Well-meaning cat and dog owners are causing long-lasting damage to their pets by feeding them commercial pet foods, according to a new book.
Veterinarian Tom Lonsdale claims in his book that all cats and dogs need bones as part of their diet to keep them healthy.
But he says many vets promote and sell the processed foods despite the problems they cause, because of their close links with the multi-billion dollar pet food industry.
“If you own a dog or a cat which you feed with processed food from the supermarket or corner store, you will probably
find this book deeply disturbing,” Dr Lonsdale said in the preface.
The launch of the book coincides with a campaign by the American pet food company, Ralston Purina, using Sydney University veterinary students to promote its products in supermarkets.
The company claimed last week it had hired the students to promote its “optimal nutritional excellence” petfoods because Australian consumers were the most uneducated in the western world about pet nutrition.
But Dr Lonsdale argues in detail, using his own experience as
a vet at South Windsor, the experience of other local vets and overseas research, that dogs and cats need to chew on bones to prevent mouth disease.
According to pet food company Hill’s, seven out of 10 adult pets have some degree of dental problems. Without bones, their gums quickly become diseased, leading to tooth problems, bad breath and an array of systemic problems including a drop in white blood cells.
As a result, they could develop serious immune deficiencies which Dr
Lonsdale likened to the AIDS in people, although it is not caused by a virus. “It’s not a matter of whether artifical pet foods and food-induced periodontal disease give rise to ill health, it’s more a matter of which disease, when and how,” he said. Dr Lonsdale advocates giving cats and dogs raw chicken wings, chicken necks and ox tail to young kittens and puppies when
they most need to chew.
“Older larger dogs need raw bones and cats need raw meat on the bone,” he
Dr Lonsdale said the book was intended to give pet owners the information to challenge their vets and overcome the most common problems for cats and
dogs. He said pet owners often did not notice the problems until they were
far advanced, especially in dogs which intuitively hide ailments.
Although opening a can or a bag of dried food was convenient, he said most
pet owners cared deeply for their animals and wanted the best for them.
“People have been led to believe that owning a cat or dog is a simple matter
and feeding can be dealt with using commercial offerings,” he said.
“But if they start to see themselves as responsible zoo keepers, looking after
animals without bars, they will enjoy pet ownership much more and have
Dr Lonsdale had to fight the veterinary profession to make his claims, which
included that the Australian Veterinary Association had become too closely involved with commercial pet food
When he first raised his concerns in 1996, he was accused of professional misconduct and threatened with being struck off the veterinary register.
He was even threatened with jail if he revealed the nature of four complaints
which were made about him to the NSW Veterinary Surgeons Investigating Committee (VSIC), all of which were later dropped.
The investigatory committee claimed then that Dr Lonsdale was “stating
extremist views in a very public forum that he has not supported publicly by
scientific data”. NSW MLA Paul Lynch has raised Dr Lonsdale’s treatment by the VSIC in Parliament several times as well as other concerns
about the committee.
Another of Dr Lonsdale’s targets is the Petcare Information and Advisory Service, which promotes dog and cat ownership.
Although it does not declare this, Petcare is funded by Uncle Ben’s, a subsidiary of Mars Group (which also makes Mars Bars), Australia’s biggest pet food company.
A Petcare spokeswoman declined to comment on Dr Lonsdale’s views and said the service did not really advise people on nutrition.
However, its website strongly advocates the use of commercial foods.
“The most reliable and convenient way to provide a balanced and palatable diet is to feed high quality prepared dog food, both
canned and dry,” it says on its website.
“Puppies have different nutritional requirements to adult dogs and for this reason it is essential to feed your puppy with
specially formulated puppy foods in canned and dry forms.”
ALIMENTS WHICH PROCESSED PET FOODS CAN CAUSE IN DOGS:
Source: Dr Tom Lonsdale, author, “Raw Meaty Bones”.
- Bad breath. This is not natural in dogs and is a sign of “mouth rot”.
- Lack of a shiny glossy coat, itchy skin. Dog looks poor, unkempt, unhappy.
- Prolonged sleeping, dull eyes, too thin or too fat.
- Gastroenteritis, persistent diarrhoea, liver problems.
- Arthritis, stiffness, poor circulation, collagen disease.
Raw Meaty Bones is available from the wesbite, http://www.rawmeatybones.com