Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Safety regarding feeding RAW chicken bones

Hey guys, I know in the past, many of you have questioned the safety regarding feeding me RAW chicken bones such as chicken carcasses, wings and drum sticks.

Well to tell you the truth, I don't know anything about it, I just eat what mum gives me, so I will give mum the honour to do this post and hopefully to clarify a few things for you!!

Now please note, my mum is NOT a vet, nor is she a nutritionist. She is simply one crazy lady who is paranoid (and that's an understatement) with my health, and has learned all that she knows from personal experience, her own research, online forums, and the basic canine nutrition course she took a while back.

What I would suggest everypup's hooman to do after you read what my mum has to say, is to do your own research, talk to others, and do what YOU are most comfortable with doing and what YOU think will have the greatest overall benefit for YOUR dog. Afterall, nobody knows your baby better than you do!!

**************** Now, the crazy lady's turn *******************

Australia's Dr. Ian Billinghurst is the pioneer to raw feeding. He has a great book out called "Give Your Dog A Bone - The Practical Commonsense Way to Feed Dogs For a Long Healthy Life", which goes into great detail about raw feeding, nutrient contents of different types of bones/meat, raw bones vs. cooked bones, commercial diets, diet requirements for young growing pups/lactating females/adult dogs, and many more. For those of you who are interested, it is a great book to have on hand.

The following is a direct quote from "Chicken Bones" on Page. 133 of Give Your Dog A Bone.

"Raw chicken, on the bone is without doubt the very best form in which to feed your dog most of it's requirements of raw meaty bones.

Most people, when I suggest they feed their dog chicken bones, reel back in horror and surprise... and say... "But I thought you were not supposed to give chicken bones to dogs ...! ???"

The answer is of course, that it is most certainly not a good idea to feed COOKED chicken bones to your dog."

Most of the horror stories surrounding chicken bones are caused by COOKED chicken bones. When fed RAW, the bones are a lot softer and can easily be crushed and digested. Raw meaty bones (RMB) are not only great for maintaining oral health, it also provides essential nutrients such as essential fatty acids (EFA's), fat soluble vitamins, enzymes, and the mineral content is in perfect balance (ie, Calcium to Phosphorous ratio).

According to Dr. Billinghurst, raw chicken bones contain the highest essential fatty acid content out of all animal bones and is considered to carry the most nutritional value. He recommends raw chicken necks and wings for puppies or beginners as they are soft and safe, and the meat to bone ratio are perfect.

Cooking the bones on the other hand changes the entire chemical composition of the bone making it hard and brittle, and can easily splinter and kill a dog (especially chicken bones). Not only are cooked bones dangerous, they are also of very little nutritional value as the essential nutrients mentioned above are lost through the cooking process. Further more, minerals in bones are made unavailable through cooking, and can actually cause calcium deposits in joints (arthritis), and calcification of soft tissues & organs. Same thing goes for calcium supplements and calcium added in commercial diets.

Quote from "Why Are Cooked Bones so Bad" on Page. 137 of Give Your Dog A Bone. (Contents within the parenthesis are my notes)

"One of the most important changes that occurs (via cooking) is to the minerals in that bone. It is probable that the calcium in the bone chemically combines with other minerals in the bone making them unavailable. Cooking the bone changes the way your dog's body assimilates the calcium in bone. It behaves like any other ARTIFICIAL sources of calcium, resulting in problems relating to an excessive intake of calcium, causing problems in both growing and adult dogs."

You do not risk the same problem when bones are fed raw. The body is able to absorb what it needs, and the excess is eliminated in the feces. This is why raw fed dogs have chalky white poop (after it's been in the sun) with very little odor.

What I have mentioned above is just a very teeny part of the book, I mainly addressed the issue regarding feeding chicken bones. There are still LOTS and LOTS of information in the book, and once again, I highly recommend the book for anyone who is just curious, or who is thinking about switching to raw.

Below is Dr. Billinghurst's website:

The following are online forums, message centers for people to share information, ask questions regarding the BARF diet:

  • BARF World Message Board (I'm am not part of this board, but I would image since it's listed on Dr. Billinghurst's website, you would be able to get direct insights from him. Don't quote me tho....)
  • BARF-lite (Yahoo BARF diet support group, people are open, level headed, you won't get chastised for feeding your dog diets other than BARF *ok, that just sounds really funny*)
  • Sagacious Airedales (knowledgeable, experienced breeder who feeds her adults, lactating bitches and puppies BARF and only BARF *hehehehe*. Lots of good info on the website, and she will happily answer your questions doesn't matter what breed of dogs you have)

Closing note:

I personally believe feeding your dog is management of risk. Doesn't matter what kind of diet you choose to feed your dog, there are always risks (be it from choking, nutrient imbalance, cancer causing preservatives, and so on). Can a dog die from eating raw chicken bones? I guess anything is possible, but dogs have also chocked and suffocated to death due to inhaling kibbles. There is no one way of feeding your dog, and as long as you have done your research and is comfortable feeding what you're feeding, you are doing the best to your ability and for your dog.

For "me", raw diet IS the diet for "Sunshade". She was raised on a poor quality kibble which resulted in numerous of health problems by the age of two. Switching to raw has given her her quality of life back and even tho we are still managing some of the lingering problems from being on kibbles, she is looking and doing better at 7 than she was at 18 months.

I sincerely hope that my post does not offend anyone, but if it does, I apologize ahead of time as it was not my intention. This is just MY personal experience, what MY researches have led me, and what MY believes are. (ok, now I sound like Sunshade)


Molly the Airedale said...

I hope you live forever Sunshade! Your mom sure takes good care of you.

Love you lots and lots,

Anonymous said...

Thankyou so much for all that informashiony stuff for my humans. They say they are considering a BARF (doesn't sound too good) diet for me in the near future. I gotta go to bed now - I have to get up early and do some digging :)

Lots of sniffs and licks and cuddles!
Texas (and his humans).

Marvin -The Hollow Hound said...

Hi there Elaine! My Marvin has allowed me to comment on your last post, he said reading all that stuff about food was making him tooooo hungry to concentrate.

You have some very well reasearched information there and I agree, we must all find the best diet for our dog. And also one that they enjoy as well as being good for them!

An "acquaintence" of mine, Evil Neighbour in fact, feeds their cute little dog on supermarket "Value" Tinned food and "Value" Mixer. I have never seen such an unhealthy or unhappy looking wee dog - well it gets no exercise either but that is another story. More perhaps on Marvin's Blog another day about Evil Neighbour. So it goes to show how important a good diet is. Marvin is fed mainly on Hills Science Diet (recomended by our Vet) it is a high quality kibble and his health and his coat and everything about him, bright eyes, alert, etc etc has improved since he has been on such a diet. Everyone remarks on his "handsomeness"!! He gets some scraps fed in with the kibble but not all the time, has to watch his weight(!).

He cannot eat bones of any kind as when I first had him a bone got stuck in his tummy and I ended up with £400 vet's bills!

I am grateful for your explanation about the chicken bones as I have always been very wary of them.

Thanks again, I will see if He lets me post some stuff on the Blog about his diet.

love and light
Jeannie xxxxxx ps having awful "slow" blogger probs today!

Anonymous said...

oh sunshade tell your mom no one is going to get mad at her for sharing her point of view on her (your) blog!! :) she's been such a wonderful help and inspiration to so many pups :)


Mrs.D said...

That is great information. Lola is on a kibble diet now but since we started blogging I've seen more and more about the RAW diet. I think it's something we should look into as well.

Thank you!

Mrs.D said...

That is great information. Lola is on a kibble diet now but since we started blogging I've seen more and more about the RAW diet. I think it's something we should look into as well.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

You know Sunshad's mum, you should just drop your job right now to become a people nutritionist or dog nutritionist.

On a second thought I know you dont cook and I can just see you convincing people to eat raw or mcdonalds, so a dog nutritionist is prolly a betta thing.


Myeo said...

Although Mama is pretty grossed about letting us eat raw and wil never let us do so.. but your post did not offend her one bit. Dont worry about it.

Boy n Baby

Anonymous said...

That was interesting and worth reading. Elaine, you are a smart cookie. But don't apologize for how you choose to feed Miss Sunshade. She's your baby and you do what's right for both of you. The results speak for themselves: Sunshade is smart, beautiful and active. What more could you want? Well, maybe she should stop watering fake trees.

jaffeboy said...

My MaMa did not do as much research as you & is also super paranoid. She is so afraid that we're not getting a balance diet so she insist on giving us kibbles in the morning & raw feed for din din.

BARF fanatics will think she is crazy as it defeats the purpose of BARF but she doesn't care. She feels most comfortable doing it this way.

Oh, BTW, Kaylie & I had duck for din din. Yummy yummy...

wally said...

Hi Miss Sunshade! we enjoy reading about your tasty tasty diet (and it has numerous advantages--like i now get cherries and raw mumpkin seeds!) and, while my mawma does not eat meat she was mesmerized by watching miss sunshade eat her new year's dinner. hee! we eat partial raw sometimes like jaffeboy. i think i would like a barf diet, though when i first heard about it i thought someone was advocating bulimia. my good german shepherd friends eat barf (ha!) and they're superduper healthy--doing agility and other fun things. whatever makes us healthy and happy, right?


ps. please keep blogging about food. i love it when you give my mawma ideas!

Unknown said...

Thanks for your time in providing such informative and inspiring messages for us in your webpages!
My furkids enjoy their BARF diet, but now I must consider another calcium source since one fellow doesn't have enough teeth now to chew the bones. Thanks to your information, I have hopes of finding helpful suggestions through the websites you recommended. Sounds so healthful, that I'm ready to nibble on chicken neck bones myself!

PawPrancer.com said...

Nice blog. I have 2 Siberians and I loved reading about your pets. I too feet the BARF diet and am thrilled with the amazing results: happy, healthy dogs, no fleas, no itchy spots, no vomiting. And no complaints from the dogs, either. I feed fresh frozen raw meat and veggies finely ground, with enzymes and probiotics added, along with a good antioxident.

Anonymous said...

This is great info to know.