RAW FOOD or BARF
We feed our dogs a raw diet. In our opinion feeding, more specifically whát you feed, is a very important part of caring for your dog.
At this moment we feed a pre-made fresh food (Dogmeat, Carnibest, Tinlo, etc), which is basically a BARF-meal chopped up and frozen, and BARF-material such as carcasses, wings and necks from several species.
BARF is an abbreviation of Bones And Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. The main point of this feeding method is to feed your dog food that he/she would also eat ‘in the wild’. This means no grains but bones, meat and organs.
The dog is descendant from (among others) the wolf. While the outside has changed enormously, the insides of a dog are still 99% those of a wolf. They are made to digest proteins and fats, not large amounts of carbohydrates as we find them in kibble.
People often start to tell me about their dog who reached the age of 16 and was fed kibble all his life. Well, we all know lots of people who have eaten nothing but junk food and McDonald’s for their whole life and they are also still alive. It’s like saying smoking won’t hurt you because we all know a smoker who lived to a ripe old age.
We all eat ‘bad’ foods once in a while, but we make a choice to do so knowing it’s a bad food source. Our dogs can not decide what they eat themselves: we accept that responsibility when we get a dog.
We feel that we have to choose what we think is best for our dogs. We feed our dog as natural as possible not just to keep her alive but to make sure she is as healthy as possible!
Most people think feeding a raw diet is difficult, lots of work and dangerous.
When feeding a pre-made food it’s not difficult or dangerous at all. The only work it requires of you is that you remember to get the food out of the freezer/fridge in time.
When feeding a BARF-diet, you should take some time to collect information and to make a menu. This is not difficult at all. Compare it to our own diet: we manage to feed ourselves a complete and varied diet as well! For your dog there’s a set of percentages to follow, which is more than there is for humans.
Our online raw food bible is Barfplaats where years of experience is willingly shared by Lizzy Plat-Coelers and numerous other rawfeeders.
Creating a system that will work for you and your dog might be a task in the beginning but soon enough it will be routine.
In Holland it’s easy to buy your raw food or BARF-materials. Pre-made rolls of food are available at most pet-shops. If you feed a BARF-diet there are several web-shops who provide you with ample choice of species to feed.
The costs are either less or comparable to feeding kibble.
Feeding a raw diet is not dangerous at all, as long as you know what bones to feed and which to stay well away from. The rule of thumb is to feed bones that didn’t carry the animal’s weight (for mammals). Don’t give your dog bones that he can’t crack, this can damage is teeth not to mention his insides if he swallows pieces of bone!
The snacks and treats we give our dogs are also all natural.
We have a food dehydrator for making treats and small snacks. It’s a hobby to try out new things! Organs and meat are easy to dry into snacks. One of our favorites is lung: an excellent treat to use during training as it contains next to no calories. Great to motivate and reward without fattening up!
Bigger snacks, or smelly stuff such as tripe, we buy. We always make sure it’s dried but not treated with anything. A very good webshop to order dried snacks from is Dogbite.nl (but make sure you don’t buy big bones, certainly not smoked!).
One of the most frequently asked questions is what we do when we go on holiday. This is easy: we take a cool-box packed with frozen rolls of pre-made food. We select holiday homes with a freezer. Checking out beforehand where to buy pre-made food locally at your holiday site is also easy, especially as raw food is getting more normal nowadays.
If the dog is used to BARF, it’s also possible to just buy your dogs food locally. France is a great BARF-holiday-country: you can get more than enough variety there by just entering a ‘supermarché’! But, feeding only chicken for a few weeks won’t make a difference if that’s the only available food!
Another option is K9 or ZiwiPeak, which is a raw but dehydrated diet, which you rehydrate before feeding. Nowadays there are also a few good quality grain-free kibble manufacturers, which is fine for short periods.