Show Off Your Pearly Whites
Gnawing on raw bones is Nature’s toothbrush. It scrapes off plaque and tartar, strengthens the jaw muscles, stimulates the stomach enzymes for better digestion, and it’s a mental stimulus too. It makes your pet feel like a little tiger or a wolf. Also, The naturally occurring enzymes in raw bones help to eliminate food buildup and create an acidic environment that is naturally repellent to gingival bacteria. And without the nasty tartar on their teeth, there’s no bacteria and now there’s no halitosis. Plus, swallowing all that bacteria may get into the lymph and blood system and could damage the kidney or heart, and we don’t want that to happen.
Some folks, including veterinarians, will tell you not to give your dog or cat bones because they could choke on them. Well, maybe cooked bones. Heat changes the molecular structure of the bone and makes them hard and brittle. Raw bones are softer and more pliable. Test it yourself. Put a cooked chicken bone next to a raw chicken bone. Look at the difference. Try to bend the cooked bone. Now, bend the raw bone. The cooked bone will not bend, it’ll snap in half and you’ll see ragged edges. The raw bone is more pliable, softer, and it’ll bend.
Your dog and cat are descendants of wild felines and canines. They eat bones in the wild. How else are they going to get their calcium and other minerals?
But, won’t bones break their teeth? Very rarely, that’s just a scare tactic to steer folks away from raw feeding. However, sometimes premolar and molar teeth split when dogs gnaw “recreational” bones aka large beef marrow bones. Your dog chewing on tennis balls will do more damage as it may expose the pulp cavity. But If you’re scared that meaty bones will damage your pets teeth, don’t be, relax, and don’t feed your dog or cat big knobby knuckle-bones. My cats always leave those thick bones behind anyway. I like to trust their instinct.
My Siamese cat was 8 years old when I switched her to a raw meaty bone diet. Not exactly a kitten. She’d been finicky all her life and I thought I’d have a problem switching her to such a radically different diet. But to my delight, she loved it!
But I had one problem. After 8 years of eating a commercial canned/kibble diet she had a bad case of tartar on her molars. It was so bad it looked like barnacles! What to do? I didn’t want to take her to the vet and have him put her under anesthesia and scrape her teeth. I felt that was too dangerous. So, I wanted to clean her teeth naturally.
I made a lot of mistakes when I started my cat on a raw diet. And, that’s because in the beginning I didn’t have anyone to teach me. The first mistake I made was I fed my Siamese cat ground raw meat. No bones. No organ meat. Not exactly a well-rounded nutritional meal for a cat. Plus, some of those ground raw meat pet foods have added synthetic vitamins, which is something I don’t recommend. But, more importantly, ground raw meat pet foods aren’t going to clean her teeth! She needed to be gnawing on raw bones. So, my next step was to switch her to meaty bones.
My cat freaked out. She’d never seen a bone before. She didn’t know what to do with it. After years of eating mushy food her jaws weren’t strong enough to gnaw on them. And, I also suspected her teeth were sensitive due to a mild case of gingivitis.
(NOTE: No, folks, kibbles don’t clean teeth. And there are some veterinarians out there who actually believe kibbles and milk bones clean cats/dogs teeth. That’s equivalent to your dentist giving you a toothbrush-shaped cookie and then say “Clean your teeth with this.” Would you do it? Hell no! You brush, floss and water-pick. All a cookie is going to do is cover your teeth with an invisible film of saliva and food (plaque) that attracts bacteria. All it takes is 12 hours for plaque to harden into tartar. Same thing with our pets).
While I worked on my cat’s bone-gnawing phobia problem, I tired to remove the tartar by brushing her teeth every night with non-fluoride pet toothpaste and a baby tooth brush. That wasn’t working. Nothing was getting those barnacles off.
Next, I looked to homeopathy to see if I could find a remedy. And I found Fragaria Vesca. I gave my Siamese a low potency at low dosages. In homeopathy, after you give a remedy you watch and wait for healing. This way, you’ll know whether you have given the correct remedy or dosage. So, I waited a few hours and then I took a look in her mouth. Wow! All her barnacles were gone…in a few hours, I’m not kidding. I love homeopathy!
Now that her teeth are cleaner and the gums are healing, those raw meaty bones are no longer scary-looking and she’s happy to chomp away. Yipee!
I was luckier with my 4 year old Burmese. I have been feeding him a raw diet since kittenhood. He eats his meaty bones like potato chips crunch-crunch and has white clean choppers, pink pretty gums, and sweet-smelling breath (he could yawn in your face and you won’t smell anything).
There are some folks who believe cats have not evolved to eat bones. That their teeth are different than dogs, and therefore, cats cannot gnaw. I say “nonsense!” Dogs and cats both have carnivorous dentitions. Cats have 30 teeth, and dogs with their longer snouts, have 42 teeth (in breeds of dogs with pushed in faces, like pugs, their teeth will be more crowded than longer-snout dogs. Therefore, extra care should be given to prevent dental issues). The carnivore’s teeth are pointy and sharp and are designed to rip and tear. Dogs and cats jaws go up and down like an alligator that cut flesh like a pair of scissors, as opposed to omnivore-animals that have jaws that go side-to-side with flat molars to grind food. When a cat attacks, it will use its claws to hold the prey while its sharp canine teeth puncture the skin. When a dog attacks, it uses the canine teeth to rip the flesh.
Below is a video of three cats chomping down on raw chicken wings, bones and all.
FYI: “Researchers studied a group of beagles that, over a period of months, suffered from a progressive accumulation of dental tartar and simultaneously lost the ability to detect odors. The dogs’ teeth were cleaned and within one day their odor detecting abilities returned to normal. Imagine the consequences if a junk-food fed K-9 dog, its teeth encrusted with tartar, failed to detect a terrorist bomb.” ~ Dr. Tom Lonsdale, “Work Wonders,” page 94.
Now, there’s an “art” in feeding raw food to your pet. You have to know the right ratio to bones, to meat, to organs. Animals in the wild know the right ratio. But, since your domesticated cat or dog is dependent on you to feed them correctly, you’ll need to know the right ratio, too. Too much bone may cause constipation. Too little bone will cause soft dark stools. Too much organ meat may cause loose stools (and too much liver can cause a Vitamin A overload and that can interfere with bone metabolism. Specifically, excess vitamin A suppresses osteoblast (bone-building) activity, stimulates osteoclast (bone breakdown) formation, and interferes with vitamin D’s role in calcium absorption and regulation.).
So, what can you do? Well, that’s why I’m here. There’s a lot more to discuss, more than I can fit in a blog. So, if you’re interested in feeding a raw diet to your dog or cat and you’re not sure how to begin, please contact me for a consultation.
NOTE: If your dog or cat is still afraid to eat bones and you’re concerned about his calcium levels, please do not feed Bone Meal. The bovine bones used to make most bone meal come from farm-factory animals that have been found to contain high-levels of fluoride. See article HERE. Instead, I recommend powdered egg shells, such as, EggShellent Calcium.