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Dr Lonsdale (CSDBR) Q & A Part 2

Q & A Part 1
Questions 1 to 4
Q & A Part 2
Questions 5 to 10
Q & A Part 3
Questions 11 to 17
Q & A Part 4
Questions 18 to 22

Subject: Question for TL--Avian flu?

Greetings, Tom Lonsdale!

I am very excited to be on this list and to have the opportunity to exchange ideas with you and other list members. I know you will probably have quite a few questions to answer today, but I wanted to get this one in before I started my day. :)

I have had several people express concern over avian influenza and raw feeding. Granted, right now in the U.S., Canada, and UK it really isn't much of a problem, meaning that most domestic poultry are unaffected at this point in time. However, should avian flu begin affecting poultry in these countries, should raw feeders continue to feed chicken and other poultry to their pets? The concern is that the pets would get sick from the poultry like that cat in Germany did. Or is this not really a big deal/that much of a worry?

Thanks for your time!

Kind regards,

From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Re: [CSDogBookReview] Question for TL--Avian flu?

Hi ....,

It's good to be here and thanks for the questions.

Yes, already there are lots of interesting questions on a huge subject.

I'm no expert on bird flu. From my understanding the virus is not strongly infective for cats and dogs and that they need to eat birds that have died from the virus in order to become infected themselves. Please don't quote me on this though.

Myself I shall be interested to see what if anything the national health authorities recommend for the human consumption of chicken. And it's the chicken for human consumption that we give to our pets.

Also the authorities will make announcements/orders about cats and dogs being given free range where they may eat dead birds. But so far that is not happening here in Australia.

For now I don't think there is any immediate reason to worry. Any meat that is permitted to be sold would have to be certified safe. Long term I would see the biggest worry being shortage of supplies due to culling of chicken flocks.

Let's hope this is something that soon passes.


Subject: List member comment on bird flu.

>>Myself I shall be interested to see what if anything the national health authorities recommend for the human consumption of chicken. And it's the chicken for human consumption that we give to our pets.<<

There have been some concerns about the virus being transmitted to humans through comsumption of products containing raw duck blood.

From the WHO website (advice for humans)

Food safety issues

November 2005

The H5N1 avian influenza virus is not transmitted to humans through properly cooked food. The virus is sensitive to heat. Normal temperatures used for cooking (so that food reaches 70oC in all parts) will kill the virus. To date, no evidence indicates that any person has become infected with the H5N1 virus following the consumption of properly cooked poultry or poultry products, even in cases where the food item contained the virus prior to cooking. Poultry and poultry products from areas free of the disease can be prepared and consumed as usual, with no fear of acquiring infection with the H5N1 virus. As a standard precaution, WHO recommends that poultry and poultry products should always be prepared following good hygienic practices, and that poultry meat should be properly cooked. This recommendation protects consumers from some well-known and common foodborne diseases that may be transmitted via inadequately cooked poultry.

Most strains of avian influenza virus are found only in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts of infected birds, and not in meat. Available studies indicate that highly pathogenic viruses, including the H5N1 virus, spread to virtually all parts of an infected bird, including meat. For this reason, proper handling of poultry and poultry products during food preparation and proper
cooking are extremely important in areas experiencing outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza in poultry.

Consumers in areas with outbreaks need to be aware of the risks of cross-contamination between raw poultry and other foods that will not be cooked prior to their consumption. Juices from raw poultry or poultry products should never be allowed, during food preparation, to touch or mix with items eaten raw. When handling raw poultry or raw poultry products, persons involved in food preparation should wash their hands thoroughly and clean and disinfect surfaces in contact with the poultry products. Soap and hot water are sufficient for this purpose.

In countries with outbreaks, thorough cooking is imperative. Consumers need to be sure that all parts of the poultry are fully cooked (no "pink" parts) and that eggs, too, are properly cooked (no "runny" yolkes).

The H5N1 virus can survive for at least one month at low temperatures. For this reason, common food preservation measures, such as freezing and refrigeration, will not substantially reduce the concentration of virus in contaminated meat or kill the virus. In countries with outbreaks, poultry stored under refrigeration or frozen should be handled and prepared with the same precautions as fresh products.

In countries with outbreaks, eggs may contain virus both on the outside (shell) and inside (white and yolk). Eggs from areas with outbreaks should not be consumed raw or partially cooked. Raw eggs should not be used in foods that will not be treated by heat high enough to kill the virus (70oC).

To date, a large number of human infections with the H5N1 virus have been linked to the home slaughter and subsequent handling of diseased or dead birds prior to cooking. These practices represent the highest risk of human infection and are the most important to avoid. Proper handling and cooking of poultry and poultry products can further lower the risk of human infections""

Nothing is said about other animals (cats, dogs. As for the safety for dogs: the virus could transfer to dogs through contact with dead animals & raw meat & bird droppings. SO far there has been one report of a stray dog from Baku (Azerbeidjan) who might have contracted H5N1 but I can't find any solid info on that.

If I hear more, I will make sure to post the info on this forum. I live in the Netherlands, just about the only country in Europe that has not birdflu yet. We do have some areas where we walk that are teeming with wild gees and one of my dogs just loves to eat their poo.... (gross isn't it). I feed kibble supplemented with raw, but I use mainly beef / tripe and some lamb or pork (although i'm not sure that is safe?) and the occasional raw egg. I would have no problem with feeding raw chicken/egg at the moment, but if there was a bird flu outbreak I think I would cook it just to be safe.

(from the clinical microbiology dept ;-)

Question 6
List member asked for advice regarding bones getting stuck, and pre-processed raw foods.

From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Re: [CSDogBookReview] Bones in Raw Diet

Hi ....,

Regarding bones getting stuck please check out the article: http://www.rawmeatybones.com/Chicken.html

For sure we need to take care. The best way is to get as close as possible to nature's blueprint. That's whole carcasses. So the less you process the carcass the better. Let your dog/cat/ferret dismember the carcass and chew off the meat and bone in appropriate bite sized chunks.

Bones without meat or bones cut into pieces can give rise to problems.

And ground pap gives rise to problems too. Barfmania did huge harm to the feeding of pet carnivores and set back the campaign for accountability on the part of the junk pet-food/vet/faux animal welfare industry.

Barfmania opportunists saw the chance to trade on fears of bones to produce their pap -- some even extol the cleaning benefits of bones and then go so far as to say their ground bone achieves the same benefit.

In order to better understand the shortcomings of pre-chewed raw diets I suggest you read Work Wonders and Raw Meaty Bones. The folks on the rawfeeding list have plenty of experience helping folks switch off the pap onto whole raw meaty bones and I'm sure they will be able to help.

Well done for working against your own dietary convictions for the benefit of your dogs.

Best wishes,

Tom Lonsdale

Question 7
Subject: QUESTION for Tom Lonsdale

Hello Tom,

Thanks for being here for us. I have two questions...

Question 1:

Prey model raw feeding is based on providing as wholly a prey animal as possible, or as much variety from different prey animal body parts. If a dog is fed (or fed through) whole rabbits, chickens, turkeys, small game, etc., it is much easier to feed the "whole prey", but if one is feeding beef, lamb, venison, etc., the diet can consist mostly of muscle meats, ribs, heart, liver, kidney, and sometimes the less-commonly found parts such as green tripe, various other organs/offals and so forth.

In order to provide the necessary "variety" that represents a whole prey being fed to the domesticated dog, how many different types of prey animals (or parts thereof) ought to be rotated into a feeding plan over a 2-3 week timeframe? And if limitations exists due to meaty resources not being available, what are some of the better commonly-available animal parts or small game combinations to include in the diet?

Question 2:

For a prey model diet, suggested amounts to be fed daily (or over a specific time) is approximately 2-3% of the ideal adult weight. For those of us that do not gorge and fast, this is generally a daily meal in the ballpark figure of that 2-3%. I have cocker spaniels, three of them with huge appetites and bottomless stomachs. Typically I feed at least 3% of their adult weight daily that rotates through a wide variety of meats, RMBs, organs, but my dogs can easily enjoy eating 6% daily, and be ready for a meal the next day and the next.

They are not overweight, but are well-toned and hold weight well at 3% intake--if enough fatty meats are included in the diet rotation. These are country dogs who get plenty of outdoor activity, but one thing I have noticed about my dogs is they will salvage nearly every day out of nature's availability such as rabbit poo, wild berries-seeds-nuts, even cutivated veggies and fruits, compacted grass throw off the tractor blades, and so forth. They also get a breakfast snack apart from their PM raw meals, maybe a raw egg, bits of any leftover veggies, pieces of fresh breakfast fruit, sometimes a crumble of baked oats.

So my dogs typically eat 3% of their weight in a prey model diet (about 3/4 of a pound daily), plus an ounce or two of what I might give as a "snack" in the AM, plus what they salvage outdoors from our country land. They are healthy-robust dogs, more like sporty hunting dogs than the typical commerically-fed house cockerspaniel.

Are they eating "on the side" because I am not providing enough of a daily percentage in meats/RMBs/organs? Or because this other outdoor variety is "just available" and they find some benefit toit?

Thanks so much for taking the time to help us understand raw feeding better! Your hard work is much appreciated :)

From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Re: [CSDogBookReview] QUESTION for Tom Lonsdale

Hello .... and all,

Thank you for your multipart question.

First I compliment you on your observations and curiosity and for drawing attention to apparent anomalies.

Second I should mention that I am no fan of the prey model jargon in part because I believe it over-promises and under-delivers as you illustrate. Barf was the catch-cry of the raw feeding community until it's shortcomings were exposed. The mix and match of various green vegetables, kelp, kefir, flax oil were worshipped as some holy grail. Now 'prey model' seems to go to the other extreme promising that an unstated percentage of some organs for instance heart and kidneys, but not others for instance head, hide and guts, has magical properties. (Repeated requests for percentages of organs and rational justification has never been forthcoming. When time allows I'll write more on this.)

Question #1: I suggest that if and where you can, feed whole prey animals. Responsible zoo keepers do that for their sometimes very large collections of carnivores. If you own small dogs, cats and ferrets you can achieve that ideal, even now, and relatively inexpensively.

If you own large dogs then you will need, for economy and ease of procurement, to use a variety of different raw meaty bones, offal (liver on a semi regular basis) and table scraps. Depending on circumstance you might feed a preponderance of chicken frames, kangaroo tails or tripe. And then as often as you can throw in a whole rabbit or whole chicken feathers, guts, feet and all.

Feed a raw meaty bones based and table scraps diet (that includes as many whole carcasses of mammals, birds and fish as possible) and drawn from the lists at: http://www.rawmeatybones.com/diet/exp-diet-guide.pdf

Question #2 Your dogs sound to be in fine fettle and it sounds to me that between you and your dogs you have worked out what's best. For sure feed your table scraps to your dogs. They are the ingesta that, if you had a fuller appetite, would appear as chyme in your bowel. And the chyme in an omnivore's bowel is perfectly good food for wild carnivores. That your dogs eat your table scraps but without your digestive juices and any biofilm bacteria doesn't seem to be a major shortcoming.

You pose the question: 'Are they eating "on the side" because I am not providing enough of a daily percentage in meats/RMBs/organs?

Unfortunately we don't have the insight and the complicated scientific studies to answer that question conclusively. It's good to keep thinking about it and it's good to try to get as close as possible to nature's model vis: at every meal a whole carcass. But once you've done that it's also best not to worry too much.

Below I've copied Work Wonders pages 24 -26

Best wishes,


Work Wonders Chapter 2 Quality, quantity, frequency

Proportions of raw meaty bones, offal and scraps Beginners ask how much to feed. Experienced raw feeders don’t think about it—their dogs trained them well.

If you feed whole carcasses, skin and guts intact, then you will be close to Nature’s ideal. However, some carcasses are lean and others fat. The proportion of intestines in a fish is small by comparison with a chicken and smaller still
when compared with a rabbit. Rabbit bones make up about 8% of their body weight and elephant bones make up 16.5% of theirs.

When feeding raw meaty bones as the basis of a diet we need to make an informed assessment of the proportion of meaty bones to feed. Meat, bone and skin make up about 78% of the weight of a deer carcass.3 As a reasonable rule of thumb for feeding your dog I suggest you supply 70% of the diet as raw, meaty, bones. Feed the daily ration in large pieces and, within reason, it doesn’t seem to matter what else makes up the balance of the diet.

Some people can obtain green tripe, heart, lung, ox cheek, tongue, etc and feed these items to make up the other 22% of the ‘deer prey-model’. I applaud those who do their best to mimic Nature. Others who have access to a ready supply of sheep and cattle omasums (fore-stomach) feed those in large quantity with only the occasional meaty bone. For adult dogs this is a cheap and satisfactory way of feeding.

Most people can obtain ox, lamb or pig’s liver. Liver contains high quality proteins, fat, enzymes and vitamins. A large meal of liver every two weeks provides a useful addition to a raw meaty bones and table scraps diet. If it is not possible to access offal, feeding raw meaty bones, even up to 100% of the diet, promotes health with few if any problems.*** When I ran a busy veterinary practice, many of my clients fed almost exclusively chicken backs and frames—whether to adult dogs or litters of puppies—and their animals showed excellent health.

Quantities of table scraps fed vary enormously. Some people feed few if any table scraps; others purée fresh vegetables and serve regular amounts of ripe fruit. But the governing factor ensuring the health of dogs appears to be the basis of the diet—raw meaty bones.

(*** After years of neglect much research needs to be done. Please see www.rawmeatybones.com for updates and reports on the latest research.)

Question 8
Subject: Question for Tom Lonsdale

Hi I am really pleased to be here to talk to you.
I have been raw feeding now for two years to help with my dogs itchy skin. It has made a huge difference and while she still has breakdowns they are not as bad in severity or duration as they were. The other girl has benefited from this regime and has gone from being a fussy eater to a GSD who enjoys every meal.
She was recently diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Very mild dysplasia but she is a drama queen so everything is so much worse. I am aware that this was there anyway, but would it have shown up because she does not have all the "added extras" that are in kibble? Should I be regularly supplementing with chondroitin and glucosmine with this regime? I was feeding chicken feet as they enjoy them and it is a nice breakfast snack but now it is not enough to hold the pain obviously.
Should I be using supplements and what is recommended? Both dogs have memory problems and are not very good at remembering to take supplements and one (dysplasia dog) is a nightmare to get anything into.
I did buy her some geriatric kibble to get some supplements into her and she has no issues eating this but the other girl will get hotspots the next day.

From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Re: [CSDogBookReview] Question for Tom Lonsdale

Hi ....,

Thanks for the welcome and question about chondroitin and glucosmine. There is plenty of each in a raw meaty bones based diet.

Hip dysplasia varies in severity. Your vet will be able to advise. Limited exercise is an option for management and of course keeping the patient slim and fed a good diet and with clean teeth are essential components. Failure on any of those points will likely impact the course and severity of the hip dysplasia.

Sorry, but I don't know of any supplements, other than a sound diet, that do any good.

Best wishes,


Question 9
Subject: RE: [CSDogBookReview] Please Welcome Tom Lonsdale!

Hi Tom,
Thanks so much for coming on this list. I'm in Southeast Queensland and have booked in to hear you speak at Caboolture in April.

A lot of information I'm getting regarding raw feeding is from mainly USA based lists in which people have greater access to buying groups and it seems a wider variety of meats. In Australia, do you have any recommendations about the best type of places to source meats and which are the best cuts to buy. I'm presently feeding one female GSD raw on food sourced from the supermarket and butchers.


From:Tom Lonsdale
Subject: RE: [CSDogBookReview] Please Welcome Tom Lonsdale!

Hi ....,

Thanks for the message and I look forward to meeting next month.

Supermarkets and butchers are good for lots of items. Pet shops can be a good source. Not sure of your local situation regarding kangaroo processors and livestock abattoirs. Maybe Lyndal who is organising the Caboolture talk can assist. Her contact details are at http://www.rawmeatybones.com/speaking_2006.html

Regarding best cuts: The list at http://www.rawmeatybones.com/diet/exp-diet-guide.pdf gives a range of options.

Shall be interested to hear of your progress.

Best wishes,


Question 10
Subject: which beef bones?

Hi Dr. Tom,

Which beef bones are good for RMBs?

Beef ribs confuse me - i dont know what part of the ribs and how they should be cut. What should i be asking for? when i look at ribs at the market, they seem to be in little pieces and have a lot of fat.

If i knew which beef bones were best, and how they should be cut, i would ask for them in advance.


From: Tom Lonsdale
Subject: Re: [CSDogBookReview] which beef bones?

Hi ....,

Thanks for the message.

In theory any beef bones are good so long as they are in large pieces covered in lots of meat.

But in practice the way things are cut up by butchers you tend be offered huge bones devoid of meat or rib bones cut into small pieces.

You may have to search around and find a butcher/market where they will supply whole ox tails for example. Or ask them to supply beef ribs with the meat left on.

Large dogs can eat the rib bones and meat. Small dogs can chew the meat off the bone.

There's lots of experienced folks on the rawfeeding list who may be able to advise what you can get and where you can get it in Canada.

Also there's a list specifically to do with sourcing raw food

Best wishes,

Tom in Australia

Q & A Part 1
Questions 1 to 4
Q & A Part 2
Questions 5 to 10
Q & A Part 3
Questions 11 to 17
Q & A Part 4
Questions 18 to 22

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