People are increasingly concerned about exposure to infectious agents, both for themselves and their pets. This has led to marketing of various products to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Some are good, some might be useful but are unproven, and some are just horrible. Many in this last category manipulate scientific data to try to convince people that their product is useful. I ran into one of those today while I was reading an article that recommended the use of electrolyzed water to protect pets from Salmonella.
Electrolyzed water is a weak electrolyte solution (such as tap water) that has had an electric current applied to it. The electric current acts on salt in the water and forms a weak acid and oxidizing agent (i.e. a weak disinfectant). It has been shown that electrolyzed water can be useful for disinfection of surfaces in food-handling areas, for reducing bacterial numbers when sprayed on carcasses in slaughterhouses, and possibly for treatment of contaminated food. The effect of spraying electrolyzed water on final food products, like pet food (raw or commercial) is unclear.
The science behind electrolyzed water has been used by some companies as an excuse to sell expensive electrolyzed water products for pets (and people) to drink. There is no evidence that drinking electrolyzed water helps reduce disease. Really, why would you want to drink a disinfectant, regardless of how "natural" it is? Bleach (at the right concentration) can kill Salmonella, but that certainly doesn’t mean that drinking a weak form of bleach is good for you.
It’s likely the biggest thing you have to lose with products like this is money, but make sure you don’t use unproven (or illogical) products in place of basic, common sense measures to reduce the risks of disease. If you are considering buying products to promote the health of your pets or yourself, do some research and try to find as much objective, independent information as possible. Don’t rely on company information and testimonials. Here’s an example of one company’s website that sells electrolyzed water. This page is about the human product but their pet version is the same. My general rule is that anything that purportedly cures all that ails you probably cures nothing.
P.S: This same company’s site contained one of the funniest false quotes that I’ve seen in a while. The site states that "The New England Journal of Medicine reports that more than 80-90% of canine skin and other problems are caused by toxins in a dog’s body." The New England Journal of Medicine is a world-renowned journal of human medicine, which certainly has better things to do than report false science about dogs (or anything about dogs for that matter!).