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Barf diet???

2655 Views 16 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Newcastle
With the dog food toxin scare I am a little paranoid to feed my new puppy any of the commercial dog foods.
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1.  How much does this diet cost vs a good quality commercial brand like blue buffalo or soild gold??

It's comparable, depending on your sources.  When I was doing it all on my own, it cost me about $1 per dog per day; I'm using some pre-made now, which is more expensive, so it's more like $1.50 per dog per day.  

2. How often do you need to go to the market to get meaty bones etc?

Depends on how big your  freezer is. ;)  I have a big freezer chest, so I get about a month's worth at a time (for multiple dogs).

3.  How do you go about transitioning from kibble to BARF?

There are different thoughts on this; with my dogs, they had kibble for dinner and raw the next morning.  I do suggest adding new foods slowly - many of the problems I've seen dogs have with the transition are a matter of too much, too soon.  So if you're feeding, say, chicken necks, feed just those for a week or so, then add in a different type of meat or raw meaty bones (beef, pork, lamb) and feed that and the chicken necks for a week or so, then add a veggie, etc.  

4. Are there any specific things I need to know or keep in mind for this?

A few.  The hardest thing for most people is the concept of 'balance over time' - every single meal does not have to be 'complete and balanced'.  You can work it in a few way, most people look at a week or two, or sometimes a month, as one 'chunk' and make sure that between all the meals fed during that chunk, all the nutritional needs are met.  You don't want to feed a lot of meat without any bones (or bone meal powder), you want to give as much variety as possible, and you don't want to get too over-hyped about it. ;)  I highly recommend the book "Raw Dog Food: Make it Easy for You and Your Dog" by Carina Beth MacDonald - it touches on the the various theories about raw, answers the most common questions and problems that come up, and presents the diet in a readable, common-sense manner.

5.  Ginsy is 9 1/2 weeks old now.  Can she eat this diet now?

Certainly.  I generally start pups on chicken necks, but that's really just for my own comfort.  Patsy did have a few days where she didn't want to eat wings or backs while she was teething, but I don't recall any of that with Emma or Evie - generally the chewing feels good during teething.  (I have had far fewer problems with puppies chewing on furniture etc. during teething since I switched to a raw diet.)

6.  Where do you get the bones?  I have called several grocers and none sell scrap bones other than chicken backs.  If I buy  split chicken breasts with the bone and bone tham myself can I feed those bones?

Chicken backs are the main part of what I feed.  My grocery store generally has beef and pork neck bones right out with the steaks; sometimes lamb neck bones or shoulders, too.  There are also a number of co-ops and supplier lists, many of which have e-mail groups, primarily at Yahoo.  

7.  Are there any bones that are unsafe to feed?

Yes - never ever feed cooked bones of any kind. :)  Too many weight-bearing bones can be problematic sometimes; most dogs won't actually eat the leg bones of a cow or sheep, but they will eat chicken legs and wings (wings are considered weight-bearing) - some dogs don't have a problem, mine only do if I feed them too many days in a row.  Recreational bones - marrow or soup bones, the leg bones of cows generally - can break a tooth on an extremely aggressive chewer, and may splinter for those dogs as well; it's basically a matter of 'know thy dog'.
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Thanks for the info.  I am definately going to look into this more thoroughly.  Espesially if I can take a carcass from a whole chicken (raw of course :wink: )  and cut it up myself and give most all the bones to Ginsy while the rest of us eat most of the meat.  i usually get several whole chickens every week for our family,  so giving her the scrap cuts would not increase our family food costs a bit and that would definately be a plus for my husband!!
I've been thinking about changing Tink and Hector onto a BARF diet after reading Newcastle's page.
Actually I just read that any full carcass like rabbit or mice are fine to feed as well if you are on a raw food diet.

I am really thinking more and more about implementing this in my home.  The more I read the more convinced I am.  

I have already taken this step in our family (whole food, not raw :wink: )  We have eliminated virtually all pre packaged and processed foods from our diet.   This is just a natural extension of that philosophy.

My only problem now is finding a source for the RMB's :lol:   Our groceries don't really carry much at all.
I called the local wholesale poultry processing place and they don't sell to the public :?   and the butcher here in town isn't actually a butcher,  just a meat market so they don't have much in the way of rmb's either :roll:

Once I get my supply figured out then we will be in business.
Just a quick there not a risk of small rabbit bones or chicken bones sticking in the digestive system and causing big problems? And what about things like salmonella in raw chicken? I don't know anything about this raw food stuff but those risks would be worries for me :? ?? I think i'll read the links straight away :) .
O.K. i've read the 'pupcentral' thing & i'm afraid it's all a bit too daunting for me...a fridge full of decaying carcasses :sick:. And the bit about "My dog is Vomiting" - this could be bones blocking in the stomach apparently, especially if your dog starts to smell noxious from both ends?? :? ... that sounds serious to me 8O . And then there's the garlic much? I've read it can be a poison to grapes and onions which means a bit of extra checking to see what fruit & veg the dog can have. And the 'detox' symptoms - vomiting, diarrhoea, shedding - scary too. I think checking up on an 'anti-barf' website would be a sensible thing to do to weigh up the pros & cons. Maybe a chat to your vet also. Pro barfers might be right (it works for them obviously) and I might be completely wrong to feel negative about barfing - it's just my opinion at the moment. And i have met two ex-boxer owners whose dogs lived for 12 years on the kibble-it can't all be bad -can it? :) ... index.html
I found we have the two sides.
It's definitely a hard choice to make - like everything, there are pros and cons, and vociferous defenders & attackers of the theory!

Having said that, my mum's West Highland Terrier, Jack, lived to the ripe old age of 17 having been fed kibble & leftovers his whole life.

Having spent the last hour or so researching the topic (and particularly trying to concentrate on neutral sources), I have come across the following link, which I think contains enough information on both sides to allow everyone to make up their own mind -
The bottom line for me is that the commercially produced kibble is still pasturized , processed , has additives and preservatives, artificial colors and flavors added.  It has been cooked at high temps and had chemical preservatives loaded into it . any nutritional value the ingredients started out with have long since been destroyed by the processing.  then to make up for the lack they now add synthetically created "vitamins and minerals"

I have been feeding my family and children a whole food diet for several years now.  A "garden of Eden" diet if you will.  trying to eat foods that are as close to their original form as possible.  ( no not raw :wink:   except for some raw veggies :lol: )  our health as humans is steadily declining and it is because our natural immune systems have been compromised by all this junk in our diets.

So if I feed all natural to my children,  why would I feed all those chemical poisons to my fur kid?
these two articles are from a pro raw site so yes it is a biased argument b

We all have to make the best decisions for our own families.  The bottom line is that regardles of what anyone else tells you, you still have to follow your own heart.  And make the best decisions for yourself and your family based on your own beliefs.
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I agree, there are some absolutely terrible commercial kibbles out there, but by the same token, there are also plenty of organic, high quality ones.
This one is better to explain both why I chose this for my dog but for my family as well ( whole food again not raw :wink: )

I respect your decision.  and you are right it is a matter of choice.  and no matter what you choose, we will still be friends.
I might feel differently if I had an all natural nothing artificial kibble available. :lol:

BTW how do you pronounce your name?
The only thing I would say to anyone researching this topic is do not make your decision whether to go BARF or not on any arguments laid out on either a very obviously pro or anti BARF site - try to find as neutral a source as possible.  You wouldn't decide to keep feeding kibble based on any claims they make at or the like!

Anyway, good luck to everyone making what is turning out to be a very difficult and confusing decision!

Oh, and my name is pronounced Eee-mur.  It's Irish.
But I do know that I am not going to risk putting my dogs on a diet where there is even the tiniest chance that their health could be put at risk
Then you may as well not feed your dogs anything at all.  Look at the massive pet food recall going on right now - those people thought the diet was 'safe'.  I know of more dogs who have choked to death on kibble than those who have choked to death on raw food.  The only dog I know of personally to have a problem with salmonella was kibble-fed.  Heck, my former boss' wife choked to death eating a steak.

You absolutely have to make the decision that you feel is best for you and your dogs, and that very much involves your comfort and confidence in the diet.  But please don't fool yourself into thinking that *any* food - raw, homecooked, dehydrated, kibble - is 100% safe.

I haven't read the Second Chance Ranch site for a while - that article seems quite a bit shorter than it used to be; Katie must finally have accepted that many of the claims she was making were false.  Somewhere there is a response Dr. Billinghurst wrote to the points she made, but I haven't been able to find it online again.  (I notice she has also stopped selling kibble - something she did when the site first went online, and which certainly undermined her credibility a great deal.)  I still question the claims she makes - especially the "growing number" of dogs she knows who were killed by a raw diet; I've been on several raw diet mailing lists for nearly a decade, with thousands of people who feed multiple dogs raw diets, and have heard of only a handful of deaths that were due to the diet (and those were choking deaths - and none of those owners stopped feeding a raw diet, they just stopped cutting up the RMBs they were feeding).  I would not at all say that a raw diet is without risks - of course it is, just as any diet is - but it is not causing an epidemic of choking, perforations, obstructions, etc.  

A quick note on the hair/fur thing - yes, wolves and wild dogs do at times eat the hide and hair of their prey, and it does at time wrap around some of the bones which are then passed.  (Of course, the question is, are the bones being 'protectively coated' by the fur, or is the fur inhibiting the digestion of the bones?)  There is not enough fur to wrap every bone in an animal, however, so it's obvious that some bones are being digested.  These are probably the bones that dogs are more likely to eat - backs, necks, ribs, the softer bones of chickens and rabbits - which are generally easier to digest.  (My experience speaks for itself, for me - I've been feeding my dogs a raw diet for six and a half years; if they weren't digesting the bones, or if the lack of fur were a problem, I'd certainly know about it by now.)

I'm not trying to talk anyone into feeding a raw diet - in fact if you're not comfortable with it, I don't recommend you feed it.  It took me two years of learning before I was at the point where I could feed my dog a turkey neck (I switched one dog at a time) - and I was a nervous wreck for a week afterward!  I do think, however, that it's important to explore both sides, and to think logically about the claims made on either, cutting through the emotions and scare tactics to the facts at hand.  For me, the bottom line came down to the fact that wolves and dogs are the same species; that dogs are obviously carnivores; and that I knew many people who had been feeding raw for decades and had real-life experience to offer, rather than supposition and extrapolation. :)
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I know of more dogs who have choked to death on kibble than those who have choked to death on raw food.  The only dog I know of personally to have a problem with salmonella was kibble-fed.
Would this not be because statistically more dogs eat kibble than raw? :?
Whatever good quality food we feed our dogs (raw, kibble or cooked) i think when it comes to health and long life it's a question of luck more than which of the 3 afore-mentioned foods you choose. Look at humans. My brother is a fit, healthy-eating exercising 30 year old with an incurable brain tumour (oligo-astro cytoma or something for those who might know). You just can't explain some things or expect to be able to protect against things 100%. What's good food without exercise or a healthy non-polluted environment or good genes or whatever? We are at risk through so many factors we can only do our best and even that is not a guarantee.  Who knows what's going to get us humans and our dogs, or why in the end?  :|
Would this not be because statistically more dogs eat kibble than raw?
Not in this case.  I see your point - if, overall, more dogs choked on kibble than raw, it might be because more dogs eat kibble.  I'm talking about dogs I know of personally, those belonging to people I know or those on mailing lists/forums to which I belong - and I'd say that's probably a 50/50 split, if not slightly more feeding raw (especially as time goes on).  

What's good food without exercise or a healthy non-polluted environment or good genes or whatever?
Exactly - which is why many raw feeders are also natural-rearing, doing the best they can to avoid toxins and pollutants, to repair genetic damage done in the past (the breeders, anyway), to provide ample exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. :)
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