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The Food Question

Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods

Feeding your dog affects more than just the shine of his coat or the brightness of his can and does directly affect his trainability and mental health!  A dog with a poor diet may not be feeling his best, and training a dog that is a little "blah" feeling is not fun...for either of you.  Providing a well balanced, natural diet (preferably raw and fresh) can be the next step in training success. 
The B.A.R.F. diet for dogs is the most natural way to feed your dog.  The diet consists of natural, whole, raw foods in their freshest state. Raw meaty bones, ground veggie mixtures, and vitamin supplements are the general idea. Some choose to feed grains as well, including rice, oats, millet, barley, or pasta. These would not be on the menu if your dog was out hunting, so I feed these in very limited amounts. 

The bulk of the diet is raw meaty bones. I try to feed my dogs a variety of RMB's, from chicken necks and backs, to turkey necks, to beef and pork bones. You may also include rabbit, cornish game hen, duck, lamb, emu and even kangaroo!  Some people grind their RMB's, to help prevent choking or an intestinal blockage. Grinding for young puppies and elderly dogs is a good idea. They are still getting the ideal level of nutrition, and the teeth cleaning exercise of a recreational bone, so you will reap the same benefits if you grind.  I do not grind, and have had no problems feeding raw meaty bones. 
What about Salmonella?  Guess what...its not a concern with dogs as it is for people.  Their stomachs are much more acid than ours, and that kills the bacteria.  The digestive tract of a dog is so much shorter than ours that it doesn't have time to absorb in the system either. 
What about choking?  My dogs all chew their bones readily, and have not had any trouble.  If you are really concerned, grind it!  Offering a recreational marrow bone will take care of the teeth cleaning. 
Why not cook it?  You can cook meals for your dog too, but you cannot feed cooked bones...they harden when cooked and may splinter, which then can cause choking.  Raw meaty bones are best.  If you insist on cooking for your dog (which is better than kibble!), then get a book specifically on that to ensure that your are providing enough vitamin/mineral supplements for such a diet.  Try Dr. Pitcairn's Natural Health for Dogs & Cats .
I want to feed kibble and B.A.R.F. together?  I don't recommend feeding both.  They digest at different rates, and your dog may assimilate each food differently...possibly causing problems. 
I don't have time to feed raw?  If you cannot commit to B.A.R.F. due only to time constraints, order premade meals from a company such as Oma's Pride or Steve's Real Food.  They offer meats, veggies and blends in very reasonable prices considering the convenience of such! 
Note:  I realize that this is not for everyone, and that is fine.  Feeding the best super-premium kibble diet you can find is the next best thing.  Some brands I would recommend are Wysong, Wellness, Innova, Solid Gold.  Look for kibble that has real meat as the first ingredient, and only natural preservatives.  A blend of whole grains, fruits/vegetables, and human grade ingredients are best.

Links on BARF

Riveriene Farm-Wholistic Diet

Raw Meaty Bones

Mountain Dog Food

Natural Health

Veggie mixtures should include some above ground greens and veggies (such as romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, turnip greens, parsley, squash, broccoli, squash, bok choy, etc.), along with some under ground root veggies such as sweet potatos, carrots, turnips, ginger, etc.

I also like to add whatever is in season at the time that I can get very inexpensively. Fall is a great time to reap the harvest of the apple trees, you can even find them for free at times. Springtime is great for dandelion greens off of the untreated lawn, and summer is great for the zucchini & tomato harvest!  Whenever the cantalope, grapefruits and honeydew is on sale, I add that as well.  Cabot loves bananas for a treat, and Chelsea loves carrots for snacks...using a blend of food sources is my point here.

I tend to put about 4-6 different things into my veggie mixtures, and rotate them about weekly. That way, my dogs are getting a good balance of nutrients over a period of time, just like they would if they were in the wild.

Books to Read

Give Your Dog a Bone
By Ian Billinghurst

The Ultimate Diet: Natural Health for Dogs and Cats
by Kymythy Schultze

Raw Meaty Bones
by Tom Lonsdale

Whole Dog Journal-a periodical publication

A quality diet helps us win at dog shows!
Cabot takes Reserve Winners Dog at CCKC 9/7/02


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