We had issues with Molly’s digestion from the day she came home to us at 9 weeks old, she was fit, healthy and happy and the vet was satisfied she had no health problems, but still she continued to have loose stools frequently with lots of mucus (least said soonest mended I think) and VERY smelly wind.
Joining the whippet forum was one of the best things I ever did – not least that it was where I read about BARF diet. It was discussed in passing, as if everyone already knew what it was and wanted to know more about it! I was HORRIFIED when I discovered it meant feeding RAW MEAT and RAW BONES to my dog. I had always thought that all ‘Pet Foods’ were nutritionally balanced very safe for my pet and that I didn’t have to worry about her getting the correct balance of nutrients if I fed a processed pet food (I have since learned that there are pet foods and then there are other pet foods, if you know what I mean!). I thought it was a given that it was dangerous to give your dog raw meat – what about food poisoning? Wouldn’t raw bones – injure your dog in some way?
So – I have to say I was scared at first, worried about not getting it right and perhaps causing her more harm than good, but I was supported by several of our members who helped me develop Molly’s diet down to a tee.
Here is a little bit I know about BARF…
Barf stands for - Biologically Appropriate Raw Food i.e. Species appropriate food, which is designed for the individuals needs.
Lets look at the Dog – what would a wild dog eat in its natural environment?
A wild dog is somewhat a ‘Foraging Carnivore’ – meaning they will hunt and kill prey animals. In packs dogs will co-operate to bring down large prey and alone will hunt for smaller game such as birds and rodents. They will also scavenge opportunistically on other food items, small amounts of vegetation, fruits and vegetable matter (some is eaten partially digested from the stomachs of prey animals). Obviously the food would be RAW and UNPROCESSED.
What BARF is trying to do is, as near as possible, reflect the foods that a dog could probably eat in the wild.
This would include things like …
Raw Meat including Organ Meat.
Raw Bones and Cartilage. (I personally do not feed pork bones because they can have a tendency to splinter into sharp shards).
Vegetable matter - As paste of mixed vegetables/fruits. Treats of pieces of fruits, vegetables and some herbs. (Note – you must be very careful about which fruit, veg and herbs you use as some can be TOXIC to your dog).
So, we know what BARF diet is now, all we have to do is a little light reading to find out more. Check out some of the websites and books in the links below and if you feel like giving it a go then The Whippet Forum members are here to support you (be prepared for lots of discussion, we all have our own methods and our own interpretations of menus too).
BARF INFORMATIONAL SITES
Books by Dr Ian Billinghurst
YouTube Video of Dr Billinghurst
We now have two whippets (Molly is 5 and Fudge is 4) and they are both happy and healthy on their raw diet. I am pleased to say that Fudge has never eaten a single meal that wasn’t prepared by us. Her first meal in our home at 8 weeks old was a pulverised chicken wing. Since we changed to BARF diet we have said goodbye to runny poo and smelly wind (well almost! LOL). It’s not for everyone and can be quite time consuming too, but the savings at the vets have been well worth the effort!
SO…HAPPY BARFING TO YOU ALL!
Molly and Fudge - BARF fed whippets!