If you’re here to find out how to improve your dog’s diet and health, you’re in the right place. Maybe you like eating healthy yourself, maybe you just want to spoil your pooch or you might’ve watched a documentary (like Pet Fooled) which exposes the inner workings inside the commercial pet food industry. Or maybe you just have a gut feeling that kibble is not the best food for your furry friend.
Whichever the case you’re right to think so. Sometimes there’s more profit to make by adding fillers to kibble and a lot of pet food companies do that. Although I’m sure that not all dog food companies are evil, it’s hard and often expensive to buy premium quality kibble from a trusted source. And while kibble is one of the most convenient ways to feed your dog, it might not be the most healthy.
The BARF diet is a more natural way to feed your pet. Its a diet of raw foods that mimics the nutrients that would normally be available in a dog’s life. Dogs can care for themselves in nature, they just prefer our company, you know, for belly-rubs. In the wild dogs feed on small mammals like mice, small birds, rabbits, bird eggs, insects and sometimes on bigger mammals like sheep or cows.
The idea behind the BARF diet is to feed your pet a mixture of raw-food consisting of muscle meats from various animals, bones, internal organs, fruits and vegetables, in a specific proportion. You can read about it more in-depth here, but the general ratio is 70% meat, 10% bones, 10% inner organs (half of which should be livers) and 10% fruits, vegetables and seeds.
Depending on your dog’s weight and activity level you can also determine the correct amount using these raw-food calculators.
You should also take into considerations that not all dogs are the same. Your dog might be allergic to certain foods or digest them really hard. Some dogs might need more or less of a certain food type depending on how they metabolize the nutrients. So you should always keep a close eye on your dog’s energy levels, skin and fur condition and everything else to see if you need to make adjustments.
Whether you’re just getting started with feeding your dogs raw food or if you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few ready-made raw-food dog recipes that we’ve tried:
These are just a few ideas to get you started. You can mix and match pretty much any ingredient as long as it’s safe for your dog. Find out what he likes and what he doesn’t. If you have trouble with you dog accepting weird textured foods like liver or kidneys, try to boil them at first to change the texture and then gradually cook them less until they get used to the raw texture.
I think it’s also important to consider your budget when you choose to switch your dog to a BARF diet. It’s easy to get carried away when you want the best for your little friend and spend way too much on your dog’s food. It’s also easy to fear the high prices of meat and end up feeding low-grade antibiotic-packed meats that have a lower price tag.
Try to be considerate when buying meat. In our case, BARF feeding cost us almost half of what kibble would cost, but we do spend a lot of time and effort to source the meats. We visit local butchers that have good quality meat and look for deals. Poultry carcases, legs, heads or breast-bones are often a byproduct for local butchers that ends up to be sold for a lower price.
We’ll try to continue sharing our experience with our two raw-fed dogs, hoping to help more people to spoil their dogs.