Guide to BARF Preparation (RAW MEALS)

We’ve been thinking of putting together a guide for the longest time. Although we’d like to do a pictorial guide, Mommy felt it was rather impossible as it would drag the preparation time & delay feeding us! So, we’ll just write down as much details as possible & share a picture towards the end.

Now, here goes…

1) Percentages

– Forgo the % of organs, vegetables, bones. We felt it was absolutely unnecessary. The only % we needed was the amount of food (meats only). Feed 3% – 5% of our ideal weight, and not our actual weight. Example:

Coffee’s ideal weight is 6kg. So 3% of 6kg = 180gm of meats

2) Vegetables (ORGANIC ONLY)

– mummy gets a variety of mostly local vegetables & it is mandatory to get organic ones, for very simple & obvious reasons

– 4 to 5 types, blended together. keeps in fridge for up to 3 days. mummy sometimes stretch up to 4. :p

– vegetables that should not be fed too regularly: spinach, cabbage, carrots: GO GOOGLE why

– vegetables that we blend: lettuce, cucumber, wheatgrass, celery, cai xin, xiao bai cai, nai bai, purple cabbage, capsicum, radish, kale, sprouts

– blend in a few bulbs of organic garlic (about 3). this is for 2 dogs.

– how much to put into the meal: about 2 heapful of tablespoons per day.

– Mummy doesn’t blend the vege every week. only alternate week only because she’s LAZY. vegetables are only for us, haru doesn’t eat.

– DO NOT mix in fruits. feed fruits separately. ideally at least an hour before meal time.

3) Organs

– at the moment, Mummy only has access to veal liver & lamb kidney. feed young animals’ organs preferably, especially for liver, as they have less toxins compared to adult animals. there is no organic organs in Singapore.

– how much to feed: liver probably only a teaspoon. for haru: less than a teaspoon. 1 kidney is shared between the 3 of them. Organs are fed to them ONLY when bones are included. because feeding organs without bones will cause diarrhea.

4) Bones

3 times a week: Mon,Wed & Friday. At least one type of bones for the purpose of dental cleaning once a week such as lamb shank or ox tail. Feeding drummies, half a chicken, or chicken wing or lamb rack are useless for dental cleaning. at least in the case for baubles & coffee. Lamb shank can be fed on its own, without extra meats. for ox tail, there is very little meat & lots of fats, so Mummy tries to trim off some fats (too much will cause diarrhea!) & add in some meats to make up for the lack of it. no percentage is used here. Mummy just uses an estimation. For drummies, wing & rack, mummy will also supplement it with extra meats to complete the desired amount of food. Example: if 1 drummy weighs 100gm, Mummy will add an extra 100gm of meats to make it a total of 200gm for coffee, because the bones take up some weight!

5) Meats

– for now, mum feeds us the following: LAMB, CHICKEN & abit of BEEF. Sometimes, rabbit or venison.

– try to get as many parts as possible, which can be rather challenging for Lamb & Venison.

– ALWAYS go for GRASS FED & ANTIBIOTICS & HORMONES FREE & FREE RANGE ANIMALS. Organic: not necessary. As it’s hard to get for rabbit, venison & lamb anyway. chicken is grain fed so….forget about finding grass fed. LOL. Mummy will share another time on the “brands” of meats when she finds the time.

– Mummy mixes a  max of 2 types of meats each day. sometimes she only puts in 1. although Mummy encourages variety of meats to be fed to us, she doesn’t feel a need to do that by mixing different types of meats everyday. It’s like us humans, we tend to eat only 1 type of meat in each meal. wild animals also feed on 1 type of meat per day. U don’t see a leopard running after a deer & a rabbit & eating them both together, do you?

6) Eggs

– to feed or not to feed? Well, ok to feed but not necessary.

– I quote a raw feeder’s words: It’s another type of chicken.

– Mummy adds in eggs only when she feeds vegetables, which means they don’t eat eggs frequently. that is because our dear Baubles sometimes refuses to eat his greens, so Mummy mix in egg to entice him. Can feed one whole egg. Sometimes I split one egg between the 2 of them.

– No organic eggs can be found in Singapore at the moment. So mummy gets cage free eggs or organic fed eggs from NZ.

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7) Supplements

For now, our supplements include the following:

– Soul Food

– SP Ocu

– Bilberry Extract

– Fish Oil

8) What our BARF meal looks like:

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That liquid that you see is WATER. It’s not soup! It’s PLAIN WATER from the filter. We don’t drink from our water bowl that much (only after walks) so that is the only way to Mummy made us drink. And yes, everything is eaten & drunk.

Haru’s one is damn plain because she’s a cat! hahaha.

So here’s our bowl after we are done eating:

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Other things to note:

– mummy usually buys about 2 weeks worth  of meats for us. she packs them individually according to weight. organs are separate. so are bones. all are frozen for about 3 days at least. mummy currently stores them in plastic bags but she’s exploring the possibility of storing them in glass containers. still checking on that.

– supplements: are a must. it’s considered food.

– vegetables are stored in a glass container.

– reminder: do not mix in fruits. feed separately at least an hour before meal.

Well, this is OUR GUIDE. our personal guide. it might be refuted by others, especially those who insist that dogs should be fed prey model style. We’d say, WHATEVER. to each his/her own. And our guide is also VERY DIFFERENT from the “vet’s prescription” of a barf meal which has all the percentages & so called BALANCED MEALS.

There is no perfect meal concoction. What we have been eating might be different from many raw feeders but it sure beats commercial foods & cooked foods, and even those who feed tainted raw meats (eg animals injected with hormones/antibiotics & probably caged animals).

Feel free to ask questions! 🙂

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Random…

Mummy has the privilege of hitching a ride home from the boss of a butcher shop recently. LOL. She had a chat with the old man who’s already in his 70s. Mummy was very impressed that at his age, he’s still going strong & going round making deliveries. She also took the opportunity to ask why butcheries don’t sell organic offals. The boss sighed & explained that this was something he’s been trying to get the overseas suppliers to send over but to no avail. He said that at the slaughterhouse, they actually mixed the offals of both organic & non-organic ones, so there is no way they can ship them over with the label “organic”, since they are all mixed up.

Double sigh for us too.

Mummy started adding vegetables back to our diet. The topic on whether dogs need vegetables has been debatable among raw feeders. Dogs are carnivores, yes, but they do fine with a small amount of vegetables & fruits. Feeding dogs 100% vegetables/fruits does not sit well with Mum at all.

To be honest, Mummy noticed a difference (in Baubles) when she stopped giving vegetables. In fact, she stopped the vegetables sometime in late 2011. Months later, Baubles started to lose fur on his back. Mummy couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason. She tried all sorts of stuff – giving him fish oil, coconut oil & seeds. But none of these helped at all. In fact, just 6 months ago, the loss of fur on his back was far more worse than before. Mummy tried very hard to recall what went wrong & she remembered Baubles didn’t have this problem when vegetables was included in our diet. But because we were bunking in mummy’s parents’ house at that time, it was impossible to blend vegetables in the crampy space. So after we all moved to our place, Mummy started adding vegetables to our diet. To Mummy’s surprise, Baub’s fur started growing back – very slowly but there is much more growth than before.

Weird, but true.

Don’t forget, dogs thrive on red meats which are grass fed. Why grass fed? Google & you will find the answer. So it’s not surprising why dogs can do fine with some vegetables in their diet, raw & organic ones that is.

Again, that’s the perk of giving DIY raw meals. You get to play around with the ingredients & customise them as & when the situation calls for it!

Raw Meats Part 2 – Organic Or not

Many times, Mummy has been slammed by local owners that it’s ridiculous to suggest feeding organic meats, saying that “not everyone can afford it”.

Mummy’s thinking is simple : then don’t get a dog.

People think getting a dog & raising one is easy & cheap. It’s a misconception, wrongly painted by many.

But Mummy would like to clarify, those people who have questioned the necessity of getting organic meats, are not totally wrong (but they are still wrong to a certain extent because the type of meats bought would then be QUESTIONABLE, if it does not fulfill the basic requirements of being “organic”).

Because the term “organic’ is still rather controversial.

The USDA defines “organic” as:

– free of synthetic substances

– no antibiotics & hormones

– not irradiated or fertilized with sewage sludge

– raised without pesticides

– contains no GMO

Unfortunately, these requirements do not guarantee that the animals are raised humanely as USDA does not have any guidelines on this.

So, in addition to the “organic” requirements, it’s best to ensure that:

– the animals raised are free to move and not be confined. Cages, crates and tie stalls are prohibited. In other words – FREE RANGE

– Livestock have access to sufficient, clean, and nutritious feed and water (the type of feed is very important – mummy will touch on that in Part 3)

– They must have sufficient protection from the weather and an environment that promotes well being ie. stress free

So, yes, even if the meats are certified “organic”, it can be pretty meaningless if the animals raised do not fulfill the above requirements.

So to sum up, it’s best to buy meats that do not contain any artificial ingredients  (GMO, irradiation, hormones, antibiotics, pesticides) as well as raised humanely.

So, please read the packaging OR, check out the supplier’s website & get information. This is what a responsible owner will do, and not just buy a piece of meat blindly from the wet market, supermarket or butcher & throwing it to your dog whom you claim you love so much.

Flexibility

Mummy believes in exercising flexibility when it comes to feeding us.

By flexibility, she doesn’t mean feeding us all kinds of foods. It simply means, moderating the way raw foods are fed to us.

It is not possible to feed us whole prey (perhaps with the exception of chicken) as this not available locally. The closest we can get would be raw meaty bones.

Even then, we don’t eat raw meat bones everyday. Neither do we eat bones everyday.

Yes, we can look to overseas raw feeders for advice as they are deemed the more experienced feeders.

They are. BUT, we need to moderate & adapt to whatever is available to us, and whichever is appropriate for your own animal.

The guidelines given by raw feeders, honestly, Mummy sometimes questioned – where do they get these guidelines from? The 3% – 5% is but a guideline. The % of muscle meats, bones & organs, is, but a guideline.

Please do not be so rigid as to follow these guidelines strictly.

There are also raw feeders who do not believe in feeding vegetables/fruits or supplements. To them, this is ridiculous as dogs should be fed a diet closest to the wolf’s.

No doubt, a dog’s DNA is 99.8% similar to the wolf’s. But do not forget, because of irresponsible breeding of dogs, the health & immunity of our dogs have been compromised & are in no way, close to the wolf. It takes several generations of aw feedings to have a healthy pack. This is something that you cannot find in most dogs nowadays.

Hence, do what is most suitable & appropriate for your own dog, but yet exercise the basic principle of raw feeding – Feed FRESH & THE MOST NATURALLY AVAILABLE RAW MEATS.

Mummy used to feed us BARF. Thereafter she stopped & switched to only meats, organs & bones, with supplements. On random occasions, or rather, whenever she feels like it, she will still bring out the blender & blend some vegetables for us. Neither does she feed us bones everyday, rather, she feeds us bones for the calcium intake like 2 – 3 times a week & a larger bone (like lamb shank or beef tail) once a week for dental cleaning. Occasionally, she will feed us fruits like papaya, watermelon, apple or pear. Supplements are mandatory for the overall maintenance of health & immunity. But neither does she put in the supplements everyday – 5 times a week.

So please exercise flexibility.

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Ground Meats & Freezing

Meats in commercial raw / barf diets are often minced / grounded.

Mummy doesn’t quite like the idea of feeding ground meats, simply because they do not present any dental benefits to the dogs. Also, ground meats tend to have more bacteria.

So for those who feed your dogs barf or a raw diet, please refrain from feeding ground meats.

Also, there has been a myth flying around that freezing kills parasites / bacteria, hence, forum members always encourage freezing of raw meats.

The truth is, freezing does not kill any bacteria.

What freezing does do is, it slows or stops bacteria’s growth. Once the food is removed from the freezer & kept in higher temperature, the bacteria will start to grow again.

So if you wish to kill the bacteria in the raw meats, cook them. Unfortunately, that also destroys the nutrients in them. But healthy dogs can handle bacteria very well. The acid level of our stomachs allow us to do just that. But having said that, it’s good to minimise the amount of bacteria in the meats so that the stomachs need not work so hard to kill so many bacterias. Which explains why Mum encouraged feeding larger pieces of raw meats, rather than ground.

So, now do you know why Mum dislikes the local forums? Because facts are often but distorted.

Meal time!

Mum’s been reading alot of posts in forum by dog owners who kept complaining that their dogs refuse to eat their foods.

The funny part is, they all listen to other humans by starving the dogs. Dumb advice. They are making not only the dogs miserable, but also making themselves miserable. Someone couldn’t even understand why would any dog refuse the food? WHY NOT? Either the dog is sick or the food SUCKS lor. And they love to give suggestions like “NO TREATS” & “STARVE”.

Mum can give the 2 of us treats several times a day but we still look forward to our meal. Mum doesn’t need to starve us in order for us to eat our meals happily & enthusiastically. In fact, the moment she steps into the kitchen & open the fridge door, we will be scrambling to her.

So aren’t those advices DUMB?

Shouldn’t owners feel happy to see their own dog look forward to every meal, eating it with enthusiasm & finishing every bits of food every time? Humans are really a strange  group of species.

Mum filmed us before our meal time. This is how we behave before every meal.

Coffee will also stand there to supervise Mum. Look at how her eyes are fixated on her food bowl.

Now serving time. Coffee’s eyes remain fixed on the bowl. Me will turn a few rounds before the bowl is served to me (sorry Mummy didn’t quite snap that part coz Daddy was in the background half naked >.< )

>Our diet

>

key meats that Mum feeds us – lamb, beef, chicken

occasional meats: fish & game meats like venison, turkey & rabbit

supps: 4 – 5 times a week (rotating basis)
egg: 2 – 3 times a week
organs: 2 – 3 times a week (rotating basis)
raw meaty bone: 1 – 2 times a week
blended vegetables: 5 – 6 days a week (max 3 – 4 types of veg. each week the type of veg changes). 2 small cloves of garlic added every week. 4th week – remove the garlic & restart it again in the 5th week onwards.
alkaline water : everyday. mummy sees marked improvement in herself & us.

Our favourite raw meaty bones are either oxtail or lamb shank.

Within 1.5hour, it’s down to this:

Mum was out grocery shopping & wanted to get the adult organic whole turkey but it was WAY too huge. so she decided to get the young one for us:

>Giving RAW a bad name (Part II)

>I find it appalling that many people are highly recommending a raw / barf diet every time a dog has health issues.

No, I’m not saying that raw / barf is not good. It is a GOOD diet, provided you have done your research well enough & that you are feeding it properly to your dog.

What I do not agree is that, owners tend to give ‘false’ hopes to these hopefuls.

RAW / BARF is NOT A MIRACLE DIET.

I repeat: It is NOT A MIRACLE DIET that GUARANTEES results.

Each time someone recommends a raw / barf diet to a fellow dog owner whose dogs have issues, always emphasize the above point. And you need to add on that: Every Dog is Different.

Yes, every dog IS different, even though their anatomy is the same. My dog may take very well to barf / raw feeding & has great results from it but it doesn’t mean that you will see the very same result in another dog.

One man’s meat is another man’s poison

I know that most people do not need to take responsibility for their words or advice given to others, as the responsibility lies largely on the listener to do his own homework. But when one is desperate for solution, anything goes. You need to manage their expectations. Because one may end up disappointed if they don’t see the results. Hence, giving raw / barf feeding a bad reputation yet again.

>Venison

>Unfortunately, it’s impossible to get any organic venison in Singapore.

So the closest that Mummy could get is NZ venison.

It costs $90.85 for this 1.398kg chunk of venison meat. The price is almost similar to organic beef.

Mummy once told us, an uncle asked how much she spends on food daily on each of us. She was pretty thrown off by this question as she never did any actual calculation on how much she spends on our foods, simply because there isn’t any point to – she felt that if she needs to spend more on food on us to keep us healthy, then she will. She’s not rich. She doesn’t earn alot as she’s only a junior staff. So there are things that she chose to give up, in order to have more cash to buy our foods. She probably goes to movies like no more than 5 times a year? She buys new clothes, shoes & bags like only 1 – 2 times a year. Sometimes, Mummy just eats instant noodles, bread or biscuits for her meals. And Mummy vowed not to travel overseas when we are around. Mummy is not encouraging dog owners to do the same. You need not make huge sacrifices such as selling away your stuff in order to spend more on foods for your dogs. It’s a matter of priority – to Mummy, we are her priority. So she’s willing to go to the extra mile to do things for us.

She estimated that she probably spends about $10 on each of us each day, but since the uncle’s question aroused her curiosity, she went on to calculate the average spend per day. We think the figures may shock many dog owners as most are always very calculative & trying to find the best bargains & always chiong for dog food on promotion.

Well, for me (coffee), it’s an average of $12 (meats / offals / veg) & for Baubles, it’s about $15 (meats / offals / veg). Supps are a separate costs.

So whoever said keeping a dog is cheap?