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Raw diets... the other side


Horsefeathers!
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To reopen an old can of worms, I thought this was interesting. This is only ONE of the things I have saved that addresses dangers associated with raw diets. While many argue that vets don't have adequate education on nutrition (for the record, I do agree), even the most crackpot vet can "diagnose" splintered bones in stomachs, e coli or salmonella illness, or whatever, with little regard to the "nutrition" involved.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting reading. I really don't care one way or the other what people choose to feed their dogs, but I do get really sick (to be totally blunt) of those people who address EVERY issue that comes up with, "hey, put your dog on a raw diet and it will fix that... my dogs are healthy and yours will be, too!" whether it's skin and coat care, stomach ailments, allergies, seizures, temperament problems, or what.

My favorite part of this article? The part where it addresses the fact that BARF has a cult like following. For the record (again), I don't have a problem with the "casual" BARFer... the person who genuinely means well. I'm talking about those who refuse to hear ANYTHING other than what they choose to believe and they believe it should be right for EVERYONE. Phooey!

My whole point (as always) is that those considering it should be well educated on ALL sides and research it thoroughly, not just do as some would say and join the raw lists and take that as gospel. It would be like joining a Ford forum and asking what they think of Chevrolets.

Anyway, happy reading. :)
[url]http://secondchanceranch.org/rawmeat.html[/url]

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Thanks for the info HF. It's always good to read as much information from a variety of sources as one can.

When we first got Indy being a first time dog owner I would have just bought supermarket dog food because I didn't know any different. However after talking to some people I realised that it wasn't our best option and went for a middle of the range kibble. After doing further research I then discovered that we could do even better and changed him to a premium kibble.

However along with feeding him kibble he has always been given bones and raw meat here and there. However more as a snack or treat rather than a main meal.

Now after doing even more research I feel that the BARF diet makes sense to me and we will be making the full time switch once the bag of kibble we now have is finished. At present he is getting raw meaty bones in the morning and his kibble mixed with veges at night.

I personally don't believe in using anything or any one source of info as a "bible". I believe information should be obtained from a variety of sources and then the person should make their own conclusions and go from there.

Although I personally like the idea of the BARF diet I also believe that there isn't one magic diet that is the be all and end all for all dogs. What works wonders for one dog may not do the same for another.

Each person needs to evaluate their dog or dogs and do what works best for them. And no one else has the right to tell them what they are doing is "wrong" just because it's not the same as what that person is doing.

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For those that are wary or against the BARF diet I am curious as to what you consider poses the greatest threat to your dog.

A - the feeding of bones
B - salmonella etc from the feeding of raw meat
C - the dog getting sick from missing some major nutritional component in their diet.

or something I haven't listed.

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[quote name='Malamum']For those that are wary or against the BARF diet I am curious as to what you consider poses the greatest threat to your dog.

A - the feeding of bones
B - salmonella etc from the feeding of raw meat
C - the dog getting sick from missing some major nutritional component in their diet.

or something I haven't listed.[/quote]

Malamum, all of the above and then some.

Raw bones DO splinter. On my quest (ha? :o ) for objective research, I've learned from people who DO work with wolves that it's not entirely uncommon for them to be found with punctured stomachs/intestinal tracts from the bones of fowl. There are now actually wolf sancturaries that will NOT feed a BARF type diet to their wolves.

Salmonella... this from personal experience. I had one of my own dogs on BARF a few years ago. Bought the books, joined the lists, did the "research" and it made good sense at the time. Even taking all recommended precautions, my dog got extremely ill with salmonella. I learned that this is also not uncommon. I was made to feel like a lone fool when I approached some of the very people who had been my staunchest supporters. Nope, it does happen.

The nutritional thing is a tricky one. There are so many variations of BARF. Some are based on the theory that dogs are strictly carnivores and therefore are solely protein based diets. I do feel that this is way off. Too much protein IS a bad thing. While dogs can be called carnivor[u]ous[/u], they are not obligate carnivores like cats. They are omnivores, eating both meat and vegetation.

Also, taking into account that the whole BARF thing is based on people's assumption that since it's what wolves eat, it MUST be correct... Look at the longevity of wolves. They don't have very impressive longevity. Also, many of the experts who work with wolves say that they are frequently found starving, ematiated, with horrible dental problems. All this along with wolves that have been found with fowl bones lodged in places they ought not be, disproving that whole "raw bones don't splinter" theory. Wolves eat what is available to them and what they have to. It doesn't necessarily make it the best thing. Billinghurst admits he has never studied or worked with any wild dogs or wolves.

Back on the homefront (domestic dogs), I have seen with my own eyes the xrays of dogs who had raw bones lodged in their digestive tracts or stuck in their mouths, sometimes puncturing through. Again, it's not uncommon. I'll tell you something about some of the BARF lists where people declare over and over the booming success it is and how the problems are only in the minority, or SOLELY a result of the owners' incompetence. This is because anyone who expresses any doubt, or declares that they've had problems is quickly either ridiculed away, or outright banned. [b]Of course[/b] it appears to be a booming success. No one on those forums is allowed to say otherwise, at least the ones I saw. It truly was a cult like environment.

I am all for a natural diet. I just am totally dead set against EVER feeding raw meat to any of my dogs again. They get a decent kibble (Wellness) supplemented with a COOKED diet. Despite what the BARF proponents say, cooking at regular household temperatures does not destroy all the vital nutrients in food. That's a misleading statement. The extreme temperatures in commercial plants used in extrusion and rendering can certainly affect it, but we are not cooking at those temperatures. As far as "dogs in the wild didn't have cooked meat..." well, they also didn't get all the health food store supplements being pumped in with these diets, either. Wolves don't eat yogurt, seaweed, kelp, grapefruit extract and any of the gazillion other things used to supplement raw diets. It's not as natural as many would like to believe. Besides, here's a thought... in the wild, wolves eat their food, store it, carry it to their pups and regurgitate it back up to them, all nice and warm and soft. This food has been basically predigested, not unlike cooking. Maybe mama wolves DO know something.

Again, please understand that I will concede and say that I know many dogs do ok on raw. That's not my issue. I'm certainly not trying to start a revolution. My whole issue is with those who believe it is the end all cure all diet for ALL dogs. I read some posts (here and elsewhere) where people are so self congratulatory because they THINK they are sharing information when all they say is, "my dogs are doing great and yours will, too!" I get really frustrated when every problem from seizures to behavioral problems to allergies to a nervous eye twitch are diagnosed via the internet as being diet related and a raw diet will just fix it right up. Blech!

Aren't you glad you asked? :wink:

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I am actually. :wink:

Everything you have raised seems perfectly valid, however in my opinion and for me I think the benefits of the BARF diet outweigh the risks. I have read the books and taken information from people whoose judgment I trust, however I haven't actually joined any BARF discussion groups because as you said I don't want to be bombarded by propaganda or one sided information.

Thanks for sharing the other side - people need to know that not all dogs will thrive on this diet. I will be keeping a very close eye on Indy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mei-Mei, I have heard the same thing, however I think it's raw meat and kibble that shouldn't be mixed - not so much cooked meat.

I understand that the reason for this is that raw meat takes about an hour for a dog to digest where as kibble takes something like 4 hours. Apparently if raw meat and kibble are in the stomach at the same time the raw meat takes as long to digest as the kibble. So I am assuming that there is much more likelihood of a dog getting sick from raw meat if it stays in the stomach for so long.

Again - I am no expert so anyone please correct me I have got this wrong.

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i've always questioned the validity of the whole different rates of digestion theory. when i switched roxy over to barf, i was all prepared for her to have to go sooner than when she was on wellness. but she goes to the bathroom at the same times as before. you would think if it's being digested faster, it would be eliminated faster.

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From what I learned in high school:
Cooked beef takes a minimum of 3 days to completely digest in the stomache, I find it hard to beleive that kibble takes this long. Additionally the acidic contents of the stomache are fairly effective at fighting bacteria etc.
I am not so worried about mixing kibble with meat but I do tend to have seperate kibble and homemade meals anyways.

I have concerns about the bones as well and confess to cooking the carbs (dogs not going to eat uncooked rice or oatmeal anyways) I also but the purreed veggies into the cooked and hot carbs so they are easier for the dog to digest. (They also get raw fruit veggies as treats.)
I have been feeling guilty about using cooked meat (often I just portion some of our dinner meat to use for the dogs meal) but maybe its not such a bad thing.

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I don't think anyone should be made to feel guilty about what they feed their dog!

Each person should just do what they feel is best for their dog and what they are most comfortable with. As long and the dog is getting adequate food I don't think anyone has the right to make anyone else feel guilty or make them out to be a bad owner just because they do something different.

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many dog food manufacturers state that their kibble is formulated to remain balanced even when meat is added. i don't think that there is an issue with mixing raw and kibble, since dogs are scavengers by nature and eat predigested food as part of their "natural" diet as well. many people just don't like to pay much attention tot he fact that carrion and stomach contents of prey is a form of predigested food.

an example from timberwolforganics.com:
Q: May we mix raw or cooked meat in with your kibble?

We recommend that you mix in 10 - 20% raw or cooked meats and organs if you like. Our Black Forest

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Well, since I've last posted in this thread, I've stopped feeding BARF. It's not that the diet wasn't working well for us (because, it was actually wonderful for both pups). Kaedyn (our recent rescue) came to us at 15 pounds (which is extremely light for a sheltie) and had the dullest coat I've ever seen. After a couple weeks of feeding barf, he had gained 5 pounds, and had a glimmer in his coat. Kai had been fed raw for about 3-4 months and was very healthy. It helped maintain his weight, he recieved MANY compliments on how beautiful and healthy his coat was and had perfect pearly whites. The reason I took them off was because of the bones. I was chopping bones into a smaller size for Kaedyn (he refuses to eat anything bigger than his mouth). The bone splintered and was very sharp. While I know that some people feed bones sucessfully, you just never know. Right now, they're fed Wellness (I'm looking for a better food) and are fed raw eggs often. I plan on giving them home cooked in the future.

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Chris, I feed the super5mix. I can't remember which super5 it was but I'm sure it was the purple bag lol. I'll give the fish and sweet potatoe a try next time.

newfiemom, I've considered that. I'd love to do that but I'm not ready just yet. I'd have to do tons of research and ask different vets lots of questions about the phosphorus level. Possibly in the near future though..I know they won't be on kibble forever. It'll either be modified barf or homecooked.

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i too switched off of barf after a short time. it worked well, but there really was no significant change in roxy. her ears cleared up a bit, and there was significantly less poopage. BUT i was constantly worried about bones and bacteria. right now we're back on kibble (timberwolf) until i can research cooked diet enough.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For those that are wary or against the BARF diet I am curious as to what you consider poses the greatest threat to your dog. I am not against the raw diet, but, I wanted to answer the questions any way! :lol:

A - the feeding of bones: [color=red]I feed all my dogs raw bones, I have owned dogs for about 40 years now and this is some thing we have always done, and my mother before me has done and her mother before her...all the dogs have eaten raw bones...it has never bothered our dogs. All of my dogs have lived long lives and have never had splintered bones in their systems...even my mother when she was a little girl growing up in the 1920's their dogs lived well into their late teens...they had a collie mix which lived to be 19...that dog lived on discarded meat and left overs and the carcasses of the chickens and pigs they slaughtered.
Working at a Vet clinic I see more dogs suffering from blockages from raw hide bones, rocks, socks, under wear, peices of plastic, nylons I could go on...some dogs do not have a clue about chewing any thing properly...and these dogs should be supervised while chewing on any thing[/color]. :lol:

B - salmonella etc from the feeding of raw meat: [color=blue]This does not bother me as salmonella is found on many surfaces that your pet comes into contact with often, salmonella has even been found in samples of commercial pet foods and treats..Bacteria is not a problem for a pet with a healthy immune system. This is my concept, although others may not agree. [/color]

C - the dog getting sick from missing some major nutritional component in their diet: [color=green]Heck, I don't think I eat a balanced meal every day...I am not suffering and I feel healthy...I really don't think dogs are going to suffer if they do not receive the exact ratios of proteins, carbs etc each and every day...I can just see the day I start doing this myself...lets see for breakfast I require 2 portions of protein and 1 carb... :lol: unrealistic and just hype from dog food manufactures. What did we do before dog kibble? I'll ask my mom...she had dogs when she was young and they did not recieve vet care etc. and they did not have kibble...as I mentioned before their dogs lived to be a ripe old age...[/color]

I like to feed a raw diet, and I like the convenience of kibble & canned...I usually switch between the 2 of them with my dogs...I perfer to feed only small amounts of dry kibble and perfer to feed mainly canned dog food as I am sure it contains more meat and I think canned is much healthier. I have nothing against either choice of diet...research should be made either way...if you are feeding kibble make an informed decision by really studying what is in the food...be it added sugar, or salt and or BHA/BHT...not all kibble is good for your dog...as we know this on dogomania! :lol: if your choice is raw, do your research as well....are you feeding organic meats and produce...do you know what your dogs meat did last summer??? was it out to pasture or was it in a small little corral getting major doses of antibiotics and hormones??? was your chicken free range or stuffed in a small cubicle getting pumped full of antibiotics etc. at least with alot of good quality dog food they will gaurantee that the produce and meat used is organic...to me this is very important.
I also think that raw/ or home cooked diets makes sense as they are not commercialized by a big dog food corporation. Most times at the Vet clinic I work at; the Vets advise their clients with dogs with health problems to feed home cooked meals....they do not suggest raw.

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  • 2 weeks later...

[quote]Also, taking into account that the whole BARF thing is based on people's assumption that since it's what wolves eat, it MUST be correct... Look at the longevity of wolves. They don't have very impressive longevity. Also, many of the experts who work with wolves say that they are frequently found starving, ematiated, with horrible dental problems. All this along with wolves that have been found with fowl bones lodged in places they ought not be, disproving that whole "raw bones don't splinter" theory. Wolves eat what is available to them and what they have to[/quote]

Funny, Wolves have been around for millions of years...they have survived eating raw meat, bones etc.
Wolves and other wild animals also have alot more to deal with with than our cute litte companions....Wolves have to deal with horrible weather, cold winters, low level of prey animals, man ruining their territories, pollution, human waste...and yes, wolves are scavengers as well as predators, but, like all animals they are going to find the easiest foods - you will find alot of wolves feeding in our garbage dumps...sad thing is they are eating our horribly unnutritious food items...possibley they are having dental problems from out sugary food items etc from the dump, or another thing they have found is wolves and other animals getting their snouts stuck in cans and chewing on some of this items as they smell food inside...not good for teeth....also our wolves do not have humans to pick ticks off them, deflea them, worm them, vaccinate them against diseases...all in all I would say our wolves are doing fine...they were created to be predators and to kill and eat prey...its call "natural order" ...
Wolves can also live for quite awhile out in the wild...my brother told me the last lecture he attended was regarding wolves and coyotes...this lecture was given by a biologist who has been studing these animals for years...he advised that some they have found or have been tagged have been around 10 years old....but, of course their longtivety mainly depends on weather conditions...starvation due to lack of prey is mainly what kills them off, or disease...or bad winters, pollution and man killing them off due to wolves being pests for ranch owners etc.
You will also find the same is true for deer etc. they have been found starving and ematiated...harsh weather conditions can be hard on prey animals as well..

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[quote]Funny, Wolves have been around for millions of years...they have survived eating raw meat, bones etc....[/quote]

So have humans, but why is the same argument never used to promote raw feeding in humans? Using this logic, it would be the "natural" thing to do.

With all due respect, it's worth the extra effort to me to cook any meat my dogs eat since cooking at normal household temperatures (NOT rendering and extrusion) is not proven to dramatically affect nutrients. Humans also ate raw meat for millions of years, but I'm not going to do it for the sake of being "all natural."

I just don't buy the argument from many enthusiasts that the only dogs who don't do well on BARF are ones where the owners failed. While this may be so in some cases, it's naive to blindly assume they ALL did it wrong (how many ways are there to throw a raw chicken carcass at a dog?). I also am not swayed by those who have fed garbage for a gazillion years and never had any problem. It's like saying I've been driving for forty years and never had an accident, so if someone t-bones another driver and kills them, it's their fault since [u]I[/u] never had a problem. I can't wrap my brain around that logic. I work inside a vet clinic, too, in a really rural area and it's not uncommon to see dogs come through who have eaten chickens they killed themselves and STILL got bones lodged. How much more natural can that diet be? Heck, it happened to one of our own vet techs... his dog killed one of his chickens and ate it and was one very ill dog.

Also, I see over and over that a dog with a HEALTHY immune system should not have a problem on BARF. This may or may not be so, BUT also the major BARF proponents say that BARF is the best way to promote a healthy immune system. A real catch 22. Which is it? Do you give it to a compromised dog to make them healthier, or no? It depends on who you ask.

Again, to each's own. I'm just not convinced. It's still worth the extra effort to me to cook any meat since cooking at regular household temperatures isn't going to hurt a thing. Where people are swindled on the whole bit about cooking affecting nutrition is that people aren't cooking at home at the same temperatures used in rendering and extrusion. Big difference. Sure, nothing is fail safe (well, of course), but I like the odds in my favor and none of my dogs will ever be given raw meat again if I can help it, nor will they receive bones. If it's so natural and good for them, I say stop the overuse of the supplements used in these diets that were also never found in the wild. Yogurt, seaweed this, extract that... none of this is part of a "natural" diet as wolves or wild dogs would never "naturally" be eating this.

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Sorry horsefeathers, :oops:
I'm not trying to start a debate about the raw food....it is up to the indivudual person on what they feed their animals. I myself feed a big assortment of foods for my dogs...if I have a really nutritious meal myself, I share with my dogs...left over meat and veggies which are cooked...fruits etc. I also feed alot of raw food items as well...my dogs love raw hamburg etc. (so does a friend of mine...a human friend :lol: she eats raw hamburg and likes her meat cooked just slightly with the blood still oozing) and I do feed alot of raw bones...I have been giving dogs raw bones for over 40 years. I also really love to feed kibble, I have a bag of wellness and solid gold for my dogs, I mix these foods with the solid gold canned food which they enjoy very much....kibble I find convenient.

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Cassie, I'm not trying to be argumentative. :)

My frustration, though I do try to keep it in check and not seem so defensive (not always successful) comes from being in a very unpopular minority in some places... not necessarily here. When I began this thread, I had been reading several posts here that would address every single problem, whether it be behavioral or physical with, "hey, BARF will fix that... all your dog needs is a natural raw diet!!" with no further consideration of the dog perhaps needing to be examined.

No offense was taken or intended. :)

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