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Jessie T. Wolf
February 27th, 2006
10:17 pm


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The BARF Diet
No, not _that_ kind of BARF. ;) Although we know dogs will eat almost anything… O.o The Bones And Raw Food diet seems to be a topic of much controversy these days. I’ve heard things from both sides. I know of people who are against it who say it’s dangerous to feed pet dogs any kind of raw meat and bones due to the possibilities of choking hazards, bone splinters, (yes, even raw bones splinter, it’s not just cooked ones…) GI tract damage and constipation, dangers of Salmonella and E.coli, etc. Then there are the people who are for it, saying that the dry foods that most people buy are nothing but junk full of dyes, preservatives and additives, some bags being on shelves for months.

Now, working at a vet clinic, I have seen animals come in with stones and kidney failure due to eating junk food quite frequently. I don’t think that dry food is bad for pets, but it depends on what you buy them! If you’re a cheap owner and just want to grab the cheapest bag of food you can get, without being aware of what you’re actually feeding your animal, then yeah, your beloved family friend could very well get sick! I also know of a lot of owners switching to the BARF diet due to the recent scare where a lot of dry pet food was recalled due to poisoning. Some like it for it’s all natural/holistic qualities. I’ve known of some owners who swear up and down that their dog has been on a strict raw diet for years, and has healthy teeth and coat and hardly ever has to go to the vet.

So what _is_ the right choice? Honestly, I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. It’s each individual’s choice and belief as to weather or not it would be more beneficial for their pet.

I have recently taken to feeding my own guys a raw food diet mixed with their usual kibble, once a week. For them, it’s more of a treat to have once in a while. I do think it has some healthy qualities to it, and I know a lot of people who will say, “Well, wolves and other wild canines eat raw meat and bones all of the time, so dogs should be able to as well!” Of course then you have the people who will just give their dog a solid bone, and then wonder what went wrong when they have to rush their companion to the closest vet.

I don’t have wolves, but as domesticated dogs go I think they’re about at close as you can get. Barkley: German Shepherd. Dakota: Husky/Labrador Retriever. Panda: Husky/Coyote. Zena: Staffordshire Bull Terr… uh, well. She’s nowhere even close, but she still loves her raw food diet. :) Although, I do think that if you’re going to be feeding your dogs raw meat and bones, you have to do it as smartly as you can, because there’s one difference about wild dogs and pet dogs’ eating habits that a lot of people seem to overlook, and that’s the fact that wolves and other wild canids eat _everything_ that they catch! They eat the fur, the flesh, muscles and organs. Bones are the last things that any wild dog eats, and because of all of that extra stuff in there, it protects their digestive tract by wrapping around any sharp pieces of bone so that they can pass it easier. Pet dogs don’t have that handy trick when it comes to eating bones.

What I try to do when feeding my guys any kind of raw meat and bones: First, we get our meat from a Chinese shop where everything comes in pretty fresh. I try not to get meat from places that I know have been sitting on a shelf in the cold section for X amount of days… If you know a place where you can get the freshest meat possible, that’s usually best. Also, I make sure when getting any kind of bones that they’re rounded knuckle or knee-type bones, with a lot of extra meat and fat on them. Any bone can break into small sharp pieces, so it’s crucial to make sure that they are closely supervised when eating!! Then I make sure that they still get their kibble, and also toss in some chopped up fruits and veggies. This gives them a nice, healthy, and _full_ meal. Of course I am not an expert on this, but these are just my suggestions, but they’ve worked well for my guys so far, and I like to see how happy they are afterwards. :)


Barkley at the Shelter

This is a pic of Barkley looking very… uh… happy… when he was living at the Animal Shelter I used to volunteer at ages ago. :-P

Barks looking cute

Barks looking all tuckered out and cute. ^.^

Dakota with a ferret

Dakota with one of our old ferrets, Sailor.

Dakota and Penny

Dakota with my sister’s Chihuahua, Penny. That pink thing she’s wearing is her poofy winter jacket. :-P


Zena wearing her “SECURITY” shirt (on the back, in white writing).

Sweetie and Zena

Sweetie, Panda’s sister, shares a bed with a sleepy yawning Zena.

Sweetie Ball

Sweetie, Panda’s Sister (owned by notasiwas_blue) curled up in a “Husky Ball.”


Panda chillaxing. :)

Panda CUTE!

Panda looking very CUTE and curiously at the camera!

Dog Run

Our dog run. The little Shepherd cross there is Lucky, and she belongs to a friend of ours who was over visiting one day.

Sage and Jasmine at the Shelter

This is Panda’s mom and aunt when they were brought to the shelter. I felt bad about them being in a cage, but we ended up bringing them home with all four pups in the end!


A close up of Panda’s mom, Sage, Husky/Coyote hybrid. Hard to believe that’s Panda’s mom, eh? ;) Panda’s dad was a black Bouvier Des Flanders crossbreed. Three of the four daughters ended up looking more like their mom, and only one ended up with her father’s Bouvier type of coat.

Sage and Jazzy

Sage and Jazz at home. They were adopted by some good friends of ours who do domestic and wild animal rescue. They live out in the country in a huge house in the woods, next to a late, and they also have four other dogs. Lucky pups! ^_^

Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

Date:February 28th, 2006 03:43 am (UTC)
good GOD your animals are cute!

as a pet owner of many species, i found the best diet i could give them (personally, that is!) was organic (even the cats!). its free of dyes and crappy chemicals; and, if you know what to look for, you can get them pretty much filler-free. my birds especially benefit from it, you can see it in their feathers! WAY softer to be sure

[User Picture]
Date:February 28th, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
*nodsnods* It really does do wonders for their coat and teeth, and I find it just seems to make them happier. I don't know if I'll take them completely off of kibble, just yet anyway. Though one day a week of just a raw diet I don't think will kill them, if it's done safely. :)
Date:February 28th, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC)
i agree! i think anyone who KNOWS how to handle meat and bones can make that diet a very successful one! way better than all those VEGAN dog diets!! O__O
Date:February 28th, 2006 04:47 am (UTC)
Stego and I's friend is a great dane breeder. She also swears by the BARF diet. I know she is very picky about the meat she buys.

If you havent seen this already:

[User Picture]
Date:February 28th, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)
I had not seen that, thanks for sharing! ^^ I've seen more websites that seem to be against it than for it, but it's all a personal opinion as to if you think it's a good diet or not. In small amounts, I can't really see the harm, if done properly.
[User Picture]
Date:February 28th, 2006 09:07 am (UTC)
Wild canines generally prefer to eat the bits us humans would least like - look at a wolf kill: the bits they first squabble over are the guts! Stomach, intestines, lungs, liver - they're the prize. This stuff gets eaten along with whatever happened to be in the prey-animal's stomach at the time - the part-digested vegetable matter helps the wolf's digestion too.

Muscle-meat comes next, along with sinew, cartilage etc - only once all that's gone do they head for the bones and skin/fur.

My concern about giving a BARF-style diet to dogs is that the 'meat' involved is often heavily biased towards muscle-meat. Far better, IMHO, to add in a good proportion of lung, heart, stomach... if you can get it.

The only potential downside of feeding this stuff raw is that it may harbour parasites. Keep up with your worming program!
[User Picture]
Date:February 28th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
*nodsnods* Right now they're only fed the raw diet once a week, and the rest of the week they have their normal kibble. I try to give them a variety every week. So if it's muscle and fat one week, I'll usually switch to organs the next week, or fish the next week (except for Salmon and Trout! X.X).

Dakota, Panda and Zena LOVE liver, but Barks won't touch it at all. He also won't eat chicken. He only seems to be interested in beef or pork, and bones, but he only gets them in small amounts. He loves apples and carrots though. I'll give my guys fruits or veggies once in a while. This morning I was cutting an apple and cantaloupe up for myself, and shared some with them as a treat.

And definitely yes on the worming stuff! ;) Also, probiotics, and other stuff to help their immune and digestive systems.

You know, I sometimes wonder just where all this sudden hype for the BARF diet did come from. It really seems to be turning into an almost Good vs. Evil thing on how to feed your dogs. I know the potential risks of it, but I also know the good qualities of it, so I'm kind of right in the middle regarding it.
[User Picture]
Date:February 28th, 2006 10:08 am (UTC)
To me it somwhows seems more natural to feed them that.
I mean, if they can't handle it, how did they survive during the past eons?
[User Picture]
Date:March 1st, 2006 01:28 am (UTC)
Since when do dogs have their own special diets? Whatever happened to just feeding them right to start off with? Christ!
[User Picture]
Date:March 1st, 2006 01:45 am (UTC)
We're Human. We make dumbass mistakes all of the time. ;)
Date:March 1st, 2006 10:08 pm (UTC)
Is that your house? You could start a doggie daycare center one day!
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2006 01:34 am (UTC)
Yeppers, it's my house. ^^ I actually DID want to start up a doggie-daycare for a while. Just don't have the funds. O.o

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