This section is from the book "Kennel Secrets: How To Breed, Exhibit And Manage Dogs", by Ashmont. Also available from Amazon: Kennel Secrets: How to Breed, Exhibit and Manage Dogs.
As for what are known as "lights," some writers recommend them, yet a person would not be likely to feed them to a house pet more than once, for they give the breath an intolerable stench, which can be accepted as unmistakable evidence that decomposition occurred and advanced far before the stomach completed its task.
In the giving of raw meat there are certain precautions to be observed which are well worth considering here. The dog commonly " bolts" the food placed before him largely because there is little if any necessity for him to do otherwise, but accustom him to foods which require mastication and the assistance of the saliva, and he soon shows that he has sense - or instinct - enough to know that he must chew them before he swallows them. In feeding raw meat the facts are often ignored that dogs have teeth for cutting and tearing, and that if the same are industriously used on this food it will be converted into a form favorable for digestion. As a consequence the erroneous practice of giving it to them in pieces but little smaller than the fist is a common one; and to this can be attributed many of the digestive disturbances of which breeders have occasionally complained and for which they have blamed the food.
It ought not to be necessary to urge that raw meat for dogs, old and young, that are fairly healthy and have good, sound teeth should when possible be put before them in a form which will make it necessary for them to cut, tear and crush it before it can be swallowed; or in other words it should be in very large pieces, and preferably attached to bones of good size. And when it cannot be obtained in suitable form it should be cut into small pieces or crushed with a mallet before it is fed out; or if intended for puppies or for the sick it should always be. minced or scraped.
It will scarcely do utterly to ignore without comment that ancient idea that meat injures the dog's "nose." Where this food is given intelligently its effect upon the scenting powers is transitory merely and limited solely to the period of active digestion. In other words, after he has eaten his fill of meat, for two or three hours his sense of smell is less keen, but as soon as digestion is well advanced it is restored and just as powerful as before eating. And it can safely be said that a sporting dog might be allowed meat from puppyhood until incapacitated by age and his "nose" would not in the slightest degree fall off in consequence of his diet. But meat will injure this sense if it is given out of proportion to the amount of work or exercise, for then the dog is sure to become feverish and his "nose" as well as his general health must fail him. And where such failure has occurred in consequence of meat it has been invariably due to the lack of judgment on the part of the owners - they giving too much of this food and too little exercise.
The habit of burying meat, so common among dogs, has been the subject of speculation, and two theories have been advanced in explanation. One is, that they do it to ripen it and render it more digestible - possibly, also, that it may acquire a richer flavor. Yet dogs often bury meat that is literally putrid, and the other theory seems the most plausible - that so great is their fondness for this food they will eat it in any form, and, like all animals of the same family, store away and conceal if possible for the future what remains after their appetites have been satisfied or their jaws have tired from gnawing.
The reader will do well to accept this solution of the problem, for otherwise he might assume that meat even in advanced stages of decomposition would be good enough and not impossibly preferable for his dogs. He may accept as a fact that all tainted meat is poisonous, although it is less so to dogs than to men because of their greater powers of resistance. In fact a quantity of food poison that would kill a man might not have any appreciable effect upon his dog. But notwithstanding this there are limits, and of course no one knows where they are placed; consequently the wisest and safest plan to pursue is to feed dogs on foods that are above suspicion.
It is well to add that of all animal foods none undergo poisonous changes as quickly as liver, and when but slightly tainted it is extremely likely to cause severe diarrhoea.
It is evidently a part of the plan of Nature that a relation should exist between the general character of an animal and its food, and in keeping with this flesh-eaters are in general bolder and more combative than the vegetable-eaters upon which they prey. The same relation also appears in animals that subsist on a mixed diet, and man affords one of the best illustrations of it. Assuming that he has been living on a diet in which the proportions of these foods are about three parts vegetables to one of meat, now let him increase the quantity of meat and lessen that of vegetables, and the chances are many that if of a refined and easy-going, well-balanced nature he will before many weeks show some gross qualities and become more or less peevish and exacting. And returning again to his original diet his good-natured disposition will be restored.
The same relation and about the same degree of intimacy exists in dogs, and one quiet and gentle while being fed largely on vegetables will more than likely become a little bolder and perhaps be less good-natured towards strangers. And in this case, as in the other, the animal food acts as a stimulant and arouses the natural ferocity, which although evidences of it may under ordinary conditions be wanting yet exists in every flesh-eating animal.
However, this action of meat upon dogs is not sufficiently intense to make it worthy of consideration; and where they have become savage under its generous use, were the truth known it would doubtless appear that in nearly all cases they had been much kept on the chain at the time, and the perversion of nature was due far more to the restraint than to the diet. In a word, treat a dog humanely, and his diet, no matter how generous the proportion of meat, will very seldom injure his nature.