Sunday, February 21, 2010

Slide Show for Vets

Tom Lonsdale, author of Raw Meaty Bones and Work Wonders: Feed Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones, asked me to put together some slides to show to New Zealand veterinarians.  Dr. Lonsdale has campaigned to change veterinary education and vet's attitudes about raw feeding for more than 20 years.  I am happy to be an ally and apprentice.

Those of you who've read my blog entries on vets and pet food know the content is not flattering, to put it mildly.  Vets are both villains and dupes in the global pet-food conspiracy.  They are mis-educated about carnivorous pets, and they seem unable to think their way out of the traps pet food companies set for them in school.  Of course, they have financial incentives to remain loyal to Hill's and Iams, to sell commercial junk foods and to charge a fortune to clean pets' plaque-encrusted teeth and infected gums that are destroyed by kibbles and canned mush.

But let's assume practicing vets are victims of their perverted education and have not had opportunities to learn the truth about carnivorous pets.  This stretches credulity, but, for the present purpose, let's assume they are innocent victims, not conspirators.

Here's my lecture for vets in New Zealand:


This summary of many points made more fully elsewhere in this blog may serve to introduce some NZ vets to ideas they had not considered.  More likely, few will come to Dr. Lonsdale's lecture, and those who do will disregard the message.  

I am usually an optimist about people, but honestly, the self-interested promotion of commercial pet foods and the resistance of veterinarians to the raw-meaty-bones diet is obscene in a profession entrusted with the care and welfare of pets.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

AKC Sells Data on Top 10 Breeds

For $100, the AKC provided me with registration numbers for the Top Ten Dogs in 2007, 2008, and 2009.  These are the years for which they have hidden registration numbers and published only rank orders.  I will send a check.

Here are AKC dog registrations from 2007 to 2009 for the Top 10 breeds:

TOP 10 AKC BREEDS 2007-2009

TOTAL % of   LAB

Labrador Retriever89,599100,736114,113
German Shepherd40,93840,90943,376
Yorkshire Terrier37,77841,91447,850
Golden Retriever30,73534,48539,659
Shih Tsu17,31420,21924,951

Total Registrations Top 10 Breeds335,446372,723421,645
Lost Registrations from 200786,19948,922

Breeds are rank-ordered by 2009 registrations.  Note that in 2009, there are more than twice as many Labradors as German Shepherds (90,000 versus 41,000).  So much for the AKC's musing that German Shepherds may overtake Labs as the Number One Dog.

The far right column shows the percentage of Lab registrations are represented by each of the other 9 Top Ten breeds.  Six of the 10 breeds have one-third or fewer registrations, compared to Labrador retrievers.

I love numbers and statistics, but they do not give joy to everyone.  A picture is often worth a thousand words.

TOP 10 AKC BREEDS 2007 TO 2009

More than 300,000 Labs were registered in 2007 to 2009.  Less than one-third as many beagles, boxers, bulldogs, dachshunds, poodles, and shih tsus were registered in the same period.  Anyone can see that the popularity of Labs is almost "off the chart".  Evidently, the disproportionate popularity of Labs is embarrassing to the AKC.

The other reason the AKC did not want to reveal recent registration data is that the organization is going downhill, fast.  AKC finances depend heavily on registrations, which generate at least $20/ dog.  Annual registrations of  400,000 dogs, generate $8 million in revenue.  The registration data clearly indicate that every year the AKC is losing purebred dog registrations.

Compared to 2007, which was not a banner year, the AKC had 89,000 fewer Top Ten registrations in 2009.  That loss of registrations translates into at least $1.75 million in lost revenue.  The trend is ominous.  In 2003, Lab registrations numbered 143,000., compared to 90,000 in 2009.  The AKC's decline is happening in a context of more and more purebred dogs being adopted as family pets.

If I were CEO of the AKC, I would be alarmed and contemplate what changes need to be made in my organization.  Let me offer a few suggestions:
  • AKC can improve the health of purebred dogs by incorporating new genetic information in their criteria for participation in AKC activities.
  • Intact animals, which participate in AKC conformation shows, field trials, rallies, obedience, and agility events should have clearances as non-carriers of all serious genetic disorders common in the breed.
  • Conformation shows should be restructured to be more about dogs' soundness and breed type and less about the handler and showmanship.  However entertaining spectators find extreme coiffure and runway behavior, the major focus of shows should be to select sound, typey parents for the next generations of the breed.
  • AKC should sever its relationships with commercial sponsors, especially pet-food manufacturers. A less splashy show, not sponsored by Eukanuba, would be better received by many who care about dogs' health.  
  • AKC should cease any partnerships with pet-food and drug companies to "educate" veterinarians about pet care and diets.  Veterinary education is perverted by pet-food and drug companies anyway, and the AKC should keep it's still-good name out of a corrupt morass.
  • AKC should sponsor popular educational programs for pet owners about the evolution of dogs, their identity as a subspecies of wolves, and the implications of these scientifically established facts for dog feeding and care.  A television series on "Know Your Dog" could save the health and lives of millions of pets.
  • AKC can work with breed organizations that have adopted extreme conformation standards that impair the breed's health or alter their natural appearance by mutilation.  Surgical alteration and unhealthy standards have no place in an organization with a mission to improve the welfare of purebred dogs and their owners.

As I think of more ways to help the AKC meet its goals and live up to its mission, I will post them.  Meanwhile, let's hope they get more honest by publishing breed registration statistics for 2010.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Perspectives on Breed Popularity

The American Kennel Club has a problem with the overwhelming popularity of Labrador retrievers, it seems.  Labs are just too popular for their own good, so the AKC says little about Labs, and AKC judges hardly notice them at conformation shows (see previous blog).

 Granddaughter with puppies Cody & Charles

AKC's behaviors led me to wonder if the USA is the only country with a big Lab problem.  With more difficulty than I imagined, I did find data on Labs' annual registrations with major kennel clubs in other countries.  How popular are Labs in other countries?  Here's the Table:

Labrador Retriever Annual Registrations by Country, 2005-2006

Country Population Annual Lab # Labs/

(millions) registrations mill. pop.
Sweden 9 5253 584
Australia 10 4491 449
Finland 5 2236 430
UK 60 18554 311
Canada 32 8881 278
France 61 10582 175
USA 298 38951 131
Netherlands 17 1505 89

Data are from published kennel club reports.  US and UK figures for annual registrations differ from their reports of total registrations by breed.
Popularity of Labs in the US lags far behind other Lab-loving countries, such as Sweden, Australia, Finland, and the UK.  Sweden has 4 1/2 times as many Labradors per capita as the US.   Even Canada has twice as many Labs per capita as the US.  Discussions of Labradors' popularity in other countries mentioned that, compared to other breeds of roughly the same size, Lab registrations are 2 to 4 times higher than the next large-dog breed (usually Golden retrievers or German Shepherds).

Suppose the US had as many Labradors per capita as Sweden does. There would be 174,000 Labs registered per year with the AKC, far greater number than the 38,000 registered in a good year. At any one time, the AKC could have a million registered Labrador retrievers.

It's hard to imagine how the AKC would react, if Labs' popularity increased four-fold, relative to other breeds.  Perhaps, the AKC should accept Labs for the hugely popular breed they are around the world and give them the attention they deserve.  Being recognized in AKC conformation shows would be a good start.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Playing Politics with Purebred Dogs

It's distressing to see the American Kennel Club play politics with registration data. The AKC is the world's largest registry of purebred dogs, a non-profit organization that is supposed to be committed to advancing the interests of purebred dogs and their owners. It does not always behave that way.

As a breeder of Labrador retrievers, I have followed the popularity of my breed since 2000. Prior to 2007, AKC published numbers of all dog and litter registrations. They posted numbers of dogs and litters registered each year by breed. Each year for the past 19 years, Labrador retrievers were the most frequently registered breed with the largest number of litters per year.

Labs are much more popular than any other breed, by a factor of 2.5 to 3 times more registrations than the next most popular breed.  The data are astonishing.

As you can see, the total number of dog registrations has declined substantially in these years and has continued to decline through 2009.  AKC revenues declined accordingly, and they are scrambling to make up for lost revenue.  Although more family dogs are purebred now than a decade ago, fewer purebred dogs are being registered with the AKC and more are listed with competing registries. The AKC is faced with declining registrations and the overwhelming popularity of a single breed.  What to do?

Evidently, they decided the registration data are politically incorrect, because the AKC no longer publishes registration numbers.  AKC decided to publish only rank orders of breed registrations, which obscures the overwhelming popularity of Labs and hides their declining registration numbers.  In February 2010, I requested numbers of dogs and litters registered in 2009 in the top 10 breeds and was told the "special report" would cost me $100.  When I receive the report, if they actually supply the data, it will be posted here.

To give an idea of Labs' comparative popularity, let's look at registration numbers for the top 5 breeds (rounded to nearest thousand).

--------------------2003 ---------- 2004------ 2005-------- 2006------ Total-------Labs:
Registrations by ---------------------------------------------------------- Reg.-----Others

Labrador -------145,000 -------147,000 -----130,000 ------124,000 ------546,000 --NA

Yorkshire ------ 53,000 --------- 53,000 ------47,000 --------48,000 -----201,000--- 2.7

German ---------44,000 --------- 46,000 ------42,000 ------- 44,000 -----166,000 ---3.3

Golden ----------53,000 --------- 53,000------ 41,000 ------- 43,000 ---- 190,000 ---2.9

Beagles ---------45,000 ----------45,000 ------33,000 -------39,000 ------162,000 ---3.3

Boxers ----------34,000 ----------39,000 ------35,000 -------35,000 ------143,000--- 3.8

In recent years, Lab registrations sum from 2 1/2 to nearly 4 times as many as other top breeds.

The AKC registers about 160 breeds (number changes as new breeds are recognized). From popularity rank 80 to rank 160, fewer than 1,000 dogs in each breed are registered in the US. If you want to buy a Sealyham or Dandie Dinmont terrier, it will be difficult, because fewer than 100 of these (and a dozen other) breeds are registered.

Judges and Breed Standards

Now consider the popularity of breeds that have won AKC honors as Best-In-Show in recent events.  Dogs born in the years given above are likely entrants in 2009-2010 AKC shows:

............................... .............Number Registered in 2006
English Springer Spaniel..................... 8,205
Norfolk terrier ..................................353
Poodle (all sizes)............................ 30,000
Newfoundland .................................3,415
Scottish terrier ............................... 3,545

In competitions for Group wins and best-in-show in conformation events, judges are supposed to assess the degree to which each entrant meets the ideal standard for the breed. Judges do not compare one breed with another.

What are the odds that a show candidate meets the ideal standard for the breed?   Likelihood of meeting a breed standard must be in part a function of how many dogs in each breed are registered and eligible to be shown.  Fewer members of a breed should translate into fewer being judged as matching the breed standard. More numerous breeds should contain more individuals close to the breed standard.

Assume a normal distribution of dogs' merit in conformation shows, with 3 standard deviations on the right tail containing individuals close to the breed ideal. A breed with 500,000 dogs will have about 1,500 dogs close to ideal, whereas a breed with 1,000 dogs will have only 3 dogs close to the ideal breed standard.  What are the odds that a few of those 1,500 Labs will enter conformation events, compared to the odds a smaller breed will have its few ideal individuals entered?

From more than half a million registered Labrador retrievers, none is judged close to the breed standard in major AKC shows.  Labs rarely win even the Sporting Group, which was recently won by an English setter (629 registered in 2006).  Breeds with fewer than 10,000 registered individuals are regularly judged to be closer to their breed standards than 550,000 Labradors are to theirs.  How can this be?

If judging were fairly based on written instructions and breed standards, more numerous breeds would win shows more often than less popular breeds.  Obviously, AKC judges and the AKC itself are highlighting less popular breeds in the hope they will become more popular.  By giving them exposure on televised shows, perhaps more people will want a Bedlington terrier (192 registered in 2006) or a Harrier (23).   Popularizing less popular breeds is a mission for judges and the AKC, who savor the diversity of man-made breeds.

I object to the AKC refusing to disclose dog and litter registration data, however.  Their political agenda should not rest on public ignorance.  A recent AKC Press Release on rank orders of 2009 registrations reported that German shepherds had displaced Yorkshire terriers as Number 2 (Labs are still Number 1, of course).  Then, they suggested, with hope in their hearts, that German shepherd dogs may overtake Labrador retrievers in popularity.
For the 19th consecutive year, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular purebred dog in America, but could this be the last year for the Lab’s reign?
If they had disclosed numerical registration data, I doubt they could have asked that question with a straight face.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Raw-Meaty-Bones Make Sense

It took a couple of years to do enough research to convince myself that cats and dogs evolved to eat whole prey and will thrive as pets on raw-meaty-bones.

I had to read through and discard a huge amount of nonsense on why pets need grains and vegetables as major components in their diets. I knew from experience why commercial kibbles and canned mush are inadequate diets -- high in carbohydrates and preservatives, all cooked to dead nutrition. As the National Research Council says, dogs and cats have no demonstrated need for carbohydrates. Carnivores use fats for energy and proteins for cell growth and repair. All the minerals and vitamins they require are in the components of whole prey -- muscle meats, organ meats, and meaty bones.

After several years of feeding my Labrador retrievers, two Papillons, and a Maine coon cat a diet of raw-meaty-bones, I can testify to the many benefits of the diet. So, to put knowledge into practice, I started a raw pet food co-operative (Kona Raw) to educate local pet owners about rmb and to make rmb available at wholesale prices. Two dozen members, many new to raw-feeding, now enjoy the financial benefits of the co-op and their pets are thriving on rmb. Feeding dogs and cats an rmb diet makes sense to them.

A more nervous decision was to promote rmb on my Labrador retriever web site (Aloha Labradors) and to require rmb feeding for my puppies. I posted a lot of information about rmb feeding -- why and how and how much it costs -- on the Aloha Labradors web site.

Responses from prospective puppy buyers have been hugely rewarding. Puppy buyers call me because they read the web site and are convinced that rmb is the right diet for dogs. Some have lost pets to chronic diseases they now realize could have been prevented with an appropriate diet. Others are conscientious about feeding themselves and their children, so feeding a dog the diet dogs evolved to eat just makes sense to them.

Think about it. Raw-Meaty-Bones is a close approximation to the whole prey diet dogs and cats evolved to eat. Why not feed it? It makes sense.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dental Disease for Pets and Profits for Vets

February is Dental Awareness Month in the national veterinary industry.  One could laugh at the irony that professionals who cause the problem profit from treating it, if the problem were not so serious. 

Dental disease is present in approximately 85% of dogs and 75% of cats 2 years of age and older. Plaque and tartar can accumulate on pet’s teeth and invade under the gums to cause gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Dr. Larry Corry, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says, "In fact, veterinarians report that periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed problem in dogs and cats. This can lead to painful infections of the mouth, and in severe cases these infections can spread and become life-threatening conditions.”

Why should the vast majority of pets have serious dental disease?  Simple.  Because they are fed commercial pet foods that coat their teeth with gummy sludge that harbors bacteria that infect gums.    Pets fed kibble and canned mush have no way to clean their teeth.  Owners are urged to brush pets’ teeth daily, as though cats will sit still for tooth brushing and as though owners can effectively brush all the surfaces of their dog’s teeth, daily.  Vets know it’s not happening, so they mobilize their practices to profit from Dental Awareness Month. 

Without embarrassment, vets nationwide offer discounts to clean your suffering pet’s teeth, under anesthesia.  Note that vets put pets to sleep to clean their teeth, because pets don't cooperate with teeth cleaning, but you are told to clean your pet's teeth daily.  Cleaning your pet’s teeth will cost around $300.  The vet will sell you Hill’s Science Diet to begin the vicious cycle again for next year’s Dental Awareness Month for Pets.  Destroying your pet’s dental health for another year with Hill's kibble will cost you about $2/pound. 

How bad is the epidemic of periodontal disease?  According to Dr. Henry Childers, DVM, the president of the American Veterinary Dental Association, "Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. Just as the public has come to realize that their own oral health is linked to their overall health, veterinarians want people to understand that dental health care is essential to maintaining the overall health and well-being of the family pet.

"Periodontal Disease is one of the most common occurring conditions, especially in our older pets. The disease begins from the accumulation of plaque that forms on the teeth after eating. This is largely responsible for resulting in "stinky breath" which often becomes unbearable. If the buildup of plaque is permitted to continue unchecked, gingivitis results with gums becoming red and inflamed.
"Left untreated, gums recede, teeth become unstable with tooth loss and abscess formation occurring. Due to the abundance of bacteria forming on teeth and gums, which is highly accessible to the pets blood stream, internal organs can become infected, which may cause systemic conditions such as kidney failure, liver and heart disease.”  Thank you, Dr. Childers.
Now for the best part.  Dental Awareness Month for Pets is sponsored by Hill’s Pet Care.  Nationwide advertising and vet-clinic promotions for dental treatment are paid for by an enormous pet-food company that sells the products that cause pets’ periodontal disease.  In addition, Hill’s pet foods are piled high in vet clinics and generate up to 40% of vets’ profits.  What a great partnership!  Hill’s foods cause dental disease, so they advertise to get pet owners to the vet to pay for teeth cleaning, and to buy more Hill’s kibbles and canned mush on their way out.  It’s hard to imagine a more sinister and damaging partnership than veterinarians and Hill’s Pet Care. 
Imagine that Mars or Hershey partnered with dentists to promote sugary candies for children.   Suppose that dentist offices sold candy bars and recommended them as daily foods for children.  When children developed dental caries, candy companies could sponsor Dental Awareness Month for Kids and urge parents to bring kids to the dentist to get their cavities filled.  We would be outraged if dentists collaborated with candy companies to push candy for children and had the audacity to profit from the damage done to kids’ teeth.  Well, that’s exactly what vets are doing to our pets.
Wolves and pets fed raw-meaty-bones do not have dental disease.   Gnawing on meaty bones cleans wolf, dog, and cat teeth and keeps their mouths healthy.  Preventing oral disease in pets is easy – just give them Nature’s toothbrush, raw-meaty-bones.  Their teeth will stay bright white and their gums a healthy, salmon pink from puppyhood to old age.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Genetic Structure of Contemporary Wolves and Dog Breeds

The genetic structure of wolves and dogs was finally mapped from 2000 to 2004.  The origin of domestic dogs from wolves is firmly established.  Dogs are related more closely to East Asian wolves than to European or North American wolves (1).  All wolves and dogs belong to the same species.  Other canids, such as coyotes, jackals, and foxes, are genetically more distant and distinct from wolves and dogs.

By tracing mitochondrial DNA, inherited only from mothers, researchers found several wolf origins for contemporary dogs.  The study looked at the DNA of 654 dogs from 83 dog breeds and 38 Eurasian wolves. Three maternal DNA patterns accounted for more than 95% of dog genotypes, and these three sources came from East Asian wolf populations.  Based on number of mutations found in the DNA sequences, researchers estimate that dogs became domesticated in several events (at least 5 unique mothers), beginning  about 15,000 years ago.

Another group of researchers (2) studied 96 gene loci in 414 purebred dogs representing 85 breeds.  They plotted the genetic relatedness of contemporary dogs and wolves.  They found that genotypes of ancient Asian and Arctic breeds more closely resemble contemporary Eurasian wolves than they resemble other dog breeds.  Specifically, Shiba Inu, Chow Chow, Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Basenji, Shar-pei, and Siberian Husky breeds cluster with contemporary wolf genotypes more closely than with other dogs breeds.  Afgan Hound, Saluki, Tibetan Terrier, Llasa Apso, Samoyed, Pekingese, and Shih Tsu breeds are intermediate, sharing genotypes with both contemporary wolves and with other dog breeds.

Most dog breeds were created by human selective breeding for specific tasks or appearances. Breed isolation, however, is a relatively new phenomenon.  Most dog breeds have existed as isolated breeding populations for less than 200 years, many for less than 100 years. Following wars, famines, and natural disasters, some dog breeds that became nearly extinct were re-established by interbreeding several related breeds.  So, what are the genetic resemblances and differences among dog breeds today?

To refine further the relatedness of dog breeds today, researchers looked for distinctive genetic patterns among breeds.  Genetic differences among breeds account for about 30 % of all genetic differences among the dogs, which shows a high degree of genetic isolation among breeds (as breeders intend).  The degree of genetic difference among dog breeds is far greater than differences among human populations or breeds of other domestic animals, such as cattle and sheep. By looking only at genes, researchers could classify 99% of individual dogs into their correct breed.

Do dog breeds cluster?  To some extent. Beginning with samples of wolves' DNA, the Asian Spitz-type dogs form a distinct cluster: Shar-pei, Shiba Inu, Akita, and Chow Chow.  A second cluster includes only Basenjis, an ancient African breed.  A third cluster contains two Artic breeds, Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky, and a fourth cluster includes two Middle Eastern sight hounds, the Afgan and Saluki.

Structure analysis shows additional breed groups not readily apparent from other analyses.  If a three-group structure is used, a cluster of Mastiff-type dogs appears -- Mastiff, Bulldog, Boxer, Rottweiler, and their close relatives.  A four-group structure produced a cluster of herding dogs.  No additional groups could be reliably found in the data.

Remaining breeds showed few consistent relationships, except for breeds that are not (yet) genetically distinct (e,g., Belgian Sheepdog and Belgian Turvuren) or have a recent history of interbreeding,  In other words, more than 70 breeds of modern European and North American invention are now genetically distinct populations, but the breeds show no pattern of genetic relatedness.  They are equally related to each other and to modern wolves.

I would guess that few pet owners look at their Poodles, toy terriers, and Chihuahuas and think "wolf".  Yet, these small dogs are just as much wolves as dogs that bear more obvious resemblances to species-brothers.  Small size in dogs is caused by a single gene (3) that has been imported into many breeds to downsize them.  The rest of the genotype is still wolf.

Dogs would thank their owners for thinking "wolf" when they consider how to feed them.  Perhaps, it is obvious that an Alaskan Malamute or a German Shepherd would appreciate the whole-prey diet their wolf-brothers thrive upon.  It is not as obvious that toy dogs need the same diet, scaled down to their size.

Don't let "experts" in veterinarian clothing, or minced-veggie purveyors online, tell you dogs are omnivores, whose diet has been shaped by human leftovers. Wolves and dogs are "opportunistic carnivores", who kill and eat whole prey and scavenge off other predators' kills.  They will eat human garbage, but a healthy diet for wolves and dogs is principally meats and meaty bones.  Pet owners can easily provide a wolf-diet in appropriate amounts and sizes for their friendly domestic wolves.

(1) Savolainen, P., Zhang, Y, Luo, J, Lundeberg, J., & Leitner, T. (2002).  Genetic evidence for an East Asian Origin of Domestic Dogs, Science, 298, 1610-1613.

(2) Parker, H., Kim, L.V., Sutter, N.B., Carlson, S., Lorentzen, T.D., Malek, T., Johnson, G.S., DeFRance, H.B., Ostrander, E.A., & Kruglyak, L. (2004). Genetic structure of the purebred domestic dog. Science, 304, 1160-1164.

(3) Sutter, N.B.and 20 coauthors, (2007). A single IGF1 allele is a major determinant of small size in dogs. Science, 316, 112-115.

Beware of Snake-Oil Salesmen

The pet world is full of snake-oil salesmen,hawking hundreds of dietary and health supplements. Vitamins, minerals, prebiotocs, probiotics, digestive aids, skin soothing lotions, ear treatments, and more exotic compounds are offered to undo damage done by the unhealthy kibbles and canned mush that 90% of pet owners feed their dogs and cats. Little to no regulation of their claims or their compounds exists.

These contemporary shamans often give lip-service to the raw carnivore diet that is by definition complete. They acknowledge that cats and dogs evolved to eat whole prey and have thrived for thousands of years on that diet -- muscle meats, organ meats, and meaty bones. Carnivores, they agree, get all the nutrients they require from the raw-meaty-bones diet they evolved to eat.

Instead of recommending that pet owners feed raw-meaty-bones, however, they launch into selling their jars and bottles of stuff to "supplement" the inappropriate diets most pet owners feed and to cure pets of allergies, lessen intestinal distress, and treat various chronic conditions. These contemporary snake-oil salesmen are very like those of old.

In the 19th century, traveling salesmen toured rural communities selling snake oil and other remedies for poor diets and myriad diseases. Perhaps, their remedies did some good, but there was no regulation of their miraculous claims or their homemade formulations. Some people probably benefited from additional vitamins, minerals, and pain-relievers in these concoctions. They probably made a lot of people sicker and killed quite a few, but then so did doctors in that era. As people's diets improved, their need for snake-oil remedies declined. Even today, however, a small segment of the population takes mega-vitamin/mineral supplements and uses exotic herbal remedies that are largely unregulated.

The contemporary plight of pets makes snake-oil purveyors rich. Pet owners are aware of their pets' illnesses and distress, and veterinarians seem helpless to fix their problems. The vets are selling the cause of most of the problems, of course -- commercial pet foods. Snake-oil salesmen are filling the need pet owners feel to do something to remedy their pet's distress. Vitamin and mineral supplements, oils, lotions, and digestive aids may, in fact, help alleviate some health problems from inappropriate diets. They probably make a lot of pets sicker and kill quite a few, but then so do veterinarians.

The fix to most pets' problems is so simple and so inexpensive, compared to kibble and snake-oil supplements. An appropriate rmb diet is all carnivorous pets require to be healthy. Snake-oil salesmen know what pets need, but they can't make a fortune off raw-meaty-bones. As long as pet owners are duped by vets selling cooked starches as good pet foods, snake-oil salesmen will profit, pets will be sick, and pet owners will pay the bills.

Why Feed Your Pet Ground Meats and Bones?

Why feed your pet ground meats and bones?   
He will be thrilled to wrestle with Raw-Meaty-Bones

I puzzle about why pet owners want to feed ground stuff, rather than whole raw-meaty-bones (rmb).  Who told them ground is better, and why?  Can you imagine eating only ground meats, bones, and veggies in a pureed mush?  Why would anyone think this is what dogs prefer or what is better for them?

When I think of how my Labs delight in shaking whole tripe and throwing them around, before chewing them intensely, I can't imagine why anyone would want to grind them.  I do cut off pieces for Ben (the Papillon) and Daisy (the cat), because they can't negotiate whole tripe, but they still chew up their-size pieces.  

Grinding up whole chickens, turkeys, ostriches, and rabbits -- why?  Why would anyone do that? My dogs love to crunch up edible bones, which all of these creatures have in abundance.  Why deprive them of large meaty bones to chew that keep their teeth clean and gums healthy?  My dogs spend hours gnawing on meaty bones with obvious pleasure and satisfaction.  Why deprive them of what Nature intended for carnivorous predators?

I understand the convenience argument that sends people to prepared foods, rather than starting meals from scratch (although it doesn't take long to fix good meals, if you know how to cook).  I learned to cook as a young wife and made sure my children all learned to plan and put together meals from fresh foods.  Teaching the children to cook was a time-saver for me, because in their adolescent years, they rotated cooking assignments, and I didn't have to cook every day.  They were not always thrilled with the chore, but as young adults they realized they were the only ones, among their friends, who knew how to shop for and cook a coordinated meal for 4 or 6 people.  Then, they realized what valuable skills they had learned at home. 

Returning to pet owners, I suspect that many did not learn to cook for themselves, and they subsist on packaged foods.  Feeding pets prepared foods seems natural.  Even if they get the idea of raw feeding, they fall for the packaged, minced version, because they don't appreciate the value of fresh foods for themselves or for their pets.  And they have not done a cost analysis of what they eat and what they feed their pets, because they are spending a lot more than fresh food diets cost.

Pet owners need to know how much less expensive whole rmb and pieces of large rmb are than minced, packaged stuff.  Besides being much less expensive, real meats and meaty bones require no mincing, mixing, cooking, or other preparation   Feeding rmb is so simple even cavemen did it.

Many owners seem to need a course on how to feed pets a proper rmb diet.  A hypothetical RMB 101 would contain sections on:

·         identifying meats and meaty bones,
·         shopping for economical cuts,
·         finding sources for game,
·         storing meats in coolers and freezers, 
·         identifying appropriate sized pieces for large and small dogs and cats,
·         feeding schedules and amounts, 
·         the value of raw-meaty-bones for oral health, and
·         the many disadvantages of cooked and minced stuff
·         cost comparisons of rmb versus packaged, raw foods.

An online course could offer a certificate in “Elementary RMB Feeding”.  An intermediate course could cover more of the theory behind raw feeding and more nutritional science.  Tom Lonsdale, DVM, Work Wonders: Feed Your dog Raw Meaty Bones would be the textbook.  An advanced course would tackle Lonsdale’s Raw Meaty Bones, a more theoretical treatise on the evolution of carnivores and the critical role of oral health in their survival. 

Ironically, the same global companies that profit from selling packaged people-meals are poised to sell them packaged, minced rmb for pets, to replace the kibbles and canned mush they now promote.  I suppose Oma's Pride and similar stuff will retain their niche markets, even as Mars, Nestle-Purina, Colgate-Palmolive, and Proctor & Gamble launch raw, minced, pet-food lines.  I would love to see more pet owners wise up to the scam. Minced, packaged foods do not keep your pet’s teeth clean, and they cost a lot to feed.  Feeding your pet honest rmb is easy, healthy, and economical, if you know how.