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3 Keys To A Raw Meat Diet, The BARF Diet

Published on September 10, 2009 by in BARF

This should be a frequent question to ask when making a major diet change for your dog. There really isn’t much of a change when switching between heat processed kibble diets because they are all produced basically the same. When switching to a raw meat based diet however, you can expect to see some changes occur. The changes will noticeably be connected to the digestion cycle of the dog and with changes in water consumption. The digestion cycle for raw food is noticeably different than consuming a heat processed kibble diet. The raw food diet is absorbed and utilized in the body in about one half the time. This is one of the reasons why there is significantly less toxin buildup when eating the raw food. There is less time to ferment in the GI track and build up toxins and excess gas. The true advantage in this rapid exit from mouth to tail is evident in the stool volume and stool consistency. You can expect to see about a 30% reduction in stool volume, a reduction in stool odor due to a more complete digestion cycle, and a white,dry stool consistency. The color change is due to the fact that all that remains in the stool is the remaining ash and fiber- thus a color change is inevitable.

It is always best to introduce the diet slowly if there is evidence of a previous GI upset, or an immune system challenge that has been triggered by antibiotics, steroids, vaccinations, or similar medical treatments. In the majority of conversions that make the fast conversion (about 90% of our new customers) the switch is made without complications. If the occasional vomiting or diarrhea happens then it is best to back off and restart using the slower conversion method. I usually suggest that a probiotic and enzyme supplement (BARF PLUS) be used for the first 30 to 60 days. This will help to regulate the intestinal flora to accept the new raw meat formulation. If your dog has a history if GI complications you will be amazed to see the difference this diet can make in how they process their food internally.

Another major change you can expect to see is the reduction in the consumption of drinking water. The reason for this is because the raw meat diet is 68 to 70% moisture (water) and that means that the animal is consuming and getting the moisture it needs from the food source rather than from his drinking water. This allows for a much better utilization of the water needs and thus requires much less water from outside sources. You will be amazed to see the difference this makes and the result is far less bloat as a result. This is really important in larger breed dogs that require larger volumes of food to get their caloric needs met. This is one reason why we sell a lot of product to the larger breed dogs. It is especially important when trying to satisfy the energy requirements for performing animals that require larger volumes of food.

Many new raw food guardians see an increase in activity levels as well. I think it relates to human food consumption and how we all feel when we have eaten a healthy meal compared to a fast food calorie glut. It again relates to putting the right fuel in the tank in order to get the best performance level.

Therefore, you now have three good reasons to consider a change of diet to a more appropriate feed for your animal.

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5 Responses

  1. Jodie Vachon

    This makes so much sense. I just got a new puppy this past week and he had been eating kibble. We are transitioning, but possibly quicker than we should, as he is experiencing some loose stool. He gets 1/2 kibble and 1/2 raw meaty bones (chicken) for breakfast and 1/2 kibble and 1/2 organ meat (beef kidney) for lunch. Perhaps I should split it into even 3 meals for now… I suppose it could also be the stress of leaving his littermates and getting used to a new environment…. I guess, transitioning more slowly and allowing him time to adjust to everything will help.
    The comments about the right fuel for the tank really makes sense! I know I feel better when I don’t eat junk all the time… that’s partially why I wanted him to not have crap!

  2. Hi Jodie,
    I would like to make several suggestions for you in making the conversion. The conversion process is not complicated but you are doing a few things that will make the transition more difficult. I would suggest that you call me office at 1-725-445-3238 and I would be very happy to assist you in your choices for how to get started feeding raw.

  3. Belinda

    Hi Rob, won’t you please put those suggestions on this website, or e.mail them so that those of us that are overseas can have them too.
    My Bouvier just had to be admitted to a veterinary hospital in the middle of the night, with such severe constipation that she needs to be sedated and given enemas as the stool is rock hard. She eats chicken pieces, chicken necks, chicken hearts, cows feet, yoghurt, raw eggs, some tomato and occasionally roast pumpkin. She doesn’t seem to drink much water or exercise much. She has been on the Raw Meat diet for about a month.

  4. Suzan Carr

    We have a Chinese Shar Pei who has developed skin issues like our last one had, along with ear infections etc.. When we changed our last dog to raw, (we purchase patties with bone and organ meat incorporated), the change was instantaneous and miraculous. This dog, we haven’t seen a change as quickly, but we know it can take time. Three questions. Firstly, he is constipated, and although we know he will have less volume, instead of going once or twice daily as in the past, he struggles to go every other day. You recommend unsweetened pumpkin but not how much. He has 1/2 lb patty twice daily. He weighs around 60-65 lbs but his weight has remained constant since we made the change. Is there an alternative? You recommend adding fruit. What is the best kind and again, how much? Lastly, we have read it is good to change proteins. He is on chicken right now. Is it necessary to change, and if so, how often? Thanks for your help!

    • Monica Samson

      Hello Suzan,

      Thanks for your support on raw feeding. Glad that you have seen the benefits of raw feeding so quickly. We suggest rotating proteins so your dog does not get tired of eating the same thing everyday 🙂

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