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    Infectious Diseases A-Z: Why your pet’s food can make you sick

a person putting pet food in a bowl and a dog waiting for dinnerMillions of Americans have at least one pet at home. Studies have shown there are many health benefits to having a companion animal. Pets can increase fitness, lower stress and bring happiness to their owners.

Health benefits may include:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness
  • Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
  • Increased opportunities for socialization

But did you know that handling your pet's food could make you sick? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says dry and canned pet food can be contaminated germs that can make you and your family sick.

Here are tips to stay safe while feeding your pet:

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water after handling pet food or treats.
  • Store pet food and treats away from where human food it stored and prepared.
  • Keep pet food and treats away from small children.
  • Don't use your pets' feeding bowls to scoop food. Use a dedicated cup or scoop.

The CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. Salmonella and listeria bacteria have been found in raw diet pet food, including packaged ones found in pet stores.