Switching to BARF Dog Food
My dogs were in good health so switching my dogs to BARF dog food was a tough decision. One or two minor health niggles (for example a little dry skin, being prone to gaining weight, occasional loose stools (and windy bottoms!), combined with reading about the many health benefits of raw pushed us to take the plunge. Here is our experience of the switch.
We decided to order Bella and Duke complete mince. This is because we have limited freezer and storage space and only some knowledge of canine nutrition. Other wonderful producers also deliver complete mince, we just found the information on their website really helpful and easy to understand. The ethical sourcing of their human grade ingredients was really important to us, and the price was competitive. We got 50% off the first order, so for both dogs in the first month it cost £34.50 but the normal monthly price is £69.
We start the BARF dog food by gradually decreasing the kibble and increasing the meat by 10% each day. Advice says that is is fine to switch to 100% raw but with delicate whippet tummies we were cautious. We start with 90% kibble and 10 % meat. Turkey and chicken to begin with.
Rookie error- not enough freezer space on delivery so we had to hound (pardon the pun) the neighbours and rush out and buy a second small freezer!
Having read about the switch we were prepared for a battle, predicting that our dogs would turn their noses up or just be completely baffled by us putting raw meat in front of them. We nervously served the first feed, desperate to see the response- we didn’t have long to wait. Within seconds they tucked in and absolutely loved the food! So relieved. So we stuck to chicken and turkey for the first week.
By the beginning of week 2 we were up to 70% meat and it was going well. Stools were much smaller and less frequent. Who’d have thought dog poo was so interesting!
Day 10 and we were 100% raw. The whippets are delighted and super excited each meal time- literally shaking with excitement. We have now gradually introduced beef and white fish too with no problems at all.
The dogs look leaner and their coats are shinier. They seemed really hungry however, so we contacted Bella and Duke for some advice. Within hours, they reply and advised more food each day than we have been feeding due to their levels of activity. This solved the issue within a couple of days.
Over a year on, the whippets are still super-keen on this BARF dog food and we are really happy to see them eating so well. As their eating speed has now increased so much (particularly our older boy, a fussy eater, who was affectionately nicknamed the snail at feeding times), we are having to carefully supervise. They both try to finish and head to each others bowls to look for more.
The dogs were at good weights before switching to raw, but their body shape has altered. Their waists are really tucked in and their weight is more consistent. Jarvis is also more playful. He is getting toys out and throwing them around which is really not like him but so nice to see.
The boys continued to thrive on their new feeding regime. Its just lovely to see them enjoying their food so much.
There has been less sticky build up on their teeth since feeding raw. This is a blessing as I struggle to keep their teeth clean and take them for teeth cleaning treatment on occasion, in addition to brushing at home.
The process was been much easier than we expected. There is no denying that the food takes a little more of our time. Time spent on cleaning, ordering, organising deliveries, etc. It is a little more expensive than the kibble we bought (about £10), and you do need plenty of freezer space. However, having already seen benefits, we am happy that we have made the right choice for our dogs and will be continuing on the raw journey.
Each dog unique:
I feel that it is really important to emphasise that each dog really is different and unique when calculating the amount of food. The food calculator is a good starting point, but the owner must also consider the dogs lifestyle and personality and carefully monitor them.
We monitor and alter the amount of food regularly and have found, with experience, that they need a little more in very cold weather and after a few days of increased activity. We have also found that splitting the daily weight into 3 portions works best for our dogs. This ensure they sleep well and are not too hungry by the morning.
Next steps for us:
We feel more confident about what to feed the dogs now and they are loving the occasional raw egg as a treat- we may try a chicken wing or two! With our limited space, I think the ready mixed subscription works well for our family and will continue with this. Many companies also offer raw compatible dry food which will be great to use when we are travelling with the dogs.
Top Tips for switching to BARF dog food:
- Have enough freezer space in preparation for your delivery.
- Wash the feeding area and bowls thoroughly after each meal.
- Be organised- many of these company’s have an online subscription account where you can alter delivery days and amounts as required.
- Weigh your dog before making the switch and regularly after to check that you are feeding the right amount.
- take a photo (side on) when starting raw so that you can see the benefits.
- Consider your own situation and what is practical and affordable when deciding to switch.
This is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own. If you want to order from Bella and Duke however, using the code 45xb35 at the checkout will give you 50% off you first order. I would also receive an introductory credit to my account.
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