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Why Your Dog Is At Risk for Salmonella Poisoning

beagle dog food

Salmonella poisoning are two words every dog parent dreads hearing. With headline after headline beckoning one dog food recall after another, is it any wonder dog moms and dads are perplexed? Many treats and dog food items have been recalled due to risk of Salmonella. It all starts to become a system overload, especially to someone like myself, who is heavily immersed in the pet industry. So what's a diligent dog mom or dog dad to do about salmonella poisoning and its risks in your life (and that of your dog)? Read on…

The Facts

According to the Center for Disease Control, Salmonellosis is an infection with bacteria called Salmonella. Salmonella germs have been known to cause illness for over 100 years. They were discovered by an American scientist named Salmon, for whom they are named.

When people develop Salmonella, symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps occur 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness

What About Our Pets?

In a dog or a cat, pet parents will see symptoms including  diarrhea, decreased appetite, fever, and excess salivation. Pets also appear very tired. Diarrhea in some animals may have blood or mucus.If Salmonella is suspected in either a human or a pet, it is critical to contact your healthcare professional as soon as possible. For pets, if there is suspicion the pet has Salmonella from its pet food, be sure to inform the veterinarian of this information.

cute dog

How Can Salmonella Be Contracted?

  • Handling raw meats and not your washing hands, surfaces (countertops), dishes, utensils that come into contact with raw meat
  • Eating a commercial food that is contaminated
  • Eating food that is improperly cooked or eating raw food
  • Handling contaminated commercial food
  • Direct contact with infected feces / diarrhea from infected animals
  • Birds, reptiles, amphibians can carry the bacteria and can transfer it to people

Salmonella infection can even be contracted by simply being in contact with an infected pet.

How To Prevent Salmonella Poisoning

Did you know that according to the CDC, every year approximately 42,000 cases are reported in the U.S. but the actual number is about 29 times greater considering mild cases that are not diagnosed or reported. Our friends at Hill's shared some very interesting information with me at the BlogPaws Conference recently in how pet parents can prevent Salmonella from affecting them and their pets.

cute big dogs

How to protect yourself and your pet:

o For commercial pet food, be sure it’s from a well-respected, reputable manufacturer
o Ask about the quality and safety in manufacturing practices
o Ask if foods are routinely tested for Salmonella
o Ask if manufacturing processes ensure that all of its pet food products are safe for feeding
o Ask if meat ingredients such as poultry are sourced from USDA facilities
o What is the company’s protocol for testing their products? Does their website talk about quality and safety?

Cook Cook Cook
o Cook meats thoroughly!
o Your pet’s food should be cooked thoroughly

Wash Wash Wash
o Always wash hands with hot, soapy water, after handling raw meat.
o Always was dishes, utensils, countertops, etc. that come into contact with raw meat with hot, soapy water.

The Bottom Line

  • Salmonellosis is a bacterial disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella.
  • Salmonella contamination can be a danger to both pets and people.
  • Salmonellosis can be transmitted from animals to humans.
  • Symptoms of Salmonella include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  • Salmonellosis is more common in the summer than winter.

Keep your pets safe, know the facts, and always report any new symptoms or changes in health to your dog's veterinarian. Thanks to Hill's for this pawtastic information.



  1. Dr. Laurie Coger says

    Hey Carol,
    I beg to disagree. In over 22 years of practice, and 20 years of feeding my dogs a raw diet, I have never seen a case of salmonella in a dog. The reason is the dog’s digestive tract is designed to handle all sorts of nasty bugs, including Salmonella, that would land a human in the hospital or worse! If it weren’t so, every dog that got into the trash, grazed on deer, bunny or bird droppings, or chewed on dirty sticks would be hospitalized. A lot of the Salmonella hype is perpetuated by the kibble food companies, who are of course interested in keeping their customers. (Witness your Hill’s speaker.) Could a dog be sickened by a mega-load of bacteria in a contaminated food? Possibly -but I’ve never seen it, even in dogs that had eaten foods that were subsequently recalled.

    So what’s my advice to owners? Stick with foods fit for human consumption (hint: you will not find human quality ingredients in kibble). Cook yours, don’t cook your dog’s (assuming average health, no conditions). Follow a species appropriate feeding plan, consulting with a knowledgeable veterinarian, nutritional consultant, or other professional. Use common sense and wash your handles and utensils when handling raw meats. Finally, don’t believe the hype from the pet food industry — research for your self, and be sure to check out TruthAboutPet Follow the work of the consumer advocacy group for independent views and testing of pet foods.

    Thanks for entertaining an opposing view.

    • Carol Bryant says

      I freely admit that I feed my dog Honest Kitchen, which is a raw dehydrated diet. As a fan of yours, Dr. Coger (I have your book on vaccines here on my desk, having recently ordered it from Amazon), I appreciate your input and expertise.

      I also don’t always believe in a raw food diet for all dogs across the board. Several close friends have had dogs that became very ill after eating a raw food diet, and the veterinarian in each case tested them and Salmonella poisoning was the cause.

      I believe this is a case-by-case thing, where not all foods or all diets apply to all dogs. The recent Salmonella recalls of treats and dog foods are enough to convince me to follow the info contained in this post.

      I appreciate your feedback and thank you for it.

  2. Virginia says

    There was a recent outbreak of Salmonella that affected many people from a local restaurant. This is not something to be taken lightly, a lot of the people were really very very sick. As far as commercial pet food is concerned, read up on it and get knowledge, don’t be fooled by fancy packaging or ‘buzz words’, like natural on the package. Do your homework.

  3. Dawn says

    Thanks for all the great information! It can be deadly so we always wash with soap and hot water and are careful about fulling cooking our food. I remember when I was young that we had some dogs get salmonella poisoning. They got it when we went camping and they ate a dead fish that some fisherman left behind. So I grew up thinking that salmonella was caused by eating raw salmon!

  4. TheDogMaOnline says

    Thanks to Dr. Laurie, and we agree. Kibble foods have killed more dogs than any other food. 16 years feeding raw here and we started our business to educate. Cooked meats are rendered useless especially if its a meat meal that has been cooked once. Then again when extruded. Studies have shown cooked meats cause pets to have carcinogens in their fur. Dogs systems are designed to eat lots of things that might seem scary to us. Read This:

    • Carol Bryant says

      Very interesting and thanks for weighing in, DogMa. I am a fan of your site.

  5. Novroz says

    I am glad my pets will never have salmonellosis as they are bags of salmonella 😉
    Turtles carry them around and I have developed resistance againts it.

    I wonder what happen to dog owner who also has turtle…the turtle could poison the dog