Wild carnivores have always consumed the raw bones of their prey. Their teeth are adapted for this function, and their short, acidic digestive track quickly dissolves and digests these bones, which are packed with essential nutrients. Our domesticated companions have teeth and digestive systems that are nearly identical to their wild counterparts. While it is possible for dogs, or humans, to choke on whatever they are eating or drinking, consuming a fresh, raw diet should not increase the risk of choking in dogs or cats. Cooking bones makes them brittle and prone to splintering, as well as more difficult to digest.

Dr. Billinghurst, an Australian vet, recommends raw bones as the foundation of a balanced diet. His book “Give Your Dog a Bone” describes the rapidly deteriorating health of Australian’s dogs and cats after the nation adopted commercial pet foods in mid-1960’s. The canine mouth has sharp pointed teeth and strong jaws designed to tear flesh and crush bones. The stomach acid of the canine has strong acids to digest bones and flesh. Raw bones have been a part of canines’ diets for as long as they have been tracking, attacking and killing their prey.

Many holistic veterinarians say that raw bones are NOT harmful to carnivores. Only cooked bones can splinter and can pose a threat. I have seen documentaries of tiny white foxes catching doves and swallowing the birds whole, with feathers, claws, beak, and all. Their stomach juices are very acidic and and loaded with natural enzymes that disolves and digests bone material. Chewing on raw bones helps to strengthen the jaw bones, massage the gums while stimulating the salivary and digestive glands, help reduce plaques and calculus accumulation on the tooth surfaces, clean teeth and reduce occurrence of gingivitis. Bones are a good source of calcium and other important minerals.

“The common practice of feeding meat without bones (or bone meal) is nutritionally disastrous for dogs and cats. There are far too many people giving eggs and meat to their pets without providing a balance to all the phosphorus they contain. Meat contains no calcium, and lots of phosphorus; bones contain lots of calcium. Eggs contain lots of phosphorus; the shells contain calcium. That is nature’s balance. If we feed meat without bones or eggs without shells, or aren’t sure of the correct ratios of those things to feed, we must use something to replace them. It is a common and tragic mistake to give a diet far too high in phosphorus to cats and dogs.

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