Natural Life Magazine

What to Feed Your Pet
(in lieu of "junk food")

What to Feed Your Pet in lieu of junk foodDr. Tom Lonsdale recommends a diet that is easy to follow, inexpensive and enjoyable for your pet. Domestic dogs and cats are carnivores. Feeding them the appropriate carnivore diet represents the single most important contribution to their welfare.

  • Chicken and turkey carcasses, after the meat has been removed for human consumption, are suitable for dogs and cats.

  • Poultry by-products include: heads, feet, necks and wings.

  • Whole fish and fish heads.

  • Goat, sheep, calf, deer and kangaroo carcasses can be sawn into large pieces of meat and bone.

  • Other by-products include: pigs’ trotters, pigs’ heads, sheep heads, brisket, tail bones, rib bones.

  • Whole carcasses: rats, mice, rabbits, fish, chickens, quail, hens.

  • Offal; liver, lungs, trachea, hearts, stomach of ruminants, tripe.


  • Low-fat game animals and fish and birds provide the best source of food for pet carnivores. If using meat from farm animals (cattle, sheep and pigs) avoid excessive fat and bones that are too large to be eaten.

  • Dogs are more likely to break their teeth when eating large knuckle bones and bones sawn lengthwise than if eating meat and bone together.

  • Raw food for cats should always be fresh. Dogs can consume “ripe” food and will sometimes bury bones for later consumption.


  • High activity and big appetite indicate a need for increased food, and vice versa.

  • Body condition depends on a number of factors: overall body shape and luster of the hair coat provide clues. Use your finger tips to assess the elasticity of the skin. Does it have an elastic feel and move readily over the muscles? Do the muscles feel well toned? How much coverage of the ribs do you detect? This is the best place to check whether your pet is too thin or too fat. By comparing your own rib cage with that of your pet you can obtain a good idea of body condition.

  • An approximate consumption guide is 15 to 20 percent of body weight in one week or two to three percent per day. Table scraps should be fed as an extra component of the diet.

  • Please note that these figures are only a guide and relate to adult pets in a domestic environment. Pregnant or lactating females and growing puppies and kittens may need much more food than adult animals of similar body weight.

  • Wherever possible, feed the meat and bone ration in one large piece requiring much ripping, tearing and gnawing. This makes for contented pets with clean teeth.


  • Feed adult dogs and cats once daily.

  • On one or two days each week your dog may be fasted — just like animals in the wild. When you run out of natural food, don’t be tempted to buy artificial food; fast your dog until you can stock up with natural food Puppies, cats, sick or underweight dogs should not be fasted (unless on veterinary advice).

Some things to avoid

  • Excessive meat off the bone; excessive vegetables

  • Small pieces of bone

  • Mineral and vitamin additives

  • Processed food

  • Excessive starchy food

  • Onions, garlic and chocolate

  • Grapes, raisins, sultanas, currants

For more detail, see Dr. Lonsdale’s books and his website


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