There is so much information available about Raw feeding, BARF diets, Biologically appropriate whole prey diets and the sort, that any person looking for the basic information is usually overwhelmed.There is so much ‘out there’, that most people end up so confused and put off, that they do not even enter the ‘Raw feeding’ world. I do not blame these people. When we started off raw feeding some of our dogs (as some of our dogs will not eat raw) we were also lost, confused and we found the more research we did, the more confused we became.
Until we sorted out the good from the bad, the real from the fake and tweaked and added/subtracted while watching our own dogs benefit extremely.
The subject is so discussed and so broken up into various arguments, recipes, suggestions, beliefs, supplement additions and more that we do not and will not propagate certain raw feeding beliefs over another, simply because EACH DOG does remain an individual and a raw feeding diet must be adjusted and designed around a dog’s specific needs.For example, a brood bitch will need additional supplements (even when on her one year hiatus in between litters), in the same way a young dog who is still in the “skeletally dangerous” growth phase needs less of some things and more of others; ditto for the athlete who is actively competing in working trials OR the elderly dog, the dog with bladder infection, the dog with allergies etc.
While the basics remain the same, we have found that there IS no, one raw diet fits all and we add/subtract and alter basic recipes according to each dogs specific nutritional and health needs.
There is also the very real possibility that all dogs will not eat all raw items – for example, some of mine hate eggs (refuse them point blank) yet many raw recipes demand a whole egg. I have the same with certain meats (I do not feed pork as a matter of personal choice) but fish is often frowned upon by some of the dogs who will only eat chicken, beef and organ meat. The same is true of the vegetable and fruit additions (Many do not add fruit, but I believe fruit needs to be a part of a raw diet) – some love apple, some prefer watermelon, some refuse spinach, others refuse to eat their raw food without spinach in it.
Some of our dogs eat a mix of raw food and grain free high protein kibble. (and YES we even have 2 that refuse raw FLATOUT – they will only eat Orijen)
Our suggestion to ANYONE starting on (or wanting to start) on a raw feeding is to first invest in a Basic Book that deals with the subject matter in a broad format. The books we recommend for a complete information package are the following three (in fact anyone new to RAW might do well to invest in all 3)
*Note: we are not personally promoting ANY of these books, but find them to be very informative. EACH book has sections we choose to ignore and each book has sections we agree with. Some of the recipes are extremely expensive, and some of the supplements promoted are in fact supplements from the authors company in some cases – BUT: when you cut around all of this, the BASIC information is there, and certainly giving all new people various options. PLEASE call me if you are in doubt and before you start a raw diet.
It can be ordered on AMAZON from the following link, or take a look at Lew’s page on FACEBOOK.
The definitive guide to feeding your dog a balanced and nutritious raw and home-cooked diet, from the founder of a natural pets product company with over thirty years of experience working with dogs.
Many people want to prepare their dog's meals at home, but feel it is too complex. Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs provides a road map to the essentials of canine nutrition, written in easy-to-understand language.
Pet owners seeking to give their dogs a better coat, better skin, and healthier teeth and gums, as well as longer lives and more stable temperaments, will benefit not only from the background data in this book, but also the step-by-step instructions and recipes for preparing these diets. The book includes charts with the recipes, instructions on keeping diets simple and balanced, guidelines on preparation, suggestions for finding ingredients, and how much to feed a dog by body weight. There are recipes for healthy adult dogs, as well as guidelines for puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with health conditions including pancreatitis, renal problems, gastric issues, allergies, heart disease, liver disease, and cancer.
Tracing the history of feeding dogs, the author shows when commercial dog food rose and took hold of the market. She discusses canine nutritional needs and provides research on how home-prepared foods can meet pets' needs better than commercial, processed dog food. Written with thorough information for the seasoned raw feeder, this guide can also be easily followed by any newcomer to home-feeding.
This revised edition includes new information on special care and feeding of pregnant, newborn, performance, and toy breed dogs as well as senior dog considerations and the safety of the raw food diet for dogs.
If anyone has any trouble ordering this specific book, please contact me and I will see what I can do (as I do have contact with the authors husband, as he is a Rottweiler breeder and judge in the USA)
Available on KINDLE as well to make things easier (no shipping)
1. Dr. Karen Becker, Holistic Vet – a seriously good book for new raw feeders
“Dr. Becker’s REAL FOOD for healthy cats and dogs”
Based on the ancestral diets of dogs and cats, this book provides a rotation plan and recipes for a meat-based diet that includes appropriate levels of vegetables, fruits and supplements to complete the diet, analyzed to make sure that nutrition needs are met.
2. Steve Brown – “Unlocking the canine ancestral diet”
Ancestors and canine cousins of our dogs didnt eat krunchy kibble or meat n gravy in a can. They ate what they found or caught... and it wasnt cooked or enriched either! It was high in protein, with balanced fats, and usually included a few fruits, vegetables and grasses. Steve Brown, an expert on canine nutrition, shows how you can bring the benefits of the canine ancestral diet to your dog by feeding him differently as little as just one day a week. And no, you won t need to lead a pack of dogs on a hunting expedition! Just follow Steve s well-researched and easy to follow ABCs to make improvements to whatever your dog currently eats.
There are also valuable links and information in this article I wrote 2 years ago for the old website (with many VERY good links on the subject at the bottom of the page)
*Please note, there are many South African businesses that DO prepare read to eat raw meals, as well as provide the ingredients for you to make up the meals yourself. In the interest of fair play and integrity I will not be mentioning the names of any of the businesses/people. (I do not want to recommend unfairly or promote any single person or company – especially as I will have had no personal experience with them)
CRAFFENHEIM ROTTWEILERS: FEEDING YOUR ROTTWEILER THE NATURAL WAY: BARF (Raw feeding/Whole prey model)
**Disclaimer: This article contains the personal opinions and views of the author, Retha Crafford, and is in no way meant to be interpreted as veterninary advice or as a veterinary feeding suggestion. The opinion is that of the author only, and is a personal testimonial. The information below is simply to encourage readers to thoroughly research the field of canine nutrition, in particular, RAW feeding.**
Here at Craffenheim Rottweilers, we have always focused on raising our dogs and pups in a natural and eco friendly manner which benefits the dog in its natural state. From the open paddocks and runs our dogs are accustomed to, right down to the pups exploration in the open fields of our farm – our focus for our Rottweilers is on “keeping it as close to what nature intended as is possible” .
At the foothills of the majestic Inkwelo mountains where we are located, our dogs are one with their environment and nature; the way it should be.
Because of our commitment to raising our dogs in the most natural manner possible, RAW feeding became an obvious follow on of our philosophy. After many years of breeding highly pedigreed Rottweilers, it has always been obvious to me that dogs truly are the product of their entire environment; nutrition included.
This knowledge and my personal experiences encouraged me to start questioning the diet of my highly pedigreed and much loved Rottweilers. I questioned whether I could feed them in a manner more fitting a canine – a manner that would imitate their natural instincts to hunt and forage. Whilst my Rottweilers have always received the finest foods on the market; my focus on the ‘natural’ – and feeding my dogs what their digestive systems are designed to process, became more serious. My brain (and heart) started pulling me towards researching and investigating the benefits of switching my Rottweilers over to a raw diet. Better known as BARF to some (Biologically appropriate Raw Food – the term coined by Dr Ian Billinghurst, an Australian vet and author of “Give a Dog a bone”), I made the decision to thoroughly research the pros and cons of raw feeding, and most importantly, the overall health and other benefits for the dogs themselves.
Once I started on this path of research and exploration, it became abundantly clear to me that Nature intended our dogs be fed in this manner. Fresh, locally sourced, preservative free and dog digestive system ‘friendly’ ingredients = the recipe for a healthy and happy dog.
Speaking to experts in the field, who kindly offered me their time and expertise, along with many hours of reading and researching as much as I could, I made the decision to go ‘raw’, on a trial run with a few of my Rottweilers of various ages.
The transformation in these dogs was nothing short of astounding. Their conditioning improved in as little as 7 days. Some of the changes I observed were the following:
- Shinier coats
- Solid stools and reduced quantities
- Increased energy levels
- Cleaner teeth
- Improved muscle definition
- Improved mental condition due to the dog’s ‘pleasure’ at meal times.
- The outright refusal of ALL the Raw eaters to even approach their old food when offered it (This on it’s own tells a story – an important one)
I watched these ‘raw eaters’ transform in a manner that amazed me, and I made the decision to transition from current processed feeding to 100% Raw for all the Craffenheim Rottweilers. We are currently in the process of doing this. It was obvious to me that “Raw” feeding would benefit all of my dogs; not only in health but in all aspects of their lives.
When I started the trial ‘raw feeding’, I was a little unsure of what to expect, and I was a little overwhelmed with all the information and various suggestions, BUT: as soon as I started, I realised that it was not at all as ‘terrifying’ as what it first seemed. Preparing the meals and getting the ratios correct is really rather simple, and the amounts involved are adjusted for each dog and his/her specific calorie/energy requirements.
Cost wise, I was pleasantly surprised to find that RAW feeding is indeed very affordable, and in fact cost effective. One just has to source the ingredients in a smart manner, and if feeding more than one dog, buying in bulk is a good option. We are in the fortunate position here in the Republic of South Africa (regardless of WHAT province you live in) in that farming is rife, and high quality fresh/organic produce is readily available. There are in fact many companies across the length and breadth of South Africa who will source the produce for you – making it as easy as placing an order online.
The benefits of Raw feeding have been well documented, and yes, there have been a few documented studies of the ‘cons’. However – it is important to note that most of the cons lie with the concerns of parasites in raw meat – pork being the major concern (I do not feed pork).
ONYX VOM WEISSEN SCHWAN: FUELLED BY THE POWER OF ‘RAW’
As I continue to explore and witness the benefits of raw feeding, I encourage readers to do the same. Visit the links below for a wealth of information and answers to frequently asked questions.
Do your research and speak to those who are experts in this field. This Facebook page is extremely helpful, and it is filled with great advice, good links and references to some of the most respected experts in the Raw feeding world.
Here at Craffenheim Rottweilers we firmly believe that you “don’t fight against what mother nature intended” – and our move to feeding our Rottweilers ‘raw’ is testament to this philosophy.
“Nature and nurture are closer together than what you might think.”
****The links above are for external sites and Craffenheim Rottweilers can not be held responsible for any information or opinion shared in these links – They have been mentioned as resources for readers to use when investigating the concept of Raw feeding, nothing more****