What temperature should raw dog food be? Let’s Explore

Practicing Raw Dog Food Safety Measures

So you want to feed your dog raw food. It is important that you follow certain steps when storing, handling, and serving the raw food. Valid health concerns do exist for your dog and your family or other animal household members if a raw food is contaminated by an illness inducing microorganism. But these situations can be mitigated.

First, you should consult your veterinarian and discuss if raw food is right for your dog. Second, it is important to realize that not every raw food contains organisms capable of causing disease. Additionally, a dog’s immunity, especially the defensive cellular and chemical processes that occur in the intestines, is a complex process.

You store raw dog food much in the same way you store your own raw food such as hamburger patties and chicken — place it in secure packaging, such as a covered plastic container, and store it in the freezer. This will help deter bacterial growth and reduce spoiling. Furthermore, keeping raw food frozen at a consistent temperature of 0 °F will prevent the growth of microbes — including mold and yeast — as well as slow down the natural activity of enzymes present in food, including meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables. Portions of store bought raw food, for example, can be placed in individual containers to promote easy serving and to pair each container with the corresponding expiration date as determined by the food’s manufacturer.

If you should choose to refrigerate the raw dog food, it must be maintained at a temperature that is consistently 40 °F or below. According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), “bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 °F, the “Danger Zone,” some doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. A refrigerator set at 40 °F or below will protect most foods.

If the food’s temperature increases to 40° or above for two hours or more, you are advised to discard it because there is a strong likelihood that pathogenic bacteria (Campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella, etc.) will grow. Pathogenic bacteria don’t necessarily affect the smell, flavor, or consistency of food, but they can cause foodborne illness.

3 Reasons I Don’t Feed Cold Raw Dog Food

Feeding food straight from the fridge is convenient. Ive been told that feeding frozen food is great for gulpers because it slows them down, preventing them from swallowing large chunks of meat and bone. But neither of these reasons works for me because I believe feeding dogs cold or frozen food harms their system.

2 – Warm Food is Easier to Digest

The digestive system works better with foods and liquids fed at warmer temperatures, allowing easier absorption of nutrients. The system doesnt have to work double time warming the food and breaking down nutrients. The digestive system requires heat to do its job properly.

Traditional Chinese Medicine goes one step further, explaining that cold foods cause stagnation in the system and slow down digestion, leading to several health issues, including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, weight gain, and poor absorption of nutrients.

Should You Warm Your Pet’s Raw Food?

Our research shows that nearly a quarter of all owners warm their dog’s food. So, who are these owners and why are they going through this extra trouble at feeding time?

Pet food companies suggest their products be served at room temperature so that, as Purina says, “your dog can taste and smell it properly.” But it might take an already-opened can stored in the fridge two hours to get up to room temperature by simply setting it out on the kitchen counter.

Purina advises that “you might consider microwaving wet foods (out of the can) for a short time. But avoid serving food that is either too hot or too cold.” So, there are owners who warm their dog’s chilled food to simply bring it back to room temperature or slightly above.