kinds of drugs and its side effects

How to Save $1000 by Feeding Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones

My pal Jim McBean over at DoggyBytes commented extensively on my recent post, Why Anesthesia Free Cleaning is Really Costly — so extensively, in fact, that I suggested he shed more light on the topic by doing a guest post. He agreed. One note: The $1000 in the title alludes to the price that a veterinary dentist Jim consulted charged for a teeth cleaning.

***

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that affects the tissues surrounding the teeth, gums and bone (alveolar bone). If left untreated, periodontitis will eventually lead to loosening of and loss of teeth and can also damage the kidneys, liver and heart.

Periodontal Disease

  • has been a known problem in domestic pets for at least 70 years and affects 8 out of 10 dogs 3 years and older. It coincides with the advent of commercial pet food. Coincidence?
  • is worse in smaller animals
  • progresses with age
  • causes loosening of and loss of teeth
  • is very common in dogs fed soft diets who have little dental activity by way of cutting and tearing raw flesh and breaking and crunching bones
  • leads to pyorrhoea (an advanced form of periodontitis), 100 % of the time in dogs fed soft diets if they live long enough

From Bad to Worse

Due to the vascular nature of the gums, secondary diseases can develop as bacteria from the mouth enter the blood stream and make their way to the liver and kidneys. The bacteria then colonize in these organs wreaking havoc! Bacteria reaching the heart can cause vegetative endocarditis (infected heart valves).

Diet is the Main Cause of Periodontal Disease

It should really come as no surprise that diet is the main cause of periodontal disease given that so many other ailments, canine and human, are as a result of subpar dietary practices.

Numerous studies have looked at the effects of hard and soft food diets on the oral health of domestic pets, all concluding that soft foods contribute to periodontal disease and that more abrasive hard foods (raw meaty bones), help prevent it.

Two groups of dogs were fed either hard biscuits or the same biscuits ground and mixed with water for 14 months. At the end of the study, the dogs eating the hard food still had healthy teeth gums, while the dogs fed soft mush developed gingivitis, plaque and calculus. (Burwasser and Hill 1939)

Another study compared feeding raw whole bovine trachea with attached oesophagus, muscle and fat, to the same food finely minced. Plaque accumulation and the onset of gingivitis were observed in the group of dogs fed the minced food. (Egelberg 1965)

“…periodontal disease may be uncommon in wild canids and felids, and suggestive evidence (alveolar bone disease) was found in only 2% of 1157 canid jaw bone specimens examined by Colyer (Miles and Grigson 1990).” – Undoubtedly because they eat non-processed foods in the form of meat, connective tissue and bone.

Plaque will form on teeth regardless of what types of foods are eaten. However, it stands to reason that softer foods can stick to teeth speeding up the formation of plaque, and that soft foods are inefficient in removing existing plaque from teeth.

Foods that require tearing, cutting and crunching (such as raw meaty bones), are nutritionally beneficial for your dog and are much more likely to be effective at keeping periodontal disease at bay by abrading teeth as they are consumed.

“Raw meaty bones have good characteristics to promote oral health….” – Australian Veterinary Journal Vol. 71. No. 10. October 1994

3 Ways to Help Prevent Your Dog from Developing Periodontal Disease

  1. Take your dog for regular dental checkups.
  2. Feed your dog size & type appropriate raw meaty bones on a regular basis, if not daily, especially if you feed canned food or kibble. Go here to watch a couple of dogs eating RMBs and a cat devouring a chicken wing. There are lots of options, but do your research.
  3. Brushing may help, if your dog will let you do it, but remember, just like the dentist tells us, brushing won’t clean below the gum line.

There is no guarantee that feeding raw meaty bones will prevent an individual animal from developing periodontal disease, but feeding raw meaty bones is guaranteed to be less expensive than dental cleaning at your vet – with or without anesthesia.

For more Raw reading visit DoggyBytes.ca.

Update: Jim posted the following in the comments section, which I’m bringing up here:

There’s not a ton of research being done on raw diets for dogs and cats. For obvious reasons the pet food industry (who fund most of the “studies”) isn’t particularly interested in pouring a lot of money into that kind of research, except when it benefits from the spread misinformation.

I understand there are reasons that people don’t want to feed their pets a raw diet; they believe it to be too expensive (it’s not), they don’t like handling meat or whatever, that’s fine. What I don’t understand is the unwillingness of some to even explore the topic – and the degree to which they oppose the notion of raw feeding .

Needing large “controlled studies” to learn what we already know, that carnivores (which include dogs, wolves and cat) eat flesh and bone and have been equipped by nature to do so, seems sort of odd to me. How on earth have dogs been able to survive for hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of years without commercial kibble?

A Word About Salmonella

“At all events, the evidence in which the antibody response takes place suggests that the host-parasite relationship is not saprophytic but of latent infection. If there is no primary factor which produces harmfull effects on barriers within the body, dogs may not fall ill.” Source: Studies on Salmonella in Dogs

Definition: Latent Infection – “The state in which a host is infected with a pathogen but does not show any symptoms.”

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13 Comments

  1. Posted January 19, 2010 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if a raw food diet is a miracle cure for all dog ailments, but a lot of what Mr. McBean says seems to make sense. The analogy is that many lifestyle diseases of today’s humans (heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) were not nearly as prevalent decades ago when we led less sedentary lives and ate less processed food. So maybe it’s not surprising that dogs (and cats), thrive better when fed a diet more in line with their evolution instead of kibble. Not to be cavalier about it, but think of it as an experiment … does it do any harm to try a new diet and see if your pet is better off?

    • Edie
      Posted January 19, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Glad to get verification from different sources of the diet’s benefits — and good for you, Rod, for being willing to try new things.

  2. Posted January 19, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been feeding Jersey bones since she’s been a puppy and her teeth are fab! At almost 7 years of age she virtually has no tartar build-up on her teeth and she’s never had a dental cleaning. Jersey is also quite the chewer and enjoys rawhide chews daily. Feeding bones to enable dogs to chew and gnaw really does work!

  3. Posted January 19, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Many of our friends feed their dogs raw food and have seen huge improvements in dogs with arthritis, skin allergies, digestive problems, coat quality, and overall health. Our dogs love their raw bison and elk bones and does have very clean teeth!

  4. Posted January 19, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    I tried to “Go here to watch a couple of dogs eating RMBs and a cat devouring a chicken wing.” but get a server not found message.

    Can someone please post the html?

    Thanks

  5. Posted January 19, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    I was over at Zane and Zara’s today, a Chicago dog boutique that also carries select foods, and I talked to one of the owners about raw diets. I asked how you could be sure about safety from contamination. He smiled and said when he first heard of a raw diet he was a little freaked by it. I laughed and said I felt the same–that I would not even eat sushi. Yet I’ve had beefsteak tartare in Europe, and that even has raw egg! I was younger then and understood less about the pitfalls of slaughterhouses and processing. But I digress…the owner liked Stella & Chewy’s brand of raw foods and meaty bones because they have a tracking number on every bag that customers can use to double check inspection results.

    His dogs love the raw bones and their teeth are in great shape. Tashi can’t tear anything with no canines (they fell out, and there was no root system in them, and no teeth grew in their place), so he gets nylabones to chew, an occasional carrot with his delicate digestive system, and I just saw a dental kong today that he’s going to be using.

    Does anyone know if there is something more contemporary than the 1939 citation? It seems weird that no one would have retested that research as so much of science tests what is taken as common knowledge, giving it the scientfic seal of approval. I should think a much more thorough test could be designed.

  6. Posted January 20, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Edie, that is the correct link. The main video is of Dr. Billinghurst talking about how to serve his product and under that video are three additional videos of two of dogs eating raw and one of a cat eating a chicken wing.

  7. Posted January 20, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Karyn – for some reason it seems that some people in the US can’t bring up my site. From talking to someone near Philly, whatever the problem, it is related to the IP’s down there.

    At any rate, here are the direct links to Youtube of the videos I have posted on my site;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRaKmbcKjto (wonderful crunching sound effects too. =)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfLtzLm2RC0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTYiWmPGmTQ

  8. Posted January 21, 2010 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    There’s not a ton of research being done on raw diets for dogs and cats. For obvious reasons the pet food industry (who fund most of the “studies”) isn’t particularly interested in pouring a lot of money into that kind of research, except when it benefits from the spread misinformation.

    I understand there are reasons that people don’t want to feed their pets a raw diet; they believe it to be too expensive (it’s not), they don’t like handling meat or whatever, that’s fine. What I don’t understand is the unwillingness of some to even explore the topic – and the degree to which they oppose the notion of raw feeding .

    Needing large “controlled studies” to learn what we already know, that carnivores (which include dogs, wolves and cat) eat flesh and bone and have been equipped by nature to do so, seems sort of odd to me. How on earth have dogs been able to survive for hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of years without commercial kibble?

    A Word About Salmonella

    “At all events, the evidence in which the antibody response takes place suggests that the host-parasite relationship is not saprophytic but of latent infection. If there is no primary factor which produces harmfull effects on barriers within the body, dogs may not fall ill.” Source: Studies on Salmonella in Dogs

    Definition: Latent Infection – “The state in which a host is infected with a pathogen but does notshow any symptoms.

  9. Susanne
    Posted January 21, 2010 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    A word of caution – dogs have evolved as omnivores and to state they are meant to be solely carnivorous is incorrect. “Dogs are opportunistic eaters and have developed anatomic and physiologic characteristics that permit digestion and usage of a varied diet.” Source: Hand, M. and Novotny, B. (2002) Small Animal Clinical Nutrition 4th Edition. Dogs require a diet that in addition to protein and fat includes a carbohydrate source, some fibre, and nutrients that they will not get eating meat alone. Wolves achieve this through eating the stomach contents of the herbivores they kill, and it has been documented that this is one of the first parts of the kill they will devour. In times when prey is scarce wolves also eat seeds and berries to supplement their diet.

    It is possible to feed a domestic dog a vegetarian diet as long as it contains the appropriate levels of protein, carbohydrates and other nutrients to meet the dog’s daily metabolic energy requirements. A domestic cat, on the other hand, is an obligate carnivore, and can survive on meat alone. Cats do also have specific nutritional requirements, most notably their need for taurine, and will become ill very quickly if deficient, so if feeding raw meat alone to a pet cat you may want to add a vitamin supplement containing taurine to be safe.

    There is nothing wrong with feeding your pet dog on a diet of raw foods you put together yourself at home as long as it meets all the dog’s nutritional needs i.e. contains enough protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber etc. A vet could give you suggestions on how to achieve this, or an animal nutritionist could also provide feeding plans. The area where care needs to be used if doing this is when substituting ingredients from the recommended diet plan, say due to a listed ingredient being unavailable, or deciding to use other ingredients because they are cheaper etc. This can result in nutritional deficiencies, which over time can cause health problems.

    Sorry to get academic on you, but I had to clarify the dog – carnivore issue as it is a common misconception and can result in a sick pup in the long term. There are many excellent texts available, including the one I mentioned already, or the likes of “Animal Nutrition” by Mc Donald, Edwards, Greenhalgh and Morgan – a more technical text that goes into calculating daily metabolic energy requirements to develop appropriate diets for a variety of domestic animals (lots of boring calculations and such, but if you are into that sort of thing it’s a great book).

    I have a feeling what I have said is going to rile some people up so I’ll throw some qualifications out there to back up what I said (at the risk of being all academic yet again)
    Susanne Fritz
    B.Science (Biology) B.Arts (Science Communication) Grad Cert Food Science
    There you have it – the science geek has been outed! 😉

    • Edie
      Posted January 21, 2010 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Wow — thanks for this, Susanne. This is a much better response to “dogs are carnivores” than “go watch a movie!” I suspected you had geek tendencies, but this provides definitive proof. Geeks rule!

  10. Posted February 24, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I have a created my own website on raw feeding, please take a look: http://www.dogscamefromwolves.com

    It explains how to feed, what to feed, the benefits, and other supplements and veggies/fruits you can add.

    Monty

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