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Dr Lonsdale (1 Voer Natuurlijk)

27/29th June 2006 - Voer Natuurlijk
Discussion with Dr Tom Lonsdale

Q & A Part 1
Questions 1 to 5
Q & A Part 2
Questions 6 to 9
Q & A Part 3
Questions 10 to 15
Q & A Part 4
Questions 16 to 18

Question 1

hi Tom.

In Holland a lot of people are feeding , what they call in Dutch : KVV.

It's prepacked, commercial, frozen, minced meat, minced bones and organ meat, ready to feed as a so called "well balanced and complete meal".

Most , or let's say all , of the Barf boards in Holland are supporting this way of feeding, by saying it's better than kibble, easily availiable, very practical and the best way to transfer your dog from kibble to the real stuff.

For them , its just the "raw" thing that works wonders.

Besides the fact that it's minced, nobody knows what's in the packages, because , what's in it, they call it " the secret of the black smith" . Stupid, isn't it, because if you know that dogs, cats and ferrets are domesticated carnivores , nature has no longer a secret concerning that anymore.

I think it would be great that You, as the starter and first whistle blower of the Raw Meaty Bones group, in the beginning of the nineties in the former century, could gives us Your idea about this very popular way of feeding in Holland and Belgium, so called K.V.V dog cat and ferret food.

By the way Tom, did You try the Dutch national raw dish for people, young raw herring called "maatjes" , with lots of chopped onions and a cool glas of Dutch beer ?

Have fun, and many thanks for being here, it's a great support for all those people in Holland and Belgium who are doing their best to tell dog- , cat- and ferrets lovers , what is REALLY important in feeding carnivorous pets, not only what's in the bowl, but how it's in the bowl.


Hi ***** and all,

Thanks for magnificent support and thanks for the KVV (barf) question.

A question, in my view, that needs a thorough airing leading to a proper resolution.

Barf (American colloquial term for vomit) in all its guises was always a disgrace. Now it's grown to plague proportions. Maybe a little history lesson will help here

Back in 1947 Sir Frank Colyer, former President of the British Dental Association, published his paper: Dental disease in animals, British Dental Journal, 82 31–35 He knew the importance of a tough, chewy diet for dogs, cats and other carnivores.

Happily, although by a rather circuitous route, a small group of vets in Australia, (Raw Meaty Bones Lobby) eventually reached the same conclusion in the late eighties/early nineties. As vets we were aghast at our previous recommendations of kibble, canned junk food and minced meat offerings.

We saw a vulnerable public and their animals exploited by the junk pet-food industry/vet alliance.

The RMB Lobby set about doing what could be done at a scientific, media, administrative and political level to:

a. Disseminate sound dietary info to vets and the public at large involving a reliance on raw carcasses or raw meaty bones and a few table scraps.
b. Combat the junk pet-food industry scourge.
c. Combat the veterinary collusion and corruption.

For a time a vet called Ian Billinghurst joined the Raw Meaty Bones Lobby because as he wrote in an article in 1993:

Tom Londale has started the ball rolling. He has been a lone voice, crying in the wilderness. Now is the time for the profession to get behind this man and share his vision. Have a good look at what Tom is seeing.

At the moment he is seeing a [veterinary] profession that is blinkered, may be blinded and possibly hoodwinked into promoting products that are not worthy of our professional approval.

He is seeing that we are doing our clients a disservice every time we advise them to feed their pets commercial pet food.

He is seeing the importance of feeding an animal a diet which matches the one it evolved upon. In the case of cats and dogs, that means a diet based on raw, meaty bones.

He is looking into the future and seeing a veterinary profession with a clear vision and a clear conscience, advising their clients as only true professionals can, with honesty and understanding.

That understanding includes the very simple healthy and cost effective way to feed cats and dogs . . . without using commercial pet foods.

By 1997 Dr Billinghurst had a change of view and tendered his letter of resignation from the RMB Lobby and its campaign activities:

Where your role is confrontational, mine is one of steady attrition. A constant [and hopefully authoritative] presence. What I do best is show people how to produce healthier animals. It is my thing to write and lecture on these topics. I enjoy the intellectual challenge. Because of the 2GB show and the positive effect "Give Your Dog Bone" is having worldwide my credibility is rising. This credibility together with my quiet approach is making and will continue to make a worthwhile contribution. I am here to educate whoever will listen. Pet owners, vets and even pet food companies - if they are interested. It is not necessary; in fact it is counterproductive for me to participate in the politics of this debate.

If I am to be of use I need to be seen as outside the political arena. Someone who has the respect of the profession, whilst retaining strong views and unequivocal beliefs - supported of course by good evidence. My aim is to make a positive difference in this debate, and continue to make a living.

Soon after, Dr Billinghurst's thoughts about the requirement for raw meaty bones in a pet’s diet were modified and replaced. He started to make his 'living' with a series of recipes and concoctions for pulped products which subsequently became trademarked under the brand name 'Barf'. The Billinghurst book entitled 'The Barf Diet' was released in 2001.

These days there's a veritable plague of opportunists and get-rich-quick merchants who pay no attention to item a.) above. Fixing the junk cooked pet-food fraud and vet corruption mentioned in b.) and c.) holds no appeal for the niche marketers selling their packaged raw puke. Their comfortable niche depends on the towering edifice of multinational junk pet-food merchants and their vet allies. In the UK at least one puke merchant is a member of the Pet Food Manufacturers Association alongside Mars, Nestle and Colgate-Palmolive.

Of course any pet owner who stops feeding junk cooked food will see an improvement in their pet's health. If they happen to feed packaged barf they will likely, mistakenly attribute the improvement to the barf. It's in this way that barf victims become victimisers as they seek to encourage others to feed barf and so the plague spreads.

But it gets worse still.

With the advent of the barf range of recipes, concoctions and bottled supplements all manner of people gained licence to speculate about, comment upon and 'teach' pet owners how to feed dogs and cats.

Nowadays there's a traveling band of barf and other spruikers who deliberate in tiny detail about what, in their opinion, should go in the dog's bowl. Crucial items at a. b. and c. don't get a mention by the niche marketers of personalised pap.

For the $multi-billlion multinational pet food industry and the vet establishment it's business as usual -- untroubled by the petty skirmishing over the dog's bowl by the barf merchants and their promotional teams of pseudo-experts.

Something, indeed lots, needs to be done for the benefit of pets, pet owners and the wider community.

May I leave you to contemplate the what, when, where, how and who?

Many thanks.

Best wishes,

Ps. The maatjes are a tasty treat. I look forward to a cool beer after the last seminar on Sunday evening. Cheers, Tom

Question 2

Dear Tom (and collegue), I had a dog who refused all his life to eat bones. Even large pieces of meat were immpossible. This also was the cuse of his death, a SCC in his mouth due to a chronically irritated mucosa because of tartar. Ok, he got 16 years old so he didn´t die young. I cleaned his teeth almost every 4 months and brushed his teeth too. Have you any idea´s how to solve this problem?

Besides: I guess you put every dog and cat in your practice on raw food and bones. How many of them have sincere objections or refuse to do so and how many skip to kibble after a while?

*someone added:

Here we have one dog that absolutely refuses bones too, unfortunately. She loves meats, and organs, but won't eat bones, except chicken- and ducknecks. After trying for more than a year, we don't know what to do anymore. We hope you can help!

*Tom Lonsdale answered, 27 Jun, 2006:

Dear all,

Thanks for the enquiry. For sure gnawing the meat and sinew off bones, and eating some bone, is an important part of carnivore biology.

Of course nothing occurs in isolation or in absolute terms. Consequently dogs and cats can and do live without fulfilling fundamental requirements. It means that other body systems are overused (immune system, liver, kidneys) and chronic disease becomes the reality.

That some dogs (and cats in particular) refuse to eat raw meaty bones is a worry. Work Wonders Chapter 4 has info on how to switch fussy dogs and you can read the version in Dutch at www.rawmeatybones.com Below this message I've pasted the unfinished, unedited original version that included cats and ferrets. I hope that provides some useful tips.

Regarding your point about reverting back to kibble. That was a big and important part of our reality when I was in practice. (Not since 1997 have I been working in clinical practice.)

Back in those days a good percentage of my clients ceased to be clients when I asked them to switch to rmb feeding. Of those that did change certainly a fair percentage will have slipped back into the old ways -- whether because of their pets' reluctance or whether for other reasons of convenience/familiarity etc with the old ways.

As I found to my continued cost, reluctant pets and reluctant clients left the practice. Those that stayed stayed healthy with little need for veterinary treatment.

During these times of transition from junk food feeding to a more natural diet pet owners need to improvise and help themselves. It's a time when there are a maximum of problems and a minimum of vets who know how to help. In years to come we can look forward to puppies and kittens being raised on raw food and thus the problems of introducing adults will abate/disappear.

Many thanks,

Best wishes,


Chapter 4 Switching, Grinding, Breeding

Switching to raw food

Getting started, overcoming your fears, can be a tricky business. We’ve all heard the bad press about dogs choking on bones, the vet bills associated with the perforation of a dog’s bowel and the nasty bacteria said to lurk in every mouthful of raw food. We don’t want to do our pets even the slightest harm and besides we have a self image to preserve. There’s a myth only reckless extremists flout conventions, exposing themselves to public ridicule or worse.

Relax, wipe the sweat from your brow and dry your palms. Switching your pet’s diet is easily the most important thing you can do to promote health, vitality and longevity. Happily most dogs are in touch with their inner wolf and soon seize on the first juicy bone you offer. Cats, ferrets and some dogs, after becoming addicted to the commercial offerings, may take a bit of persuading.

Let’s assume your pet is relatively young, has no major problems with teeth and gums (see chapter 8 ) and hitherto has been fed a commercial or home cooked diet. The first question then becomes: Do you introduce changes gradually or switch the diet abruptly?

I recommend that, if possible, you make a complete change without any lead-up. Simply stop the old diet and start the new. Chicken backs and frames make a good initial meal for all sizes of carnivore. Simply throw the items on the ground and watch your pet sniff, lick and finally seize the morsels. You may feel the urge to ‘hover’ for the first few feeding sessions. Try to ‘hover’ at a distance and so avoid ‘crowding’ your pet.

What if your pet has become addicted to junk food and you have become habituated to feeding the addiction? Often a 24 hour fast makes a big difference. Resist the temptation to provide a snack of kibble or canned mush. Simply remove all food for 24 hours. The next day, your somewhat confused and hungry pet will likely be more willing to investigate the strange new offering. If this strategy fails we need to think again.

Methods differ for dogs, cats and ferrets.

Switching fussy dogs

Fat dogs can be fasted for lengthy periods without ill-effect — even several weeks. Lean dogs can go without food for long periods too. So if your dog is unwilling to try the new food then use hunger as your principle tool.

Two or three days of no rations creates a much different attitude. If the chicken frames are not eaten after an hour, simply return them to the refrigerator until the next day. By the third day your hungry hound will likely be following your every move, and be prepared to participate in the experiment.

’Tis most unlikely you will need more elaborate methods. However, if your pet still resists then try smearing the raw chicken with more familiar canned food. Or if kibble has been your standard, then try crushing some kibble and smearing that on the chicken.

Fussy feeders used to human cooked food may need the chicken lightly grilled before they will eat it. After a few days of grilling then serve the chicken raw and all should be well.

Dogs that eat raw chicken usually accept other raw meaty bones and offal. However, if a new item creates resistance then try a day or two of fasting. I wish you luck and mention a couple of exceptions — raw feeding is not a mechanical process, we need to stay in touch with the realities of nature.

Some dogs relish whole raw fish and some dogs refuse to eat them however hard you try. My own dogs eat chicken backs and frames with gusto. But much to my chagrin, when I bought some live hens with the intention of feeding them warm, feathers guts and all, the dogs would shake the newly killed hens, but flatly refuse to eat them. I tried plucking the hens; dismembering them; I tried everything I could think of, but the result was the same. Such is a life with dogs.

The remaining hens were happy and laid lots of eggs to prove it.

Switching fussy cats
Let’s first evaluate the situation; because switching cats can be a tricky business and we need to get a good grasp of the task at hand.

Do you rattle the packet before pouring the fishy pellets into a bowl? What do you say to pussy as she comes running? Maybe your feline seldom stirs except to nibble on the kibble sitting in the bowl 24 hours per day? Maybe the furry feline entwined round your legs signals the need for you to open the refrigerator and, with a tap on the tin, serve up the pungent canned food.

Feeding rituals differ, but timing, taste, texture, sight, sounds and smells all play a part. Pussy cat is quite likely addicted to these powerful stimuli and you, as the carer, have likely grown accustomed to the ways that worked best for you. You have literally fed the addiction.

Now imagine the future with your lithe feline crouched low tucking in to chicken necks, quail and whole raw fish. That’s the end point, but how are you going to get there? Will you need help?

Experienced help is at hand on the internet at the rawfeeding discussion group. But if your cat is overweight, suffers from dental or other medical problems, then you will likely first need to consult your vet before you embark on the diet changes.

Useful change techniques

Stopping 24 hour access to food is the essential first step to breaking your cat’s addiction. Instead, start a once-a-day feeding pattern. Beyond which there are several ‘tricks’ either singly or in combination that should help.

Hungry cats are always more willing to sniff, lick and ultimately eat new foods. So reduce the amount of commercial canned or dry food offered. (Do not fast or starve your cat for more than 24 hours.)

Settle on one meat, for instance chicken, that you wish your cat to become accustomed to.

Taste and texture of raw meat are the two things you need your cat to accept. (Gnawing on bones comes later.) So chop a few strips of chicken meat and cover with commercial food in a bowl.

Over successive days feed less commercial food and more raw meat.

When raw meat is accepted try increasing the size of the pieces until chicken necks and wings replace the chopped chicken.

Other tricks involve slightly searing the meat in a pan or under the grill. You can try mixing canned fish juices with the meat or dusting it with powdered kibble.

Slitting the skin on chicken wings and stuffing canned food inside may tempt your finicky feline.

If you own several cats they can compete with and learn from each other.

Perseverance pays and ten days is usually sufficient time to switch a difficult cat. It’s best to let your cat become an established chicken eater, but not an addict, before introducing quail, rabbit or fish to the diet.

A further round of patience and trickery may then be needed.

Switching fussy ferrets
Switching your fussy ferret to a diet of more natural food will surely test your ingenuity — but keep at it and you will win.

Try the tricks suggested for fussy felines. You can also tap into your ferret’s natural curiosity. Try hiding kibble in the cut breast of chicken or under the skin on chicken wings. Your ferret may search for the familiar food and in the process gain a taste for chicken.

Can you obtain road kill, pigeons, rats, mice and day old chicks? These food items can be cut open and the familiar kibble hidden inside. Soon your ferrets will be licking their bloody noses and then it’s only a matter of time before they realise that raw food tastes good.

Question 3

Dear Mr. Lonsdale,

As a regular visitor of this forum (www.voernatuurlijk.nl/forum) and learning a lot from you through other regular visitors (for instance Roger Verhaegen), I still have a question as mentioned in the subject.

It concerns a bordeaux dog (male) of about 3 years old. For as long as I know, this dog has problems with his stomach and bowels (throwing up, diarrhea; diagnosed Crohn's disease) and seems to be very sensitive to switching of food and environmental changes. His owners have finally decided to feed raw, but only prepared food (minced and frozen), because they cannot or will not be convinced of the positive effect of feeding according to the "prey model". I am sincerely looking for a scientific reply to them, because up til now, they have had themselves led by vets (sponsored by food producers like Hill's) and well meaning but not well learned dog lovers. Can you help me?

With thanks for your reply.

Kind regards,

*Tom Lonsdale answered, 27 Jun, 2006:

Dear all,

Thanks for the message that alludes to a medical and management problem occuring on many levels.

It's a situation that, with the very best of intentions, very often leads to frustration and failure.

Diagnosing and treating chronic bowel problems tends to require a committed owner and committed and understanding vet. Starting from here how do you get your owner convinced of the need for appropriate diets and then how do you achieve the same for the vet.

Well you can take pot-luck, promise the owner all will be well and get them to switch the dog's diet. Sometime, even often, this works. But woe betide you if it does not.

A better way is to take time and get the owners to read lots, for instance Work Wonders, even Raw Meaty Bones, and join a list such as this. When the level of understanding increases so will the resolve likely increase.

There's still the problem of the vet ignorance/resistance. You can try to get them to read the books. But in the absence of which the owner will need to consider going it alone.

You mention 'Prey model'. I should mention that it's not a term I use or recommend. There's some comments in this regard at: http://secureshop.rawmeatybones.com/newsletter/view.epl?id=41

One good piece of advice: Take your time with this. And maybe share your experiences with the board members so all can learn.

Best wishes,


Question 4

Dear Tom,

I have a puppy from a very small breed. She is just 11,5 weeks old and she weights 1,5kg. I only feed her twice a day because she eats very small amounts. If I have to feed here more often she gets very small meals and that's not satisfing.

I now feed her big pieces like one day old chicks and quail. She doesn't eat everything because it is to much. She stops when she isn't hungry anymore.

She seem to do it very well, though i really want to know, what's your opinion about feeding a puppy just twice a day.

Many thanks

* another member added:

I would like to add to that:
If you look at "Mother Nature", I don't think puppies of any wild breed (e.g. wolves) get fed more than once or twice a day, as their parents have to go hunting to fetch prey for them and as we know, they don't even do that daily.

*Tom Lonsdale answered, 27 Jun, 2006:

Dear all,

Sounds like you are doing very well. And as **** points out wolves and other carnivore feed their offspring at variable intervals.

However we want the optimum situation to prevail. In fact when feeding whole carcasses/rmb puppies seldom overeat. So it's a good idea where temperatures permit to allow the puppies constant access.

As you've discovered they decide when to eat, when to sleep and when to play.

Even for your very little fellow I would recommend you introduce rabbit and fish now whilst she's young enough to acquire the taste.

Best wishes,

Tom Lonsdale

Question 5

What do you feel about Vitamin C supplementation in certain cases?

My elderly cat (14 years old) suffers from bladderstones and has had to visit the vet three times because he couldn't pass urine. A homeopathic vet suggested that I give him a 60 mg tablet of Vit. C daily (to make the urine more acid) and 3 times a week half a tablet of Reinosan. The Vit. C. and Reinosan supplementation have been working well now for about 6 months.

I have also learned that Vit. C. is a stress-reliever, so whenever I expect a stressful situation for my dog(s) (particularly Cody, the Boxer), I administer extra Vit. C. A raw food promoter, whose name I won't mention, is against this, as he says that administering Vit. C. will prevent the dog's body to make its own Vit. C.
I personally don't fully agree with that, as I have found no negative side-effects of occasional supplementation with Vit. C.

Coming to the question: What is your opinion about Vitamin C. supplementation?

Thank you so much for your time.

*Tom Lonsdale answered, 27 Jun, 2006:

Hi all,

Thanks for the multi part question.

Firstly, good that the blockage problems have been under control for a while now. With Feline Lower Urinary Tract disease prevention is best. When treatment is required it's often very difficult to maintain trouble free periods. http://www.rawmeatybones.com/FLUTD.html

Why your fellow remains trouble free I would not like to say. Certainly acidification of urine is a reasonable objective although long term that can have adverse effects on the acid base balance with leaching of calcium from bones.

I'm reluctant to advise you not to give Vitamin C. However, I've not seen any conclusive evidence to support such use.

As a general principle cats and dogs make sufficient vitamin C for their needs. Feeding extra does not provide extra benefit.

When dealing with FLUTD, and indeed a host of diseases, it's wise to get the oral hygeine in top condition and feed a diet as close to the natural as possible.

Best wishes,


Q & A Part 1
Questions 1 to 5
Q & A Part 2
Questions 6 to 9
Q & A Part 3
Questions 10 to 15
Q & A Part 4
Questions 16 to 18

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