All dog owners want the absolute best for their furry companions to make sure they stick around for as long as possible and live a healthy, happy and active life.
A balanced, biologically appropriate diet is the first step towards achieving that goal. Historically, dry dog kibble and canned dog food were the only choices on the market. But over the years, people became more familiar with different options like the fresh food or raw food diets.
What is the raw dog food diet?
The B.A.R.F diet stands for two common phrases: ‘Biologically Appropriate Raw Food’ and ‘Bones and Raw Food’. Founded by veterinarian and nutritionist Dr. Ian Billinghurst, the principle is to feed dogs the diet they evolved to eat—a raw diet composed of meats and greens that are fresh, uncooked and wild.
The recommended guidelines for a BARF diet consists of 70% muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 7% vegetables, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organ, 2% seeds or nuts, and 1% fruit.
What are the benefits of raw feeding?
• Firmer stools
• Improved digestion
• Healthier skin and coat
• Reduced allergy symptoms
• Leaner, more muscular build;
The downsides of raw feeding
I personally think the benefits outweigh the downsides, but it comes down to every individual and their budget as well as their household situation.
• First downside would be the inconvenience of feeding raw vs. feeding kibble. Raw food has a shorter shelf life and needs to be refrigerated/freezed at all times.
• Second is the possibility of contamination – for humans. The dogs have a short and acidic digestive system, so they aren’t susceptible to Salmonella or E-coli infections. Always wash your food after handling raw food. Wash the dog bowl with soap and warm water right after feeding.
How To Raw Feed Your French Bulldog
1. Frozen and Dehydrated Raw Food Brands
Pet Smart and Pet Co carry most of these option. The difference between frozen and freeze dried/dehydrated is the storing process.You don’t have to keep the dehydrated raw food in the fridge and it’s completely safe so carry it around. It’s best to re-hydrate is before serving by using bone broth, warm water, goat milk..
2. Preparing Your Own Raw Food
It’s true, raw food subscriptions and food brands tend to be more expensive, but you can choose the cheaper route and prepare the meals yourself. You definitely need to be careful and do a lot of research to make sure you are balancing the nutrients correctly.
What should the basic raw meal structure look like:
• 1 ½ cups of raw meat, partially on the bone
• ½ veggies and fruit
• Multivitamin/mineral product
• Omega 3 in a form of fish oil or general omega 3 supplement
How much should you feed?
An adult dog needs to eat just over 2% of his bodyweight in food each day (whether it’s raw dog food, or homemade food that you’re cooking for him).
So, for a 10lb dog that’s just under 1/4lb of food; for a 50lb dog just over 1lb, and for a 100lb dog about 2.5lbs.
You can use this guide to figure out how much your dog needs, but of course bear in mind that all dogs are different and that these figures are guidelines only.
• Ratio can be 75% - 95% meat/bones/organs and 5% -25% vegetables
• The bones in any raw dog food recipe should have an equal amount of meat and bone (ie a 1:1 ratio). Big bones with just a little bit of meat aren’t nearly as good as smaller bones with more meat on them.
• Overall bone to meat ratio can be approx 1:3
What kind of meat you should use:
• Chicken - chicken necks, thighs, wings and even feet are great choices
• Turkey - as above
• Duck - as above
• Wild game birds such as Pheasant or Partridge
• Organ Meat such as liver, kidneys and so on are excellent, but rich, so use sparingly at first
• Whole fish of just about any kind are fine, but raw salmon often isn’t recommended
Safe to use vegetables:
• Brussel Sprouts
• Green Beans
• Romaine Lettuce
• Sweet Potatoes
Safe to use fruits:
• Apples (pitts are poisonous, make sure to remove them)
Hopefully this blog convinced you or at least opened your mind to benefits of raw feeding. Like I mentioned before, I do understand that kibble is way more convenient, but the BARF diet is a diet closest to your dogs origin and proven to help maintain longevity.