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.

ImageImage

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! 🙂

Organic Vegetables/Fruits

This is a way overdue post!

Mummy promised to share the list of shops & her reviews that she has visited to buy our loot of organic vegetables/fruits. Here goes!

1) Supernature

They used to be located at a pretty isolated place called Park House. Some months ago, they relocated to Forum. I haven’t been there myself but I used to frequent them at Park House. The previous batch of staff was really friendly & it’s a pity all of them left. Whether they had been asked to go or left on their accord, I don’t know – because I received a letter from the Management mentioned about the change in staff. I find it odd. Anyway, on their products. They have a good variety of organic fruits & vegetables – many of them are air flown from overseas. I do agree that there might be some loss of nutrients due to the longer time needed to ship these over. But I noticed that their vegetables & fruits still maintained their freshness. Especially the organic apples. I don’t know why but I have purchased organic apples from various stores but the ones bought from Supernature appear to be the freshest. They seemed to remain fresh even after 5 days of leaving them in the fridge. Being in an upscale location & managed by an upscale company, their prices are comparatively, upscale as well. On average, I usually spend more than $30 to $40+ on buying about 4 -5 types of vegetables plus a few apples. It’s pretty expensive, I would say. Besides vegetables & fruits, they also sell meats & other organic products. It’s a nice place to shop but it does burn a pretty big hole in the pockets.

2) Four Seasons

Similar to Supernature, they sell a decent variety of organic products. Their organic vegetables are mostly from local farms.Fruits like apples are always from overseas. There is a fixed delivery schedule for the vegetables/fruits so if you want fresh ones, do check with the store. Prices are slightly lower than Supernature, I would say. They currently have 2 branches – Parkway Parade & Great World City. Service wise – nothing to brag about. They leave you alone to shop. Prices: At least $25 – $30+ for 4 – 5 types of vegetables & a fruit.

3) Eat Organic

They are located just some doors away from my favourite butcher – Meat the Butcher, at Bukit TImah Road. It’s pretty far from where I stay so usually I will only shop there if I visit the butcher. In the beginning, i find their service sucks. Being located at Bukit Timah Road means most of their customers is made up of expats. Naturally, their service will be skewed towards this group better. I found that they served me in a high & mighty attitude & thought of me lowly as a local, who couldn’t afford to buy their products. BUT, after a several visits, I find their attitude towards me changed for the better. They are friendlier now. Prices wise – lower compared to Supernature & Four Seasons. Vegetables are also mostly locally grown & very fresh. Similarly, do check with them on the delivery schedule of the vegetables. They are also selling a good variety of Eberly Organic Chicken. Prices: Excluding the chicken, the spending is never more than $30 for the vegetables & fruits.

4) That Health Shop

Located at perhaps a most unlikely place – Roxy Square. Very small shop with very clustered variety of products. But they have a pretty good range of organic local vegetables. Organic fruits – very limited & no apples at all. Shop is run by aunties but very friendly. Probably one of the better places to buy organic vegetables as I’d hop over to Parkway Parade to shop. Prices: Never more than $25 for the vegetables.

5) Nature’s Harvest Cafe

It’s a cafe that serves vegetarian food. I used to buy from them since they are conveniently located near to my workplace. But since I left, I don’t buy from them anymore. Vegetables are all local. They do sell apples as well but they don’t appear as fresh as they turned brown rather fast. Prices wise, pretty similar to That Health Shop. But the one thing I didn’t like was – the cashier uncle was plucking out his nasal hair just before he served me. Imagine him touching my purchase! Augh.

 6) NTUC/Cold Storage

I never believed in buying from these 2 supermarkets. Large chains tend to compromise on the freshness. But for convenience, yes, one may wish to buy the organic vegetables from them. But not all branches sell them. You will have better luck at the larger stores. Very limited variety &  I spotted live worms on the vegetables before. That kinda freaked me out but then again – it’s probably really Organic then.

 

I encourage people to buy organic meats but it’s not a mandate. It’s good enough to buy grass fed, hormones & antibiotics free meats. BUT, for vegetables & fruits, I stress on the importance of organic for their furry kids. Reason is simple – the presence of pesticides is abundant & even after washing, it’s not possible to get rid of it totally. And by soaking them for a long time, lots of nutrients is lost. So i really wonder what is the purpose then of eating the vegetables/fruits?

And all PMR feeders will always emphasize that feeding fruits/vegetables is NOT species appropriate. Dogs are 99.8% similar to wolves. Take for example humans & chimps – our DNAs are 98.8% similar but are we eating the same thing? It’s the same principle. I don’t wish to engage in any arguments with these people so I shall share my own point of view here.

But Dogs aren’t Wolves after all. Their DNA might be similar but there are still a whole lot of differences between the 2 species – the way they are bred, the living environment, the foods they are fed. The differences call for what is needed for us humans, to supplement them with organic fruits/vegetables & supplements.

I’ve seen for myself how Baubles has deteriorated after removing vegetables from his diet. So I decided to add that back. And adding vegetables to their diet does not do any harm to them at all. They digest it well – their poop remains the same. Fresh & Raw Organic Vegetables must be blended & given to them.

Butcher @ Great World City

Mummy said she’ll try to do a review on butchers the next time (goodness knows when?!). Meanwhile, she’s here to review her experience with this ‘new’ butcher @ Great World City.

Mum was attracted to the name of the butchery, in fact, pretty much. It’s called The Butcher’s Dog.

So now you all know why? heh.

She passed by the store many times & there were no customers most times. Few weeks ago, she went in & wanted to buy the lamb, because she googled on the supplier & read that the lamb was hormones & antibiotics free & they were free range too. It was 8.30pm. Just when she wanted to pay using her credit card, the butcher apologised & said “sorry, I closed all the machines so you can only pay in cash.”

Mummy isn’t the type of person who carries much cash on her. She always has no more than $30 on her LOL. So, failed attempt at trying to buy their lamb.

Today, she passed by the store again & was pretty determined to buy the meats. It was 6.30pm. Again, she wanted to pay using her credit card & the butcher said “sorry I think the line is down. You can only pay with cash or NETS.”

Mummy was furious & she wondered if they were reluctant to accept credit card due to the charges, hence the excuse. Mummy was insistent on paying using credit card. So, the man took her card to try & YES, it WORKED FINE. He quickly claimed that the previous customer had problem & mummy was lucky.

Aside from this, Mummy also realised the following:

1) Butcher doesn’t seem willing to open up the packet & to cut the meat according to the weight that Mummy asked for. Eg: Mummy asked for 600gm Boneless Leg & 400gm Lamb Loin. He INSISTED on Mummy taking 800+gm Boneless Leg & 300+gm Lamb Loin. Mum caved in because she didn’t want to argue further & needed to leave.

2) Butcher appears to be more friendly to expats. Well, which is common. It is perfectly common in Singapore that our locals tend to give preferential treatment to the expats.

Verdict: Mummy might not return. She might chose to order online though, despite her negative experience. However, she can only come to a conclusion after we have eaten the meats.

Fur growth

Mummy blogged about Baubles’ thinning fur (actually he was close to balding) the last time.

Just to share a before & after pics.

Here’s the before pic taken about 6 months ago (when vegetables have already been removed from their diet totally):

before

As you can see, it’s clearly thinning really badly, on both sides. Even fur on his hind legs was affected.

Mummy was clueless about the thinning. It happened gradually for more than a year. She posted on raw feeding forums & googled but found no answers.

So she tried to recall what changes were made to the diet. There was almost none – except the removal of vegetables. Although Mummy was skeptical about this, but she thought it could be due to that.

So, she started adding vegetables back to our diet about a month ago.

Now, this is a recent photo:

after

Fur is starting to grow back, very slowly but surely.

Mummy would like to reiterate that she’s not insisting vegetables is a must have item in the raw diet. Her point here is that, an owner must always be flexible & be prepared to modify the diet, depending on your dog’s health. With the removal of vegetables, it affected Baubles’ fur growth but it has nil effect on me (coffee). But she’s adding the vegetables to both our meats anyway.

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!

Blood Tests & …

Blood tests for them are normal except for elevated BUN Levels.

Mum needs to monitor just that. She suspects it could be due to the seeds but she’s not really sure. Anyway she’s planning to remove that from our diet for a while.

Recently she purchased a packet of veal kidney from one of the regular butchers & she saw some yellow spots on it. Shocked, she decided to throw the whole packet away. Not really sure what these spots are, she went to google up on some info & it stated that “if any green or yellow spots are visible, it is stale”.

So well, yeah you may like your favourite butcher but because they are mere employees & they need to remain as a commercial viable business, you can’t totally rely on them all the time. So check carefully before feeding these meats to our furry friends, and not assume that since it is your regular butcher, the meats they sell should be fresh.

Well, no.

Here’s a photo of how the kidneys with spots look like:

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Offals…

 

Mummy used to cringe at having to handle offals. The looks & feel of them just grossed her out completely. But after several times, she got used to it.

And we simply love to eat all of them, RAW.

A sneak shot

of what goes on while Mummy is watching for the butcher to cut & pack the meats.

that’s our basket containing the selected meats. so how much did mummy spent today? $480. that’s for 2 weeks supply.

Change in supplier & credibility of large, commercial suppliers

Mummy made a trip down to the regular butcher some days ago & noticed the lamb came from a different supplier. Instead of making a haste decision to buy it on impulse, mummy googled up on the supplier on her mobile phone & found that the lamb was grass fed BUT grain finished.

So mummy decided not to buy it & went back to another butcher to get the lamb that is purely pasture fed & sustainably farmed.

Just a reminder: meats that are sold by large commercial groups tend to be more unreliable. As they need to keep up with the massive demands, they have to operate their businesses the commercial way ie cheapest & most commercially viable method.

Here’s a piece of news about this particular supplier:

http://www.organicauthority.com/blog/organic/tyson-foods-lied-to-consumers-about-drugs-used-to-raise-their-chickens/

Raw Feeding – Preparation

It’s as easy as ABC.

Seriously.

You just need to cut, weigh & pack. No need to be so accurate to the extreme that each pack must weigh right down to the exact grams. Some packs are lighter, some heavier. Remember the concept “Balance over time”.

When it comes to cutting, especially for whole chicken, there’s no need to debone. Just cut the chicken into several parts & feed. Deboning defeats the whole idea of raw feeding.

This is how the cut up chicken looks like:

Image

so, basically we have the following parts:

– drum leg

– wings

– organs

– back & breast

Mummy then packed the various parts & place them back into the freezer.

And as usual, we are always looking forward to our meals.

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that’s the back & breast.

Yums.