Friday, May 14, 2010

Dog Food Month- Raw Meaty Bones

Please welcome guest blogger Jim McBean. He is a dog lover and blogger at Doggy Bytes. The purpose of Doggy Bytes is "to provide useful dog/puppy related information, product information and entertainment. We tend to favour “environment friendly” dog products." Here he shares his views on Raw Meaty Bones.

Raw Meaty Bones

by Jim McBean

As much as some people might like to argue or confuse the point, dogs ARE carnivores designed to eat raw meat and bone.

Canine digestive physiology;

  • dentition, (sharp teeth obviously designed to grip, rip, tear and crunch raw flesh and bone)

  • lack of amylase an enzyme in saliva that starts the digestion of carbohydrate (possessed in the saliva of omnivores and herbivores but not carnivores)

  • stomach acid of pH of 1-2 (capable of digesting whole pieces of bone), four times more acidic than human stomach acid

  • short digestive tract designed to move food quickly from Point A to Point B

Notice I didn't include "chewing" when I talked about a dog's teeth. A dog doesn't chew, its jaws moves straight up and down with no side to side motion, a characteristic of omnivores (humans) and herbivores (cows), who's jaws are capable of lateral movement needed to chew and grind their food into smaller pieces in order to swallow and digest them. A dog's jaws were designed for ripping, tearing and cutting their food into chunks just big enough to swallow, their stomach's handle all the heavy digestion work, their saliva serves only to lubricate the esophagus to help move food through it to the stomach.

A dog's digestive tract is about one third to one half the length of of an omnivore, and is designed for quick digestion of raw meat and bone. Strong stomach acids combined with quick transit of food through its digestive system protects the carnivore from dangerous bacteria and other pathogens. This is why a healthy dog can drink pond water and rotting meat and not become ill.

Omnivores possess a much longer GI tract than carnivores giving them more time to digest complex carbohydrates, which in the dog, often times pass through undigested, evident by the big sloppy stools of kibble fed dogs that are forced to eat commercial pet foods containing grains and starches. In fact, dogs have no known requirement for carbohydrates.

"There is no known minimum dietary carbohydrate requirement for either the dog or the cat. Based on investigations in the dog and with other species it is likely that dogs and cats can be maintained without carbohydrates if the diet supplies enough fat or protein from which the metabolic requirement for glucose is derived." - Waltham Book of Dog and Cat Nutrition (2nd edition, 1988)

So What Should a Carnivore Eat?

Now that we've determined that dogs are carnivores what should they eat? The following three raw feeding principles are taken from Dr. Tom Lonsdale's book, Work Wonders: Feed Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones.

  1. Feed meaty bones raw.

  2. Feed meaty bones in large pieces to ensure maximum cleaning of teeth and gums.

  3. Feed meaty bones from a variety of animals - for instance chicken, lamb and rabbit - thus ensuring good balance of nutrients.

Here are a few low cost foods that you can start feeding your carnivore right away.

  • Turkey backs

  • Turkey necks

  • Lamb necks

  • Chicken Backs

  • Pork Hocks

  • Green Buffalo Tripe

  • Fresh Pacific Herring

  • Fresh beef heart

  • Fresh beef liver

  • Fresh beef kidney

**All of the above are always given raw, never cooked, and I always supervise my dogs when they eat.

Benefits of Feeding Raw Meaty Bones

  1. Healthy teeth and gums which means a healthier pet needing fewer vet visits saving you money.

  2. Cleaner teeth means no doggy breath.

  3. Mental stimulation and exercise by having to work at eating their raw meaty bones.

  4. Smaller firmer stool (about 1/3 the size of a kibble fed dog) that naturally expresses anal glands.

  5. A shinier, healthier coat.

  6. Fewer or no skin problems.

  7. Fewer or no ear problems.

  8. Lower chance of arthritic problems.

  9. More energy.

  10. Dogs love it!

  11. Longer life!

For a healthier, longer lived pet, feed them raw meaty bones. Challenge the status quo and do your own research into feeding your pet carnivore a species appropriate raw meaty bones diet.

Leave your drugs in the chemist's pot if you can heal your patients with food. - Hippocrates

Recommended Reading

Work Wonders: Feed Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones
- Tom Lonsdale

Yahoo Groups

Raw Meaty Bones

Raw Feeding

Do you use raw meaty bones? How does your dog like them? Leave us a comment here.

*Check in Monday for more Dog Food Month about canine food allergies.
* Leave a comment or question and be entered into a drawing for free dog food, gift certificate, or treats at the end of the month!

*Jim McBean is a blogger, dog lover and guardian to a Border Collie named Sweety and an American Pit Bull Terrier named Zeus. Jim blogs at on canine health and nutrition with emphasis on feeding dogs a diet of raw meaty bones.


  1. Thanks to your advice on Doggy Bytes, Jersey now enjoys raw turkey necks with her dinner!

  2. Karen, I'm happy to hear that Jersey is enjoying a new food. Thank you to Jim for his tips.

  3. Zeus and Sweety never turn down a nice crunchy, meaty turkey neck. #omnomnom

    You're very welcome Peggy, thanks for having me. =)

  4. I've feed a raw diet, at it was the ONLY thing that kept Ben's digestive problems under control. However, I don't agree that dogs are strict carnivores - if they were, why would they have saliva that specifically breaks down plant material?

  5. have never fed raw to my three Look What! labbies, but after reading articles on the subject may give it a try. My English lab inhales her kibble and eats from a tug-a-jug. May begin with her. One of the labs has pancreatitis; is raw safe for dogs with low protein/fat requirements?

  6. @crazie_eddie - Dogs DO NOT have salivary amylase, which is what breaks down carbohydrates. Oogs can eat other food items, but they are not needed in their diets.

    They myth of vegetables and fruits stems from some misguided belief that dogs/wolves eat the stomach contents in the wild. Simply put - they do not. They will eat the contents of small animals - thinks rabbits, squirrels, etc., but not large animals. They WILL eat the stomach - known as green tripe.

  7. @leslie - Dogs are carnivores - the protein and fats that are received from raw meaty foods are the exact foods they are designed to ingest. Based on this fact, the ingested foods are more digestible than kibble, therefore there is no need to worry about the protein and fat percentages.

    You can find more information on that here:

  8. Thanks for writing eddie, leslie and rawk9s. I am learning about all this as I read the guest posts and comments. Every comment is appreciated!

  9. P.S. Leslie my dog Kelly loves her tug-a-jug too!

  10. Peggy - No problem. Please ask questions.

  11. Hi Leslie.

    My 15 year old "Sweety" had a bout with acute pancreatitis back in 2006. We'd gone away for the weekend and boarded her and our other dog at a boarding kennel we thought we could be comfortable with.

    When we returned Sweety was gravely ill. Up until that point I'd been feeding her raw since 2004. The vet we saw scared me into putting her on MediCal Gastro which I very reluctantly did.

    Never happy with Sweety on that "junk food" kibble, I switched our dogs back to a raw diet in late 2008.

    To this date, Sweety has not had a recurring bout of pancreatitis and we never were able to pin down the cause of why the first bout happened.

    This website B-Naturals has some good info on feeding dogs suffering from pancreatitis.

  12. Here's a quote from Dr. Lonsdale's book regarding canine pancreatic problems.

    "Most vets keep their pancreas patients on junk food and prescribe pancreatic enzyme pills and powders. Better if they prescribed a raw diet with plenty of ox or pig pancreas included." - Work Wonders: Feed Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones (p. 70)

  13. @leslie - Dogs are carnivores - the protein and fats that are received from raw meaty foods are the exact foods they are designed to ingest. Based on this fact, the ingested foods are more digestible than kibble, therefore there is no need to worry about the protein and fat percentages.

    You can find more information on that here:


Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!