November 26, 2009

Give a dog a bone ... a RAW bone!

by pawlitico (aka winecountrydog Jack)

Many humans know the old rhyme "knick-knack, paddy whack, give a dog a bone."

Dear dog and cat furriends, what too few humans know is that it should be a RAW bone.

We got to thinking about whether humans know not to feed cooked bones the day that dog-ma read a NYT article about a restaurant chef who wanted to donate leftover bones to animal shelters. Cooked bones! Howl.

Pawleeze doo not infurr that we're paw-cultists or mindless devotees of a pawticular food philosophy. We doo not follow any one school of thought, but we've studied the "original Raw Meaty Bones Diet" and the "BARF Diet," etc.

We doo of course subscribe to the logic of the "whole prey diet."

My furriends, consider our digestive systems. You know that we were built to eat raw, whole prey, and that a whole prey diet necessarily includes certain proportions of bones to certain proportions of muscle meat and organ meat.

The compawsition of any raw whole prey diet includes the raw bones of the prey animal. Historically, then, we derived irrepawlacable nutrients — not only calcium, but also other minerals and doglicious nutrients in bone marrow — from frequent consumption of bones.

Therefur, our eating of raw bones is not just fur dental health, which is the most-often cited reason.

Too bad more veterinarians are not actively recommending raw bones. Howl odd, since veterinarians have been warning pet guardians against cooked bones for years. According to one of our vets, who does insist upon raw bones, vets still see many dogs injured or ill from eating cooked bones.

The cooking process makes bones hard and brittle, not to mention indigestible. Eating cooked bones can give us splinters, broken teeth, indigestion, constipation, and even lethal lacerations and impactions of the gastrointestinal tract.

Pawleeze help paw out the word: Cooked bones from any source are a terrible thing for us dogs, and for cats!

The exception to the raw rule is bones that have been boiled long enough to turn soft. Howlever, if the bones are boiled to softness, most of the calcium has been leached out of them and some nutrients destroyed. This defeats most of the reason for eating bones in the first pawlace.

If you're unable to chew a whole raw bone, ask your human to buy ground whole prey, compawlete with bones (not bone meal!). In our area, we have a product called "raw chicken grind." Many meat companies will doo this custom grinding of whole raw chicken or other prey for you. Caveat: To avoid choking on pieces of bone left unground, ask human to consult experienced humans on safe grind specifications. Still, if unsure of the grind, have human run ground meat through sieve to check for unground bone pieces.

Raw bones should always be fresh, even if frozen, and juicy and chewable. Meaty raw bones are lovely. Some of the best are turkey or chicken neck or back bones (without the ribs) that have been skinned. Humans can freeze bones into u-shapes to make us chew them, i.e., to make it hard fur us to swallow them whole.

Paw-notes to humans:
  • Doo not let worries about getting sick stop you from feeding raw bones. Freezing first will kill off the bacteria.
  • Choose right size and cut of raw bones. Ideally, talk this over with your progressive veterinarian.
  • Generally avoid raw pork and sheep bones because of the pawsibility of parasites.
  • Beware of big raw beef bones that are sometimes hard enough to crack canine teeth.
  • Beware of long bones like legs or ribs, which are more prone to splintering and/or getting stuck.
  • Doo not leave us dogs or cats alone to eat raw bones that you've never fed us before.
We're always supervised when eating something new. Only when humans see that we're ok with a big raw marrow bone or turkey neck will they let us be. Even then, humans might keep an eye on us till we're done gnawing.

Bone appétit!

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