Just Dogs are delighted to be stocking BARF food as part of our range. We have started off with introducing the more competitively priced PrizeChoice and Natures Menu ranges but watch this space as in the next month or so we will also be adding the Natural Instinct Range to our available selection.
BARF feeding can seem quite daunting to some people and as it is a relatively new concept in the doggy world we wanted to pull together some handy FAQs to provide our customers with a bit more information to allow them to make a more informed choice about whether this type of feeding will be right for their dog.
We have pulled together some handy introductory information below but if you would like more in depth information (of which there is lots!) we would recommend the following links:
- The Natural Instincts website is excellent and has lots of useful information and links
- The Prize Choice/Natures Menu website also has a whole host of useful information
- This is also a really handy Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/rawtips
We always welcome your thoughts, suggestions and feedback.
WHAT IS BARF?
BARF stands for Bones and Raw Foods or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. The idea behind this type of feeding is to take things right back to basic and feed as a dog
would eat in the Wild. Some advocates of BARF believe that dogs are not meant to process cooked meats and foods and they benefit much more greatly from having a raw diet. Raw feeding tends to comprise of a mix of raw meat and raw, uncooked bones along with a mix of veg and fruits (preferably in raw format too). Raw feeders will often include things such as yoghurt, herbs, nuts and seed in their dogs diet as well.
Often raw feeders work on a similar premise to the human equivalent of "meat and two veg". As a general guide, raw feeders will often feed 2 handfuls of blended fruit and veg for every handful of meat.
At Just Dogs we offer a range of raw food options. We have bones, raw meat and minced meat (meat mixed with ground bones). We also offer ready made packs which have a mix of meat, fruit, veg and rice - a ready made BARF meal!
WHY WOULD I CONSIDER SWAPPING FROM AN EXISTING DIET?
This is a personal choice. There is no absolute right answer here. We would always recommend that you do your own research to make up your mind about whether you think this type of feeding is right for your dog.
What we can say is that there are many people who have successfully swapped their dogs onto a raw food diet and their pets are thriving on this type of feeding.
If you are swapping we generally recommend a gradual swap over to decrease the chances of an upset stomach which can sometimes occur when making a sudden change.
We have listed some of the arguments as to why BARF is more beneficial below:
- The cooking process can damage the nutritional content of food. By feeding raw you are guaranteeing all the goodness is maintained.
- You generally feed smaller amounts when raw feeding and it can be less expensive than feeding a high quality dry dog food.
- Your dogs digestive system doesn't have to work as hard to absorb the goodness of the food
- Feeding bones as part of the daily diet can help to reduce gum disease and plaque build up
- If your dog has a sensitive tummy raw feeding can make it easier to eliminate/identify problem ingredients
- For fussy dogs raw feeding can be ideal as it is a highly palatable form of feeding which dogs usually love!
- Because of the increased absorption of nutrients you will often find your dog has smaller and firmer stools.
WHY DO SOME PEOPLE NOT LIKE THE IDEA OF FEEDING A BARF DIET?
- Some people believe there is an increased chance of their dog getting worms from raw feeding. Whilst it is true that there is a small risk that uncooked meat could carry worms providing you worm your dog regularly then this should not cause any issues. Worms can be caught from many other sources more easily so this should not be a major concern.
- Raw chicken can carry salmonella and this causes concern for some people. This information from Anglian Meat Products is very useful "Salmonella is everywhere, not just in raw food. Cats and dogs walk around and lick their feet. They find bits of old food to eat. Salmonella is even found in dried food! Fortunately dogs and cats have an intestine that is designed to kill and break down bacteria in the food they eat, including Salmonella. In fact there is an argument that a dog or cat that eats a diet that contains bacteria will be better able to cope when they do eat something that is really rotten. It is like a form of natural inoculation."
IS FEEDING BONES NOT DANGEROUS?
Feeding cooked bones can be extremely dangerous as these can easily splinter and can cause digestive problems.
Raw bones very rarely splinter and can have the benefit of providing extra nutritional value and great teeth cleaning advantages. We do however always recommend that you supervise dogs whilst they are eating bones.
Chicken wings are often a popular choice as are minced meat with bone content.
RAW FOOD RULES
These tips have been taken from the UK BARF CLUB Website http://www.ukbarfclub.co.uk/index.php?_a=viewDoc&docId=30). We think they are extremely useful!
- Dogs should be fed on a variety of raw meat and bones. Just sticking to one meat source is no good - you don't get all your nutrients. Do not feed pork. If your dog has a skin or bowel problem, do not feed beef initially until you know that this will not cause hypersensitivity.
- Quantities - for every 10kg weight, a dog should eat about 100-150g meat and twice this volume in fruit and veg. This is only a guideline to start. If your dog is gaining weight, reduce quantities, if they are loosing, increase.
- For every handful of meat, feed 2 handfuls of liquidised raw veg*. A bit like the old ‘meat and two veg'adage!. Nuts, herbs and cooked beans should be added to the ‘veg' portion.
- Feed raw bones once or twice weekly.(RAW bones are easily chewed and digested. It is very unlikely, but not impossible that bones will get stuck in the gut. If you do not have a regular habit of brushing your dogs teeth feeding bones is the best alternative to avoiding serious problems with gum disease in your dog.
- Feed offal (either kidney, heart, lung or liver) once a week instead of meat. Remember, wild animals come with offal alongside the meat. It is a necessary part (however distasteful) of a balanced diet. Vary the organ meat weekly.
- Do not feed cereals (mixer biscuits or treats). * Take any veggies, especially green leaved ones, fruit and salad items and place in the liquidiser. You can use just one or two ingredients at any one liquidising, but make sure you have variety from week to week. Blend to a rough broth. Add some water to give a liquid texture, if necessary. Pour on the meat in a 1:2 ratio by volume, meat to veg. If your dog is ill or old, you may take a few days to more gradually change the regime to raw.
How to bend the rules:
- If you cannot bear to feed raw meat, very light cooking in olive oil to ‘seal' the juices is ok. Meat should be rare when served.
- Liquidised raw veg will last for 48 hours in the fridge, so you can do the blending only 3x weekly, but remember it looses it's goodness pretty quickly after liquidising. If you cannot do this daily, consider using rice as an alternative. Pasta is no good as it is made from wheat. If you cannot give a variety of veg and fruit, then you will need to feed a supplement.
- An oven baked mixer biscuit can be used to fill out the diet once or twice weekly: feed 1/3 meat, 1/3 veg and 1/3 biscuit. Do not use any cereals if you are trying to avoid grains.
- If you cannot bear the thought of raw bones, the AMP minces such as Chicken dinner, Turkey Dinner and Rabbit Dinner contain finely ground bone to give Calcium. Some chews are needed in the diet to clean the teeth though. "