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This post will answer some of the frequently asked questions about feeding a raw diet. Feel free to post your questions on this thread and I'll update the top post with the answers!

What is a raw diet (BARF, SARF, SARD, etc)?

A raw diet is exactly what it sounds like - feeding your dogs (and cats) raw meat and bones.

Aren't bones dangerous for dogs to eat - like chicken bones? My vet said they will puncture the dogs stomach/intestines!

COOKED bones are dangerous. RAW bones are safe. We have members of the board that have been feeding their dogs raw chicken bones for over a decade and never had a problem.

What do all those acronyms stand for?

BARF = Bones And Raw Food (this acronym is attributed to Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a Australian vet who is credited with starting the raw feeding movement)

SARD = Species Appropriate Raw Diet
SARF - Species Appropriate Raw Feeding (these both came about when Dr. Billinghurst copyrighted the use of the term BARF in regards to raw feeding)

RMB = Raw Meaty Bones (any food item that contains meat and edible bone)

MM = Muscle Meat (any meat without bone)

OM = Organ Meat (liver, kidney, brains, eyes)


 

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Awesome Sticky!

More frequent questions:

What about Salmonella and other bacteria? Won't my dog get sick from eating infected raw meat?

and:

I really hate the smell of Liver. Can I skip the Organ Meats and just give my dog a multivitamin?
 

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I am glad that this is posted and I will be following it.

Some more questions, why are a lot of vets against feeding a raw diet? I know my vet is against it and she was naming Salmonella and other bacteria as a major problem?

I will say that from the time I regestered on this forum, it has appeared to me that the majority of the dogs getting sick, weather it be from runny stools or vomiting or just not eating has been from kibble fed dogs. The "raw fed" group seems or appears to be having less problems.
 

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I am glad that this is posted and I will be following it.

Some more questions, why are a lot of vets against feeding a raw diet? I know my vet is against it and she was naming Salmonella and other bacteria as a major problem?
Vets who seem to stay current and who don't have a vested interest in any dog food company would not hold that opinion.

I will say that from the time I regestered on this forum, it has appeared to me that the majority of the dogs getting sick, weather it be from runny stools or vomiting or just not eating has been from kibble fed dogs. The "raw fed" group seems or appears to be having less problems.
Dogs can eat things that would make most humans very sick or very dead. The design of the canine digestive tract is quite different from ours. My own dog is raw fed (since July '10) and since switching she has put on weight and never has had any runny stool. Also, as a side benefit, stool volume with raw fed dogs is quite small and breaks up into an ash fairly quick so much less yard cleaning necessary.
 

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How do raw feeders handle vacations, like a week long without access to a freezer? How long can the raw be kept NOT frozen before feeding?
 

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What about Salmonella and other bacteria? Won't my dog get sick from eating infected raw meat?
Dogs' digestive systems were made to handle food heavy in bacteria... they are very short and contain strong acid. Kibble takes longer to digest, and that is why you see e-coli/bacteria related recalls with kibble.

why are a lot of vets against feeding a raw diet? I know my vet is against it and she was naming Salmonella and other bacteria as a major problem?
Generally, vets certainly mean well, but were likely given incorrect information in vet school since the very few nutrition courses they took were likely sponsored by a pet food company (usually Hills (Science Diet), Iams or Eukanuba). Pet food companies are, of course, going to say that ONLY dog food is good for dogs. Additionally, with all there is to learn in vet school, there simply is not time to focus too much on nutrition.

How do raw feeders handle vacations, like a week long without access to a freezer? How long can the raw be kept NOT frozen before feeding?
I usually bring along a cooler. I will keep the majority of the dogs' food frozen, knowing that it will slowly thaw out in the cooler. If I'm going on a really long trip, one cooler will be stocked with completely frozen meat, and I won't open it until my other cooler (containing non-frozen meat) has been used up.

If I know there's a grocery store in the area I will be traveling to, I will plan on buying some meat on the road.

As far as how long it can be kept unfrozen... for dogs it's considerably longer than humans. We will go a week or more with unfrozen meat and still feed it to the dogs. Be forewarned that it may get a bit stinky... but the dogs usually don't mind!
 

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How do raw feeders handle vacations, like a week long without access to a freezer? How long can the raw be kept NOT frozen before feeding?
Alot depends on WHERE you are going.

Most every town in America has a grocery store of SOME type ... and they have meat. Even if you just feed chicken for the week it won't harm the dog.

When we went to dog camp for the weekend we took the food, frozen, in a cooler. By the end of the weekend the last of it was mostly thawed.

If you are going camping, in the wilderness, where they really won't be ANYWHERE to buy stuff and you can't carry a cooler - I would just get some good kibble to feed for that time and then switch back to raw when you return.
 

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What is the reason behind not mixing raw and kibble?

I have been mixing a small amount of pre-made raw (Natures variety) into my dogs kibble and she has really liked it and seems to be doing well on it. I have also mixed in some meat scraps from when I am cleaning meat into her kibble and she likes it.

What is the issue with doing this?
 

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Oh, and I also know some rawfeeders that will switch to premade raw for their vacations, particularly if they're going to be staying in hotels.
 

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What is the reason behind not mixing raw and kibble?
The thought is that, because raw and kibble digest at different rates, it can cause digestive upset and/or increase the risk for salmonella/e-coli, etc. Honestly, though, I've heard of plenty of people who feed both at the same time without issues. I personally do not do it because I feed 100% raw.
 

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I take frozen food and put it on ice when I travel, but would find grocery stores if it was for longer than 5-6 days. When I went to Germany I used Embark, a dehydrated food from The Honest Kitchen. Just add hot water and let soak. Then I added some table scraps.
 

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Is it a good idea to add supplements and vitamins with raw if so what and how much?
 

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Is it a good idea to add supplements and vitamins with raw if so what and how much?
You will find many differing opinions on this one. I am of the opinion that if you are feeding a well balanced raw diet, there is no need to add any vitamins, etc. I don't think it hurts (and can only help) to add supplements like chondroitin, glucosamine, and MSM for joint support. I personally use Longevity by Springtime, Inc. as a supplement because it contains a lot of good stuff and nothing I feel uncomfortable feeding. I chose the Longevity over the plain Joint Health supplement because my Rottweiler tends to get bad gas no matter what we feed him, and the digestive enzyme in Longevity really helps with that. :)
 

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We will be getting our pup middle of September as the litter will be due mid July. So I have been researching food and was told by a dog trainer to go with Tollendale?? And she said it was raw food, so i looked it up only to realize it is actual meat! Like the ones you buy at the store. I had no clue you could feed this to dogs! What I am confused about is how do you plan the meals? Do you buy for a whole month? Here chicken and meat is extremely expensive. LIke 12 bucks for 4 chicken breasts. Isn't this alternative a lot more expensive? And I'd imagine you would need a big freezer for all this meat? I'm so confused with all this lol. Sorry but really want to make an informed decision with the dog food. Lastly how much would you feed a puppy compared to a full grown female gsd?
 

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I apologize if this has been asked before, but is it bad to feed my dog as minimal of a raw diet as possible? Minimal meaning primarily meat. Right now, he's getting a mix of kibble (Taste of the Wild Bison/Venison) and my own homemade food (ground turkey, yams, white rice, garlic, olive oil and crushed egg shells for calcium). He's starting to lose interest in the latter, but LOVES raw meat (and it's darn near impossible to get him to eat fruits, like a banana).

Any suggestions?
 

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We will be getting our pup middle of September as the litter will be due mid July. So I have been researching food and was told by a dog trainer to go with Tollendale?? And she said it was raw food, so i looked it up only to realize it is actual meat! Like the ones you buy at the store. I had no clue you could feed this to dogs! What I am confused about is how do you plan the meals? Do you buy for a whole month? Here chicken and meat is extremely expensive. LIke 12 bucks for 4 chicken breasts. Isn't this alternative a lot more expensive? And I'd imagine you would need a big freezer for all this meat? I'm so confused with all this lol. Sorry but really want to make an informed decision with the dog food. Lastly how much would you feed a puppy compared to a full grown female gsd?
When feeding raw, dogs don't care if they get the chicken breast or the left-over back and other lower quality parts that people eat. In fact, the bones and cartilage and parts of internal organs still sticking to the chicken back is very important part of a balanced raw diet. Raw diet is more than feeding just meat. You want to approximate the natural diet of wild canids which will eat a small prey whole. Grouse, Rabbit, mice - they eat the whole thing: Fur, feathers, internal organs and bones. Feeding only meat with no raw bones or organ meat is NOT balanced, and can lead to health issues.

Fortunately, the stuff that is good for dogs is pretty inexpensive compared to buying premium chicken breasts. Reading more on Raw here on the forum is a start, and this is an excellent website that many people (including myself), have found invaluable to help one get started:
Raw Feeding
This is Laurie's website, the person who started this thread.

As for amounts, the website goes more into detail on how to calculate how much to feed, but as a general guideline, count on feeding both puppies and adults about 2 lbs of raw per day - puppies will eat the same as an adult because of how fast they are growing.
 

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I apologize if this has been asked before, but is it bad to feed my dog as minimal of a raw diet as possible? Minimal meaning primarily meat. Right now, he's getting a mix of kibble (Taste of the Wild Bison/Venison) and my own homemade food (ground turkey, yams, white rice, garlic, olive oil and crushed egg shells for calcium). He's starting to lose interest in the latter, but LOVES raw meat (and it's darn near impossible to get him to eat fruits, like a banana).

Any suggestions?
Yes, you can feed a mix of kibble and raw. I say that any raw and/or home-cooked added to kibble is better than none. If feeding minimal raw, I would still feed bones and stick to the ratios set out here: The Basics

You could do one kibble meal and one raw/home-cooked meal a day, if you want. Some people feel it is better to not mix kibble and raw together.

One of my dogs will eat all kinds of raw fruit and vegetables with gusto, and the other one will spit them out! One thing that I have done that has worked really well is to make a doggy "shake", blending fruit and vegetable together with water or broth, and adding raw liver to the mix to make it appealing to the picky one. That is always a big hit. Though again, some people feel that it is not necessary go feed fruit and veggies in a raw diet, but it certainly isn't going to hurt anything if you do.
 

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isnt blood bad for dogs , or is it okai to feed the meat that is along with blood?
and can raw diet be of te butcher leftovers??
 

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feeding raw

For those of you who feed rad--would you mind posting a one day menu? or one week --doesn't matter I am just trying to get a better understanding of the diet as a whole..Thanks in advance
Jan
P.S. For an adult GSD
 
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