Give Your Dog a Bone - McDowell's Herbal Treatments


This is the name of the most practical and down to earth book I have read on the care and feeding of Dogs. It was written by Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a Vet who now practices in the same town in which I live in country NSW, Australia.

What Ian is saying is that we have lost our way in commercializing, and trying to make more scientific, the diets we provide our dogs. Further, that much of what we do, and how we do it, is bad for dogs.

The digestive system of a Dog was designed for Raw Meat, Offal and Bones. Dogs were pack hunters and lived off small animals they ran down and off carcasses and left-overs they found in the wild.

The first part of an animal they went for was the stomach and intestinal contents consisting of partly digested grasses and grains from which they obtained most of their vitamins and carbohydrates. They then worked on meat, skin and connective tissue and finally finished off the meals by chewing for hours on bones. Some meat and bones they buried, to ripen and to store to be dug up and enjoyed later.

Because they had to survive in a pack situation they had the ability to gulp food. That is to say if they were the first on the scene they could quickly get a belly full in case someone bigger and stronger chased them away from their prey. Gulping was a survival skill and not the preferred feeding method which involved salivating and dribbling and spending happy hours pulling and tearing with teeth and with neck and fore quarter muscles and crunching the bones. None of their food was cooked.

Compare this with modern scientific greyhound diets.

All the food is gulp food. Kibbles and other commercial foods are all cooked products and full of chemicals and preservatives etc. None of the food is allowed to ripen. Very few bones are given. Many un-natural chemical supplements are fed or injected into them and exercise patterns are short structured bursts coupled with long periods in small spaces often separated from their pack members.

Small wonder that they are more fragile and expensive to maintain than at any time in history.

Just because modern science writes on a package that there is an ideal balance of Protein, Fat, Vitamins etc. doesn't mean that the feed is good. There is a well known working dog formula, the bulk of which (protein fiber etc.) is a processed product of a woody weed bush which is not something a respectable dog would eat, if it was told what it was! Just because the package agrees with some "scientific norm" does not mean that it is digestible, good for your dog or even based on a natural feed substance.

Rear your pups on raw chicken wings which contain an ideal balance of fat, meat and bones. The bones are just the right balance of Calcium, Silica, Phosphorous etc. to build healthy bones. (surprise, surprise!!) Give your dogs at least a few meals a week which allow them to pull and tear and win their food slowly and digest it properly. This is to say, give them meaty bones and allow them to work on them sitting under a tree somewhere. Make up your own cereal products by soaking grains overnight and mixing in minced raw vegetables. Rolled Oats and a small amount of ground Millet and Linseed are ideal grains. Carrots, Spinach and a small amount of Parsley are great. Vitamin E and Vitamin B is found cheaply in fresh wheat germ. Mix a little into your grain mush. If you want extra Iron and Vitamin C, make up Rosehips tea and add it to their drinking water.

Save on feed and supplements, save on Vet bills and enjoy dogs which don't break down.

For the benefit of my clients, I carry a stock of Ian's first book "Give Your Dog a Bone" and his companion work "Grow Your Pups on Bones" and "The BARF Diet". 

Cath McDowell



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