THE RAW DIET

 

Truthfully, if I cooked for hubby and myself, I would feed the dogs a totally raw diet.  My dogs eat a combination of kibble and raw for my convenience.

Before you decide to switch to the raw diet, please order and read the following 2 books by Dr. Ian Billinghurt.  

Give Your Dog a Bone and Bones Are Raw Food Too 

can be ordered from Direct Books

WHY FEED RAW?

It is by far, the healthiest diet out there!   Consider this:

Let’s take a look at a true "image" of a modern dog!!

  1. First and foremost, your dog is a carnivore. That means they love to eat other animals. Dogs will happily eat the internal organs, the meat, and the bones from other animals. It doesn’t matter whether you are talking about a Chihuahua, a Poodle or a Great Dane—they love to eat this way!
  2. Your dog is a vegetarian. One of the first things eaten by a wolf or wild dog when it kills, are the stomach and intestinal contents. These contain fermenting grass and similar plant materials. Wild dogs and modern dogs love to eat fruit of different kinds—especially if it is overripe. They scavenge around the bottom of fruit trees. They dine regularly at the compost heap. I have one girl that I baited regularly in the ring with green grapes. She loved them! Remember when feeding vegetables, they should be pulverized until they resemble the gut contents of an animal. 
  3. Your dog is a scavenger. You only have to leave your dog alone with an open garbage can to find that out. Dogs will eat and derive food value from practically anything. To a wild dog, soil eating is an important source of minerals. Bark from trees is an important source of fiber. Dogs receive valuable nutrients from material that we humans find totally repugnant. Things like vomit, feces, and decaying flesh.

This habit of eating feces (called "Coproghagy") is common with many dogs that eat commercial dog food. Why? To try to stay healthy! Feces are a highly valuable food, consisting of the dead and living bodies of millions of bacteria. They are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, fat soluble vitamins (particularly vitamin K and the whole range of B vitamins), many different minerals because of the soil in it, and a host of other nutritional factors including anti-oxidants, enzymes and fiber. The feces they eat is of far greater benefit to them than the product peddled by the dog food companies!

If you don’t want your dog to eat feces (and most of us don’t) then you must provide in the diet all those nutrients which are currently missing from your dog’s diet, and which feces supplies. This requires a team of ingredients like yogurt, eggs, polyunsaturated oils, an enzyme supplement, crushed raw vegetables as a source of fiber, etc.

  1. Your dog is a hunter. Dogs will eat anything that moves. This starts at a very young age with insects, beetles, ants, lizards—whatever walks, crawls or slithers into it’s path. As time passes, birds and small animals are tackled. Later on, with the help of other dogs, larger prey such as deer, sheep, goats, cattle etc. are eaten.
  2. Your dog is an opportunist. This means that a hungry dog will take the opportunity to eat whatever food is available. Many dogs survive happily on the contents of garbage cans! When you think about it, a dog roaming the streets, seeking out it’s own food is living closer to nature and the lifestyle designed by evolution, than dogs fed a consistent "100% complete" dead commercial dog food. It may not have the same foods it’s ancestors had to choose from, but at the same time it is not limited by what some humans or dog food company chooses for it. Much of the food is raw, including vegetable peelings, rotten fruit, and some bones.
  3. Your dog is an omnivore. The fact that your dog is a carnivore, a vegetarian, a scavenger, a hunter and an opportunist means that he is an omnivore. This means a dog can eat practically anything in the way of food. In fact so far as eating goes, your dog is one of the most versatile creatures on earth!! He will survive on just about anything we care to throw at him, even commercial dog food!!

COMMON SENSE

A good starting point is to examine some of the widely held "beliefs" to see if they make sense or are more or less nonsense.

NONSENSE!! This belief is based on nothing more than somebody’s opinion. There have been no scientific studies to back it up. Although mankind may have changed the outward appearance of the dog over the last few thousand years, and developed a large variety of shapes and forms for practical or esthetic reasons, THE INTERNAL WORKINGS INCLUDING THE ENTIRE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM, AND THE WAY FOOD IS UTILIZED FOR GROWTH, MAINTENANCE, REPAIR AND REPRODUCTION, IS FUNDAMENTALLY THE SAME IN ALL DOGS—BOTH WILD AND DOMESTICATED.

COMMONSENSE—If the internal workings have not changed, then a study of the foods eaten by wild dogs, should provide us with a sound basis for feeding modern dogs!!

NONSENSE—Dogs fed only cooked and processed food will always develop a weakened immune system and poor dental health.

COMMONSENSE—From centuries of practical experience dogs thrive on a RAW diet.

Do I really have to say it?? O.K.—NONSENSE!! This "modern" idea was devised for no other reason than to enable the sale of pet foods. Massive "education" campaigns inundate the media to convince you that "You cannot feed your dog properly…but we can". Even many vets have become convinced that feeding a dog is a very complicated process and best left to the "experts".

The major "fear" that is exploited in the pet food industry is centered around the concept that "every meal must be completely balanced". Unfortunately, even "holistic" animal lovers and some authors of "how to" books have fallen into this trap.

COMMONSENSE—Ask yourself the question…is that the way you design your own meals ? Each of them totally balanced with every conceivable nutrient present that you require ? Of course you don’t. No creature since life began has eaten that way!!

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that in nature, a "wild" dog will achieve a balanced diet over a period of time that can range from a few days to a few weeks. Never at each meal and never consistent. The attempt to put all the nutrients a dog requires into one commercial product is responsible for much unnecessary suffering and poor health. It is an insidious way of slowly ensuring a shorter life span for your animal and is guaranteed to sooner or later make your veterinarian a little richer.

Dr. Ian Billinghurst in Australia provides an outstanding insight to confirm this concept. In his words:

"As a veterinary student in the early seventies, I found it hard to understand why Aussie vets had fewer and simpler dog and cat diseases to deal with than the Americans. It seemed to make the Aussie vet somehow inferior. We did not need to be trained to the same high degree of complexity and sophistication.

There was a simple explanation. At that time, more than seventy percent of Aussie dogs were still fed raw bones and scrapes. They were still pretty healthy.

American dogs had been eating processed food and no bones for decades. They had developed a wide range of problems. Their vets had been forced to develop a complex set of diagnostic and therapeutic tools to deal with them.

I need not have worried. Our dogs’ disease problems are increasing on a par with their increasing consumption of processed and cooked foods. We Aussie vets now have to be as good as our American counterparts to deal with them."

In What's Really in the pet food we did outline some basic information on commercial pet foods. To totally cover the subject would probably take a book or two but there are a few additional things that you should know about, that will serve to give you a strong indication of the reason behind many of the health problems we are seeing.

At one time or another, most breeders become concerned with the kind of preservatives or chemicals contained in a particular dog food. It’s amazing however, that seldom (if ever) do they question the major faults found in almost every brand of commercial pet food. While on the "net" I have come across long winded discussions on the "right" percentage of protein, etc. for this or that, along with a multitude of opinions on lamb vs.. beef or chicken, rice vs.. wheat and on and on. To my mind this is an exercise in futility.

The label might say it contains meat and meat by-products. What does this mean? It could mean lots of meat, or lots of by-products. Which by-products? They could be liver and hearts. They could also be feathers and feet! How would you know?

Look at protein levels. Is that level good or bad? How would you know? Is it good quality protein ? Is it easily digested protein? How would you know? (Actually it’s a pretty safe bet to assume the protein is low quality and poorly digestible).

What about fat? Is there enough? Is there to much? Is it the right sort with plenty of essential fatty acids? How would you know? What about added vitamins. Are there enough? How would you know?

It’s utter nonsense to assume that the pet food manufacturers make pet food for the sake of keeping your dog healthy. Common sense tells you that their prime motivation is to make money!!

I could go on but I think you get the point! You must realize that what is on the label is no indication of the actual nutritional value to your animal!! It is possible to produce a pet food based on shoe leather, used motor oil, coal and water, which if analyzed would meet the legal requirements necessary for it to be sold as pet food. By law, pet foods are not required to contain optimum or best levels of each nutrient. They can claim to be "nutritionally complete" as long as they contain certain minimum levels to prevent obvious deficiency symptoms. The law does not require that nutrient levels be kept below a safe maximum level either!

Consequently we see excesses of protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sodium to be common in pet foods. So what, you may ask?

Lets take excess calcium as an example because it is probably one of the most common problems. The calcium combines with zinc, producing a compound which cannot be absorbed, resulting in a zinc deficiency. This lack of zinc is involved in skeletal and growth problems, skin problems, infertility in both sexes, sugar Diabetes, Pancreatitus,… the list goes on and on.

The excessive calcium in dry dog foods is heavily implicated as a cause of bloat in the adult dog and of skeletal problems in growing dogs!!

Excess protein can result in kidney disease, excess sodium can cause heart disease, excess magnesium causes bladder stones…and on and on and on!

Lets take a quick look at how mother nature designed the dog to eliminate the problem of calcium combining with zinc. In the "wild" a dog would obtain the zinc, copper, iron etc. when it eats the liver of another animal. Normally the liver will be eaten along with maybe the gut contents and perhaps some of the muscle meat.

The calcium is eaten at another meal when he eats the bones. Seldom, if ever will both be consumed at the same time. Even if bones are eaten with the other foods, the digestion of the bones will be relatively slow, while organ tissue will be digested and absorbed much more quickly. This natural process of separating allows the kidneys to rest by not having to deal with high protein levels with every meal.

So the lesson for today is really "don’t mess with Mother Nature—she’s the only one that truly understands what is best for your animal".

DR IAN BILLINGHURST...FOUNDER OF THE RAW DIET

Ian Billinghurst has spent 18 years as a practicing vet in Australia. During this time, he has conducted field trials, attended lectures, and researched extensively on the subject of dog nutrition. In his practice, he has asked his clients what they feed their dogs. Invariably, the sick ones are fed commercial pet food, and the healthy ones, including his own dogs, are fed a no-nonsense, economical, and natural diet. Ian Billinghurst's views are revolutionary, and he doesn't pull his punches. And yet his message is very simple: people who feed their dogs mostly bones and scraps have healthy dogs. "I began to realize," writes Ian, "that most of the disease problems we vets see are caused by only one thing - Poor Nutrition. Most modern dog owners are taught to believe that feeding dogs is such a difficult task, it is best left to the dog food companies. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you can get hold of a regular supply of raw meaty bones, you will have no problems whatsoever.

Dr. Billinghurst has written two books concerning the raw diet and why it is beneficial to your dog.  Please order and read the books before embarking on the raw diet for your pet.

If you're thinking about incorporating the BARF diet, there's many good books available from www.dogandcatbooks.com.
Give Your Dog A Bone by Ian Billinghurst
Grow Your Pup on Bones by Ian Billinghurst

Many dog and cat owners are singing the praises of feeding their dogs the BARF (Bones and Raw Food) diet.
For many, it's a very difficult step to stop feeding canned and pelleted food and begin feeding raw meaty bones.   Before taking this step, it's important to do a lot of research.

This web site is intended to be a source of information on the BARF diet. At the end of the page, there's many links other informative sites.
This site is for educational purposes and to help you make the correct decisions regarding your pet's health.   We hope that you will find the information helpful.

We cannot diagnose nor prescribe for your pet.   This information is what we do with our dogs.   It is offered only as a tool to help you make responsible choices.   We do not accept responsibility for use of this information in lieu of the services of a holistic vet.

Remember that all things in life have varying degrees of risk.   Sometimes doing nothing can be the worst of all.

"THE BARF DIET"

BARF
Biologically Appropriate Raw Food

BARF means Bones And Raw Food. During Dr. Billinghurst's US tour, he told us he liked to refer BARF as Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. Let's look at what is the biologically appropriate raw food for our dogs and cats.

The amount to be fed is totally depend on your pets. You should watch their weight, and know what is their ideal weight. You should try to maintain the ideal weight. You don't have to have the perfectly balanced diet everyday. (well, this apply to us too)

INGREDIENTS: It is important to buy these ingredients from reputable clean safe companies.

Raw Meaty Bones: Chicken, Turkey, Duck scraps, such as wings, necks, backs, carcasses or frames. Any other meaty bones from "young" animals. This is because the animals tend to store toxic materials in the bones as they grow. So the younger the animals are, less toxic you will be feeding to your pets. For the cats, I've used chicken necks, cut into small pieces. Some people grind the whole meaty bones, and give it to the cats

Offal: Fresh and raw Liver, Kidney, Brains, Heart, etc.

Fresh Meat Ground

Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables, Root vegetables, Ripened fruits. If you have a fresh juice company, you may be able to buy or get their scraps. You will need to use the juicer to process the plant materials. You may add the juice to their diet or drink it yourself.

Grains: Sprouted grains are treated like the vegetables. Otherwise, the grains need to be soaked in water, juice or milk overnight, then crushed by a food processor or juicer. Or it can be ground into flour and then soaked.

DOGS: Raw Meaty Bones should be 60 ~ 80% of the diet, and the rest should be vegetable mix.
The vegetable mix includes at least 50% vegetable pulps, and the rest should be minced meat. To this, you add low fat plain yogurt, raw eggs, flax seed oil, cod liver oil, raw liver, garlic, kelp powder, Vitamin B, C and  E.

You can modify the diet according to your pet's age, and health condition.

For immune problem, use colored vegetable. For epileptic condition, eliminate grains. Celery is good for arthritis, Cabbage is good for thyroid problem (hypo and hyper). Cooked egg is good for pancreas problem. Cottage cheese is good for animals who lost muscle mass. Raw egg is good for pregnant, nursing bitches and skin problem.

BONES AND RAW FOOD DIET


 

Q:

I believe I read an article that raw meat is good for dogs.

A:

Raw meat is a dog's natural food. A dog's mouth is not designed to chew ground, cooked, extruded kibble that is flavored and colored to please the human senses, and preserved for extended shelf life.

Q:

I always thought raw meat had a danger of bacteria, don't they???

A:

To a human, yes. To a healthy dog, no. A dog's stomach acid is exceptionally strong, and is designed to destroy these types of bacteria. In addition, the intestinal tract of a dog is short, and is designed to move food quickly and efficiently through and out.

Q:

And also, is it only raw chicken, or all kinds of raw meat you guys feed your dogs (beef, pork, etc.)

A:

I feed raw chicken WITH the bones, turkey with the bones, raw beef, beef kidney, heart, tripe, and a small amount of liver. No pork currently.

Q:

Also, is it only BONES, or do you feed actual raw meat?

A:

Both

Q:

Is this their regular diet, or a supplement to their regular diet?

A:

It is the regular diet, and is supplemented with about 10 to 15% kibble.

Q:

What are the benefits and/or disadvantages of feeding raw meat?
BENEFITS
  • A natural raw diet has been shown in many cases to eliminate MANY dogfood-related problems such as:
    • Problems with anal glands
    • Skin problems
    • Allergy problems
    • Weight problems
  • You are not feeding your dog the artificial preservatives and colors contained in many dog foods.
  • The raw diet does not expand in the gut as dry kibble can.
  • Palatability is excellent.
  • There are no rancid or questionable fats.
  • Dogs who "wolf" their food SLOW DOWN.
  • Picky eaters SPEED UP.
  • Condition of dogs on a proper BARF (Bones and Raw Food) diet is amazing. Muscle mass, coat condition, energy levels, are all greatly improved on a raw diet.
  • Dogs on a BARF diet do not require veterinary dental care. The chicken bones and the larger knuckle bones clean the teeth and stimulate the gums naturally.
  • I also find my personal dogs more relaxed and happier on this diet. They get to spend a much larger amount of time processing with their jaws natural food items. This obviously is very mentally satisfying to the dogs.
DISADVANTAGES
  • Switch must be done gradually to avoid problems with toxin release. As a dog is switched from a dog food diet to a natural diet, the body releases stored toxins that have built up over a long period of time. The switch must be done very gradually so that the excretory systems can cope with this release.
  • Less convenient. Meat must be found, purchased, and stored properly. It must be thawed completely before use. This requires more thought and time than opening a can or a bag.
  • Vegetables and fruits must also be included. To be assimilated properly, they must be juiced or ground. More time.
  • Traveling with this diet can be difficult, although it can be done. Instead of frozen meat, it can be purchased daily wherever you are. This is why I continue to feed a small amount of kibble. If necessary, I CAN use the kibble.

I am sure there are more disadvantages, but I cannot think of them.

A couple of good books on the subject are Richard H. Pitcairn's Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide To Natural Health for Dogs and Cats and Ian Billinghurst's Give Your Dog a Bone. Both books are available from Direct Book Service Dog and Cat catalog, (800) 776-2665.

I have seen so many benefits and improvements in my dogs since they have been on this type of diet, I would never go back.

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BARF FAQ