[VERTAALD] Dogs (and Cats) not eating bones

Vraag & antwoord 26 t/m 29 juni 2006.

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[VERTAALD] Dogs (and Cats) not eating bones

Berichtdoor Tannetje » ma 26 jun, 2006 10:03

Dear Tom (and collegue), I had a dog who refused all his life to eat bones. Even large pieces of meat were immpossible. This also was the cuse of his death, a SCC in his mouth due to a chronically irritated mucosa because of tartar. Ok, he got 16 years old so he didn´t die young.
I cleaned his teeth almost every 4 months and brushed his teeth too. Have you any idea´s how to solve this problem?

Besides: I guess you put every dog and cat in your practice on raw food and bones. How many of them have sincere objections or refuse to do so and how many skip to kibble after a while?

*Oosterse Vorst*
*Oosterse Vorst*
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Geregistreerd: vr 02 dec, 2005 22:26

Berichtdoor canecorsosultan » di 27 jun, 2006 01:56

Here we have one dog that absolutely refuses bones too, unfortunately. She loves meats, and organs, but won't eat bones, except chicken- and ducknecks. After trying for more than a year, we don't know what to do anymore. We hope you can help!

Kind regards, Mari, Yvon and our beloved dogs, Sultan and Irina
Groetjes, Yvon
Cane Corso a love that lasts a lifetime

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Geregistreerd: vr 23 jun, 2006 16:37

Not eating bones

Berichtdoor Tom Lonsdale » di 27 jun, 2006 16:22

Dear Tannetje and all,

Thanks for the enquiry. For sure gnawing the meat and sinew off bones, and eating some bone, is an important part of carnivore biology.

Of course nothing occurs in isolation or in absolute terms. Consequently dogs and cats can and do live without fulfilling fundamental requirements. It means that other body systems are overused (immune system, liver, kidneys) and chronic disease becomes the reality.

That some dogs (and cats in particular) refuse to eat raw meaty bones is a worry. Work Wonders Chapter 4 has info on how to switch fussy dogs and you can read the version in Dutch at Below this message I've pasted the unfinished, unedited original version that included cats and ferrets. I hope that provides some useful tips.

Regarding your point about reverting back to kibble. That was a big and important part of our reality when I was in practice. (Not since 1997 have I been working in clinical practice.)

Back in those days a good percentage of my clients ceased to be clients when I asked them to switch to rmb feeding. Of those that did change certainly a fair percentage will have slipped back into the old ways -- whether because of their pets' reluctance or whether for other reasons of convenience/familiarity etc with the old ways.

As I found to my continued cost, reluctant pets and reluctant clients left the practice. Those that stayed stayed healthy with little need for veterinary treatment.

During these times of transition from junk food feeding to a more natural diet pet owners need to improvise and help themselves. It's a time when there are a maximum of problems and a minimum of vets who know how to help. In years to come we can look forward to puppies and kittens being raised on raw food and thus the problems of introducing adults will abate/disappear.

Many thanks,

Best wishes,


Chapter 4 Switching, Grinding, Breeding

Switching to raw food
Getting started, overcoming your fears, can be a tricky business. We’ve all heard the bad press about dogs choking on bones, the vet bills associated with the perforation of a dog’s bowel and the nasty bacteria said to lurk in every mouthful of raw food. We don’t want to do our pets even the slightest harm and besides we have a self image to preserve. There’s a myth only reckless extremists flout conventions, exposing themselves to public ridicule or worse.

Relax, wipe the sweat from your brow and dry your palms. Switching your pet’s diet is easily the most important thing you can do to promote health, vitality and longevity. Happily most dogs are in touch with their inner wolf and soon seize on the first juicy bone you offer. Cats, ferrets and some dogs, after becoming addicted to the commercial offerings, may take a bit of persuading.

Let’s assume your pet is relatively young, has no major problems with teeth and gums (see chapter 8 ) and hitherto has been fed a commercial or home cooked diet. The first question then becomes: Do you introduce changes gradually or switch the diet abruptly?

I recommend that, if possible, you make a complete change without any lead-up. Simply stop the old diet and start the new. Chicken backs and frames make a good initial meal for all sizes of carnivore. Simply throw the items on the ground and watch your pet sniff, lick and finally seize the morsels. You may feel the urge to ‘hover’ for the first few feeding sessions. Try to ‘hover’ at a distance and so avoid ‘crowding’ your pet.

What if your pet has become addicted to junk food and you have become habituated to feeding the addiction? Often a 24 hour fast makes a big difference. Resist the temptation to provide a snack of kibble or canned mush. Simply remove all food for 24 hours. The next day, your somewhat confused and hungry pet will likely be more willing to investigate the strange new offering. If this strategy fails we need to think again.

Methods differ for dogs, cats and ferrets.

Switching fussy dogs
Fat dogs can be fasted for lengthy periods without ill-effect — even several weeks. Lean dogs can go without food for long periods too. So if your dog is unwilling to try the new food then use hunger as your principle tool.

Two or three days of no rations creates a much different attitude. If the chicken frames are not eaten after an hour, simply return them to the refrigerator until the next day. By the third day your hungry hound will likely be following your every move, and be prepared to participate in the experiment.

’Tis most unlikely you will need more elaborate methods. However, if your pet still resists then try smearing the raw chicken with more familiar canned food. Or if kibble has been your standard, then try crushing some kibble and smearing that on the chicken.

Fussy feeders used to human cooked food may need the chicken lightly grilled before they will eat it. After a few days of grilling then serve the chicken raw and all should be well.

Dogs that eat raw chicken usually accept other raw meaty bones and offal. However, if a new item creates resistance then try a day or two of fasting. I wish you luck and mention a couple of exceptions — raw feeding is not a mechanical process, we need to stay in touch with the realities of nature.

Some dogs relish whole raw fish and some dogs refuse to eat them however hard you try. My own dogs eat chicken backs and frames with gusto. But much to my chagrin, when I bought some live hens with the intention of feeding them warm, feathers guts and all, the dogs would shake the newly killed hens, but flatly refuse to eat them. I tried plucking the hens; dismembering them; I tried everything I could think of, but the result was the same. Such is a life with dogs.

The remaining hens were happy and laid lots of eggs to prove it.

Switching fussy cats
Let’s first evaluate the situation; because switching cats can be a tricky business and we need to get a good grasp of the task at hand.

Do you rattle the packet before pouring the fishy pellets into a bowl? What do you say to pussy as she comes running? Maybe your feline seldom stirs except to nibble on the kibble sitting in the bowl 24 hours per day? Maybe the furry feline entwined round your legs signals the need for you to open the refrigerator and, with a tap on the tin, serve up the pungent canned food.

Feeding rituals differ, but timing, taste, texture, sight, sounds and smells all play a part. Pussy cat is quite likely addicted to these powerful stimuli and you, as the carer, have likely grown accustomed to the ways that worked best for you. You have literally fed the addiction.

Now imagine the future with your lithe feline crouched low tucking in to chicken necks, quail and whole raw fish. That’s the end point, but how are you going to get there? Will you need help?

Experienced help is at hand on the internet at the rawfeeding discussion group. But if your cat is overweight, suffers from dental or other medical problems, then you will likely first need to consult your vet before you embark on the diet changes.

Useful change techniques

Stopping 24 hour access to food is the essential first step to breaking your cat’s addiction. Instead, start a once-a-day feeding pattern. Beyond which there are several ‘tricks’ either singly or in combination that should help.

Hungry cats are always more willing to sniff, lick and ultimately eat new foods. So reduce the amount of commercial canned or dry food offered. (Do not fast or starve your cat for more than 24 hours.)

Settle on one meat, for instance chicken, that you wish your cat to become accustomed to.

Taste and texture of raw meat are the two things you need your cat to accept. (Gnawing on bones comes later.) So chop a few strips of chicken meat and cover with commercial food in a bowl.

Over successive days feed less commercial food and more raw meat.

When raw meat is accepted try increasing the size of the pieces until chicken necks and wings replace the chopped chicken.

Other tricks involve slightly searing the meat in a pan or under the grill. You can try mixing canned fish juices with the meat or dusting it with powdered kibble.

Slitting the skin on chicken wings and stuffing canned food inside may tempt your finicky feline.

If you own several cats they can compete with and learn from each other.

Perseverance pays and ten days is usually sufficient time to switch a difficult cat. It’s best to let your cat become an established chicken eater, but not an addict, before introducing quail, rabbit or fish to the diet.

A further round of patience and trickery may then be needed.

Switching fussy ferrets
Switching your fussy ferret to a diet of more natural food will surely test your ingenuity — but keep at it and you will win.

Try the tricks suggested for fussy felines. You can also tap into your ferret’s natural curiosity. Try hiding kibble in the cut breast of chicken or under the skin on chicken wings. Your ferret may search for the familiar food and in the process gain a taste for chicken.

Can you obtain road kill, pigeons, rats, mice and day old chicks? These food items can be cut open and the familiar kibble hidden inside. Soon your ferrets will be licking their bloody noses and then it’s only a matter of time before they realise that raw food tastes good.

Keer terug naar Gastschrijver Tom Lonsdale (2006)

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