How can I help prevent Salmonella infection from handling dry pet food?

Dry pet food and treats often contain germs, such as Salmonella. It is important to know how to properly handle, store, and behave when handling dry pet foods and treats to minimize the risk of becoming ill. Follow these tips to help prevent an infection with Salmonella from handling dry pet food and treats:

  • Purchase products (canned or bagged) with no visible signs of damage to the packaging, such as dents, tears, or discolorations.
  • Washing hands is the most important step to prevent illness. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with water and soap right after handling pet food and treats, and especially before preparing, serving or eating food, drinks or preparing baby bottles.
  • Preferably, people should feed their pet in areas other than the kitchen.
  • Wash pet food bowls, dishes and scooping utensils with soap and hot water regularly. Avoid washing these items in the kitchen sink or bathtubs to prevent cross-contamination. In households where there is no alternative, the sink area should be adequately sanitized after these items have been cleaned and removed.
  • Infants should not be bathed in kitchen sinks because of the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Do not use the pet's feeding bowl as a scooping utensil—use a clean, dedicated scoop, spoon, or cup.
  • Pet food should not be handled or stored in areas where food for humans is prepared.
  • If possible, store dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated plastic container with a lid, keeping the top of the bag folded or closed.
  • Dry pet food and pet treats should be stored in a cool, dry place under 80 degrees F.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.