Tell me about BARF

(32 Posts)
Jinglemyalanbells Sun 09-Dec-12 13:59:17

I'm considering it for my pup who does seem to have a bit of a sensitive stomach. However, I also have two young dcs and a job!
Is it a faff? I've heard of the benefits but not sure I can commit to it if its a lot of work.
Where do you get your raw meat from?
Does it work out more than you paid for kibble?
Can I mix kibble and raw to keep costs down?

PottedShrimp Sun 09-Dec-12 14:12:37

People who I know who have moved over to BARF highly recommend it, and their dogs look great. BUT they have all said the beginning is pretty hard work as the dogs adjust. Expect alot of trots! But this settles down and is is very easy.

Personally, I have yet to try it though.

Rikalaily Sun 09-Dec-12 14:34:11

There are companies that you can order from online and they deliver but you have to have alot of freezer space as they only go to each area once a month. We would be raw feeding full time if we had the freezer space as our dog gets a bad tummy from wheat etc.

So atm because we can't feed raw full time we went to the next best option. We feed Wainwrites wet trays and the dry kibble (only grain in it is brown rice), it's got a very high meat content and raw meat/bones. We also buy the big bags of frozen beef chunks from Pets at Home and he has this a few times a week instead of the wet trays. His stomach is completely normal on this diet.

His wet is £8.99 for 12 trays, he's 33kg so needs one full tray (1 tray is for a 25kg dog) and a mugful of the kibble a day, or he gets 5 big chunks of the raw and a bit of kibble 2x a day. He's only 12 months and a big breed so we still give him slightly more than an adult dog, we'll cut his food back slightly when he's matured. His kibble is about £33 for a huge sackful which lasts a few months. The bags of beef are about £5-6 and these last about a month if he has it for both daily feeds 2x a week. Chappie is £1.65 for a large can and he was on one of these a day plus kibble so was about £2 a day to feed him on that, it costs us about £1.20 a day on the Wainwrites and raw.

Raw feeding is the cheapest way you can feed if you buy in bulk from online companies. Wainwrites/other premium food is cheaper than feeding cheap rubbish as they need alot less of it, our boy was a rescue and arrived eating Chappie, he had horrible runs and wind. Since we swapped over we are spending alot less on food, his wind has gone and so have the runs.

If you switch to BARF, it's important to do it slowly and it's easier on thier tum if you indroduce each new meat 2 weeks apart. Start with chicken then 2 weeks later add turkey or another poultry, rabbit, pork, green tripe etc, beef and leave lamb until last as it tends to be the meat that most dogs get the trots on if introduced too early. You can feed chicken wings but bash them with a hammer and keep hold of them while the dig chews until you are confident that they are chewing them up properly, lambs ribs/spines are great, they can get through the bone easily - Our boy has these about once a week for his supper (I get these from Morrisons, they sell them as stock bones).

alwaysworking Sun 09-Dec-12 17:19:16

I am sorry but I totally disagree with Rikalaily.

Our pup is 18 weeks old. When she arrived her poo was all over the place and she hated her kibble with a passion. we took her to the vet and they put her on Royal Canin dodgy stomach food for puppies which was an absolute fortune. She then refused to eat it.

I decided to take the problem into my own hands and move her straight over to BARF. Not had any dealings with it before but just read and read and read.

I've not taken ages to introduce anything. She has green tripe, fish, lots of chicken with bones. beef hearts, tongue, liver, kidney. the works.

She bloody loves it all.

Her backside as it's euphemistically called in this house couldn't be better. The shit is tiny, black and hard.

I don't feed vegetables apart from what's in the green tripe.

I work on the principle of 80% muscle meat including heart, tripe etc. 10% bone (always raw and not the legs of cows as the bones are too hard for her to chip off and ingest). and 10% kidney, liver etc.

Honestly, dog has never been easier to deal with. I will never never go back.

I work a very long week as I'm self employed and have two children aged 9 and 12. it's not really that difficult as long as you have a good sized freezer and can find butchers to talk to. The only thing the butcher doesn't want to do for me is mince green tripe. Bought lots of chicken from Tesco too as that is nice and cheap for legs / wings.

I freeze everything. the only thing i really don't like is raw chicken being wiped across the kitchen floor as she loves it so much she tries to run off with it as it is highly prized. She now eats that outside as i can't have my youngest rolling around on a floor with potential salmonella germs everywhere.

Hope this helps smile Honestly best thing we ever did for her.

alwaysworking Sun 09-Dec-12 17:44:17

I didn't answer your questions - how rude. Sorry

Is it a faff. Yes definitely more of a faff than driving to the shop, buying huge bag of kibble and driving home. Perfectly reasonable amount of faff in my life, then yes. At the moment it is more faff than it will be long term as I am learning. once i get used to it, i imagine it'll settle down into very low levels of faff. You do need to remember to take tomorrow's food out of the freezer or you'll leave yourself short.

I answered where i get it from - local butcher who's dead nice and has lots of bits in the back - other customers get really interested in the purchase of bizarre bits so it makes for lots of conversations. chicken legs etc I get from Tesco that are frozen. they're nice and cheap. I don't buy minces as I don't now what's in them apart from Green Tripe.

as you can buy Wagg for next to nothing I am sure that it is far more expensive than that. I wouldn't imagine it's more expensive than Royal Canin but I haven't worked it all out very carefully as I'm not doing it for thrift as much as a happier dog with shit that I can cope with. Constantly foul runny poo that needed hosing off the pavement wasn't something that I could live with.

Personally I wouldn't mix raw and kibble. Kibble is supposed to be fed as a complete meal with everything a dog needs. I'm not sure I understand what you'd gain from doing both.

She's having 150g of sardines in tomato sauce and 200g of tripe for tea. not a nice mixture to us but she seems well happy! she had a small piece of oxtail for lunch which took ages for her to eat and tripe for breakfast.

You dont' need to ensure that every meal is balanced but a week needs to be so so she had a good bit of liver yesterday.

Cuebill Sun 09-Dec-12 17:49:46

Barf is much much cheaper than feeding kibble
You will have much less poos than feeding kibble
Your dogs will have fantastic coats
Your dogs will be really healthy
Your dogs will have fab teeth
Dogs will luuuuuuurve it.

You will need a lot of freezer space (but then you have to have space for the mega kibble bags)
The first time may seem daunting but I guess you feed yourself and your family real food - it is easier than that smile

Start with one meat source and feed for a couple of weeks
Add in a second meat source gradually etc etc

I don't find it a faff, I order my food from Landywoods freeze it into meal size portions. then just chuck it down for the dogs twice a day - easy.

portraitoftheartist Mon 10-Dec-12 21:53:28

Look on the Pet Forum for a crowd of evangelical fanatics who can bore you to death on the subject of raw food.
It's a fad which will pass. I think you need to be unemployed to put in the long hours of preparing food and telling everyone else about it.

Jinglemyalanbells Mon 10-Dec-12 22:00:36

Thanks all. Is it a fad though? It seems like common sense and of course no pet food co. is going to promote it. May keep researching...

LadyDamerel Mon 10-Dec-12 22:28:17

We feed our 2 labs on raw meat, it costs about £10 a week to feed both of them and the only faff for me is doing the supermarket shop on the right day so we don't run out.

Our basic staples are frozen chicken pieces (Tesco Value, £3 a shot, lasts a week per dog), frozen white fish pieces (under £2 a bag, lasts a week), green tripe (from Pets at Home), an egg (in the shell) and a small dollop of natural bio yogurt. Depending on what's available in the supermarket they might also get sliced heart, various offal, pigs trotters, oxtail, ribs, whole fish (from the reduced shelf!), etc to add some variety.

So it's easy enough to buy what you need as part of your supermarket shop and you don't need an enormous freezer either.

The hardest bit is at the beginning as you work out how much of everything to give them. The proportions we work on are 50% bony meat (wings, thighs, drumsticks, ribs), 30% muscle meat/fish, 5- 10% offal (some dogs are more sensitive to it than others) and 10% egg/yogurt.

The rule of thumb for knowing how much to feed them is 1-3% of their bodyweight, so our 20kg lab has 400g approx in total over a day and her sister who is more prone to weight gain has the same, even though she's a bigger dog.

We've been doing it for 3 years and I know by eye exactly how much of everything to chuck in their bowls and we usually feed it straight from the freezer too, as it stops them swallowing their entire dinner in 2 gulps and forces them to chew it which is excellent for their jaw muscles.

The benefits, for us and the dogs, far outweigh any minor inconveniences. Everyone comments on what amazing condition they are in, how shiny their coats are and how healthy they look. The vet also commented on how healthy the 4 year old's teeth are, because of her food.

Their poos are tiny and firm and don't smell at all which is the best bit for me.

I'd recommend raw feeding to anyone and while I know it is seen as a 'fad', I think actually more and more people are waking up to the fact that commercial dog food is nothing but a way for the manufacturers to make money and has nothing to do with nutrition at all. As dog owners we are more than capable of feeding our dogs a balanced diet in the same way that we manage to feed ourselves and our children a balanced diet so we are doing just that.

tazzle22 Mon 10-Dec-12 22:45:13

err its not a fad grin ... its a return to what we were doing yonks back only then it was usually the local abbatoir or butcher supplied the meat and bones. BARF may have a "new name" but its just more dogs owners finding out about it and having to give it a reconisable short name so indicate a feeding preference ( kinda like a vegitarian using the word to give an ide to others about their preferences rather than long winded explanations !)

Now, as said, you can get other commercial suppliers as there are fewer abbatoirs.

I dont think its a faff... just remember take the food out the freezer ... well actually its not a disaster if you dont cos the dogs can get frozen meat easliy off a bone.

My dogs love turkey wings and necks especially.

Feed cooked vegetables / rice with minced meat couple times a week. I am not unemployed and just find an hour or two every so often to bulk cook cabbage , carrots etc and bag up to put in the freezer.

It takes them longet to eat than wolfing down stuff out of a bowl, it cleans their teeth much much better ( My 8 year old dogs have no tartar build up on their teeth at all unlike many dogs their age), their poos are drier and less smelly that normal doggy poos ( so easier to pick up and dispose of).

Its cheaper than tinned dog food.

#
one supplier...... there are others
www.landywoods.co.uk/

I get wholemeal biscuit locally as its cheaper and mix it sometimes with the meat.

I would never go back to tinned meat for my dogs.

LadyDamerel Mon 10-Dec-12 22:53:31

You know when you were little and dog poos on the pavements were white? That's because dogs back then (I'm only 35 so we're not talking that long ago, really) were fed on raw food/bones, not bulk produced crap that contains masses of ingredients that dogs don't actually need, which results in the huge, smelly turds we see everywhere today.

vigglewiggle Mon 10-Dec-12 22:55:11

tazzle I thought the veggies were supposed to be raw?

LadyDamerel Mon 10-Dec-12 23:02:35

You don't have to give veg at all, but some veg are digested better once they are cooked, afair.

We tried giving veg for a while but it was a pita, frankly, so we just give green tripe instead.

Viggle yes they are.

Basically you are trying to mimic as closely as possible the natural diet a dog would have had in the wild. So lots of bones/skin etc with the meat and a small amount of raw veg as would be found in, say a rabbits stomach.

I keep all my carrot/broccoli scraps & throw them in with the meat. Once every 3 weeks or so roughly chop up some greens, carrots, whatever else is going soft in the fridge or is cheap at the supermarket bung it in the magimix for a quick blitz & freeze in small portions so a few tablespoons can be mixed in every 2 or 3 days.

My dog also loves to take a whole carrot or apple out to the garden for a good chew.

You learn what the dog loves and can tolerate poos wise- if you find something upsets them then avoid it as you would yourself.

Kibble is a relatively new fad in feeding animals, raw food has been given for years, to me its more natural & she is healthy& happy on it so it suits us.

Rikalaily Tue 11-Dec-12 09:58:19

alwaysworking Most the long term raw feeders on the Pet Forum recommend a slow switch, partly to get them used to chewing it all up properly and most dogs don't do well with sudden diet changes, I'm glad that your dog was fine but over the years if I'd changed any of my dogs diets that fast they would have had severe runs for a week. I only gave the same advice as would be given there if this had been posted on that site by people who have been raw feeding for a very long time.

My boy gets a mix of kibble and raw/wet food as he's only part raw fed, we haven't got the freezer space to store a months worth of raw food and we can't afford to buy it weekly from a butcher (he's 35kg and still growing, if I fed 3% of bodyweight he'd need around 1kg of raw a day which is a huge amount to store for a month). He doesn't get a full meal of raw and kibble is only a complete meal if it's fed at the right quantity, give less and you can top it up with something else, he mainly gets it to slow down his eating, he swallows chunks of meat (even chunks the size of my hand) and his wet food whole but has to chew the kibble so it stops him throwing up after his meal.

We introduced raw because our much loved late greyhound had a very sensitive tum and had colitis. We moved him to raw and he adjusted so easily and beautifully we never looked back, and of course it made sense for our other dogs to go over to it too. We didn't do a long period of acclimatisation and we also break the rules now by occasionally feeding kibble (e.g. when we are away for a weekend) but this is not a problem.

We have a chest freezer and get the bulk deliveries every so often. Don't understand the reference upthread to spending hours on preparation hmm - it's really no bother to put a plastic bag of food in the utility to defrost !

As others do, we also do liver occasionally (they go mad for it), chicken wings, regular feedings of oily fish, and they will get things like leftover rice,pasta, veggies etc . For treats, they have the odd pig ear, and I keep a box of biscuits/bonio too.

All dogs are looking healthy and happy, a good weight, with shiny coats, and lovely firm small poos.

i'm not a raw obsessive or evangelist but it works brilliantly for us and it was especially important for our old boy. I can't tell you the relief we experienced when he had been so ill, lost so much weight and then we found something he could eat happily and enjoy that agreed with him, and helped him put back his condition.

portraitoftheartist Tue 11-Dec-12 19:49:50

Dogs have lived with man for thousands of years as scavengers, eating rubbish and human poo rather than real meat. So raw meat isn't any more "natural" than commercial dog food.
I couldn't do BARF because of the mess and smell. Do the dogs have to be fed outdoors, and what about flies and maggots?

LadyDamerel Tue 11-Dec-12 20:58:31

Eh? What mess and smell?

Meat that has been frozen whilst fresh, then defrosted and fed to the dog on the day doesn't smell.

Does the meat that you eat smell? Does the meat you eat have flies and maggots on it?

Of course it doesn't, so why should the meat you feed your dog?

One of my dogs eats in the kitchen as she lifts out the piece she wants and chews it over her bowl. The other one likes to take each piece to her 'spot' so she's fed in the utility room. A quick squirt with a bit of Dettox on the floor where she eats is all that's needed. It's not as though they leave any of their food lying around.

EdgarAllanPond Tue 11-Dec-12 21:06:37

these do frozen or ambient bricks

no hassle at all - you just need freezer space to store and then microwave (or thaw overnight) for lovely fresh meat & bone

mix in kibble - more if poo too hard. less if runny.

for very dodgy tummy, the fish or tripe are best (fish not fatty enough for longer term use)

we thought my dog wasn't going to see her 2nd birthday before we tried BARF. She's almost 12 now smile

the completes she wouldn't eat enough of, and gave her the runs!

EdgarAllanPond Tue 11-Dec-12 21:08:23

no mess - just licked-clean bowls!

the chew-bones i leave around are for de-stressing and most dogs would benefit from regardless of general diet.

gymmummy64 Tue 11-Dec-12 22:05:57

EdgarAllan I've been using the Prize Choice products on your link with my dog. On the packets of meat they say to add equal portions of carbohydrate and veg/fruit which I have been doing. I very much like the way this mixture slows my dog's eating down - unlike complete foods which are gone in seconds. Perhaps that's not an important factor though. I've been buying a selection of the meat packs (tripe, beef, lamb etc) and the chunks of meat bags. I was quite happy with this approach (and the dog seems to love it) but having read further around the subject plus looking at this thread I'm now very confused.

- Some of the information about proportions of organs/skin/bone make me think I've been far too random with what I've given him. It's meat and some of it has bones. I've not really analysed it further than that which makes me feel I've not taken it all seriously enough
- The stuff about introducing new meats gradually make me think I've been far to chop and changey
- the carbohydrate and veg I'm just completely confused about!
- I'm at a complete loss to know how to reconcile the all-meat approach with the 'no more than 25% protein' approach

I really hadn't expected feeding my dog to be so complex, though I very much like the non-processed as that ties in with what we do as a family.

tazzle22 Tue 11-Dec-12 22:06:46

re the veggies bossybritches22 and viggle.

It was and is my understanding is that the veggies should be cooked is because that if a dog were killing any prey and eating it whole the veggies in the animals stomach would mostly already be partly digested and therefore the bits not really designed for a carnivores stomach (starches / carbs) less of an issue.

Having said that I have seen them pinch raw carrots and swedes from the horse grin

nowt is left around long enough to smell... and definatley no maggots !!!!

as to saying that because dogs have co existed / scavenged form man for thousands of years so meat is not "natural" ..... I think that in the past mans diet was certainly nowhere like as processed as it is today so bothe were more "natural". One could also say that in letting dogs food get processed like ours they too are suffering for it ( obesity, bad teeth etc !!!).

alwaysworking Wed 12-Dec-12 18:20:31

all i know is that i've gone from a puppy with a gippy tummy and constant squits to a dog with small, firm black coloured poo with very very little effort. If she'd had a bad stomach, i'd have stopped and waited for it to clear up.

I don't really care what other people do / don't do or whether in five years' time no one else feeds raw meat. the dog doesn't seem to care either. I think you can read too much about all this and I'm happier to be guided by my own dog and the vet than a webforum.

we live near the james wellbeloved / royal canin factory and it stinks. tripe definitely has an odour though but the dog loves it so i forgive her. she doesn't fart as much any more which was vile so the smells in the house are actually less than before.

I started feeding raw because the dog, Lab/Curly Coated Retriever cross, was horribly allergic to pretty much everything. After trying lots of specialist and bogglingly expensive foods we switched to raw and never looked back. Since then we have switched two puppies, both who had raw immediately we brought them home and one adult dog, who took one look at what the girls were eating and refused to eat the kibble that he'd arrived with. smile

I feed a mixture of mince blocks and gnarly beef lumps from Pets at Home, chicken leg quarters, 'backs and bums' (carcasses that have had legs, wings and breasts removed), turkey necks and giblets, ducks necks and giblets and occasionally venison bones, all from the local market. I also buy pork ribs, turkey drumsticks, fish, mince, liver, kidney, heart etc. from Tescos. I have also had a fair bit of luck with the Reduced section. Quite often the really unappetising stuff is marked down very low and the dogs don't care if the steak looks a bit green. Oh and I have a couple of pheasants that I was given, sitting in the freezer. The old dog isn't really a fan so I'm hoping the puppy will like it. They also get the odd raw egg. More lately as the new puppy likes them.

The only dog that hasn't embraced raw feeding with total enthusism has been the new puppy. She is sooooo fussy. She's a retriever dammit and they are supposed to be total chow hounds but she's picky and will turn her nose up and walk away. I've had some luck with mixing egg into her mince and also hand feeding lumps of meat to her at the same time as Old Dog but she'd really prefer not to bother. She likes bone better than meat (all the better for sharpening the piranha teeth ;) ) and will happily eat the backs and bums and the bones out of chicken legs but reject breast meat and steak chunks. She is however mad for yoghurt and scrambled egg, neither of which I would normally feed. I presume she was fed them by the breeder because she clearly knew what they were and got really excited.

Raw fed dogs smell nicer, have beautiful coats, clean teeth and small, unoffensive poos generally. It is also what dogs are naturally supposed to eat. They are carnivores and did not evolve to exist on big bags of corn, beet pulp, rancid fat, meat 'by products' and chemicals.

I've not found it to be any real hassle and it certainly smells less than kibble or tinned dog meat. The stuff my Mum feeds her dachshund reeks and at the momement I'm using Applaws and Fish4Dogs as training treats and they stink too. I am a very lazy feeder now, if their poo looks to have too much bone I add more muscle meat, too soft and I add more bone. To begin with I worked about percentages but after nearly 12 years I don't even think aboutvit any more.

There really is very little mess either. Big chunks and recreational bones are eaten outside when possible or in the hallway, which has laminate flooring. Anything else is eaten from a bowl which is then licked very, very clean. We sometimes get maggots in the bin in the summer but only when I am lazy about double bagging meat wrappers and just throw them in. That would be equally a problem with meat for human dinners too.

It is certainly not a fad for us. grin

Wow, didn't mean to write an essay! blush

Yeah, it doesn't smell... apart from tripe. That is vile and gets fed outside.

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