Barf Diet Raw food

Are you having trouble converting your dog to a raw or BARF diet?

If so, don’t give up!

There could be a very easy fix to your problems…

What is the BARF Diet? 

BARF stands for biologically appropriate raw food, and is one of the most popular methods when it comes to feeding a dog a raw food diet.

What does a BARF diet consist of?

Raw muscle meat, raw offal, and raw bones, with many owners choosing to add in some fruits and vegetables too.
This is the most natural diet for your dog, and while it may be considered to be quite controversial, its popularity is quickly growing as more and more pet owners learn about its many benefits.

Converting your dog to a BARF Diet

Dog with a bone

There are plenty of resources out there that explain how to put together a BARF diet, but let’s talk about the side of BARF, as well as other forms of raw feeding, that are rarely discussed…

You’re trying to convert your dog to a BARF or raw food diet, and things aren’t going according to plan.

Some of you may have even encountered explosive diarrhoea and vomiting from your dog, making you question whether or not you are doing the right thing.

Yes, this happened to my dear friends’ five month old German Shepherd pup, Eli. At 2am, they awoke to Eli whinging, sounding very uncomfortable.

They opened the laundry door to a scene that could not have been scripted…

It was all over the walls, his bed, and his coat. OMG. “That’s it! NO more raw!”

They had tried for months, following specific recipes from BARF experts, but the balance was clearly out of whack. They knew it, but didn’t know where to go or what to do.

What about their vet?

While many vets are now getting on board when it comes to raw feeding, others are still concerned about pathogens, and will often advise you to stop with the raw food. This is especially the case when it comes to puppies, as they need a balanced diet in order to make it through their critical growth stage.

While my friends were worried, they also knew that there is nothing better than the BARF diet for dogs, and were determined to find a suitable solution to their problem.

So, what the hell is going on and what do you do!?

Common Issues When Switching to BARF

While the world of BARF may seem confusing to newbies, there are, fortunately, plenty of easy adjustments that you can make to your dog’s diet to help your pooch transition.

If you are switching straight from kibble and are only in the initial transition…

It may be a simple case of too much water.

After having to drink copious amounts of water to balance out dry processed kibble, you can expect to see loose stools from your dog for a few days post kicking kibble.

Alternatively, it could also be a case of your dog detoxing from the preservatives, chemicals and other poor ingredients found in dry food. Again, this should only last 3-4 days.

Is your dog having “batter consistency” stools after you’ve successfully converted to BARF or a raw food diet?

Causes for episodes such as this related to raw feeding can include:

  • Gastrointestinal tract virus
  • Too much variation in foods
  • Excess or variation in treats
  • Too much green tripe or organ meat

What if my Dog is Vomiting?

Is your dog vomiting too?

If you dog has eaten something feral out of the rubbish or from outside, vomiting may also ensue.

If your dog’s diarrhoea or vomit is black or red, or shows any indication of blood whatsoever…

Get to a vet asap!

A dog with a veterinarian

If your dog is only vomiting, without the diarrhoea…

Make sure that your pooch has not eaten a toy, a large bone, or anything else that could have gotten stuck in the GI tract, and watch your dog carefully overnight.
If your dog is still vomiting the next day, a visit to the vet is a must, as this could be a sign of something more serious.

Natural Remedies for Diarrhoea

If there is no vomiting, just diarrhoea, you can try the following natural remedies:

Bentonite Clay: has a detoxifying effect, drawing out toxins from the digestive system and sending them south. Bentonite clay is used to firm up stools and is safe for humans too. Simply add to your dog’s food or water for a few days, or do as Kimberly from KeepTheTailWagging does and add it to 1/4 cup of goat’s milk. Genius!

Pumpkin: kind on the digestive tract and most dogs are a fan of it. You can either steam or roast your own fresh, or canned pumpkin will also suffice, so long as there are no added sweeteners or spices. A 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup can help with diarrhoea or loose stools (as well as a whole lot of other issues)

Slightly warm their food: As dogs age, they have a harder time digesting cold raw food. Warming the food just slightly to room temperature with a little warm water, or on the stove top or microwave (just slightly, people, not frying or zapping the hell out of it, and certainly not as to cook it!) may help with digestion. Taking care not to heat the food too much is so important, because if the bone in your dog’s food is allowed to cook, it will turn brittle and is more likely to splinter when inside your dog

Digestive Enzymes – a great addition to a raw feeding diet that can help give your dog’s gut a head start and balance out many digestive issues

Prebiotics and Probiotics for dogs: Kefir or a pre/probiotic formula can help build the balance of intestinal flora that your dog needs to thrive on raw food

white dog laying down

So, where is Eli at?

For him, it appears to have been a case of too much heart and organ. His owners have upped the meaty bone component of his diet, and he’s doing really well again. Fingers crossed things their positive raw journey continues!

Have you experienced any problems when converting your dog to a raw food diet? How did you and your pooch overcome this?

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