Are you just starting to research the BARF diet for dogs – also known as “bones and raw food” or the RAW diet? It can be confusing – I remember asking TONS of questions when I first started. How do you know how much to feed? WHAT do you feed? Can you mix the BARF diet with processed food? How long does it take to prepare the raw food? How much does it cost to buy all the BARF products necessary? Should you feed raw meat and vegetables? Well, on the last question, only you can decide what’s right for your dog, but I’ll answer the rest of your questions as best I can.
How do you know how much to feed?
It really depends on the weight of your dog. Most people recommend 2-5% of their body weight. Just make sure you know your dog’s weight before starting, and then watch their weight and adjust depending if they gain/lose/maintain.
WHAT do you feed?
Raw meaty bones, like chicken necks and backs for example. Muscle meat which has no bones. Organ meat, like lungs, liver, kidneys, etc. Some people also include raw vegetables.
Can you mix the BARF diet with processed food?
It’s not recommended as processed food, or kibble, is digested in about 10-12 hours, and raw food in about 4-6. This can lead to serious health problems. That being said, some people do it quite successfully – but I wouldn’t.
How long does it take to prepare the raw food?
If you buy pre-prepared BARF for your dog, it only takes the time to defrost and put in their bowl. If you prefer the DIY (do it yourself) method, this would depend on what you’re serving and to how many dogs. Most people recommend pre-packaging once a week in the serving sizes necessary for your dog. You could probably safely count on a half hour per dog, less if you can get your butcher to do some of the cutting for you.
How much does it cost to buy all the BARF products necessary?
This would also depend on whether you’re going with the DIY or buying the packaged food. DIY usually requires hunting for bargains and can be time consuming. What I prefer to do (with only 2 dogs) is buy my BARF pre-packaged from a reputable company and I serve that. It can be more expensive, but with our busy lives, I don’t mind paying a few bucks more.
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Tara Pearce is the author and webmaster of A1-Dog-Info.com. Please visit us for all kinds of information about dog food, toys, health, books, supplies and clothes.