Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The BARF diet: Our Compost Puppy

This post is requested information from some friends. Incidentally, BARF stands for 'Bones And Raw Food'. The Barf diet is a whole raw food diet for dogs.

Dallas the dog is our compost puppy. We try and eat a traditional diet as a family and so it made sense that we would do the same thing for our dog. Dogs in the wild do not eat cooked food and they do not eat grains. They eat meat, fruits and veggies, usually a little on the spoiled/fermented side and obviously raw. We have friends with a dog that is a mighty hunter. Duchess catches all kinds of groundhogs, rabbits and even drags home deer quarters. She semi buries them and leaves them to sit in the sun for days before she eats them. Sounds gross to us too, but you never met a healthier dog. Even now, in her dotage, she still brings home a stray ground hog as a treat. Grains cause arthritis and cancer in dogs. Dogs that are switched to the BARF diet get more agile and younger acting. Their joints calm down.

Dallas is an outside dog. He is outside in all kinds of weather. He slept outside all winter long and was healthy and is thriving. So what do we feed him? We feed him anything that would ordinarily go inside our compost bucket (Except grapes, which we are told are not good for dogs, and large chunks of onions). He gets rotten apples, and apple cores, sweet potatoes, broccoli stems, cabbage leaves, leftover salad, anything in the produce line that doesn't get used up by the people. He also gets any cheese that gets moldy, sour milk, a couple eggs and some meat. The meat he gets are the wing tips off the chicken, offal, chicken necks, any fat I trim off a roast and any part of my steer that we don't particularly like (tongue, sweetbreads, etc). I also take any old meat out of my Amish friends freezers that they can't sell, and don't want.

He doesn't get meat every day. He probably gets it on average 3-4 times per week. He does get a couple eggs most days. We have been known to stick a variety of liquids (milk, gravy, tea, water) over his food. He will eat most anything. In the winter we did add extra fat to his bowl (usually coconut oil, or beef fat) to make sure he got enough calories and stayed warm. He is thriving! His coat is shiny, he has more energy than we can run off and he is good tempered. He always has a bone or two available to him. His teeth never need brushing as they are pearly white. He doesn't have doggy breath or pass gas either. Life is good.

He is getting tired of cabbage though. We try and make sure he gets plenty of veggies and not just fruit.
I think we about break even or do a little better cost wise than if we bought dog food. He is eating our compost scraps, the meat parts that we don't want, and he is always healthy! (No vet bills) We no longer have chipmunks and mice running around the foundation of our house either. We do try and give him a clove of garlic every day as this keeps fleas away and minimizes worms. We still have to give him heartworm pills monthly, as I don't know any natural remedies for them.
There are other websites about the BARF diet on the web. Check them out. Don't confuse the BARF diet with the BRAT diet. It won't help your pup, unless he has diarrhea. LOL

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