22nd July 2007 - BARFing Progress

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It has been quite a while since I have posted any progress on the dog’s diet (BARF). They have now been on this diet for several months and I am extremely pleased with how it all has gone. The dogs love it too and Sonny who we adopted and was a fussy eater now prances around the kitchen when it is meal time.

I have a great routine now for preparing 2 weeks worth of food and this only takes me 45 minutes.

Because 60% of the meal consists of raw meaty bones, this part is a piece of cake. Basically I just buy the bones, bag them & freeze them… end of story. The Cavaliers mainly get chicken necks & wings, but also the occasional beef & lamb bones. Sam the Boxer gets chicken carcasses & also occasional beef & lamb bones. I also buy large bones that we call “recreational bones”. These bones don’t contain a lot of meat but keep the dogs entertained & exercised for hours, ripping, pulling & gnawing.

The other meat portions of the dogs diet gets minced up with vegetables and/or fruit and then a small amount of grain gets mixed in. This may be rice, oats or barley. Basically this mix will be 2 parts meat, 1 part fruit/veg & 1 part grain. The preparation of this is the most time consuming and takes about 30 minutes to prepare a fortnights worth of food. I start by putting the meat (fresh from the butcher, not the pet store) through a meat mincer and then the fruit & veg also goes through the mincer. Finally I mix in the cooked grains and then I put it all in easily managed containers and then freeze.

I make sure that I always have a supply of the above prepared foods thawing in the fridge so that at meal times I don’t have to defrost, but simply warm the food up a little to take the chill off it. I add any extras or supplements just prior to feeding.

The other foods (and there are many) are prepared just prior to feeding. This could be a boiled egg, maybe an egg & cheese omelette, perhaps some cottage cheese with grated fruit in it, or a chopped heart or liver, maybe a can of sardines or salmon. Variety is the key to health so I offer a huge range of foods. Most of these only take a few moments to cook or throw together.

What for me makes feeding BARF easy is just spending that 45 minutes in the kitchen per fortnight to prepare & freeze what I call “the staple diet”.

Finally, I keep a check list of what foods I like to feed the dogs over a fortnight and I tick them off as I go. This way I don’t fall into a rut of always feeding the same thing, or of forgetting something important that helps ensure the dogs are getting all the vitamins & minerals that they need.

BARF can seem a little overwhelming when you first start out. But once you get into a routine it really is delightfully simple, quick & easy.

I have heard some ridiculous stories of how people spend almost all day in the kitchen preparing a weeks worth of BARF. Somehow those people have allowed what should be quick & simple, to turn into some sort of complicated monster. It is not meant to be like that and it certainly isn’t the way the guru on BARF (Dr Ian Billinghurst) suggested it should be.

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