The Bones and Raw Food Diet

It refers to a type of diet fed to dogs (as well as cats and ferrets) which totally excludes all commercial dog foods.
For me, this includes standard pet treats as well! It is often referred to as BARF — Biologically appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food.

More than 75 percent of domestic pets over the age of three years suffer from periodontal disease (rotten teeth and gums). This can lead to other debilitating, even life-threatening diseases affecting the heart, kidneys and immune system. Once the periodontal disease sets in, it sets the stage for many more diseases. The infection may enter through the diseased mouth, and begin the journey to wreak havoc on the immune system.

Sounds hideous doesn’t it? It is and it is extremely disheartening that so many vets are missing the boat  when it comes to preventing aliments and disease. Most nutrition classes in vet school are sponsored and taught by commercial pet food companies. Together, vets and dog food companies support each other. The AAFCO protocol for accepting a dog food onto the market requires a feeding test of 8 dogs for a minimum of 26 weeks. 2 dogs can die. The remaining are evaluated for nutritional excess or deficiencies. 25% of the test dogs can be removed for non-nutritional reasons. So what exactly constitutes non-nutritional problems? (This is according to Raw Meaty Bones, page 215.)

It would be terrific to see every dog have a better, healthier diet, but I would never advise a decision to switch to BARF without doing adequate research. While it is not all that complicated, you need to make an informed decision. This involves understanding what you should and should not feed, as well as how much and when.

If you’re not convinced yet, ponder these questions…what is your favorite cereal? When was the last time you had it? Would you like to eat it dry? What would your teeth look like if you weren’t able to brush them every day after eating cereal? Even if water is added, would you want to eat it everyday? Try adding water to your dog’s current dry food and let it sit for 30 minutes. What does it look like afterwards? Kibble expands quite a bit when it soaks up water. There’s little wonder in my mind why so many dogs are tragically affected by bloat!

People have different ideas about the raw diet and my suggestion, if you become confused, is NOT to go back to commercial foods, but start thinking about what is best for your dog (or cat). Don’t forget that the same companies make dog treats out of the same ingredients. There are much healthier (and tastier!) alternatives without the preservatives, fun colors, and poor quality ingredients.

Start with the basics – raw meaty bones (RMBs) such as chicken wings and backs and turkey necks. For most raw feeders – that is the majority of their dog’s meals. When starting out, turkey necks are usually introduced with little to no upset stomachs since they do not have any fatty chunks. If chicken or turkey are not available readily, use what is available locally – raw meaty bones from lamb, beef, venison, duck, rabbit, kangaroo, raw fish. (I only feed cleaned fish, as I have heard of worms living inside the fish and being transferred to the dog where they continue to thrive). The bulk of diet should be RMBs and the bones should be completely edible.

Please note: Dogs do not have the digestive system to cope with grains. Grains are one of the biggest sources of allergies in dogs. Grains make up the majority of dog food company food sources. Many people find when they switch to an all natural diet, the allergies their dogs had disappear. This is very common. Many epileptic dogs are allergic to the grains! Irritating skin diseases and behavioral problems – reasons many owners consult their vet – are often due to the canned and dry pet foods.

Not only is feeding raw cheaper to feed than commercial dog foods, but there are enormous savings to be made by not having all those vet visits to fix your dogs’ allergies. Are you asking yourself yet, “why hasn’t my vet recommended this?” Yes, I would ask that of them too. Unfortunately most vets receive NO education at the university on nutrition for pets other than what the commercial dog food company reps tell them! (yes, this is the education they PAY to get – unbelievable. Luckily, some universities are realizing this mistake and are making amends).

Why a raw diet?

no doggy odor

naturally cleans teeth and protects against gum disease – rarely a need for toothbrushes or dentals (the canines may occasionally need a gentle brushing as these teeth are only used by animals in the wild to capture and kill the prey)

the time it takes for a dog to chew a raw meaty bones give their stomach adequate time to get the acids moving

much less stool volume produced – and they are firm, and turn chalky after a couple of days

decreased vet bills (your dogs are healthier!) Actually, I guess in the long run, BARF may lead to more expenses, as your dog will be healthier and probably live longer.

less cost for dog food – commercial dog foods are ludicrously expensive. Learn where to buy in bulk and save on your dog food bills

mirrors what a dog would be getting in the wild – and certainly even the modern day dog has a digestive tract exactly the same as a wolf

puppies develop at a more appropriate rate – and quick growth spurts are avoided. A GOOD breeder will want to stop fast growth in any pup.

the ripping and chewing involved in eating raw meaty bones develops the jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles of the dog. Commercial dog foods will never assist in this important muscle development.

Why do so many people still feed kibble?

Mind boggling! However, commercial dog food companies have got the advertising part down to a science. They have entered the market at every point. With some companies, breeders and vets get major discounts, awards, and kick-backs (even awarded island vacations!) for selling their product. They sponsor dog shows, they advertise in dog magazines, they get high profile people (including vets) to talk about their product. They teach the nutrition classes at vet schools. This is a BILLION dollar industry and they don’t want to be beaten even at the expense of your beloved pet!

But guess what….the commercial food is only about 60 years old! Your dog’s ancestors lived for thousands of years on a raw diet. Commercial foods are mostly grains, which dogs aren’t built to digest. This is often the cause of excessive bulk on your animals. (How many animals in the wild do you see overweight????). Of course, the other reason is that many dogs are just fed too much! If I were to have fed what kibble companies suggest, my dogs would have been huge! And most importantly, the kibble advertising campaigns are slick, and tend to make people feel guilty if they feed any other way. People can be suckers for good advertising. Are you a choosy mom that has to have JIF? Why? Is it really any better than say, Peter Pan??? No…you don’t want to be labeled someone that doesn’t care about their child.

I make no money from recommending a raw diet, so you can be assured, by making such recommendations, I get no financial kickbacks, nor will ever seek any. I only recommend feeding raw because I want your dogs to be getting the diet that will make them the healthiest that they can possibly be.

Some vets are discovering the horror of commercial foods and doing wonders for advertising the deception (even at a cost to their own practice and professional reputations)…

Australian veterinarian Dr. Tom Lonsdale admits that he, along with almost everyone else, used to recommend processed pet foods. “Previously we thought animals were suffering the effects of old age when in fact they were wasting away with periodontal disease and diet-induced AIDS.” After many years of feeding his animals a raw diet, he converted to the commercial foods along with the rest of the public. When he started seeing health problems in his dogs that he had never before had, he knew there was a big problem. He’s been kicking and screaming ever since to make the public aware of the shameful scandal going on in the name of pet livelihood.

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