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BARF (Bones & Raw Foods)

Feeding a Natural Diet

by Christina Bredenkamp

Making the change to feeding raw foods can be so very traumatic ... to the owner! The dog would be very happy to acquire some nice raw beef or chicken. But we, as the owners, make all of those decisions for our pups. Check out the links below to give you more info and suggested diets for your dogs.

My own diet, which varies with what is available, consists mainly of turkey and chicken necks. The turkey necks don't have any fatty skins on them so I have to add fat to the diet. I do this by adding a few chicken necks which have lots of skin on them. I also give chicken backs sometimes. They are very crunchy but also provide lots of fats. Remember that these fats are from natural sources. They have not been degraded by heating, causing them to become rancid and unuseable by the body. My 130# Dane bitch eats 2# of turkey necks and 3-4 chicken necks twice a day. I throw in a chicken liver once a day or so. About every third meal I feed a 1/2 pound veggie patty made according to Billinghursts' recipe. My patties are packed and frozen in 1# weights (which for me provides 2 feedings) in sandwich ziplock baggies for ease of feeding. The necks are packed and frozen in one gallon ziplock baggies with 4 - 5# of turkey and chicken necks in each. Again very easy to use. I take what I need out of the freezer once a day and allow it to thaw while the previous days' food is put into her 2 bowls for that days' feeding.

If for some reason she won't eat a meal, it isn't a bad thing. Fasting helps the body rest. Don't sweat it. Just pick up the food within 20 minutes and return it to the fridge for the next timed feeding. They are usually hungry enough to eat the next time. Of course, if your dog won't eat for a two days, something else is wrong and you need to find out what. A trip to the vet is in order.

One thing I no longer really worry about is bloat. I still practice the usual precautions, but since I am not feeding cereals that will swell up in the tummy and take more than three times the digestion time needed (unnatural for a dog's short digestive system designed for raw meats), I don't worry. I have experienced bloat in 3 of my dogs (before feeding BARF). I still watch for symptoms, etc. But now I don't worry. YEAH! Raw foods pass through the stomach in 4 hours, not over 12. The enzymes are still intact for use by the body to convert the food into nutritional building blocks. It gets to the intestines quickly rather than spoiling in the stomach trying to be digested into something that the dog still can't use.

The changes you will see in your dog will amaze you! Our allergies disappeared. Skin is smooth and supple with a glossy coat. No greasy coats or infected ears. Wounds heal fast. Fat turns to muscle. Stamina increases. Play increases. Vet bills decrease. You have a happy, healthy dog.

Yes, you do need to watch for problems. Like turkey necks that get thrown back up and re-eaten because they were so long! I cut mine in half now because it grossed dear hubby to watch that. Too large food chunks can also choke an animal, no matter what kind of food is being fed. Do watch for bones being thrown up. They will be undigested bones, nice and clean. Usually with grass. If your dog wants to eat grass, then let it. They are doing it for a reason. Usually because of a tummy upset. It also cleans out the colon. The grass catches the bones in the tummy that don't digest and helps bring them out one way or the other. This can be a sign that you need to cut back on the foods with bones and feed more veggies or less boney foods. Also, they can pass bones in the stool and sometimes that can cause problems. I don't feed meats with large/long bones in them, like turkey legs or chicken legs and thighs. These are weight bearing bones and can splinter more easily. The necks have small bones that can pass through if undigested. I feel better with this. They also contain lots of cartilage which is a natural source of glucosamine and chondroiton. NEVER feed cooked bones. They all splinter and can pierce the gut, causing a lifethreatening condition.

Try going the healthier route and give your dog a raw bone!


BARF Web sites

Sit/Stay BARF Book store
Sit/Stay Discussion Board
Billinghursts' Reply to Katie about Raw Foods
DFW_BARF Yahoo Email List