Raw meat based diet (RMBD) for household pets as potential door opener to parasitic load of domestic and urban environment. Revival of understated zoonotic hazards? A review

One Health. 2021 Sep 16:13:100327. doi: 10.1016/j.onehlt.2021.100327. eCollection 2021 Dec.


RMBD (acronym of Raw Meat Based Diet) and BARF diets (acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food) account dietary regimens based on raw ingredients (including raw meat), popular in pet feeding. Animal tissues and organs as well as other uncooked ingredients are more and more popularly used by pet owners to feed household pets. However, the increased risk of exposure to microbiological and parasitic agents poses the question as to whether such diets may be recommendable to be handled and offered to domestic cats and dogs co-living in domestic and urban environment. Above all, the threat of human and animal infections by parasites from raw meat fed to pets is not sufficiently explored and tracked, meanwhile deserving particular surveillance, instead. At this regard, raw meat feeding to pets may represent a route of exposure to the increased risk of environmental load. In fact, some parasites typically found in rural environment can be given the chance to complete their life-cycle, for the closeness between definitive and intermediate hosts. This is of particular concern, as potentially infected pets serving as definitive hosts can become a continuous source of environmental diffusion of parasites, both at domestic and urban level. The handling of raw meat requires adequate knowledge and awareness of the hygienic principles to prevent the onset of disorders related to both manipulation by pet owners and uncooked food consumption by the pet. This review aimed to shed a comprehensive overview of the hygienic aspects related to raw pet feeding, as to handling of raw meat in domestic environment, with special emphasis on parasitic agents and related zoonotic hazards.

Keywords: BARF; Diet; Parasites; Zoonosis.

Publication types

  • Review