Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
Dear Mr. Stace:
Dr. Tom Lonsdale invited me to send you a communication about my experience with raw-meaty-bones, as a dog breeder and as the founder of Kona Raw Pet Food Co-op.
History with dogs: I raised Papillons for 10 years. The first Papillons were fed cooked chicken and rice. That's what the veterinarian told me to feed, because I was not willing to feed commercial pet foods. The first dogs lost their teeth by the age of 10. They had rampant gum disease, even though I had their teeth cleaned every few years -- not often enough, obviously. The second two Papillons were luckier, because I discovered raw-meaty-bones when they still had their teeth and their health. They loved chicken legs and thighs -- each a good meal for a small dog. They loved chewing on small beef neck bones. They ate a good variety of beef parts, cut into approximately 2" x 2" hunks -- large enough for them to chew but not to swallow whole.
The key to feeding small dogs and puppies is to make the pieces large enough for them to have to chew and not to try to swallow whole. Nani died at almost 14 years from a sudden heart attack. Ben died at almost 15 from a sudden heart attack. Neither had any chronic degenerative diseases, had healthy mouths, and great spirits until the last moment of their lives.
I have not had any fractured molars or excessively worn teeth. The key to preventing tooth fracture is not to feed bare bones. The diet is MEATY- bones that elicit gnawing, not cracking down on hard bones. Weight-bearing bones from herbivores are very hard and unsuitable for tooth-clearning. Much better to clean teeth are softer bones, such as ribs, and bones with many angles, such as neck bones. My oldest Labs show some tooth wear, but I am sure they will die before their teeth become dysfunctional. Their teeth stay pearly white even into old age. Their gums are a healthy salmon pink. They have no chronic degenerative diseases.
The largest improvement in pets' health comes from removing commercial pet food from their diet. From that point, one can feed 100% raw-meaty-bones, or mostly raw-meaty bones with some added veggies and supplements, if one likes to spend time and money on these unnecessary things. After all, dogs and wolves can survive on garbage scavenged from human dumps. Garbage is surely not an ideal diet, but dogs can digest carbohydrates, if life depends on it. Most pet owners do not aim to feed their beloved pets a starvation diet, so why load them with minced veggies and cooked starches? The ideal diet is a variety of meats and meaty bones.
Sandra Scarr, Ph.D.
Commonwealth Professor of Psychology emerita
University of Virginia
University of Virginia