Statement on Raw Feeding

2nd Feb 2018


As Trustees of Therapy Dogs Nationwide, we feel that as responsible dog owners our volunteers have their dogs best interests and health concerns at heart. This may include what food they choose to feed.Recently there has been an outcry over raw feeding, and that raw fed dogs can transmit salmonella, campylobacter, E Coli and other diseases to the people we visit. It is true that this is possible, but the transference method is through contact with the animals’ saliva, faeces and urine. Our Therapy dogs are trained not to defecate or urinate whilst visiting and are encouraged not to lick so the risk of transference of these diseases, in our opinion, is quite low.

If we, as volunteers, utilise a more stringent hygiene regime than we already do, we feel that this risk then becomes less.

At the moment we have no plans to withdraw any of our volunteers from their placements and will only do so if the establishment they visit ask us, or the volunteer, to stop their visits. If this happens we will endeavour to find the volunteer an alternative placement.

We have set out below a set of guidelines to follow to make our visits safer and even more hygienic.

There is also a list of sites where we have sourced our information. This will be ongoing and we hope to get more evidence plus representatives of the RCVS for advisement.


Eileen Slattery – Chair

Eileen Hodge – Founder

Anne Jones – Trustee

Mary Oliver (MBE) – Trustee

Ruth Boyes (BEM) –  Trustee


  • Make sure all your vaccination/nosodes certificates are up to date and registered with Head Office.
  • Use antibacterial wipes for you and your dog before visiting. Taking extra precautions around the dogs’ bottom and mouth.
  • DO NOT let your dog lick at all.
  • Use hand gel yourself on entrance and exiting.
  • Have hand gel/antibacterial wipes to offer to patients/children/staff after they have handled/stroked the dog.
  • Before visiting make sure your dog has relieved itself and give them ample opportunity to go outside during visiting.
  • Always ensure your dog is under your control the whole time.
  • Even after all this please enjoy your visit.


You are under no obligation to inform us you are Raw Feeding but it might help us if we get queries from establishments regarding this issue. Please email

If we hear from any establishment we will inform any volunteer/volunteers that visits, in a private email.

Thank you everyone for your co-operation.




Infections could be acquired from bites, scratches, saliva or contact with faeces, said the researchers writing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

 Salmonella organisms are ubiquitous and can be isolated even from many healthy dogs and cats. The organism can be shed in both the faeces and in the saliva and can be shed for long periods of time.

  • Pig ear dog treats have been implicated as a potential source of Salmonella infection for dogs. They can also serve as a source of infection for people who handle them.
  • In addition, dogs and cats fed a raw diet are also thought to be more prone to shedding Salmonella organisms.
  • Many recalls involving commercial pet food diets and/or treats involve Salmonella contamination of the products. These contaminated products, if fed to your pet, could also cause salmonellosis for your pet and create an increased risk of shedding the organism.
  • Salmonellosis can be passed from pets to people as well as from people to pet


E-Coli – How You can become infected

  • You can get E. coli from your furry friend by cleaning up his infected feces. This is why it’s incredibly essential to wash your hands thoroughly after scooping up his business. Additionally, you could come into contact with the harmful bacteria after petting your pooch on his rear end if he has some fecal matter stuck to his fur, or if he licks you after he cleans off his rear.


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