Western Suburbs Weekly, Tuesday, March 19, 2002

A dog's best friend...

by Simone Considine

Pet owners believe they are doing the right thing by feeding their animals canned food, but they are doing much more harm than good, says controversial veterinarian and author Tom Lonsdale.

Although he has found himself on the wrong side of veterinarians and pet food manufacturers, he believes animal owners could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year by putting their pets on a more natural diet of raw meaty bones.

Dr Lonsdale was appalled that the health of animals had declined to such a level where many pets had bad breath, stained teeth, rotting gums and a whole host of other ailments including liver and kidney diseases, skin problems and diarrhoea.

Veterinarians were treating the symptoms but not the problem, which was basically poor diet.

The reason, he says, is that dogs, cats and ferrets are carnivorous animals that had evolved to hunt, kill and feed on carcasses but now were living in homes and being fed canned and packaged food without a bone in sight.

The process of an animal chewing raw meat off a bone caused the saliva to flow, which cleaned and polished the teeth, eliminated bad breath and subsequently relieved other health problems.

Processed and packaged foods were not tough enough to do this.

"Stinking breath is often a telltale sign of ill-health in pets," Dr Lonsdale said.

"It is important for owners not to wait until their dogs teeth are encrusted in tartar and about to fall out.

"You wouldn't put butter in your car instead of petrol would you?

"So why give your animal the wrong fuel?"

He suggested a diet consisting of raw meat with many small bones, such as in kangaroo tails, ox tails, chicken wings and necks, quails and whole fish, plus some table scraps.

Meat should not be cut up but left for the animal to chew through to get the saliva going.

It was better to rear pets on a diet of raw meaty bones, but it was never too late to change their diet, he said.

Dr Lonsdale will speak at a lecture on Thursday, March 21, from 7.30 to 9pm and a workshop on Saturday, March 23, from 9am to 5pm at the University of Western Australia as part of the UWA Extension programme.

Tickets cost $22 for the lecture and $97 for the workshop.

Inquiries to 9380 2433.

To find out more about Dr Lonsdale's philosophies and his book, visit his website at www.rawmeatybones.com.