|Why do I feed and recommend a BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Diet) for my Dalmatians?|
|Answer: There has been an increase in the incidence and severity of certain diseases, including cancer, epilepsy (seizures), and even hip dysplasia since the introduction of commercial dog food. There is growing belief that some diseases, like hip dysplasia are in fact NOT hereditary, but caused by commercial dog food. How is that possible, you might wonder?
Well, hip dysplasia was first noted by veterinarians here in the U.S. when commercially produced dog foods became commonly available in the mid 1930s. Within 10 years it had 'spread' to every breed. That's not possible, unless it's a transmittable disease or bacteria (such as parvo). Veterinarians in Australia didn't start to see hip dysplasia until the mid 1960s, when commercial dog food was first introduced there. Until those two points in history, dogs were fed what people ate, often table scraps and frequently given bones that were unwanted.
We are finding that even diseases that are hereditary, such as epilepsy (which causes siezures) can be controlled with a BARF diet and thereby reduce the frequency and severity of the siezures.
Additionally, commercial dog food contains a large amount of grains (rice, oats, corn), which dogs cannot digest/process (they're simply used as fillers to make the dog feel like it's eating more), but more insideous, they are SUPER FOODS FOR CANCER GROWTH. Your dog get's nothing from them, but any cancer cells are kept alive and grow because of the grains being in the dog's diet.
So, I guess you could say, it comes down to a matter of better health for dogs. I've seen the health benefit in my own Dalmatians, as have thousands of other dog owners who now feed BARF diets.
Doesn't it make sense? We, as humans, are told by Doctors and Nutritionist to eat more whole, natural foods, and cut back or eliminate processed foods for our health and well being. That would certainly apply to our pets as well.
Things to know:
~ Because of the high acid level in their stomach, dogs can break down raw bone and are not affected by salmonella.
~ Canine predators and scavengers in the wild (wolves, coyotes, foxes, etc.) rarely eat the stomach content of their kill or find, unless they eat the animal whole (in the case of mice and other small rodents). So, there is some question as to the benefits of adding fruits and veggies to the diet. However, there is NEVER a question about adding any form of grain to the diet - DON'T DO IT. They wouldn't eat it in the wild naturally, and it is only food for CANCER.
~ Cleaning up after a dog on a BARF diet is much easier ... in fact, if you don't get to it in a timely fashion you may literally find you're trying to sweep up dust. There is less of it, which should tell you how much preservatives are in regular commercial dog food, even the premium/high quality. And, it doesn't have the offensive odor like that found in kibble based pooh.
My Recipe: My Dalmatias are members of my family, and I feed them, just like I would any other family member, which is to say with HUMAN grade food. I shop for their food supplies while I shop for my groceries. Yes, I get some odd looks and even questions from the checkout persons, but more and more I'm getting this response back "Oh, I had someone else was in just the other day who feeds their dogs the same way." Having said that, I don't want to spend a lot of time making their food every week or even every other week. The following is a simple recipe that covers the major bases in canine nutrition.
How much to feed:
It's a simple formula - one pound of food each day per 50 pounds body weight of your dog.
Do the rib test to make sure you're feeding the right amount for you dog, as each dog's metabolism is unique. What's the rib tests? When you look at your dog, you shouldn't be able to See their ribs, but when you place your thumbs on their spine and run your fingers back, you should be able to FEEL the ribs. If you can SEE their ribs, up their amount of food. If you can't FEEL their ribs, reduce their amount of food each day.
Main Food Sources:
This is the main part of their diet, and is often both meals each day. Unless ground, the meat is fed RAW (uncooked) and whole, which means WITH the bones. Bones are only dangerous for dogs if they have been cooked. So again, these are to be fed uncooked, with bones in:
~ Chicken Quarters (bought at WalMart in 10 pound bags - they are the thigh and leg portion of a chicken). Generally I have found each quarter to be about a pound, so you'll need a good butcher knife to split the thigh from the leg. For a 50 pound dog (average Dalmatian) feed one in the morning and the other at night.
~ Turkey backs and necks
~ Ground Turkey with raw egg (including the shell ... it can be ground into a powder using a coffee grinder)
~ Ground Beef with raw egg (see above). I generally don't feed this more than 2-4 times a month because it is higher in purines (which can lead to stone formation) than Chicken or Turkey.
~ Beef steaks, with bones. Again no more than 2-4 times a month
~ Pork, with bones. Again no more than 2-4 times a month because it's also higher in purines
Fruit and Veggie Mix:
This is added to their diet about every third day, substituting it for the meat meal once during the day. So they generally get a meat and bone meal in the morning and then the Fruit and Veggie Mix in the evening of every third day. Here is where all your preparation time will be spent. For a single dog, use the small container, unless otherwise noted. It should be enough to last a month. For multiple dogs (like my three) if you use the small container it will last about 2 weeks, so you may want to buy the large container to have enough for a month.
~ Whole Yogurt with live bacteria (source of calcium, Vitamin D, and probiotics)
~ Peanut Butter (protein source, as well as other vitamins)
~ Salmon Oil (Omega B vitamin source) Use about 3-4 tablespoons per dog (weighing about 50 pounds).
~ Seneca Natural Apple Sauce (only product that is natural and contains 110% of Vitamin C ... necessary for hip and joint health). Buy this in the large container but only use half.
~ Bolthouse Farms "Green Goodness" fruit smoothy drink - 1/2 of the 450 ml bottle. It will be in a refrigerated section. (A good source of Antioxidants, Vitamin A as alpha- and beta-carotene, Manganse, Zinc, Folic Acid and Iron) If you can't find this exact product, look for something similar with Spirulina, Chlorella, Barley and Wheat Grasses, Blue Green Algae, Echinacea, Spinach and Broccoli
~ Bolthouse "Berry Boost" fruit smoothy drink - again 1/2 of the 450 ml bottle. (It's also a good source of Antioxidants, and Vitamin C). If you can't find it, look for something similar or simply blend some fresh or frozen Blue Berries.
Simply stir all these ingredients together in a LARGE mixing bowl and then pour into storage containers. Don't freeze if you've added the yogurt. But you can if you keep it out and add it once you've thawed the rest of the mix.
Once again, I only feed this for one meal about every three days. Some do it daily, and others every other day. I've moved to every third day because biologists have shown that preditors don't eat the contents of the prey animal's stomach, as some believe, but rather spill out the contents of the stomach and eat the lining only (and I've seen the photo evidence of this). Do what makes you feel comfortable, though.
Feed about 5-6 heaping Tablespoons, along with a raw egg and shell. You can skip the raw egg and shell if you want to add ground turkey or beef to the mixture. My Dalmatians LOVE their Fruit and Veggie Mix as much as the raw meat and bones, but for pickey eaters, adding the ground turkey or beef will generally entice them to eat.
Foods to Avoid:
Raisins, Grapes, Onions, Potatoes with green buds, (all of which can cause toxicity or annemia)
Commercially Available BARF Diets: Not everyone wants to spend the time making their dog's food. For those people, there are commercially available BARF diets, which can typically be found at holistic veterinarian's offices, and health food (grocery) stores. Not all are created equal, so you will still need to read the label and avoid any with grains, preservatives, or high purine yeilding foods, such as Bison, Venison, Liver, all Beef, etc., just look for protein sources such as Chicken, Turkey, Peanut Butter (the best), and Eggs (also the best, as they too are low in purines). Because it's processed, you will pay more for it than if you mixed it yourself. You simply have to decide, personally, if the convenience is worth the added cost.