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Raw feeding

Discussion in 'Dog Food and Diet' started by JudyN, Aug 17, 2020.

  1. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    I'm posting this as part of a set of helpful 'easy reference' articles for common questions and problems. Feel free to add additional info on raw feeding in this thread, but please start a new thread for specific questions relating to your dog.

    Thank you @excuseme for your help with this article :)

    Raw feeding/BARF

    What is raw feeding/BARF?

    A raw food diet consists of, mainly, raw meat, bone and offal. BARF stands for Bones And Raw Food.

    Why would I want to feed my dog raw food?

    Dogs have evolved to be scavengers, so can do well on all sorts of different foods, including grain. But they are descended from wolves – not the same wolves that we know today, but a common ancestor – which was carnivorous. The digestive system and teeth of a dog have not changed all that much since then. Many commercial foods contain a lot of grain, but dogs do not digest grain well, so it acts as a filler, resulting in huge smelly poos.

    The raw food company Honey's has undertaken a scientific study into the benefits of a raw diet: https://honeysrealdogfood.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Honeys_Raw-Proof-Report.pdf

    Anecdotally, many owners have reported many benefits in switching to raw, such as:

    · a softer, shinier coat

    · healthier skin

    . less 'doggy' body odour

    · reduction in allergies

    · smaller, firmer poos

    · cleaner teeth and healthier gums

    · reduction in stinky wind

    · healthier, leaner build

    · more energy

    · calmer behaviour.


    There are many myths about raw diets for dogs - there's an interesting list, that assesses these risks, here: The Many Myths of Raw Feeding

    Isn’t it dangerous?

    There are two main concerns about raw diets: bacteria and bones. As far as bacteria are concerned, as long as you use the same hygiene measures as you would when handling raw meat for humans, there should be no risk. Yes, the dog may come over and lick you after eating, but then they also lick their own bums and lick you afterwards! I’ve talked to many raw feeders over the years, and not one has reported a stomach upset that they think could be connected with their dog’s diet.

    There's an interesting article about samonella in dogs here: https://www.rawdogfood.co.uk/raw-feeding-safe-salmonella-e-coli/

    Although I wouldn’t recommend it, dogs can even eat meat that is past its best – they have much shorter digestive tracts and stronger stomach acids than humans, and any bacteria in their food is usually in and out of their bodies before it has time to multiply and make them ill.

    As for bones – wolves, foxes, big (and small) cats, alligators, and any number of other predators eat raw bones without problem. Why should dogs be any different? Note, though, that the bones should be an appropriate size, so the dog won’t try to swallow one whole and choke on it. A large dog shouldn’t, for instance, have chicken wings or necks for this reason. You should also only ever give raw bones, NEVER cooked ones, which will be brittle and likely to splinter.

    So how do I start?

    There are different opinions on whether you should phase in a raw diet gradually or switch all on one go. In fact, there are different opinions on almost every aspect of raw feeding. Let’s face it, there has been a lot of research and little consensus on what is the healthiest diet for humans, and advice seems to change all the time, so we can’t expect there to be a clear consensus on the best diet for dogs. What I’ve detailed below is what I was advised by my raw food supplier.

    · Start off by feeding just one type of minced meat and bone – chicken is usually cheap and economical, so is a good place to start. The dog’s stomach acid will adapt to the bone content, becoming stronger, so have no problem adjusting to whole bones.

    · After a week or two, introduce meaty bones – maybe chicken wings or carcases. Leave the skin on chicken wings & carcases - these are a useful supply of fat.

    · You can then also introduce other types of meat – rabbit, lamb, venison, tripe, oily or white fish. whatever. It is best to wait a few days in between introducing new protein sources so if your dog should be intolerant to any it’ll be easy to identify the culprit.

    · Gradually introduce offal, e.g. liver, kidney, heart, lungs... Only add tiny amounts at first, particularly with liver, as too much too soon can result in a very runny bum!

    You want to aim for a ratio of 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver and 5% other offal. But you don’t need to be exact – I just aim for ‘a lot of meat, a bit of bone, and a bit of offal’. And you don’t need to balance every meal, or even every day’s meals – some people can give their dogs a whole meal of liver every so often, for instance, but if I did this with my dog my carpets would never recover... Observe your dog’s poos – if they are too soft, reduce the offal and up the bone content, and if they are uncomfortably hard and/or crumbly, reduce the bone content and up the offal.

    You can also buy ready-made complete raw foods, with a good balance of meat, bone and offal and added fruit, veg, and other supplements. (Nutriment do a good range.) They tend to be more expensive, and whole bones are still important for dental health, but are a good way of starting out.

    How much should I feed?

    The usual guideline is 2–3% of your dog’s body weight a day. As an example, if your dog weighs 20kg, this works out as 400–600g a day. Start somewhere in the middle, and keep an eye on your dog’s weight to see if you need to adjust.

    What else can I feed?

    Again, different people disagree on what are useful additions to a dog’s raw diet. Some suggestions are:

    · assorted fruit and veg, either lightly cooked or thoroughly pureed

    · natural live goat yoghurt

    · goat milk

    · raw eggs

    . fish, e.g. tin of sardines/pilchards.

    You can also buy ready-made supplements, such as Easy-Green from Dorset, SmartBarf, or Fruit and Vegetable Nuggets from Nature’s Menu.

    Is it time-consuming and messy?

    No! It does help to have plenty of freezer space though. Each morning I get one chicken carcase, one or two packs of mince, and maybe some frozen veg from the freezer and let them defrost. My dog has a pack of mince for breakfast, and for tea he has a carcase, some more mince, some veg and a quail’s egg (hens’ eggs don’t agree with him). He has his tea outside in the garden as he tends to sling the carcase out of his bowl and eat the mince first. All bowls & containers go in the dishwasher.

    Is it expensive?

    Not compared to good-quality kibble, no. People buy their raw food from many different places – raw food suppliers, butchers, supermarkets, people who shoot game and rabbits... Suppliers range from the equivalent of Lidl to Fortnum & Mason’s, and even if the meats at the more expensive end look, and are, fit to give guests at a dinner party (cooked, of course!), the cheaper end will be absolutely fine. Brands to look for if you’re on a budget are MVM, Landywoods and Albion Meat Products. Other excellent suppliers are mentioned further down...

    Can I mix raw and kibble?

    Some people claim that because raw and kibble digest at different rates, you should never feed both - they will even ensure that treats are either raw or dehydrated meat. Some say it's fine as long as they are fed in different meals. Others mix raw and kibble in the same meal, and I've never heard anyone meet any problems with this. Personally, I feed 'just' meat and veg for meals, but use kibble for treats as it's much more convenient.

    What about puppies?

    A raw food diet is fine for puppies. They can start being weaned with new smells, tastes and textures, onto a soft raw mince from 2.5 to 3 weeks of age, and can be offered raw bones from 5 weeks of age.

    Where can I learn more?

    An excellent resource is Honey's Raw Food for Dogs They have a pdf booklet, Honey's Natural Handbook for Dogs, that you can download free of charge from their website. Also check out the advice at Nurturing by Nature (my supplier) Raw Pet Food Feeding Guide - Get The Best from The BARF Diet and Wolf Tucker Raw Dog Food | Raw Feeding The BARF Diet | WolfTucker.co.uk

    There's a nice article here written by a vet who saw great improvements in her own pet when she converted to raw: Feeding Raw: A Vet's First Thoughts by Dr. Vicky Simon

    Books:

    As mentioned above, Honey's Natural Feeding Handbook for Dogs
    Work Wonders
    , by Tom Lonsdale
    Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats by Kymythy R Schultze
    Why You Need to Feed Your Dog a Raw Food Diet by Amy Marshall (explains "WHY" quite well)
    Give Your Dog a Bone by Ian Billinghurst
    The Barf Diet by Ian Billinghurst
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
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  2. RGC

    RGC Active Member Registered

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    A propos embarking upon a raw diet; currently she gets, as a mixer with her Forthglade, a handle of Burns Original Fish & Brown Rice dry food. Is it advisable to cut this out completely when she starts the raw regime? I appreciate that my question may seem facile but our previous rescued whippets had no skin itchiness - my main reason for a raw diet is to see whether her itchiness is diet related. How about chews? She’s used to Good Boy Chewy Twists with Chicken (<2 daily) and 1 Lily’s Kitchen Woofbrush as part of a searching game post tea.
     
  3. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    As you want to see if her itchiness is diet related, I'd be tempted to cut out everything apart from 100% meat - for treats & chews you could cut chicken into thin strips, and cook it on low till it's dry and firm (or dehydrate it if you have a dehydrator). Once you've seen if it has any effect, you can gradually introduce things again. Plenty of people feed both raw and kibble, either together or in separate meals, without any problems.
     
    excuseme likes this.
  4. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    Recently I've been up and browsing the net at 'funny hours' of day and I've come across all sorts of articles. But this one particular is one that I thought would be worth of posting... Raw food for dogs - is it a good or a bad idea. What do vets say? (shootinguk.co.uk)
    Particularly the end of the article is what I wanted to comment and I though slightly amusing...
    • Raw meat diets may contain parasites and bacteria that can cause illness in humans and animals....
    Well...dog CAN get parasites from many other likely sources than just raw food! So saying 'MAY contain' is quite weak argument...
    • Pets used for therapeutic purposes...
    Well...referring to my previous comment...anybody with weakened immune system, should they be in contact with dogs full stop...regardless of the diet!?
    • Dogs fed raw should not be allowed to run free on pasture ground, as their faeces may contain parasites that are harmful to livestock.
    Again....referring to the first comment...dogs faeces MAY contain parasites that originate from other sources than raw food..dogs MAY eat lots of things when out and about..:rolleyes: So the common sense clearing after one's dog when on pasture land is sensible thing to do regardless what diet they are on.
    • the point about freezing and defrosting meat juices..
    Well...One can raw feed with human grade meat to reduce a chance of 'nasties' in meat. BUT, just like handling meat frozen or not to make our own human dinners...why handling dog meat would be any more 'dangerous' or 'special'? As as for the 'freezing'....commercially frozen dog meats will take arguments out against raw feeding :rolleyes:
    • properly conducted clinical trials that prove that feeding raw actually conveys a significant health benefit to those that eat it.
    There is plenty of evidence without 'proper trials' to prove that leaving 'canine fast food' / processed food out will improve many issues with dogs health. How many dog owners have found relief for their pets health issues from switching to raw!?
    Is it me but all those 'arguments' sound like common sense is bit in short supply...like there has been thought process applied but not pushed far enough?
     
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  5. RGC

    RGC Active Member Registered

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    Have discovered the “proof of the pudding’s in the eating”. Our whippet’s been on a raw diet for almost two months and so far it’s proving a success. I appreciate that we’re not in the growing season so there’s no evidence of seasonal itch anyway (we’ll see what happens in the spring) but no loose motions whatsoever. Just need to manage the freezer situation.
     
  6. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Quite. How many foods and 'natural remedies' do we consume that haven't been fully tested and therefore might carry a level of risk? These people are cheating, using lack of research to push their views because, in the lack of sound scientific studies, no one can dispute that there might be a risk. But there is a risk in everything we do, from crossing a road to trying peanut butter for the first time, to going on a walk in a quiet spot.

    And where are all these cases of people and dogs falling ill as a result of raw feeding? Yes, there might be one or two, but then there's also cases of dogs falling ill or choking on kibble. And though I'm usually not one to give anecdotal evidence much weight ('I danced a naked rain dance and the next day it rained...'), the anecdotal evidence of the benefits of raw feeding is overwhelming.
     
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  7. Rinkydinkydo

    Rinkydinkydo Well-Known Member Registered

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    My grandad did,my dad did and I do feed raw. Must be 100 years covered feeding working dogs raw with no problems.
     
  8. Misty Taylor

    Misty Taylor New Member Registered

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    Hello - very interested to read your informative guide. I have fed our 7 month old whippet Misty on a variety of raw food for 2 months and she clearly enjoys it but still waiting for the expected nirvanah of less smelly and smaller firmer poos. That only happens first thing in the morning but nearly always on an afternoon walk she does loose, even runny poos preceded by very smelly farts. I've tried leaving out chicken and experimented with different brands but no change anyone have any ideas?
    Anne
     
  9. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Jasper has always been that way inclined. I think it's normal - the food they eat in the evening has all night to digest properly, but running around on the afternoon walk really pushes the poo through them so it comes out 'half baked'.

    If you're feeding fruit/veg as well you could try cutting that out and seeing if it makes a difference, nad oyu could try reducing the amount of offal, particularly liver. Some foods are good for firming poo - tinned pumpkin springs to mind. I've also found that YuDigest, a prebiotic/probiotic, seems to help with Jasper's poos - but I don't suppose it would help Misty if there's nothing wrong with her gut flora, so I'd try the other tweaks first.

    She might also improve when she matures and walks aren't quite as exciting as they are right now.
     
  10. excuseme

    excuseme Well-Known Member Registered

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    What kind of treats are you giving her ?
    Offering a selection of different meats for her choice is not a good idea, you may be creating a fussy dog by doing this. Stick to what is offered for each feed only and remove until next feed time and offer again. What are the different brands of chicken that you are offering ? How many times a day are you feeding her?

    Our lot are all raw fed, they all do their poo's at their first walk of the day, all very quickly after getting out of the car, sometimes 2 quick poo's during the same walk.
    There are very seldom any more poo's done during the remainder of the day. Ours are fed only once a day once they have reached the 9 month age.

    Feed time about 4 pm.
    First big walkies, 10am.
    Next outing a visit to our field between 3.30 to 5pm.
    Access to the garden is 24 /7. We have a dog flap, any extra poo's are usually done in the garden before we go for our morning walk.
    .
     
  11. Misty Taylor

    Misty Taylor New Member Registered

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    Thanks for reply. Misty is fed twice a day - 7.30 and 4.00 - she doesn't get a choice - Paleo Ridge and Manifold Valley complete food but I vary the type of meat. Also sometimes a raw chicken wing and mostly dry meat treats and some biscuit treats. She eats everything with relish. I thought more bone might help but if I give her a meaty bone she buries it in the garden.
     
  12. Misty Taylor

    Misty Taylor New Member Registered

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    I'm not giving her any fruit and veg except an occasional carrot. She does get excited and runs around like mad so that might be it.
     
  13. Biker John

    Biker John Well-Known Member Registered

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    I think one possible reason for her afternoon poos being soft is her being a typical Whippet and running. When I could take Folly racing if she ever pooed after a run it was always very soft but other times it was normal and well formed. Incidentally have you thought about trying her at racing? It's a wonderful way for them to really enjoy themselves and keep fit.
     
  14. Richard & Patsy

    Richard & Patsy Member Registered

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    If you want to see how much and how quickly a dachshund can eat raw food there is a short video at ; I was surprised. I buy from Natural Instinct where I can get ground meat and duck necks but not rabbit kidneys or duck hearts. If you buy these online please tell me - where from?
     
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  15. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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  16. rik

    rik New Member Registered

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    can you feed all dogs on raw foods or is it on certain kind of dogs?
     
  17. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    All breeds of dog can eat raw. Some dogs prefer not to, but most love it.
     
  18. rik

    rik New Member Registered

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    is there any meats they cant have? ive heard raw egg(s) mixed in with their food is sometimes good
     
  19. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Eggs are good, I'm not aware of any meats they can't have but our raw feeding gurus may know better!
     
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  20. rik

    rik New Member Registered

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    Thank You for your help :)
     
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