Commercial food is killing our pets

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
fewer problems.”
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.”
Source: Dr Tom Lonsdale, author, “Raw Meaty Bones”.

  1. Bad breath. This is not natural in dogs and is a sign of “mouth rot”.
  2.  Lack of a shiny glossy coat, itchy skin. Dog looks poor, unkempt, unhappy.
  3.  Prolonged sleeping, dull eyes, too thin or too fat.
  4.  Gastroenteritis, persistent diarrhoea, liver problems.
  5.  Arthritis, stiffness, poor circulation, collagen disease.

Raw Meaty Bones is available from the wesbite,


Understanding drug addictions

Loving someone that has an addiction is a struggle that is widely known. The fact that it’s not all in their hands nevertheless, doesn’t seem that familiar to the public. We, as a society, tend to think that drug users are in that situation because they want to. They are seen as criminals, as people to avoid, as dangerous individuals, as selfish people who started fooling around with drugs, or just seen as scary folks. But what would happen if we started changing our perception? Would that help? 

Let’s see how it worked out in Portugal:

In 1999, 1 in every 100 people were drug addicts. In 2001, Portugal approved a law to decriminalise the personal possession of all drugs. This meant users would be encouraged – not forced – to give up drugs. They created a Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction, formed by legal, health and social work professionals.

The Bill meant:

Click here for a pdf explanation

  1. Whenever a user was caught doing drugs, he or she would get arrested and fined, but not imprisoned.


  1. One is then noted and told to join a treatment programme financed by the government.


While the same quantity of money is spent fighting against drugs, the criminal department distributes it differently. This is because the targets are only those who sell drugs, rather than the ones who consume drugs. Results are astonishing:


Werther Ramalho completed his masters in Criminal Law in Brazil and also studied in Portugal. He tells us his opinion comparing both countries. “Portugal’s experience inspired a variety of transformations in the legal treatment of users that have taken place across the continent.”


Werther reveals that Portugal has achieved a movement that promotes seeing the issue as a health problem, rather than a crime. This has had a global impact that affected Latin America as well, and Brazil, influenced by Portugal, started to apply this theory in 2006 and made a similar measure in the same direction but Brazil still see it as a criminal offence. What both politics have in common is they haven’t looked at what kind of self harm is tolerable. “For example”, he explains, “Uruguay considered that marijuana is acceptable and they regulated its use. This made Uruguay able to invest much more in public health policies”


The use of drugs in Portugal after 10 years since the law was approved was completely astonishing:

Screen-Shot-2016-11-20-at-16.40.53While the same quantity of money is spent fighting against drugs, the criminal department distributes it differently. This is because the targets are only those who sell drugs, rather than the ones who consume drugs. 

After doing a wide research I came across a study done by Robis, Davis and Nuco in 1974. The results altered my views on drug addictions. Let me explain it, I will try to take you there with me: We are going back to the Vietnam War.

It’s the summer of 1971 and the military are carrying out urine tests on their soldiers. They are worried as the number of servicemen addicted to heroin reached epidemic proportions: 73% of results came out positive. Both army and government are concerned; they won’t be able to cover the costs of adequate programmes, facilities and medication for the soldiers when they get back to the USA. Six months later, after a follow up and some more urine tests, they find out that of all the drug users in Vietnam, only 10% of them are using drugs at home. How can this be possible? Click here to see the whole study


Well, it is much more simple than what we tend to think. The addiction was there for a reason, which was the war. Soldiers were forced to turn to drugs as a way to escape from the reality of killing people and seeing friends die every day. Once they were back home, their reality was a nice environment in which family, friends and a peaceful way of life surrounded them – so the addiction instantly disappeared. This means that our concept of drug addiction is wrong.


Our own case study is Stuart, who has been a drug addict and is now an alcoholic living in North West London. Stuart’s girlfriend committed suicide a few years ago and he has no family left. He is dealing with his own Vietnam War.


Stuart inherited the house that he now lives in. His daily routine is drink a few beers, walk the dog, go to the shop to get dinner and sometimes more alcohol. From what he tells me, he is isolated from society, as he doesn’t have a job or belong anywhere. His front teeth are missing from previous addictions, and even though he looks scary, he has a good heart. His dog, he tells me, keeps him alive and away from harder drugs.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 14.19.17

[Stuart’s clip is available at:


Scientists carried out the same experiment using rats: They put one rat in a cage with two bottles, one had morphine and the other one had water. After a few days the rat became addicted to the morphine and overdosed herself to death. But what they found out is if the rat was put in a cage with some other rats and fun entertainment activities to do it wouldn’t become addicted, instead the rat wouldn’t feel the need to use drugs.

Stuart’s life could change if some regulations and the society had a different approach. It’s our laws and our judgements that separate us.

Monica Sanchez