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My Dog Won’t Eat the BARF Diet!!!

Published on March 14, 2009 by in BARF, Health

This month we are discussing the delicate topic of Digestion.

In order for any food to provide value and nurishment it has to first be eaten and then digested.

A pretty simple concept.

Every once in a while I hear about a customer that has tried to convert their dog onto the raw meat philosophy only to find that their dog won’t eat the diet.

This happened yesterday when a lady from Vermont called me and said she has a 7 year old white German Shepherd dog that has refused to eat the patties.

“She has been fasted for two days and still won’t eat them she explained. She said that she has tried everything in her power to get the dog to eat the patties.

She wanted Missy to make the conversion because she has severe allergies and severe skin conditions with open sores. The vet has prescribed expensive steroids to control the symptoms and she fears that they will be harmful for her for long term use.

Resisting a conversion to raw, happens only a small amount of the time and it is puzzling to know why some dogs can’t get enough and others won’t even try to make the changeover to raw.

After observing all of my dogs and the voracious appetites they have had for the raw meat diet I have to question why other dogs resist the change.

In addition, I am the one in this company that personally contacts each NEW customer to find out how the conversion to raw was accomplished. This gives me first hand knowledge about any concerns, questions, or comments that they have in making the conversion.

I would estimate that more than 95% of the dogs make the transition without any problems. The vast majority are able to be converted with a fast conversion process and have little to no side effects in the process such as diarrhea or vomiting.

The few cases where the immune system has been compromised or there are other digestive issues to deal with then we have to initiate a slower conversion process and add supplementation to properly regulate the intestinal flora.

Then there are the very few dogs that absolutely resist the temptation to change.

Over the years, I have developed a few «tricks» that help to wet the appetite.

Here they are, so in case you have a dog that is hard to convert you can try these last minute «tricks» to make the conversion:

  • It is against my philosophy, but slightly heat the patty enough to change the temperature of the diet. This is an initial feeding practice and each time you prepare a meal you must reduce the «nuke» time until you are again feeding the patties unheated. This is a texture issue and many times this will work.
  • I also suggest a 1 day fast before trying to convert. This prepares the digestive system for the conversion and also gives the body time to repair and eliminate (detoxify) the damaging toxins created from the heat processed diets. The absence of food also creates a greater desire for food.
  • It sometimes helps to add a little luke warm water to the mixture and make a slurry out of the meal. This again is a texture problem that may be needed to accept the diet.
  • In addition to adding warm water it sometimes helps to add a little powdered garlic to the patty.
  • Our E-BARF COAT supplement is a dynamite palability enhancer as well as being a good source of Omegas (fish oils). My dog would eat the bottle in order to get at this oil. It is a very handy ingredient to add if you have a fussy eater.

There are reasons why this happens and I can only relate it to the scenario that we would have with our school age children if we decided to feed them only sugar coated cereals and candy.

They would resist being fed vegetables and hold out for the sugar coated meals but we all know the result of this process.

There are reasons why the general population of humans and 40% of our dog population is considered obese.

There are reasons why we have the veterinary offices filled with diabetic cases.

The heat processed food contains very large concentrations of soluable carbohydrates. The daily consumption of this high level of carbohydrates and the ingestion of very palatable flavoring agents causes the dog to enjoy his «other» food more because he is used to that taste.

We all need to learn to make proper choices however, and begin to eat and fuel the engine on what it is best designed to function on.

The importance of proper digestion and getting the best utilization from the food are critical choices that we must make for our companion animals.

Remember – in most cases they don’t have a choice of what food they get to eat. That makes our role for their continued good health our responsibility.

We believe that the “BARF DIET” offers the very best advantage for proper digestion and utilization of nutrients.

It is worth the effort to diligently make that conversion to a natural raw diet.

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21 Comments  comments 

21 Responses

  1. beverly

    my dog wont eat prepared frozenraw food either. I can feed him raw meaty bones, chicken neck with backs attached, and lentils, veg and fruit separately. he lost quite a bit of weight, we tried waiting him out, all of the “tricks” above. he just wont eat chicken & ground bone, or turkey or duck…

  2. michelle

    my husky will NOT eat the raw diet. i tried preparing it myself and she ate it for a little bit but stopped…tried the premade raw by nature’s variety and she will not touch it..i tried hand feeding it and nothing..tried bringing my other dog in the room so maybe she would eat but nothing. she’ll eat the bones no problem..but the raw..nothing. i think she hates the texture..how can i fix this?

  3. Normally, we do not have a problem with the conversion to raw. Texture could be the problem because your dog has acquired a taste for the flavoring agents used in dry food. It is like teaching your kids to love snicker candy bars. It then becomes a habit to stay with what you like even though it may not be the best for you. If texture is an issue then you can try different methods. You might try alternate feeding- meat in the AM and dry at night. There are two different digestion cycles for the two different foods so do not mix them together. You might also experiment with different protein choices. Lastly, in most cases like this if you make it into a slurry with a little warm water it could entice them to eat the food. I have other tricks that I would share also if these don’t work.

  4. Kathy

    My 14 1/2 yr old Husky/Shep cross has been on the raw diet about 13 months. She loves foods with bones, i.e. chicken necks, but has gotten pickier and pickier with the ground food (a mix with veggies, fruits, organ meats) finally refusing to eat it earlier this week. (Previously she gobbled it up during the a.m. feeding, then later only nibbled at it so we gave it to her with her necks during the supper feeding, at which point she ate it all up). She also had a bit of a “collapse” this week where she basically stayed in bed for the good part of the week. Now, she has perked up, her appetite is better generally but she is still not wanting to eat the ground raw on its own.

    My question is this: given her age, what can I possibly mix with the ground raw to entice her to eat? I know it isn’t ideal to mix it with other foods but I fear if she won’t eat it, our only option is to go back to dry food as I don’t only want to feed her chicken necks or backs. Is it acceptable to mix the ground raw with a little canned (good quality) dog food (which we tried and she ate quite well -ratio of about 60-70% raw to 30-40% canned) or perhaps some canned salmon or tuna (we haven’t tried this)?

    • In this case it is better to get something that she will eat and something that provides better nutrition than the kibble diets. If she accepts the canned food in this mixture it should be ok. I would suggest that you try to trick her into going back to all raw however. Each time you prepare the food then decrease the canned a little bit each time until you have her back on the raw.

  5. Kine

    My Border Collie didn’t want to eat raw meat either (mix of liver, mince etc ala Volhard). I added a bit of egg and molasses to make it tastier, and he seems to like it. Basically, I just made it more Satin Ball-like (he loves those)

    • It is quite oboivus from all the responses that some dogs have to be encouraged to eat the raw diet. We have displayed many tricks that can be used to get them back on the diet. In most cases it is a matter of training the trainer. Sometimes we have to stay firm and put the food out- and take it away if they don’t eat it. Refrigerate the left over food and try again. All dogs are different in their requirements and their temperament when it comes to eating. It takes some experimentation to find a diet they will eat consistently.

  6. My personal feeling is that it is best to get your dog to eat some raw if not totally do it by separate feedings. Doing something to improve the diet is better than feeding a heat processed diet. Whatever method is successful to encourage them to eat it is beneficial.
    hope this helps,
    Rob

  7. Greg Lucas

    My dog refuses to eat anything raw except Stella and Chewy’s freeze dried raw, if I sprinkle in an extremly small amount of cooked bison meat with it. I buy the Stella and Chewy’s freeze dried in bulk to save money. It is way too expensive though to make it his complete diet. He is a German Shepherd mix, very active. I’ve tried different raw brands and protein sources and all the tricks. He won’t touch those frozen patties. He will eat meat off a knuckle bone or marrow bone. He won’t eat grain free canned food either. All I can do is feed him freeze dried raw one meal per day, which is pretty good, and then use a grain free kibble or cooked salmon for other meals.

    I’m afraid to feed my dog raw chicken wings, and when I tried, he would not eat it anyway.

    But feeze dried raw which can be mixed to suit any preferred consistency might work for you, like it did for me, if your dog will not eat frozen/thawed patties by Nature’s Variety of Stella and Chewy’s. It can almost be like kibble. I’m also trying, without any luck yet, to get him to eat Trippet (canned raw tripe).

  8. alan

    this is my experience. I started by cooking her food and make it look, smell like what i usually eat. But here is the trick, for each meal alow it less and less cooking time until only the meat surface is partially done (no bones yet!) At the end of the week your dog will eat its raw food without even noticing. Now you can offer bones. Second thing while trying the the trick above was introducing her to my grocery bags lol yes! let your dog smell the fresh meat you just bought from the butcher, push him away like it was forbiden in a playfull maner, it will come back to it and show even more interest. Your dog will see this as a nice, smelly game! Do this a couple times and when your doggy shows enough exitment, give him a sit command, pull out a little piece of raw meat, wave it in front of his nose and hand it like a tasty treat . Be joyfull while doing this. Your dog has to feel like its something special for him and not a punishment lol after a week or so, he will think every meal is a treat! PS: for organs like heart, liver… small frozen parts like treats also. Most of dogs hate the slicky texture at first. Hope this helps….

  9. It is quite obvious from all the responses that some dogs have to be encouraged to eat the raw diet. We have displayed many tricks that can be used to get them back on the diet. In most cases it is a matter of training the trainer. Sometimes we have to stay firm and put the food out- and take it away if they don’t eat it. Refrigerate the left over food and try again. All dogs are different in their requirements and their temperament when it comes to eating. It takes some experimentation to find a diet they will eat consistently.

  10. ah

    My dog won’t touch it at all. I’ve tried to warm it up, add some grain-free Kibble and even grain-free canned food, pretend like the humans are eating it…and she will refuse to touch it. She will go without eating rather than eat the BARF. I’m not going to force feed it to her either by keep re-using it. I just don’t think that is right. Shouldn’t it be a sign or something if your dog just flat out refuses to eat it? So is my dog in the minority here if 95% of dog gobble it up? I just don’t really believe that.

    • Sam

      I’m having the same issue. Ive tried all the tricks, even mixing liver treat sprinkles (http://www.love-em.com.au/liver_treats_sprinkles.html) and adding dog muesli (http://www.vetsallnatural.com.au/CMsheet.pdf). Nothing will work! She otherwise loves raw food, (such as chicken necks, beef, turkey and chicken mince, brisket and lamb bones), it really is just these BARF patties that she hates. It makes me wonder if they contain low quality ingredients, because my dog otherwise loves raw foods, fruits and vegetables.

      • Hi Sam,
        Sorry to hear that your dog is not accepting the diet. It is rare that we can’t find a solution to this problem, especially since he likes the raw diet that you prepare for him. I would suggest an interview with me to find a solution. You can schedule that through my office by contacting 866-282-2273. I think we can find a solution for you.
        Rob Mueller

  11. Ronnie

    I am in the process of switching my doberman and dachshund to this diet, and I must say it has been a real process on both counts. They ate it well the first few days and then quit all together. Neither would touch it. Thanks to this web site, I slightly nuked the patties to change the texture, and guess what !, both dogs gobbled the food down and waited for more. Just change the texture :) Thanks for the tips…..,Ronnie

  12. Natalie

    I have had my dog on the RAW diet for 7 months now. She was eating Small Batch patties. I also gave her fresh veggies, fruits and chicken necks. In the last couple weeks she has started to totally refuse the small batch patties. She will only eat freeze dried lamb by Primal. Please help! I could start giving her raw meat but I was under the impression that she needed all the other nutrients, vitamins etc. from a pre packaged raw diet. Maybe I am wrong?

    • Hi Natalie, It sounds like you are giving your pet a bit too much variety so now the dog is being choosy with what she eats and when. I would recommend giving our Variety Pack BARF Diet patties a try, eliminating all other foods and treats, and also including the Liver Sprinkles protein powder for extra yummy goodness. This will ensure that your dog is getting a varied diet so she doesn’t get bored of her food while still ensuring that she gets a balanced diet for optimum health. Thanks for your question.

  13. Ashley

    I am trying to covert my dog Buddy. He is 11 or 12 years old and has arthritis, a bad hip, and a allergen caused skin condition. I was thinking this would help him get better and feel better. He was living with my parents up until a week ago and at their house he was only fed poor quality kibble for his whole life with some table scraps once a night probably over salted and over cooked or deep fried potatoes. They didn’t walk him because of his problems but I feel like excercise is better. He had taken to it pretty well to start but now he is refusing to eat it. His coat started to look healthier, we have been taking him for short walks each day (that’s all he can handle right now but his stamina is definitely improving). I don’t however want to let him not eat until he figures it out because of his age. I don’t want him to lose any weight. We are trying to get him to gain about five pounds. What should I do? He won’t eat it. Even if I don’t let him come in until he eats some, he will stand out there crying for hours. :( I am tempted to let him have his way because he is so old. I don’t want to do harm unto him that I can’t take back.

    • A dog that has been fed an under-nourished processed diet all it’s life is bound to develop the symptoms that your dog has. We see it every day – the results from feeding this way. It is no different than human nutrition in that it is bound at some later date to cause severe ramifications. It is obvious that you recognize that feeding your dog a biologically appropriate diet will make a difference. The problem now is that he has become used to the flavor enhancement that is formulated in the processed food. It is similar to a small child that has been brought up on candy and chips. It is hard to break the cycle. I call it “trying to train the trainer”. I do understand your problem of not wanting the dog to lose any weight. So I would suggest that you call our office (866-282-2273) and we can suggest some alternative solutions for you to get your dog on a much better program.

  14. Ness

    Hi there….any advice would be greatly appreciated! I have a very fussy GSD who was weaned on raw! He is now coming up 2years and I really don’t know what to do with him. He has always been fussy and last summer I had had enough of the left over food, so I put him on biscuits. It didn’t agree with him and after a couple of weeks I put him back on raw and he loved it. Now he is going back to his old ways and I really don’t know what to do. He will eat chicken mince, chicken wings/necks all day long…..also eats oily fish and tripe, but is fussy with EVERYTHING else! From what I have read, BARF diet is all about variety, but how can I get him to if he won’t eat it? He turns his nose up at raw meaty bones (unless chicken) too and I always pick his food up after 10 mins and never feed him scraps. He gets the same food until he eats it, but sometimes he goes for 2,3,4 days without eating and sometimes I eventually have to throw it away. I always stick to this routine and even had some left over raw steak which he turned his nose up!!! I really don’t know what to do and it is a complete pain as some food ends up being wasted. He is wormed regularly and is underweight at 30kg for an adult GSD. Any advice would be great……thank you.

    • Hi Ness. Yes, you do seem to have a fussy eater on your hands! If your GSD eats a variety of chicken and fish protein, your dog should do fine. Just continue to feed what your German Shepherd will eat. Make sure to include a probiotic supplement and omega-3 supplement to ensure that no essential nutrients are being missed. You can find both of these in our Jump Start Bundle on our website, http://www.barfworld.com. If you continue to have problems getting your GSD to eat, you should try our premade raw dog food diet patties. We’ve also made a great video on how to “train the trainer” which will show you how to solve finicky eating habits using a gentle dog training approach (and it actually works!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUAxZIDO9Q8

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