do I get started?
most important step is the first one. Prior to that, however,
it is important to take sime time to reasearch the raw diet
(hopefully that is why you are here!). Go to our "Recommended
Reading" page and purchase a few of the books listed
there. Ask other raw feeding Breeders for information, and
consider joining one of the BARF Chat Lists that are available (go to www.groups.yahoo.com
and search BARF ...you will find quite a few lists dedicated to the subject).
dogs do fine being switched cold-turkey. We suggest
starting with one or two foods at a time and letting their bodies get
used to the new foods before you start feeding them more
variety. Some dogs will be hesitant to eat chicken with
bones in it. In this case, we suggest grinding it or lightly
searing it for taste. Usually they'll be off and running in no
time. Wait to add the richer foods, such as liver and
eggs, for a few weeks.
dog is different. 2% of his body weight daily is a good place
to start and then adjust everything up or down, depending on your
dogs condition. We've found that when we
"tweak" the chicken, we see a change in weight faster than
if we "tweak" the other ingredients. For instance, a
dog we are trying to keep weight on will receive chicken backs (with
fat attached) and a dog we are trying to keep weight off of will get
a back with fat removed, or necks instead.
I start an older dog on BARF?
However, we would suggest a visit to the vet and a complete blood
workup in the case of very old dogs. This is to ensure that
there is not another problem coming on which might be mistaken for a
change in diet. For older dogs, it is best to start out with a
bland diet and keep the fat content lower. We would also
suggest adding yogurt with live cultures to aid in digestion.
I be concerned about Salmonella poisoning?
to the FDA, salmonella is not harmful to otherwise healthy
dogs. Be smart in preparing the foods though, to protect
yourself and your family. Don't leave chicken for the dogs out
any longer than you would if you were feeding it to your family.
Wash hands and keep food preparation surfaces clean. We keep a
spray bottle with water/bleach handy, and simply spray down the area
and wipe after preparing each meal.
raw bones cause choking or puncture the intestines?
let us please remind that ALL BONES MUST BE FED RAW. It is
cooked bones that become sharp and splintery, resulting in the old
"no chicken bones for the dogs" adage. Raw bones are
fully digestible and it is not only normal, but healthy, for dogs to
eat them. Never in our years of feeding have we had a dog choke
on a bone, or have a problem with digestion, blocked intestines due
to bones etc. In fact, we've found that the RMB meals are
digested much more quickly than the kibble that we fed previously.
RMBs & Recreational Bones?
Meaty Bones (as referred to over and over again in most BARF
literature) are bones that are soft enough for the dog to chew up and
eat ie. chicken or turkey carcasses/backs/necks/wings, lamb
necks, oxtails etc. Recreational bones are larger bones that
you will give your dogs to chew, but not eat through ie. beef femurs,
knuckle bones etc.
do I go about finding a Raw Meaty Bone supplier?
your local butcher or Wholesale Poultry Distributor. We
purchase chicken directly from the source since we buy in such large
quantity. This enables us to purchase chickens the day they are
butchered to ensure freshness. For the meat mixture, our butcher
grinds everything we request and freezes it in 5lb bags. These
days, there are also many prepared raw diets on the market.
They can be expensive, but are also very convenient. Another
resource for suppliers is the International
Insert your zip code to find a supplier near you. It
will certainly pay for you to shop around for prices, as well as buy
in bulk, as you will pay nearly twice as much at your local grocery store.
it important to feed a variety of meats?
do find it advantageous to give a variety of meats, since they vary
in what they offer nutritionally. Typically we recommend
feeding both poulty and meat "from the hoof" (beef, lamb, elk
etc.) daily, as well as fish. That said, you will find that
many speciality suppliers now offer a wide variety of exotic meats now...bison,
emu, kangaroo, pheasant, game hens etc. These are all fine to
feed, but not essential to a balanced diet. Typically they are
very expensive and offer little additional nutritional value over the
more accessible meats.
I or should I not feed grains?
are various opinions on grains. Most feel that grains are not
a natural food for dog and thus, that dogs do not need any
grains. In addition, grains are full of carbohydrates which are
converted to sugars in the body. It is perfectly healthy for a
dog to eat some grain, however, it should be a very smally part of
the diet overall. You will notice that in our diet, we include
soaked oats. However, each large dog will only eat about 1 TBSP
of oats in a day. Grains are also a major source of allergies
in some dogs. If in doubt, we would suggest removing the grains
from your dog's diet.
supplements should I be giving?
a well-balanced diet is fed, the need for additional supplementation
should be minimal. We have found that every dog needs different
vitamins and minerals for optimum helath, so do add some things to
their diet (see our Supplement
page). However, when possible, we try to feed foods that
contain what each individual dog needs, rather than offering an
artifical supplement. This means that some dogs get more green
leafy veggies, other more fish, liver etc.
I have to chop or puree the veggies?
walls of plants (fruits and veggies) are made up of cellulose, which
dogs cannot digest, so it is recommended that veggies are finely
chopped, juiced etc. Cooking also destroys the cell walls,
however it also removes other nutrients. Our suggestion is to
prepare "Veggie Glop" in large quantities and then freeze
in smaller packages, suitable for daily usage.
chicken leg quarters?
however there are two drawbacks to feeding these. First,
the weight bearing bones are naturally harder, which precludes them
for smaller dogs, and Second, the thighs do not contain the
proper calcium:meat ratio (much more meat than bone). We will
feed these periodically when we're traveling, but would not consider
making them a staple of our diet.
can I get my dog to stop gulping
down his chicken?
by nature, will chomp once and then swallow. To teach them to
chew before swallowing try using larger RMBs like chicken backs and
turkey necks. Avoid chicken wings and necks until your dog has
proven that he will chew the food. We have also found that
feeding the "gulper" his chicken partially frozen will
encourage him to chew it more thoroughly. Another option
is hand feeding, holding onto the bone while they chew the meat
off. This generally only works well for smaller dogs (ours can
wrestle the slippery chicken out of our hands pretty easily!).
there a benefit
to grinding RMB's?
find the chewing of whole RMB's to be very satisfying for the
dogs. It is also good jaw and upper body exercise for the pups
and older dogs. Chewing the bones themselves is what helps to
keep the teeth so clean and white. We do at times though
get a dog in for showing whose owner is worried about choking on
bones. In these cases, we order whole chickens ground by
our butcher (I'm far to lazy to grind myself).
it safe to feed pork?
can be fed safely, however to avoid the possibility of trichinosis,
it is recommended that it be frozen at zero degrees for three
weeks. It is safer to buy human-grade inspected pork.
Personally, we avoid pork, other than to share a bit of cooked pork
off of our own dinner plates.
does my dog's coat look worse since
after changing over from processed dog food to raw, your dog's body
will begin to rid itself o the toxins and impurities while adjusting
to the proper nutrients. You may notice that your dog's coat
conditioned has worsened, or that he/she may have a bout of vomiting
or diarrhea. This is all part of the normal detoxification
process. Be sure to provide lots of fresh water at this time
and consider adding vitamin C and pure pumpkin to the diet.
This process is usually over with quickly and the dog looks and feels
better than ever in the end.
if my dog gets too heavy, or is too lean on the raw diet?
a dog is too heavy on the raw diet and you have already cut back to smallish
quantities, we would suggest a few things. First, if you are
offering carbohydrates (grains, sweet potato...), remove these.
Second, try removing the skin from the chicken or switch from chicken
backs to necks or wings which have a bit less meat. If a dog is
too lean on the raw diet, make sure to give the very meaty portions
of the chicken, with the skin and also add a cooked sweet potato daily.
In both cases, if you find it difficult to get your dog in the
correct weight, a trip to the veterinarian is in order to rule out a thyroid
condition, parasites etc.
if my dog has diarrhea?
may be brought on in a beginning BARF dog due to the normal
detoxification process (above) but can also be the result of adding
too many new foods too quickly. Try going back and adding one
food at a time to try to determine the culprit. You may
also want to try a good Probiotic to aid in digestion, as well as yogurt.
You may also want to consider whether you are giving too much vitamin C. Vitamin
C is water soluable and often exits the body via loose stools.
if my dog gets constipated on the BARF diet?
is common to see white crumbly stools from a raw fed dog.
However, if the dog seems constipated, try reducing the recreational bones
and raising the amount of veggies and oil a bit. Real pumpkin
will also help reduce constipation (helps loose stools as well).
I have to fast my dog once a week?
don't. Plain and simple...I hate skipping meals so I don't ask
my dogs to either.
about feeding both Kibble and BARF?
fed half and half for years, mainly for convenience. If
you are going to feed kibble, be sure to thoroughly research the
kibble as well as you have the raw diet. A link to a kibble
comparison chart is at the left.
feeding raw meat make my dog vicious?
kidding, right? This is a MYTH. There is no relationship
between eating raw meat and wanting to kill an animal. Killing
animals has to do with natural prey drive. Dogs with excessive
prey drive will enjoy chasing and killing, regardless of what they
eat. Consider stock guardian dogs. They not only protect
the flock, but are often fed that same meat. Dogs can easily
distinguish these things. You didn't find that he wanted to
kill the pet food store employees because his food came from there,