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Talk to me about BARF please!

(10 Posts)
randomness Sat 30-Jul-11 01:20:55

Am toying with the idea of starting randomdog on raw food, mainly because I can't bear the though of feeding him horrible processed crap in a bag (which gives him the runs anyway).

Anyone got any good links for me to read to get me started? I just want a quick overview of what options I have, to hopefully not kill my lovely dog. Everything I've found is so contentious, it's like breast vs bottle all over again... grin

alp Sat 30-Jul-11 07:55:09

There are lots of people who feed BARF on here so youll get lots of advice.

Our dog trainer feeds raw to her dogs and says she swears by and would ask everyone to read Give your dog a bone by Ian Billingshurst.

randomness Sat 30-Jul-11 13:20:36

Thanks for that alp, I've just reserved that book at the library so I'll wade through that to give me some background.

Dh thinks I'm loopy, wants to know why the dog can't just have 'ordinary food' like every other dog?
He reckons I'm overthinking the issue, but dog isn't doing well on the dry stuff, nasty poops and he's started scratching (used Frontline so assuming not fleas).

Anybody got any thoughts, or am I being pfb with my dog?!

minimu11 Sat 30-Jul-11 15:17:56

Tell you OH BARF is ordinary food that is the whole point! not the commercial processed junk other dogs are feed on <steps of high horse!>

BARF is dead easy to do. Things have moved on a bit from Billingshurst day but principally the same idea. Most Barfers give less bone about 10% than the 80% Ian Billinsgshurst suggests. Too much bone will cause constipation so watch like a hawk to start with to see what you dog can tolerate. I think the white poos are too much bone and would cut back for a few days.

You need a balanced diet over a period of days and weeks just like us.

I don't know where you are but landywoods is a good place to start with getting in supplies. You can look around locally and see what is available to you re friendly butchers and farmers. I was given 17 rabbits yesterday by a farmer for the freezer for the dogs so BARF can work out very cheap.

The basic diet is 80% meat (inc poultry), 10% edible bone, 10% organ meat,
balanced over time, not just in one meal, one day or even one week. Feed 2-3% of your dog's ideal adult weight. Start with 2% most dogs are ok on this. This is a general guide - if the dog starts looking tubby, drop the amount; if looking thin, increase it. Individual dogs can vary a lot.

Start with bone in chicken breasts and see how you go with them. If you are worried about fat you can remove the skin first. When your dog is accepting the chicken (no loose stools) you can start adding variety in the form of different meats. Don't start adding organs until the diet is established, and remember that 10% is a small part of the diet whether we're talking about organs or bones.

All barfers do things slightly differently some talk about the prey diet and will give grain and vegetables and others do not give veg or grain at all. Be relaxed because what ever you are doing is better than kibble!

I do tend to concentrate more on red meat for the dogs (now established feeders of BARF) than chicken and do avoid butchers mince as it can be very fatty. Mine love fish and will have sardines but do not give this to your dog for a while as some bring them up as quickly as the eat them and will need to let their stomachs get used to digesting proper food to start with.

Some dogs who are new to raw feeding just do not recognise what they
are being given, as being food! If this is the case, then gently warming it, or briefly searing the outside of the meat or organ, can help convince the dog that this really is yummy food. It can also often be the texture of the food, especially with liver and whole fish, that can be off-putting.

Remember that many dogs are also used to the high salt, high sugar and sprayed on fat from eating tinned and dry 'complete' products, so 'real' food can seem unappetising in comparison, to begin with.

Initially cooking the food, then reducing the cooking times, and mixing it in
with what the dog was previously fed can be helpful in transitioning over to a
raw diet.

But look forward to having a healthy non smelly glossy coated happy dog! You are not being PB at all just feeding you dog the way nature intended with wholesome food.

MotherJack Sat 30-Jul-11 15:39:23

That's really useful Minimu. I have been hovering over the BARF diet for a while and not found a reliable answer on the internet... and then just when I had spoken to someone whose opinions I trust a Staffordshire Bull Terrier from our local rescue died as a result of eating a bone (I suspect it was a cooked bone and therefore inappropriate, but I realised that it wasn't the time to be asking details).

So, does anyone know where bull breeds stand on the BARF issue?

Also, Minimu, can I ask how do you prepare the rabbits?

minimu11 Sat 30-Jul-11 17:58:39

I have a staffycross that loves BARF!

With preparing the rabbits I just chuck them in the freezer for a month or so to kill off any bugs and then give them to the dogs whole fur and all. They love them!!!

All my dogs have been feed raw since I have had them so are used to chewing and munching bones. Damage from bones can occur and as you say never ever give cooked bones but dogs used to raw feeding rarely have a problem with tackling bones and will chew them well.

When introducing bones some people give chicken wings and hold onto the end to make sure the dog chews them - if I have new fosters staying I tend to feed them minced bone and meat and then give them a large bone to chew on when they are not hungry and they seem to get the hang of chewing them.

You will get a lot of people quoting anecdotal evidence regarding eating bones but it is a risk I am willing to take and in all the years and all the dogs I have feed never had a problem with it.

MotherJack Sat 30-Jul-11 18:17:18

Again - thank you!

Do you think I might have a problem with mini-beast here then as she has always swallowed everything whole since I got her last October. The vets recently agreed to listen to me (I've been going on about it since October) and put her under to look at her teeth and she had to have 5 of the big ones removed. Since then, when eating her biscuits, she has a little face wobble (as though it hurts her gums) and looks all sad so I have to be careful. Sometimes she won't accept her treat biscuit for weeing in the garden... and they are her absolute fave.

I could give her a go with chicken wings though, couldn't I? Hang on to it with grim death and all that! Is there a particular larger type of bone/particular animal that is good btw?

She already loves raw meat already (and nearly had her own rabbit the other day... not that she could run that fast.. the poor bugger had mixi sad). I have heard about the fur and everything version which is supposed to pretty good for them... but where on earth do you feed yours? I have this vision of mine dragging a defrosted rabbit onto the settee for a good old chow down, or waking up next to a rabbit head on my pillow in the style of the doGfather or something.

I'm really warming to it....thanks.... particularly as I will be moving a few doors down from a farm shop shortly.... but would I be able to do it with the gum issue do you think... or should I mince, and if so, what do you mince bones with??

Thank you smile

randomness Sat 30-Jul-11 19:12:58

Thanks for that minimu, that's exactly the sort of overview I was hoping for smile

Scuttlebutter Sat 30-Jul-11 23:28:08

MJ, you can do a sort of BARF-lite if you are a wuss like us. We get frozen blocks of minced rabbit and beef from PAH, and we also get frozen sausages of a raw mince mix from Bazills, plus we mix this up with a selection of other things like tripe, chicken wings, liver, sardines, a bit of cooked rice or pasta occasionally plus they still get Bonios for treats and their pigs ears. We are still feeling our way with it - but have found it very handy to have a freezer in the garage. We've just made a contact with a butcher about getting some stuff, and it also helps if you know anyone who goes rabbiting/shooting etc.

So far, we've had both raw chicken wings and a piece of raw beef left on our bed, or tucked under the pillow. Grunds like to secrete them for a later snack. grin Keeps life interesting.

misdee Sun 31-Jul-11 08:46:37

ralph doesnt leave anything for later, thats the lab in him grin

we have been doing it the easy way the last few weeks and ordered frozen blocks from berriewoods (when i called landy woods they werent taking on new customers due to a meat shortage). i say the easy way, just meant that i didnt have to portion up raw carcasses for the freezer. but i dont think ralph is doing as well on the prepared blocks to the carcasses, and he is def 'chewier' around the house atm. so we're off the the butchers this week to restock the freezer with bones and carcasses again.

we do give some veg, when iremember. also whole raw eggs, always fun to see him tackle them. i dont feed eggs often as dd4 has a severe egg allergy and i dont want bits left in the garden.

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