Food, Nature, Touché_Tale

The Healthy, Happy Doggy

Introducing the BARF diet

BARF Diet Collage
BARF Diet Collage - by David Crellen

Why coyotes & wolves don't roast hot dogs on the fire

It's dark. Hear the fire cracklin' and sparkin'? Look closely and see two sizzling Hot dogs on the end of sticks. Look up the shafts and you see … paws holding them! Yes, the paws of a coyote and a wolf, each smiling introspectively and staring at the fire!
Whoa! You must be watching a cartoon!wolves acookin'

This would never happen in real life. But, if so, the animals would be fat and not very healthy looking. S'mores, anyone?

The fact is wild canines have a healthy diet because of evolution. They are not particularly efficient hunters – they are pretty opportunistic. Unless they are in a pack, they prefer others, or even cars, to kill their prey – then they come in to claim the prize … and pick on the 4 or 5-day-old "roadkill."

Toxicity quickly sets into roadkill. But that won't matter to the wild K9s.

Why is that?

Their wild diet gives them the acidic stomach fluids which cure their food. Humans are also encouraged to maintain a low, acidic stomach pH for the same reason.

What's in their pray's stomach?

It's primarily full of ground vegetables! Their roadkill is usually herbivores. So the last thing the dead animal ate was vegetation, and it's the first thing the predator devours. So how can we give our domestic K9s the same, low Ph stomach – a stomach that can withstand slightly "gone bad" foods?

We can come close to that wild diet for our domestic K9 family members. All it takes is a menu of "Bones And Raw Food." We call it the BARF diet. It's easy to prepare; your dogs will love it, stay healthy, and maintain a beautiful coat.

And you can do it without breaking the bank. In fact, my method is not much more than the cost of premium kibble. … And our dogs love it so much more! … are healthy and with clean teeth!

I will tell you how to make and serve it in this article. Once you implement this diet, your canine family members will be healthier, happier, and live longer lives!

I believe the main reasons my dogs live a long life is the BARF diet and the environment in which I raise them – and, of course, a lot of love and affection.

We discovered the beautiful attributes of the Brittany breed over 20 years ago when we rescued a 5-week-old brother and sister, Touché & Mona. 

Back then, I wasn't aware of the BARF diet. One day we visited a dog training exhibition. A presenter explained the diet and why it simulates the attributes of the wild dog's diet and why it's so healthy.

He told us a modern dog living solely on a kibble diet has a high-pH digestive system similar to humans. That's what kibble does. He suggested the high pH subjects the dog to ailments similar to humans. Whereas the acidic (low pH) maintained by the BARF diet protects your pet.

We were sold! We learned the ingredients and proportions, and off we went.

First, making this food is labor-intensive. Preparing by the batch makes sense. I used to make about three months' worth at a time using a wheelbarrow as the bowl, but now make a batch in the sink once a week – about an hour's worth of time – But you won't break the bank. It costs around $2.50 per day per dog.

So, let's  make the BARF Diet

Step 1. Purchase the ingredients (This list and the approximate cost are for two Brittanies):

3 cups (1.5 lb.) 75-80% lean Hamburger meat - $6.00 Costco) (I divide and freeze the 6-7 lb. package)

  • 1 cup (1 lb.) Beef liver or chicken liver - $4.00 Ralph's (I alternate them)

  • 7 Eggs - $4.00 Ralph's premium - Note: include the shells

  • 1 cup Salmon oil - $8.00 Amazon Vital Pet Life

  • 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil - $0.50 Costco

  • 1/2 cup Flaxseed meal - $2.50 Amazon Bob's Red Mill 

  • 5-6 Carrots - $3.00 Ralph's

  • 1 bunch Collard greens - $1.00 Ralph's (Any greens will do)

  • 1 lb (1 pkg) Broccoli florets - $2.50 (Costco frozen)

  • 2 ea Yams - $2.00 Ralph's

  • 16 oz Chicken stock - $1.00 Costco

  • Plus, all of your leftover fruits and vegetables.
    Total cost: about $35 / 7 = $2.50 per day per dog

Step 2. Make the food.
Begin by mixing the eggs in a large bowl. Place the shells in your food processor. Add salmon and olive oil, flaxseed, and chicken stock. Stir thoroughly until well mixed. Now stir in the hamburger meat until the meat is well broken up.

Now add the liver to eggshells in your processor – cut the beef liver into smaller pieces – plus the broccoli florets and grind finely. 

Cut the raw vegetables into a size that grinds well in the food processor.

Thoroughly mix the ingredients. Add more chicken stock if needed for a manageable consistency. Then put the finished product into six containers (the dogs immediately have the seventh serving). 

Remember, none of this is cooked. After all, wild dogs have been eating raw food for thousands of years.

Save two containers in the refrigerator and freeze the remaining four. It takes two days to defrost these in your refrigerator, so always keep the fridge defrosting with two containers.

And don't forget to let your dogs lick the bowl!

If your pups have been solely eating kibble, you should ease them into the BARF diet to allow their digestive system to adjust. Begin by replacing a quarter of their current food with this new diet. Do this for three days. Feed them half of each for another couple of days. The three-quarters of the new diet for another couple of days. Finally, they've adjusted. They're good to go for the rest of their lives.

I feed my Brittanies right after each morning's run, and they always enthusiastically jump as I dish out their food. 

A disclaimer: To ensure a total nutritional balance, I give them an evening treat of a half cup of premium kibble and a few bites of Fresh Pet sausage - Costco.

Lexie and Finley are two Brittanies my wife, Karen, and I rescued from ABR. They are lovely dogs and, at about 16 and 9 years old, are super healthy and active like puppies – especially Lexie at her age!

This article appeared in Brittany Tales magazine, Spring-Summer 2023
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