Salmonella in Dogs Geographic distribution Salmonella infections occur world wide.

Salmonella in Dogs Clinical signs (primarymost to least frequent, scientific term, synonyms) Diarrhea (+/- blood), abdominal cramping, fever.

Salmonella in Dogs Clinical signs (secondary most to least frequent, scientific term, synonyms) Anorexia or inappetence (poor appetite), dehydration (more fluids lost than taken in by drinking water).

Salmonella in Dogs Cause (scientific, common term) Many species of Salmonella, including S. enteriditis, can cause infections.

Organ system affected (most to least affected) Intestinal tract, blood, other organs (e.g. liver).

Diagnostic tests Fecal (or stool) culture, to isolate the bacteria. Specialized testing on positive cultures, to get the type. Examination for intestinal parasites that can cause similar signs.

Differential Diagnosis Parasites (intestinal worms), other bacterial infections (e.g. Clostridium), viral infections (e.g. parvovirus), Giardia or coccidian (one-celled parasites), food allergies.


Salmonellosis is a common bacterial infection of both mammals and reptiles. Though the most common site of infection is the intestinal tract, the bacteria often colonizes the lymph nodes that drain the intestines, so bacteria can be shed in the stools for months after the initial signs have resolved. Since dogs will eat carrion (dead animals) and fecal material of other dogs, they are frequently infected, whether they show signs or not.

Most common signs of Salmonella in Dogs are diarrhea that may contain mucous and blood, fever, lack of appetite and abdominal cramping. Infections can spread from the intestinal tract to the lymph nodes and then to other organs, resulting a more severe illness or even death.

Sources of Salmonella include stools from other dogs that are currently shedding the bacteria, contaminated natural pet treats (pig ears, rawhide chews) and raw pet food. In some cases meat not fit for human use is collected, ground, and frozen for later use. Mixing meat from a number of sources increases the risk for contamination to spread, and thawing at room temperature allows for additional growth of bacteria before feeding.

Dogs can transmit Salmonella to humans, especially to children or to anyone with a compromised immune system. Lack of hand washing after cleaning up stools, after pet care, before handling food, or before eating are the primary means of transmitting the bacteria to people.


Salmonella in Dogs Home Care At home care of diarrhea includes encouraging drinking of water, and feeding bland and easily digested food. If other signs develop, such as lethargy or weakness, if a dog starts to vomit, if the skin seems to be getting less flexible, or if the diarrhea lasts over 24 hours, smells very bad, or contains mucous and/or blood, it is time to seek veterinary care. Extra care should be taken in cleaning up stools and disinfecting areas exposed to infected feces to prevent transmission to other pets or to humans.

Salmonella in Dogs Professional Care Veterinarians can test for specific causes of diarrhea as well as for secondary problems such as dehydration. If a bacterial infection like salmonellosis is found, appropriate antibiotics are beneficial. Intravenous (IV) fluids replenish body fluids and other supportive care ton make the pet more comfortable. Special diets that are easily absorbed can help as well.

Salmonella in Dogs Action Salmonellosis generally responds to appropriate antibiotics and other supportive care. Veterinarians can assist in identifying the source of the infection. Common sources include chewing on dead animals, feeding raw or improperly processed meats, and contaminated dog treats/food made from animal tissue.

Salmonella in Dogs Outcome With prompt and appropriate treatment, dogs are likely to have a full resolution of their clinical signs. Regardless of treatment, a large percentage of dogs retain bacteria in the lymph nodes near the intestines and can shed bacteria for many weeks to months. With proper hygiene practices and environmental care the spread of the infection to other animals, and especially humans, can be prevented.

Cleanliness is next to healthiness when it comes to preventing Salmonella infections. Take extra care to clean up your dog’s stools, and to clean and disinfect his feeding area.

You can regularly check the FDA website for recent pet food recalls, market withdrawals and safety alerts. You can also sign up to receive updates via email.

To boost your dog’s immune system and prevent him from getting Salmonellosis and other infections, you can supplement his diet with reishi, which offers immunity support for aging dogs as well as dogs with weak immune systems.


References/Additional Readings Cantor GH., et.al. Salmonella shedding in racing sled dogs. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 1997; 9:447, 448.

Chenagappa, MM, et al. Prevalence of Salmonella in raw meat used in diets of racing greyhounds Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 1993; 5:372-377.

Finley, R et al. Human Health Implications of Salmonella-Contaminated Natural Pet Treats and Raw Pet Food. Food Safety CID 2006; 42: 686-691.

Hackett, T et al. Prevalence of Enteric Pathogens in Dogs of North-Central Colorado. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 2003; 39:52-56.

Hoskins, JD. Bacterial Infections. In: Morgan, RV, ed. Handbook of Small Animal Practice, 3rd Ed. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1997; 1148-1149.

Morse, EV et al. Canine Salmonellosis: A Review and Report of Dog to Child Transmission of Salmonella enteritidis. American Journal of Public Health 1976; 66:82-84.

Author Mary M Schell DVM, DABT, DABT

Editor Sharon Gwaltney-Brant DVM, PhD, DABVT, DABT


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