BARF, yucky sounding name but your dogs will thrive on the diet nature intended. Bones and raw food diet makes sense.
BARF: BONES & RAW FOOD DIET
The term BARF was first popularized by Dr. Ian Billinghurst in his 1993 book Give Your Dog A Bone but I have fed my dogs this way for 45 years.
This is a strictly anecdotal account of my experiences with the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet. I have found that a natural "dog food" diet works best in feeding my dogs and client dogs.
I’m not a scientist but a dog fancier with numerous dogs over many years of professional experience. Like virtually every other dog person I know, I had bought in to the propaganda that dog food companies could feed my dogs better than I could. When I really thought it out I realized the folly of that approach.
Dogs are wolves and jackals, genetically they can’t be distinguished from wolves. So why should we take these magnificent animals that God has created to eat meat, carrion, eggs, and raw vegetable matter ( pre-digested) and feed them cereal with a little bit of meat added for flavor?
Very convenient for the cereal manufacturers. A high priced way to dispose of their below grade product but not so appropriate for dogs. This doesn’t sound reasonable to me.
The 27 dogs on the farm range from a 100 pound German Shepherd who acts as caretaker of the farm and all its occupants; 15 working sled dogs; a few young Fox Terriers; 3 ancient Fox Terriers; and an equally ancient Boxer. Without exception all have benefited from the diet that nature designed them to have.
About 7 months ago I attended a show to watch Fox Terriers. There was a young male there that was in the greatest condition I had ever seen. Coat blue black and sparkling white, eyes clear, good tight feet, lovely, hard muscular condition. His coat seemed sprayed on it fit so tightly. When I commented on this wonderful condition his owner said BARF. This unfortunate acronym stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones And Raw Food. I had heard of it before but never actually seen the evidence.
The diet consists of roughly 60% raw meaty bones and 40% raw vegetable, grain, and egg matter. All supplemented with brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast, kelp, dried parsley, ester C powder, garlic powder. It is desirable to feed a variety of meats to make sure the dogs get their proper nutrition. Any meat is fine, but only raw.
The easiest raw meaty bones to get is chicken backs, frames, (the part of the carcass left after they take off the breast, wings, legs, and head) and necks.
The old story about bones splintering relates to cooked bones. According to the experts even chicken and pork raw bones are fine. We have used chicken, pork, lamb, mutton, venison, and emu. The chicken comes in 40-pound boxes, clean and straight from the processing plant. We bag in daily portions, for 27 dogs that is a big bag, and freeze it. Hunters bring us venison that they are not going to use.
The hard part for us was getting used to the vegetable part. Leafy greens need to be ground, with carrots, onions, garlic, and quick cooking oatmeal. Think of the contents of a prey animal’s stomach. Grass and grains, pulverized and wet. A few pieces of apple and banana make it taste good.
Recently we have found a dog food that is grains, fruit, veggies, and has minimal processing. It is easier to give them a prepared food two days a week and meat the other five. We’ll see if the results are as good as home ground. It is better to give them one category of food at a time than to attempt to balance every meal. It takes different enzymes to digest protein than it does to digest carbohydrates.
Our 14 year old terriers were simply old. Two of the three had heart problems. The female with congestive heart failure is on lasix. When she is on the meat or veggies without kibble, she does well. When we are in a hurry and give her kibble she coughs all night. After a short time we made the connection, no more kibble for her.
One of the males was literally at death’s door. We didn’t think he was going to live a week. He wouldn’t eat or drink anything. He smelled the fresh meat being given to the younger housedogs and wanted some. Of course we gave it to him along with vitamin C and E. The next day he was eating the raw meat and drinking. It has now been 6 months since his episode and he is doing great. He is active, coat and color is better, and he eats and drinks well.
One other item is clean up. With the raw food diet the stools are firm, dry, and almost odor free. The stool volume has been reduced by more than half, consequently, clean up time is reduced to almost nothing.