BARF Diet for Dogs – Guest Post

{Editor Notes: This is a Guest Post provided by CeliaSue Hecht @ We encourage you to stop by her blog and take a look. Since we spend a lot of time talking about commercial kibble and not a lot of time on Raw foods, we asked CeliaSue to talk a little bit about feeding Raw.}

Wide-scale pet food recalls have prompted many pet owners to switch away from commercial pet foods. Feeding a fresh, well-hydrated, varied, raw diet, whose enzymes and amino acids have not been altered by cooking is an idea whose time has come.
There are a growing number of companies that offer frozen and freeze-dried raw diets. Some vets are not as wild as pet owners with the idea of feeding dogs a diet that resembles what they would eat in the wild: basically, raw meat, uncooked bones, and pulverized vegetables and fruit. Their concerns range from risk of bacterial contamination, dietary imbalances, and internal injury from bones not chewed enough. None of these concerns should be taken lightly.
Proper handling of the food is important with regards to raw meat. Bones that are ground into a hamburger-like consistency eliminates the choking risk. Do not feed cooked bones, which can break off, splinter and possibly cause internal injury.
I have fed my dog Cici Nature’s Variety patties, Stella & Chewy’s, and Darwin’s. Some companies deliver the food straight to your home or office. Darwin’s food comes in a 2 lb. bag. When you defrost it, you have to defrost the entire bag. This did not work for us because I did not want to feed her all of the food at one time. Plus, it was messy and I did not enjoy the smell. Also, the food costs about $100 a month. Nature’s Variety and Stella & Chewy’s are about $20 for 32-48 patties which last me about a few weeks. The patties can be easily defrosted, were easy to deal with and did not smell. Darwin’s delivers and the other two companies do not.
Some brands offer an amazing variety of meats from bison, elk and venison to duck, lamb and turkey. Many offer organic, free range, 100% Grain and Gluten Free and grass fed meat and some offer fresh tripe (which Cici loves). Along with the meat and bones, the food usually contains organs such as livers, hearts and gizzards and vegetables and fruits such as organic squash, kale, broccoli, carrots, beans, cranberry, celery, beets, apple, probiotics, flax seed, oils and herbs such as parsley and seaweed such as kelp. Sounds tasty, huh.
There are other raw food brands such as PrimalPet and NaturesMenu which can be bought at your local retailer, online and even Amazon.
Some companies also offer freeze dried patties and dehydrated as well as meat jerky treats. Some treats include Organic Bison, Beef, Chicken, Chicken Liver and Organic Sweet Potato.
I suggest that you speak with your vet about changing your dog’s diet, do your own research, conduct a cost comparison, adhere to what your own dog’s likes and needs are, and also check out what is available to you locally. It is also wise to find out how many patties of raw food it is recommended that your pet eat a day (which factors into the cost). You can make the best choice once you find out what all of your options are and educate yourself.
People can also make homemade raw food but to me that seems like a very challenging and difficult process to get all of the essential ingredients together plus safety issues. But if you are up for it, that is another way to feed your dog what is called the BARF (Bones and Raw Food) diet.

One Response to BARF Diet for Dogs – Guest Post

  1. Victoria December 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    I feed “homemade” raw diet. There are 2 variations, BARF(veggies included) and Prey Model (no veggies). I feed PMR. Its really not that difficult, granted I lurked around several forums for couple years and did about 6 months worth of research prior to taking a leap, but once I did I realized that all that worry was mostly for nothing. The main thing is balance and variety. You want to feed roughly 80% muscle meat, 10% bone and 10% organ. I almost never feed the exact ration every single day. Generally you want to feed 1-2% of dogs ideal body weight. I feed 1.5%.
    I bought a small kitchen scale, so first thing I do is measure organs(liver or kidney) which is about 2oz for my dog, and the rest makes up meat and bone. Some meals are boneless, but I try to even out by giving a bonier meal the next time. So like in the morning I’ll give him venison with some liver and in the evening he gets a turkey neck.

    Your main source of feedback will be your dogs body condition and for the lack of better word, poop.
    If the dogs coat is dull or has dandruff, chances are he’s not getting enough red meat or fat in diet. If poops are too runny, not enough bone. If they are crumbly and chalky, too much bone. Currently I do not add any supplements besides salmon oil, but I may consider adding some dehydrated greens in the future. Vegetables arent a necessary part of dogs diet, they can get all the nutrients from meat/bone/organ alone.

    I’m not really a fan of premade raw foods since a lot of them are poorly balances, so its important to research and find the most biologically appropriate diet for your pet.

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