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Yes, raw food diets are MUCH healthier....and the BARF diet isn't really that new anymore - been around for quite a few years already, and only one of many now. Here's a link to Kat Berard's excellent resource page - scroll down to "Raw Feeding/Cooked Diets" for several good links regarding raw food diets.

Kat Berard's holistic care resource page

Hint: What do wolves eat in the wild? ;)

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You need to be careful giving some dogs meat. Some dogs have had the "natural" bred out of them. Some are actually allergic to meat, so look for rashes and other signs. I had several like that and tracking down the source was interesting to say the least. Then I learned this. There isn't any set rule to go by. Like us, they're all different.

Take care- DoubleJo

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Jo makes a point you do need to be aware of, although reading through some of those links would likely answer to this question, too. Sometimes I just forget how much I'd already learned over the many years....and I also don't have the time to educate everyone in all the finer details of what I know all the time.

But TO Jo's point, yes, many animals now have either sensitivities or actual allergies to.....usually only certain meats, or grains, or veg's, or even some supplements.....just like people now do. And beef is one of the most common suspects, as is wheat and a few others. However (and this is very important), often the culprit is not the substance itself, but the fact that it's not organic. Many people have found that if they use organic products (whether they're making the diet themselves or buying it pre-made), they no longer see the same allergic reactions in their animals. (NOTE: every single item that was in my kids' homemade food was organic and non-GMO - that's non-genetically modified organism - their homemade food was healthier than ours! :P )

You have to understand the bigger picture with diet (yours or theirs), that being that we've ruined our food supply and so many things that may have been fine years ago, are far from fine NOW. (although Canada's food supply isn't quite as bad as the U.S.'s - please don't make me explain all of how I know this, too, though! :o:D ) And many people AND animals have thus developed allergies (defensive reactions in the body) to things that never used to cause such upheaval in the body. (let's talk growth hormones, residual drugs and pesticides, no soil viability left, etc., etc., etc.)

In any case, one sometimes has to experiment with different types of protein sources. Besides, some animals just don't even LIKE certain types of meat. For example, I did diet elimination trials with Nissa and Sabin (took about 2 months in total), as certain things were suspected with each of them. We did find out, for example, that Nissa was allergic or sensitive (it's a fine line, often between the two) to beef, in her case, even if it was organic, and even a few particular supplements. (however, in later years we had to fall back on beef at certain times, in a trade-off of keeping her eating enough, daily) This is also why many companies started making say, LAMB or VENISON foods for animals, because most animals had never had those proteins, so their bodies never developed bad sensitivities to them. However, what people found was that if the food's QUALITY was still lousy, their animals sometimes still developed the same sensitivities to the NEW source of protein after a time...and so they had to find something else again. So, oftentimes it's not the protein type but the quality that makes all the difference. And certainly, if you were using wild game rather than store bought meat, this would likely be avoided altogether, depending on where that animal had lived and what THEY ate regularly. (not many places left that are really that clean anymore, right?, but again, in Canada, we still have more of that, too) Proponents of raw food diets are most often also promoting the use of organic sources, you'll notice (if you read enough about it). Like anything, it's a matter of deciphering and deciding between "good,", "better," and "best."

I also had a (learned) method for destroying any possible contamination or pathogens from the meat we used before I made up the batches, just in case. It used liquid grapefruit seed extract.

To answer your other question, yes, any diet change should be attempted at a slow, measured pace, adding a bit of the new food into each meal each day (and carefully observing for any changes), until the transition is complete. With some cats, this can take quite some time and most people are cautioned (not all listen that well, though!) about this ahead of time and are told to practice PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE, more than anything else! With dogs, generally-speaking it's often much easier and faster, although like Jo said, it's all individual in the end. Many people give up just because they're impatient with the process - you know how people are nowadays, wanting a quick fix with EVERYTHING.

There are even quite a few vegetarian dog diets nowadays, as well, which apparently many do very well on. The same is being explored with colonies of cats, which is more controversial since cats are even bigger carnivores than dogs, but so far, 4 generations later, these particular cats are doing extremely well and the illnesses and weaknesses that the original cats had developed from the state of the world's food and water have been completely eradicated now! (no, these cats aren't sold to anyone, if anyone's thinking they'd like such a healthy cat) They still get their protein requirements met btw, but it's through legumes and the like, rather than through flesh. Pretty impressive, even if less natural. And the cats just gobble it up, too!

So, bottom line - I'd encourage you to read, read, read, about the different raw food diets, paying particular attention to what HOLISTIC vets (and their clients) have had to say about them, before deciding for certain on any particular one. That said, though, I've heard of many, many folks who just picked one, tried it, and saw remarkable health changes in their dogs (and cats) within a mere few weeks. There are many books out, too, about feeding these more natural diets, but much of the same kind of info. can also be found on the 'net &/or by talking to other people (both proprietors AND customers) in the stores that sell these foods. There are also public forums for raw food (and also other holistic measures) on the 'net, which can sometimes be invaluable for those just venturing into these changes, where others can help with the various questions that may come up.

To my mind, if I ever had kidlets again, it would be either the raw meat diet or possibly even the vegetarian diet from square one, not just later on as I'd done the first time. And the vet we had has carried the BARF diet as well as a number of other ones for many years (she used a freezer to store them), as well as a few pet supply stores around here. So to me, it's all "old hat" by now.

You might also wish to read this:

An Excerpt from "Food Pets Die For" by Ann N. Martin

P.S. Check out the holistic forums Dr. Jeff provides on his site!

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I have had dogs for 44 years now and currently owned by 6 Japanese Chins with my 7th arriving any day. Please remember with selecting whether to give your dog a raw diet that there is the potential for punctured intestines, knuckle bone obstructions, pathogenic bacteria, and bloat problems, while on a totally raw diet. I believe there are ways to do it right, but it means much self education and common sense. Our dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and since then, they have not survived on totally raw diets. I believe feeding the BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) diet can be problematic for most dogs, especially during the growth and developmental stages. Therefore, I will always suggest using a quality kibble in their diet which is of Human Grade Quality with no additives or preservatives. The one I suggest to most people is Flint River Ranch Lamb millet and rice formula since it seems most dogs these days have allergies. They also have the lamb treats. Dry food is great for their teeth and I also add alittle oat bran to help with their anal glands (haven't had a dog scoot in years) and I deal online with a Holistic Vet where all my treatments are all natural including Distemper/Parvo flea and tick and even heartworm to name a few. I can honestly say I can not remember the last time one of my dogs was at the vet, they are very healthy and have beautiful teeth. Oh yes but I do get the rabies vaccines as required by the town to be licensed. Good luck in whatever decision you make.

Wendy :wub:

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