Lew Olson's newly revised edition is filled with an abundance of new topics and information. Whether you are new to home feeding or a seasoned raw feeder, have a senior dog or a new puppy, a pregnant mom or a toy breed, this book presents all the information you need to make the best nutritional decisions for your dog.

History of Feeding (Part I)

History of Feeding (Part I)

By Lew Olson • March 2005 Newsletter
One of my hobbies is collecting vintage books on canine nutrition. I have decided to share some excerpts from these books, to help give everyone ideas on how people fed their dogs before the invention of commercial dog food, and their philosophy and reasoning behind it. I hope you all enjoy these excerpts. Please give me feedback if you would like to see this type of content continue in future newsletters. Please note, most all dog fanciers fed a raw diet before the onset of World War II and these authors are addressing the care of show and breeding dogs. They are also addressing the early experimentation with “dog biscuit,” which was the first use of commercial dog foods made as today, mostly of starches and grains. Enjoy!

The Care and Feeding of Dogs
by Josephine Z. Rine
1936, Grosset and Dunlap.
I have a wonderful book on Canine Nutrition from 1936. It is called The Care and Feeding of Dogs, by Josephine Zine, and she showed and bred Boston Terriers, and wrote for the American Kennel Club Gazette. She states in her forward that she wrote several articles on feeding dogs for the Gazette and was encouraged to write a book. This book was written before commercial dry dog food, although they did have ‘bisquits.’ I will warn you, she is not a ‘bisquit’ believer and feeds a raw diet, and has fascinating comments on meat, grains and vegetables. She also lists diets for dogs and puppies, and one of the biggest problems with meat in the 30’s was storage, as these times were during ‘iceboxes’, rather than refrigerators or freezers.

Here are her ideas on feeding quantities for dogs:
“The size of a dog cannot be regarded as the only consideration in naming the amount of food he requires. Of course, a Sheperd will need more than a Peke. His stomach is larger and his body surface is greater, thus a cupful, which would be a satisfying meal for a Peke, would be but a sample for the smallest Shepherd. Given a small Boston Terrier and a large Peke of identical weight total, and you will find that the former requires a larger amount of food than the latter. Why? Because the Boston is more active and more nervously alert than the self-contained mite from China. The added drain of the Peke’s heavy coat, against the thin satin finish of the Boston, is further proof that disposition is as important a factor in determining correct nutrition as is the actual amount of food consumed.”
Her opinion on meat in the diet (page 48-49):
“Man is constantly warned against using too large a proportion of meat as his protein quota, being advised to substitute other forms of protein instead. With dogs, the situation is quite different, for with them it seems almost impossible to feed too much meat to young, strong and active canine.
The dog, in his natural state, was a meat-eating animal, living entirely on the products of his kill. There was a time, ages ago, when there were no vegetables or other foods than meat and greens and berries. This state of affairs, far from bothering the dog, made a perfect animal of him. He was fit then to bring down his quarry after miles and miles of chase, and eat the whole of it or at least as much as he liked. Nature meant him to eat meat, and though today he is probably as different from his source as man from his, the fact remains that his chief fund of nourishment should the same, namely meat.
The object of mixing other foods with meat is because of the necessary
laxative qualities of the complementing substances. Long ago when the dog had his freedom and was continually on the move, those additional foods were not as necessary, but now his more sheltered existence and easier life demand the protection of the laxative properties to assist in the cleansing of the systems impurities.”
And from page 50:
“Fish and meat together are the greatest of disease resisters, seeming to fortify the system against the invasion of serious inroads. And when trouble does come the way of a meat eater, it is easy to see how much better he fights the infection than his less fortunate brother who has been fed differently.
The other proteins, milk and eggs, have come into dog usage gradually and these have their staunch adherents and their objectors. They are needed, however, badly needed, in all dog work, and can now be digested with little trouble. They constitute a beneficial change of flavor to the usual round of tin pan offerings, and they bring to the system elements of nourishment that cannot very well be done without.”
Another interesting book is “Commonsense and Secrets of Dog-Feeding”, by R. E Nicholas, 1936 (originally 1905, but this is the 18th edition), Toogood & Sons, LTD, Southhampton, England. I have little information on this author, simply that his nickname was “Great Dane”.
His ideas on meat:
“The instinctive desire a normal dog has for meat is a sure indication that is really required for nutritive processes, while its indifference to some other food materials is evidence of their less worth for nourishment. The prevalent notion that meat is harmful or unnecessary is idiotic and cruel; and to deprive a dog of meat foods is to go against nature.”
And on bones in the diet:
“Raw bones consist largely of mineral matter, with some fat and protein, and suffice alone for the prolonged nutrition of dogs, which generally relish them keenly. They have been aptly described as “the dog’s tooth brush”, and their use in moderation is essential, though too frequent feeding with them prematurely wears away the teeth. Preference must always be given to soft or porous bones that can easily be crushed. Dense, hard ones needlessly wear out the teeth without cleaning them. Bones should seldom be fed when the stomach is empty, but rather after a meal.”
And on bacteria:
“The fact that many dogs eat putrid meat without apparent injury is evidence that the effect of habit confers considerable immunity, but not that putrid meat is a desirable food. The system of a carnivorous animal naturally craves flesh-food in some form; and dogs will eat decomposing meat rather than go without flesh altogether, but if given sufficiently liberal rations of fresh meat, they refuse anything badly tainted.”
On bisquit (kibble in those days):
“That some dogs will eat dog-biscuits is no reason for giving them nothing else. A man can eat ‘hard tack’, but he would not relish it as a whole diet or thrive very well on it either. Broadly speaking a dog will eat anything; but owners who feed their dogs on ‘anything’ seldom make a success of the kennel business.”
As to carbohydrates, he states:
“Dogs receiving palatable, varied and digestible rations containing liberal quantities of protein of animal origin grow more rapidly, and have stronger, larger bone and more vigorous organs that those fed mainly on starchy, carbonaceous foods, so that the rations of breeding stock should be mainly nitrogenous and consist largely of meat.”
If anyone knows the author of these wonderful Haiku’s, please let me know. I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I have!
I love my master
Thus I perfume myself with
long rotted squirrel.
I lie belly-up
In the sunshine, happier than
You ever will be
Today I sniffed
Many dog butts-I celebrate
By kissing your face.
I sound the alarm!
Paperboy-come to kill us all-
Look! Look! Look! Look!
I sound the alarm!
Mailman Fiend-come to kill us-
Look! Look! Look! Look!
Sound the alarm!!
Garbage man-come to kill us-
Look! Look! Look! Look!
I sound the alarm!
Neighbor’s cat-come to kill us all!
Look! Look! Look! Look!
I lift my leg and
wiz on each bush. Hello, Spot-
sniff this and weep.
How do I love thee?
The ways are numberless as
My hairs on the rug.
1) Which of these foods is NOT high in carbohydrates?
A. Rice
B. Carrots
C. Salmon
D. Corn
E. Potatoes
2) Carbohydrates are comprised of simple:
A. Proteins
B. Sugars
C. Fats
D. Lipids
E. Fibers
3) Wolves eat all of the following from large prey animals except:
A. Stomach contents
B. Muscle meat
C. Lungs
D. Eyes and brain
4) The dog’s digestive tract is:
A. Long and convoluted
B. Simple, short and smooth
C. Full of teeth
D. Pouched or sacculated
5) Stool eating (coprophagia) in dogs may be caused by all of these except:
A. Nutritional deficiency
B. Boredom
C. An acquired habit that can be learned by seeing other dogs do it
D. Just to gross us out
E. Malabsorption of food
Question 1
C. Carbohydrates are found in grains, vegetables and legumes
(beans, peas, etc.), fruits and sugars (including milk products).
Meat and
bone do not contain carbohydrates.
Question 2
“Carbohydrates are divided into two groups-simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates, sometimes called simple sugars, include fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar), and lactose (milk sugar), as well as several other sugars. Fruits are one of the richest natural sources of simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are also made up of sugars, but the sugar molecules are strung together to form longer, more complex chains. Complex carbohydrates include fiber and starches. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include vegetables, whole grains, peas, and beans.”
Question 3
A. Observations of wolves in the wild indicate that, while they will eat the stomach lining and intestines, the contents of the stomach are not eaten.
www.kidsplanet.org (This is a PDF file)
Question 4
B. “Humans have the intestines of omnivores not carnivores. Our intestines are very long and quite convoluted. They require a high fiber content just to move food through them efficiently and to absorb the nutrients. (No, Virginia, constipation is not normal!) Carnivores have short intestines, as the rapidly decaying flesh must be moved quickly through the system to avoid auto-toxemic reactions.”
“The digestive systems of humans, dogs, mice, horses, kangaroos and great white sharks are, to a first approximation, virtually identical. If you look more carefully however, it becomes apparent that each of these species has evolved certain digestive specializations that have allowed it to adapt to a particular diet. These differences become particularly apparent when you compare a carnivore like a dog with an herbivore like a goat or a horse. Goats and horses evolved from ancestors that subsisted on plants and adapted parts of their digestive tracts into massive fermentation vats which enabled them efficiently utilize cellulose, the major carbohydrate of plants. In contrast, dogs evolved from animals that lived on the carcasses of other animals, and have digestive systems that reflect this history – extremely small fermentation vats and essentially no ability to utilize cellulose. Bridging the gap between carnivores and herbivores are omnivores like humans and pigs, whose digestive tracts attest to a historical diet that included both plants and animals.”
Question 5
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