Whenever we prepare food for our pets, it is incredibly important that you don’t make anyone sick. The problems often arise when cooking, preparing and storing meat. A few basic precautions will keep everyone healthy and happy.
Today the meat we prepare and eat is not as fresh as it used to be. Animals are often kept intensively in crowded conditions. Meat travels long distances and is then sold on the supermarket shelves or in the butcher. There are many points on the way from the paddock to your plate where your food can be like contaminated with bacteria Salmonella or E. coli.
It is estimated that meat contains 1,000 to 10,000 bacteria per gram, and while many dogs and cats can tolerate small numbers of bacteria in their food, it doesn’t take much to upset the balance and very messy, smelly gastroenteritis, to get into the household. Nobody wants this, so please follow these safety recommendations when preparing meat for your pets:
- Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after preparing meat products. Scrub, use soap and clean for at least 20 seconds – don’t forget under your nails!
- Use a clean cutting board that is only used for preparing meat.
- Cutting boards, utensils and benches should be cleaned thoroughly before and after food is prepared. A hot rinse is ideal for scrubbing or diluting bleach.
- Only feed your pet meat that is suitable for human consumption.
- Do not use utensils for raw food, then cooked food without washing first.
- Avoid dirty or cracked eggs.
- Store raw and cooked foods separately.
- Chickens are raw at high risk (especially areas that have come in contact with the animal’s innards and feces), but many vets recommend raw chicken necks or wings for dental health.
- The food should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 ° F (you can use a meat thermometer to check this).
- If food is not intended to be eaten right away, it should be kept above 140 ° F or refrigerated, covered, and placed in the refrigerator or freezer.
- If you are serving food after it has been frozen or cooled, reheat it until it is completely steaming and hot (it can be cooled before serving).
- Food should be thrown away if it has been stored in the temperature hazard zone between 40 and 140 ° F (ie not in the fridge / freezer) for more than 4 hours.
- Ground beef, sausage, whole chicken, and eggs should be cooked thoroughly until no more pink is seen and the juices are clear.
- When using the microwave, make sure the food is covered to trap the steam and ensure thorough cooking. Stir and turn the food as well, as the microwaves cook very unevenly.
- Avoid feeding your pet cooked bones or meat that contains sulfur preservatives.
We hope these tips have helped you make your kitchen a safe place for your family and pets. Home cooking for our pets is extremely rewarding, and done right is healthy and safe. Have fun and enjoy your meal!