This is a Raw Feeding Guide to support new and existing Dog & Cat Pet owners.
Feeding a raw diet to your pet can have many benefits, including healthier teeth, a shinier coat, improved digestion, and increased energy levels, to name a few.
My little Pugzu – Dana, is now nearly three years old, and since she was a puppy, I have been feeding her a Raw BARF diet. She still seems to have the same energy levels as she had as a puppy. Her particular breed (apparently) is content with 30 minutes of physical exercise a day. But Dana tends to thrive best when she gets longer walks. She gets the minimum every day, but at least two to three times a week, I will take her out for a long walk or light hike, she always has the energy to burn, and I put a lot of this down to her BARF diet.
Also, (apart from some of her little crowded teeth on her bottom jaw due to her natural overbite), with every vet visit, they report healthy teeth & gums with little manual cleaning required on my part. These are just a few of the benefits of a BARF diet that I have experienced first-hand.
Based on my experience with a BARF diet, throughout this article, I have added some self-observations and tips (see “BARF Time Tips”) to give you some insights on Dana in the hope it helps you with your loved one’s journey and your experiences of feeding them a raw BARF diet.
I hope you enjoy this BARF Feeding Guide.
If you have a question that isn’t answered in this article, please visit our FAQ.
Please contact me if you have any questions or can reach me on BARF Time socials.
Owner of BARF Time
Raw Feeding for Dogs & Cats by BARF Time
BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) is a popular raw diet that aims to mimic the diet of wild canines and felines. Before you start feeding your dog or cat a BARF diet, it’s essential to understand how to go about doing so.
What is a BARF diet?
A raw BARF diet typically consists of
- Raw meat and bones
- Fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins and minerals that your pet needs. Some good options include leafy greens, carrots, apples & berries and
- Some specialised ingredients, such as eggs, natural yoghurt or supplements, can both add to your pet’s overall health and aid in supporting some ailments like arthritis or digestive issues
The idea is to provide a diet high in protein and fat, moderate in carbohydrates, and low in grains and other processed ingredients for optimum health.
Our BARF recipes by Canine Country follow strict weighting across all products, and typically you will find that the recipes follow a 75/15/10 rule.
- 75% Natural, Australian-grown, human-grade meat
- 15% Natural, Australian-grown, professionally minced animal bone
- 10% Natural, Australian-grown fruits & vegetables
Making BARF food recipes yourself
When it comes to a DIY raw feeding guide diet for dogs or cats, the most critical thing is getting the right ingredients in the right balance to ensure adequate nutrition. While you can do this at home, creating a balanced diet requires time, care and knowledge.
Plenty of great online resources like Perfectly Rawsome will help you with your research if you choose to go down this route. BARF Time recommends consulting with a holistic vet or canine nutritionist to help guide you with a complete and balanced homemade diet for your dog because your pet’s diet will change depending on how old and active they are. Fattier meat is perfect for puppies and active dogs, while leaner cuts with less fat are better for older dogs. It’s important to vary the types of proteins, and plant matter your pet eats to get the most nutrition throughout their life, just like us humans.
But if you are looking for a reputable, all-natural, locally manufactured product, perfect raw dog food for beginners we have sourced only the best for your pet here at BARF Time, all locally delivered to save you time and effort.
Before you start a raw BARF diet
Before we break down the recommended raw feeding guide for transitioning your dog or cat to a BARF diet, please consider the following guidelines;
1. Consult with a veterinarian
Before starting your pet on a raw diet, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to transition to a new diet. Some pets may have medical conditions that require a special diet, so it’s important to consider any factors that may require a professional’s opinion before making any changes to your pet’s diet.
You may find, however, that many pets who suffer from medical conditions will benefit greatly from a BARF Raw diet, and many pet owners have reported a new lease on life from their pets due to the change.
2. Choose brands with high-quality ingredients
The quality of the ingredients you choose is crucial when it comes to feeding your pet a barf-raw diet. Look for Australian-only, grass-fed, pasture-raised meats free from hormones and antibiotics. It’s also essential to choose a variety of meats, as different types of meats provide different nutrients.
3. Prepare your food area
When preparing to transition your pet to a barf-raw diet, following proper food safety guidelines is important to prevent contamination to you or your family. Always wash your hands before and after serving and clean any surfaces that come into contact with raw meat.
It’s best to ensure you have a specific washcloth or area in your home to prepare and clean your pet’s food bowls after they eat. You should wash your dog pet’s food bowls & utensils in warm water. If you use dishwashing liquid, ensure you rinse it thoroughly and let it air-dry before adding any food and feeding to your pet.
It’s also good practice to have a particular air-tight container to store any thawed raw food in the refrigerator in between meals. Ensure you wash this container often in warm soapy water.
Starting a raw feeding diet for your Dog or Cat
1. What BARF raw food to feed
This subject can be complex because it depends heavily on several factors, including your dog’s age, breed and weight. We will be releasing more in-depth articles on this in future, so be sure to subscribe when we release new content.
We have added certain food tags to our BARF products to make your decision easier in our online store. Here they are further explained.
- Mixed Protein: Great for the pooch that loves and can tolerate a varied protein diet. Be mindful of the fat content in these mixed protein blends as they can have a slightly higher fat content, but it’s offset by a wonderful range of healthy & varied proteins.
- Single Protein: Generally, a good starting point is to go with a Single Protein product and experiment with what your pooch reacts to best. Popular & low-allergenic options include Beef, Roo & Turkey.
- Low Fat: We have included a tag for Low Fat options. These are particularly good for breeds that are prone to put on weight or suffer from specific allergies.
- Low Allergy: Single Protein or specially formulated recipes for dogs that suffer from digestive, skin or specific allergies.
- Holistic/Organic: Recipes that use all organic or holistically grown protein sources.
2. How much raw food should you feed?
Whilst this is a rough raw feeding guide, some dogs & cats may need their intake reduced if they are gaining weight, and others may need it increased due to energy levels, metabolism etc. Like humans, all animals are different. One dog or cat may be able to eat a lot of food and not put on weight, whereas another may gain too much weight on the same amount of food.
An excellent raw feeding guide and weighting for feeding BARF raw food are between 2-3% of the ideal body weight for your breed. Raw feeding guide for puppies and kittens is a little bit different, to ensure you are giving them enough healthy fats & proteins to help fuel their growing bodies.
Click the tabs below for a simple, overarching raw feeding calculator for Puppies, Kittens and Adult Dogs & Cats.
- Puppies: Feed 5% of their current body weight (weigh weekly) & spread between 3 meals per day
- Kittens: Feed 10% to 13% of their current body weight (weigh weekly) and spread over 3-5 meals per day
- Puppies: Feed 2-3% of breeds expected average adult body weight (weigh weekly) & spread between 2 meals per day
- Kittens: Feed 6 -10% of their current body weight (weigh weekly)
- Dogs: Feed 2-3% of current body weight, providing the dog is currently in peak condition (not overweight or underweight)
- Cats: 3% of current body weight, providing the cat is currently in peak condition (not overweight/underweight)
3. Gradually transition to the new diet
If your pet is currently on a commercial diet, it’s important to gradually transition them to a BARF raw feeding diet over the course of two weeks to prevent digestive upset. Start by mixing a small amount of the new food into their current diet and gradually increase the amount until they are fully transitioned. See our visual BARF Time raw feeding guide below to help you.
Day 1 to 4: 20% New Food, 80% Old Food
Day 5 to 7: 40% New Food, 60% Old Food
Day 8 to 10: 60% New Food, 40% Old Food
Day 11 to 13: 80% New Food, 200% Old Food
Day 14 onwards: 100% new food
This raw feeding guide is meant to be a simple guide. Don’t be too concerned about getting the percentages precisely right, use common sense based on how much raw food is recommended for your pet and how much you fed them of their old diet and adjust accordingly.
4. Monitor your pet’s health
After starting your pet on a BARF raw feeding diet, it’s essential to monitor their health to ensure that they are happy & thriving. Watch for signs of digestive or bowel upset or other health issues, and be prepared to adjust the diet if necessary.
Because BARF food is easier to eat than kibble (and because it smells & tastes amazing to your pet), you may notice that your pet will eat their BARF food much quicker than usual, which may result in stomach upset, belching or vomiting.
This is nothing to be concerned about. You may need to slow down their rate of eating. We recommend investing in a slow feeder for your dog, like any of our LickiMat products. Check out the LickiMat SlowMo, LickiMat Wobble Bowl or LickiMat Buddy XL for your dog or the LickiMat Casper for your Cat.
In conclusion, feeding your pet a BARF raw diet can significantly improve their health and well-being. Following this raw feeding guide correctly ensures your pet gets the nutrients they need to thrive. Remember to follow the guidelines before making any changes to your pet’s diet, and always follow proper food safety guidelines to prevent contamination.
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