Its all the rage in our modern day, clean eating, healthy lifestyles and holistic lifestyles, so why do it for yourself and not your dog? Really what it is, is going back to basics and avoiding highly processed foods and opting to feed your dog a natural RAW diet. there’s that saying ‘fit as a butchers dog’ well its true! feeding your dog a clean natural diet has helped many dogs overcome many health issues such as itchy skin, bad ears, allergies, brown teeth…and the list goes on.

Below are some guideline written by Chris Ogunsiji and Lesley Morgan who run the page on facebook BARF diet chat, i came across this site a few years ago after working alongside many other groomers who feed RAW, it was all new to me and i’ve never turned back since and i always spread the word about how benificial RAW feeding is.

Firstly your dog will love you for the change to raw feeding
An added bonus of less doggy odour
No growth spurts and a more even growth for puppies
Cleaner teeth and less gum disease
Smaller stools produced, which are firm.
Your dog will drink less
Cheaper to feed than a commercially produced dog food
It is what a dog would choose to eat in the wild
Chewing raw meaty bones exercises the whole body. Great exercise for the jaw and neck and also the shoulders of the dog
Raw Feeding Guidelines
by Chris Ogunsiji and Lesley Morgan
This is a very basic guide on how to start raw feeding. Raw or BARF feeding is becoming more popular, hence the reason I started this group. I am not an expert in this field but I do love watching my dogs enjoying their meals and munching down on a juicy bone.

First question you may ask is how much to feed. Feeding 2-3% of adult body weight is a good starting point. If your dog could do with losing a few pounds start with say 2% – 2.5% and then go by eye. There is a good calculator here: http://www.raw4dogs.com/calculate.htm. For those with iPhone this is a good app: http://www.facebook.com/l/pAQETPlm2/itunes.apple.com/us/app/raw-dog/id457450264?ls=1&mt=8

Here is another handy calculator which can be used as a GUIDE to work out how much to feed by the weight of the dog and how much bone and offal to use. Just put your dogs weight into the box and the chart will do the rest. It can also give you an idea of how much to buy in weekly or monthly – https://www.facebook.com/groups/barfdietchat/523953720960876/

It’s a good idea to weigh your food at first to get a rough idea of how much it looks like. It is very easy to guess too much and end up having to put them on a diet.

Be aware that puppies are fed differently and it is important not to feed too much calcium by way of digestible bone, especially when very young.

PUPPY GUIDELINES:

0-4 months 8 – 10% of present body weight per day
4 – 6 months: 6 – 8%
6 – 9 months: 4%
9-12 months 3%
>12 months 2% – 3%

OR

2-3% of their projected adult weight per day.

All dogs are different so go by eye and trust your instinct.

MOST ADULT DOGS SUIT FEEDING:

80% MUSCLE MEAT – This would be any part of an animal that humans would eat. Muscle, fat, connective tissue and muscular organs such as heart and tongue. Heart is considered a muscle meat and not an organ when feeding raw, although it is best treated similarly to offal with regards to how much you feed, as it can be very rich.

Heart, liver and kidney is very high in phosphorous so could put a strain on the kidneys if fed too much all at once. Even if the dog appears to tolerate a lot of heart, there could be long term effects.

10% OFFAL – (i.e. 5% of overall diet ideally needs to be liver and 5% of overall diet another offal).

Organs include liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, brains, testicles. They provide lots of vitamins, minerals, and digestive enzymes.

10% EDIBLE BONES – This does no include the weight bearing bones of animals. All chicken, turkey bones and necks are edible. Bones provide many minerals and nutrients as well as a good supply of calcium and phosphorous. You MUST have bone in the diet for calcium.

Some people feed slightly more bone, some less. All dogs are different so be guided by your dogs poops and general appearance. Too firm add more muscle meat. Too loose it may be too much offal or veg or more bone may be needed.

You don’t have to balance foods daily as it can balance over time, however, as said before too much bone at one time can cause problems. If you want to feed vegetables it is up to you. More on veg further down.

Remember not to over feed any dog, be guided by the look of the dog’s weight. Too chunky – cut back; too ribby – feed a little more or feed an extra small meal. Dogs will vary on their requirements depending on age, sex, activity level, temperament and time of year etc.

It’s a good idea to start off with just one protein source and add a new one at a time. This way if something upsets them you are likely to be able to pinpoint which one it was. Chicken or turkey are usually the easiest to start with but please be aware that MOST chicken minces are made of chicken carcass which are very high in bone content (40%-60%) so will need chicken muscle meat (i.e. breast) adding to it. Tripe is also a good starting point as it is naturally balanced in calcium/phosphorus. Maybe you are still feeding kibble. If still feeding kibble, feed as a separate meal, NOT with raw mince as kibble and raw are processed differently.

Just a little tip: Treebarks from Dorwest Herbs is excellent to give when introducing anything new or an upset tum. http://www.dorwest.com/Products/TB/tree-barks-powder-for-dogs-and-cats

PLEASE READ THIS IF BRAND NEW TO RAW FEEDING:

Suggestion for beginners – first few weeks:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/barfdietchat/684619338227646/

Pets At Home sell raw mince meat in frozen blocks called Natures Menu (previously known as Prize Choice.) It is a good starting point to change your dog over but it works out more expensive than getting a weekly/monthly supply from a raw dog food supplier. It is suggested as a starting point because most people can get to a Pets at Home and test out to see whether their dog is going to take to raw or not.

This chicken freeflow is advertised as 8-10% bone and should be fine to start on:

http://www.naturesmenu.co.uk/product-free-flow-chicken.aspx

Or by the block also advertised as 8-10% bone: http://www.naturesmenu.co.uk/product-mince-chicken.aspx

When you are ready to fill your freezer here is a list of suppliers nationally:

Suppliers here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/barf-diet-chat/uk-raw-suppliers-by-area-list/683100461712867

We all have our personal preferences. Just make sure you feed a varied diet and your dog is happy and healthy.

Don’t forget to check out your local butchers, farm shops or even your supermarket ‘reduced counter’. Morrisons seems to come up trumps time and time again.

Ideally feed twice daily.

Dogs require the correct calcium/phosphorus ratio and so it is essential to feed raw meaty bones (RMBs) as well as muscle meat.

Please read: http://www.gratefulpet.com/calciumtophosphorusratio.pdf (try and get your head around this document it is very important)

Why Organ Meat Is Important For The Raw Fed Dog

Why Organ Meat Is Important For The Raw Fed Dog

I feel it is important to feed a variety of meat, not just one meat protein source. When choosing what to feed make sure that you know what is in the ingredients!!! Chicken mince, is usually minced chicken carcasses unless it states otherwise. If you feed chicken mince with bone for breakfast and another bone meal for the evening meal you could in effect be feeding too much bone in one day which could result in a bone impaction or worse it would not be balanced over time.

It is advisable to freeze any raw meat (-21degrees) for 24 hours before feeding to your dog.

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/02/15/raw-meat-the-best-and-healthiest-diet-for-pet-cats-and-dogs.aspx

http://rawfed.com/myths/parasites.html

Oily fish such as pilchards, mackerel, sardines, etc provide a good source of Omega 3 and essential oil. Fresh fish is ideal if tolerated by the dog but tinned fish is perfectly acceptable preferably in oil or spring water NOT BRINE. Most supermarkets sell small tins of sardines etc. Tuna may contain high levels of mercury and is a less valuable source of Omega 3 and not really recommended. Supplementing fish or Krill oil for omega 3 is also beneficial if not feeding much fresh fish but needs to be supplemented with a good Vitamin E source.

Eggs can be given raw, the shells are a good source of calcium but ONLY when thoroughly ground down using a pestle and mortar or grinder, otherwise they just provide roughage.

FRUIT & VEGETABLES

(N.B. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES FEED YOUR DOG CORN ON THE COB. THE COB WILL NOT BREAK DOWN AND CAN CAUSE A BLOCKAGE. IF HAVING A BBQ BE VERY CAREFUL OF SCAVENGING)

Some people feed veg, some people don’t. If you are thinking of feeding veg, make sure it is either lightly cooked or if feeding it raw it is pulped enough to break down the cell walls for them to get any nutritional value out of them otherwise they just become a source of fibre and come out the way they go in. It is possible to make batches and freeze in portions if time is precious.

Oxalic acid can interfere with calcium absorption so don’t feed too much Spinach or Chard.

Care should also be taken not to overfeed vegetables from the cruciferous family e.g. cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, turnips, swedes, and broccoli as they may inhibit thyroid function. Cooking the same vegetables, the process is eliminated and are then okay to feed.

Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and aubergines all belong to the nightshade family. Dogs who have arthritis may be sensitive to this food group which may exacerbate their condition.

A small amount of garlic is useful in the diet. It has antiseptic, antibiotic, antifungal properties. Onions must not be fed to dogs in any form as they can cause haemolytic anaemia which can be fatal. Avocados contain persin which can produce problems in some animals.

I would not advise to feed grapes and raisins. I have heard of dogs having kidney failure and even dying after eating very small amounts.

Bananas are an excellent source of pre-biotics which are essential for a good healthy gut flora. Pre-biotics feed the pro-biotics in the gut which aids a healthy immune system.

GRAINS/CEREALS

There is no proven need for carbohydrates in the dog’s diet and of course these need to be cooked before they can be successfully digested by the cani.

You are going to need a dedicated freezer for your dog. I’ve seen many people start off small and then get bigger or more freezers as they get more and more into raw feeding so be warned. Shopping for your dog becomes quite a hobby.

PLEASE NOTE: YOUR DOG WILL NOT DRINK AS MUCH (IF ANY SOME DAYS) WATER WHEN ON A RAW DIET. THIS IS QUITE NORMAL.
This is of course only a basic guidance so please feel free to ask questions or contribute your experiences.
Most important factor in feeding you dog raw is RESEARCH, RESEARCH, and more RESEARCH