The American Animal Hospital Association has joined the American Veterinary Medical Association in discouraging the feeding of raw petfood diets to dogs and cats.

According to a statement on its website, the American Animal Hospital Association “does not advocate or endorse feeding pets any raw or dehydrated nonsterilized foods, including treats that are of animal origin.” The association's decision was based on “overwhelming scientific evidence” and cited 50 sources.

“Homemade raw food diets are unsafe because retail meats for human consumption can be contaminated with pathogens," the association said. “Studies that have been done on both commercially available and homemade raw protein diets have found a high percentage (30-50 percent) of them contaminated with pathogenic organisms, and up to 30 percent of the dogs fed such diets may shed pathogenic organisms in their stool.”