The Truth About Pet Food and Raw Meaty Bones - The Trupanion Blog
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The Truth About Pet Food and Raw Meaty Bones

This post comes to you from guest blogger, Jim McBean:

I just finished reading a blog post over at The Truth About Pet Food blog, here’s the headline of that post, “All 50 U.S. States Give Approval for Illegal Pet Food”. Sounds great eh? :/ The gist of it is, that although there are federal laws in the United States governing what can and can’t go into pet food, the FDA apparently has chosen not to enforce those laws.

Fortunately for them, my little carnivores don’t eat commercial pet food, they eat mainly foods that I buy from local grocery stores, the same stores where I shop for my own food. No, I don’t buy them Shredded Wheat or Kraft Dinner ;), but I do buy them raw meaty bones and offal (organ meats).

Dogs Are Wolves

While there are obvious cosmetic differences between domestic dogs and wild dogs/wolves, as well as behavioral differences, inside, from snout to butt, domestic dogs are wolves. Aside from size differences, the digestive system of domestic dogs are identical to their closest cousin the Gray Wolf. Feeding raw meaty bones, offal and the odd table scrap (meat trimmings, cooked veggies etc.) approximates much more closely the diet of wild dogs, the same foods our dogs and cats evolved to eat.

What is a Raw Meaty Bone?

A raw meaty bone is a completely edible raw bone wrapped in lots of meat. Completely edible bone can include the following, chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, fish, rabbit and beef etc. Marrow bones and knuckle bones and other weight bearing bones should be avoided as they are too hard and can break teeth.

Are Raw Meaty Bones Complete and Balanced?

Pet food companies love the phrase “complete and balanced”, unfortunately as much as they’d like us to believe, “complete and balanced” can’t be achieved with a bag of kibble. In fact, no animal in the history of life on earth has ever eaten a “complete and balanced” meal every single day of it’s life. Complete and balanced happens over time, when an animal eats a diet appropriate for its species. Raw meaty bones in the form that nature has dictated, are the most balanced food that our domesticated carnivores can eat.

How Do Raw Meaty Bones Promote Health?

Dr. Tom Lonsdale DVM in his book, Work Wonders: Feed Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones, lists three cornerstones as “pillars” of the RMB diet. The first two are applicable to this article, so I’ve included them here.

Cornerstone 1:

Carnivores need the chemical ingredients (nutrients) in broadly the same quantity, quality and frequency as is found in the prey of free living carnivores. (For instance the progenitors of Dogs – Wolves, Cats – Wildcats, Ferrets – Polecats.)

Cornerstone 2:

Carnivores need the physical texture of their food to closely match that of their free living carnivore progenitors. The simple reason being that it’s the physical form of the food that governs the quantity, quality and frequency of teeth cleaning and the correct regulation of passage of foodstuffs down the intestinal tract.

Periodontal Disease

By the age of three, most dogs are already starting to show signs of periodontal disease, and in fact, tooth and gum disease affects 80% of all domestic pets today. Kibble and canned foods are directly responsible for this, as they provide no teeth cleaning action whatsoever. In contrast, raw bone, flesh and connective tissue, scrapes teeth clean and massage and floss gums and teeth, promoting periodontal health.

Keeping periodontal disease at bay is of vital importance because bacteria that forms in the mouth of a dog causing PD will make it’s way into the blood stream where it can then wreak havoc on organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver. How many times have you heard or read about pet owners saying that their kibble fed pet has kidney disease? No you know why and how that happens, and how you can prevent it. Feed raw meaty bones.

Other Benefits of Feeding Raw Meaty Bones

  • smaller stool
  • firmer stool (naturally expresses anal glands)
  • no doggy breath
  • no doggy odor
  • healthier skin and coat
  • easier to maintain normal weight (raw fed dogs tend not to overeat)
  • save money by reducing vet visits

A list of some of the foods my dogs eat;

  • turkey drumsticks
  • turkey necks
  • turkey wings
  • chicken backs
  • chicken leg/back
  • whole chicken
  • cornish game hen
  • whole herring
  • lamb neck
  • pork neck
  • liver (beef or pork)
  • heart (beef or pork)
  • kidney (beef or pork)
  • spleen (pork)
  • green tripe (beef or buffalo)

TIP: Asian markets have an insane variety of meaty bones that are usually very inexpensive. If you have one in your area, it’s definitely worth checking out.

3 Key Principals When Feeding Raw meaty Bones

  1. Always feed RMBs raw
  2. Feed meaty bones in large pieces to ensure maximal cleaning of teeth and gums
  3. Feed RMBs from a variety of animals to ensure a good balance of nutrients

Getting Your Head Around It

Some people have a hard time visualizing how to feed raw meaty bones. I’d recommend doing a Youtube search on ‘dogs and raw meaty bones’ or ‘cats and raw meaty bones’. That will turn up tons of videos of all breeds and sizes of dogs and cats eating all manner of raw meaty bones.

Recommended Reading

Work Wonders: Feed Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones (This book is a MUST READ for those interested in exploring raw feeding)

Raw Meaty Bones Yahoo Group

Raw Meaty Bones for Healthy Pets

Jim McBean is a dog lover and guardian to a Border Collie named Sweety and an American Pit Bull Terrier named Zeus. Jim blogs about canine health and nutrition with an emphasis on feeding raw meaty bones. To learn more about feeding your pet carnivore a raw meaty bones diet, check out Jim’s blog.


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