If you are considering switching from commercial pet food to a BARF (Bones And Raw Food) diet, then you probably have plenty of questions. This article is not intended to promote the diet or tell you what to feed your pet. Instead, it is intended to help you with how to safely feed your pet. There are things you can do around your home to keep your family safe from bacteria, and there are things you can do to help your pet transition to the diet. Bottom line: If you have any questions, then talk to your veterinarian.
Before you implement any sort of diet, you should consult your veterinarian. Your vet can help you slowly introduce the diet, so that you don't shock your pet's system. Before you see the vet, then conduct a little research on your own. Consider the pros and cons of the diet, so you can have an educated conversation with the vet. If your veterinarian does not support the BARF diet, then find out why. You may want to seek a veterinarian who is more open to your desires and concerns.
The first question many new BARFers have involves where the meat comes from. Since your pet will consume parts of the animal that you may not wish to consume, there is no reason to purchase expensive meat from the supermarket. Often, the best place to go is the butcher. Talk to the butcher about discounted possibilities, since the meat your dog loves may be thought of as "waste" to the butcher (this includes chicken necks, chicken carcasses, fish heads, etc.).
One of the first dangers of the BARF diet that opponents point out is a bacterial concern. Raw food can contain E. coli, Salmonella, and other harmful bacteria. However, the bacteria can also be found in multiple areas of your home, including your bathrooms and kitchen.
Your pooch's body will be able to handle the natural amounts of bacteria that are found in the food. However, you should still practice normal "meat" safety precautions. If it's more than a few days old (depending on the type of meat), then throw it out. Even if your pet's system can handle the food, it's better to be safe than sorry. When you handle the meat, then you should always wash your hands afterwards. Any surface that the meat touches, whether it's your countertop or refrigerator shelf, should be thoroughly disinfected. Basically, use any health precautions with your pet's meat as you would your own.
Another concern about the diet is bone consumption. You've probably heard for years that you are not supposed to feed your pet chicken bones since they are easily frayed. Well, remember that BARF is a raw diet. Raw bones are actually ideal, because they are easier to chew and less likely to fray off. But, you should not feed your pet cooked bones! Some owners ask if the bones should be ground up first. For most pets, grinding the bones is completely unnecessary. But, this is something that you should discuss with your veterinarian, since it is sometimes needed.
If your dog is a food inhaler, then you have probably witnessed how quickly a bowl of kibble can vanish. Unfortunately, commercial dog food does not require your pet to thoroughly chew his food. One great thing about the BARF diet is that you pet has to somewhat work to eat, so he is forced to slow down and chew. But, if you are worried about your pet inhaling the bones and possibly choking, then make sure you monitor your pooch in the beginning. Feeding him large items, such as an entire chicken neck, will help slow his chewing. If needed, feed him one piece at a time until you are sure he has eating under control.
Before you start a BARF diet, make sure you consult your veterinarian. Then, talk to your local butcher about getting the meat you need; there may be a huge discount involved. Even though feeding your pet raw meat is fairly easy, you still need to practice health and safety precautions: Always wash your hands and disinfect any surfaces that may have come in contact with the food. In the beginning, make sure your dog isn't inhaling his food, but rest assured knowing that the uncooked bone is slowing him down!
This article was written by Katie Deen who's sponored by Discount-Pet-Mall. The excellent website for dog crates, and dog carriers.