Feeding your dog raw food around kids

  • by Debby Lucken
  • 1 Comment
Food is super important for our dogs, just as much as they are for our children (and ourselves)... this should not really come as a surprise. However, many parents are put off from feeding raw food to their dogs because they have children around and it might be dangerous and hygienic. 
Is that you?
Don't worry, I have some ideas for you!

Firstly, if you have never fed your dog raw before, make sure to get the right information on how and what to feed. Where I live, in Dorset, there are a few lovely independent pet stores and they are very knowledgeable about dog food. You can also ask your local KAD Approved Professional for their advice, or recommendation.
The food you will get recommended will be based on the age, size, weight and breed of your dog. The canine nutritionist will also need to know the lifestyle your dog has (more sedentary? or fairly active?)... so don't be alarmed if it seems like they are asking you lots of questions. The more we know about your dog, the better we can help.
Now, back to the issue of having kids around raw food and the hygiene issue.
It might sound silly, or obvious, but washing your hands before and after handing the dog's meals is essential.
The same goes for keeping the bowls clean, so wait until your dog has finished eating and has moved away from the bowl to pick it up and give it a good wash. I use a separate sponge for the dogs' bowls (food and water) and a sponge for our dishes. The dish soap would probably clean all the possibly bad stuff, but I would be too worried about sharing the same sponge.
Moreover, I recommend cleaning the area where the dogs eat. For example, Winnie has a raised bowl, so I clean the area around the bowl itself. Wilco is more comfortable eating from a bowl on the floor, but given his mouth and 4 teeth he has left (love my senior dog), he's also a messy eater and often bits of the raw food escape his mouth. He generally finishes what's in the bowl and then moves on the outside to eat the bits that have fallen out. I wait until he's done, to then step in and clean that area.
After each meal, I get the dogs to go outside into the garden. This is because not only eating might stimulate their bowels and bladder, but also because the raw food (and blood) they might have around their lips, nose or even ears (not so much my dogs, but other breeds might have ears that would get into the food and get dirty), but by being out into the garden and sniffing stuff, etc, they can almost clean themselves using leaves, grass and nature.
You can of course use wet wipes to clean the dogs' faces after their meals.
When the dogs clean themselves in nature, or if you wipe their face, cheeks, ears, etc there will not be any risks of bits of blood from the fur going onto your furniture, or the child touching the dogs when they are still a little dirty from dinner.
Start teaching your child from day one that we don't disturb the dogs while they are eating, but also right after. Explain to your child that the dogs will be dirty and that they need a clean. Teach your children to wash their hands too, before and after.
Your child can help prepare a bowl of fresh water for the dog and if you have more than one child, give them separate jobs (one can wash the food bowl, while the other washes the water bowl, for example).
Get the kids to participate in the process by also thinking about what the dog will eat in the next meal: what fresh or cooked vegetable the dog should have with his next meal. They could draw a daily or weekly menu for the dog, which not only is good for you to get organised, but it keeps the kids busy while the dogs eat.
After the dog has finished eating, if there is any food left in the bowl, please dispose of it accordingly, do not leave it out. The same goes for any packaging the food was stored in: throw it away following the instructions on the package and your council's regulations on recycling, food waste, etc.
Raw food can be fed to dogs who live with kids, we just have to be careful and responsible dog-parents and human-parents.
A great website to follow is:
Raw Dog Food - Dogs First by Dr. Connor Brady:
https://www.dogsfirst.ie/dog-nutrition/
Dr. Connor Brady is also the author of the popular book:
Feeding Dogs: The Science Behind the Dry Versus Raw Debate
Other great literary resources are:
The Forever Dog by Rodney Habib, Karen Shaw Becker
The Forever Dog Life: 120+ recipes, Longevity tips, and new science for better bowls and healthier homes by Rodney Habib, Karen Shaw Becker

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1 Comment

  • Great clear information 👏 and it’s possible that some parents don’t realise good hygiene care should be taken around dry food too, as there have been instances of children becoming sick after handling dry dog food because the parents thought it was safe.

    Zoe Carter on

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