"In the last 4-5 years, parvovirus in the US has
been the biggest problem for kennels, even in vaccinated dogs."
"She was a seven-month-old, gorgeous, taupe-colored
devil in dogs clothing. But I loved her."
"The diet of our companion animals is deplorable. So
many dogs and cats eat out of bags full of poor ingredients, rancid fats and
Command; he thee obeys most readily.
If so thou wilt, a collar he will wear;
"The more confidence you have in your dog, the more he
will believe in you."
"The housebound dog leads a stressed existence. It
cannot express its natural behaviors: stalking, chasing, exploring,
CANINE HEALTH: Nutrition
"BARF" stands for "bones - and - raw - food." We highly recommend two fascinating and important books written by veterinarian Dr. Ian Billinghurst: Give Your Dog a Bone and Grow Your Pups on Bones. Now there is a new book by Billinghurst: The BARF Diet. Here at Courageous Caucasians, we try to follow this philosophy almost exclusively. Although we do have a good-quality dry dog food on hand (for those days when I'm in a hurry or just plain lazy), pups up to two years of age and pregnant or nursing moms always get raw meat, bones and/or vegetables for their meals. During the cold months of winter/early spring, our dogs feed on the carcass of an animal that has died - a frail calf, cow that has died in childbirth, etc., a "smorgasbord" of the most natural food of all.
As ranchers say around these parts, "As long as there is a dead animal around, I don't feed my dogs." Does this seem crude to some of you "city folks"? Let me tell you there is nothing more natural. The stomach contents are not just run through a food processor, they are just as a wild dog, coyote or wolf would eat - digested by the prey animal itself. The exercise of pulling, gnawing and ripping the meat and crunching the bones is great for building and maintaining muscle tone, again, as nature intended. Never are coats so shiny or teeth so white as when feasting on a downed animal.
In fact, the BARF diet is what dogs have eaten for several hundred thousand years!
How old to start a puppy on the BARF diet? Our pups are weaned on chicken wings and necks. At 3-1/2 weeks old, the puppies get to gnaw on and fight over them. They also get raw lamburger or hamburger mixed in with shredded raw veggies or fruits, various natural supplements (cod liver oil, kelp, brewers yeast, etc., etc.) moistened with raw milk. Their mom, still nursing her puppies, eats the left-overs.
Since the 1930's the health of the dog in the western world has gradually declined. This decline in health, particularly the skeletal health of pups and the reproductive health of their parents, has paralleled marked changes in two vital aspects of canine management: Firstly, our dogs have suffered an unprecedented change in their eating habits with the introduction of commercial dog food. Secondly, there has been a gradual change in the sort of exercise our dogs have been allowed. Our dogs' exercise which used to consist of free running over large areas, play and eating exercise, has gradually changed to forced and inappropriate exercise together with a complete lack of eating exercise. This quote is from Dr. Ian Billinghurst from his book Grow Your Pups On Bones.
Commercial dog food cannot even begin to duplicate the dog's natural diet, and should never be regarded as complete and adequate.
Reasons: Commercial dog food is...
Regarding cooked food, Billinghurst concludes, "When food is cooked, it retains sufficient nutrients to keep your dog alive with no obvious immediate problems. It does not, however, allow your dog to have a long, healthy, trouble-free life. Cooked or commercial dog food is responsible for much ill health including cancer, kidney disease, heart disease, arthritis, pancreatic disease, etc. In short, dogs fed on cooked foods live shorter, less healthy, more miserable lives."
NEVER, NEVER feed your dog COOKED bones!!! Cooked bones are extremely dangerous. Cooked bones are the ones that are most likely to be caught in the mouth, to pierce the intestines, to set like concrete in the large bowel. Cooked bones can be potentially fatal to dogs. Raw bones, on the other hand, are digested and contain the essential minerals in natural form.
An added BONUS: Your dogs will have the cleanest, whitest teeth without brushing! I used to think -- "Yeah, right. How can bones clean teeth?" But proof is in the pudding. One day my husband Jim told me, "You know, I never really thought about it before, but Czara's teeth look as pearly white as a puppy's." And she's eight years old and has never had her teeth brushed. Now, when we do feed dry dog food, I notice my dogs' teeth getting a bit dingy looking. Not to worry. Just switch back to BARF, and after a few days of eating raw meaty bones, they're clean again.
How often to feed? Billinghurst mentions that dogs fed on a raw, natural diet often do not crave food the way the commercially fed dogs do, are more satisfied with their meals and do not require their food to arrive as frequently. An increasing number of dog owners whose dogs are started on whole raw foods find that they only need to feed their dogs every second or third day. And these dogs are magnificently healthy and happy.
A regular fast of one to two days duration every couple weeks will help keep your dog a lean, mean machine. For pups, limit the fast to skipping a meal or fasting for a 12 hour period, every one or two weeks. (Fasting is good for people, too.)
Billinghurst's Ten Secrets of Successful Puppy Rearing:
This page may indeed raise questions in the minds of those who truly want the best for their beloved dogs. Please do beg, borrow, steal or buy one (or all) of Billinghurst's books mentioned above for the answers to all your questions on BARF !!
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