moon · thoughts

The BARF diet

BARF is not exactly the best of acronym for a diet (hur hur) but with the new year and Moon’s brush with struvites, I decided that it is time for a new and better diet! BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food and you can read all about it here. In a nutshell, it basically means letting dogs eat “real” food, food that their ancestors used to eat in the wild. I suspect that the dry kibbles (amongst other stuff like treats!) contribute to the kidney stones situation because of the added vitamins, i.e. the “supplements”.

acana

I have read about the BARF diet for a while but there was no real “push” to switch. Moon is currently eating Acana’s Lamb & Okanagan Apple kibbles which is what she has been eating since she was with her previous owner. However, with the kidney stones situation, her body needs more moisture and it looks like a BARF diet is the way to go.

I did a bit of research online and there are 2 ways to do this:

  1. Buy human-grade raw meat from the market.
  2. Buy specially-prepared raw concoctions from suppliers.

I also asked about the BARF diet on Facebook and coincidentally, one of Moon’s fellow therapy dog, Chou Chou, is on the diet. Chou Chou has been on the diet since she was 1 years old (she is now 6) and hasn’t looked back. Also, Chou Chou was a very very fussy eater but thankfully, took to the BARF diet. Her owner G was really kind and passed me 2 sample packs of the BARF diet that Chou Chou is currently on.

There are quite a few BARF diets on the market. This is by Dr Billinghurst or Dr B for short. Each box contains 12 individually-packed frozen patties.

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There are different types of patties, i.e. kangaroo, pork, rabbit, etc. I decided to go with kangaroo patties because it has the lowest amount of fat content at 3%. And in case if you’re still wondering, these patties are raw. Like red meat raw and cold. And these are fed directly, i.e. no cooking! This is how it looks from the box of 12 – frozen patties:

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Once I got the sample packs from G, I immediately gave a portion to Moon for that evening’s dinner. Her stomach is pretty strong so we can do a rapid switch. For her weight, she gets 3/4 patty per day. She eats twice a day (breakfast and dinner) so I portioned it out accordingly. As the patties are frozen, I defrosted a pack in the lower compartment of the fridge (not out in the open – Singapore is humid and there will be increased risk of contamination) the night before and by dinner, it was nicely defrosted.

Warning: If you’re queasy looking at raw and red meat, please note that the next picture(s) contains raw food.

(ready?)

Ta-dah!

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Like I said, it literally contains: Kangaroo meat, finely ground kangaroo bone, beef liver, whole egg, cultured kefir, broccoli, celery, spinach, carrot, ground flax seed, bok choy, dried alfalfa leaf powder, beef kidney, beef heart, unbleached beef Green Tripe, apple, dried kelp powder, garlic, capsicum.

The moment I took out the meat, Moon looked curious. When I invited her to eat, she ran towards it and sniffed at it….

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…licked it a little, tried to eat it…

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…she wasn’t too sure.

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…left bits of it on the floor after trying a few tiny mouthfuls…

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She finally stopped eating and gave me this face. Like: WHAT WAS THAT YOU JUST GAVE ME, HUMAN?!

Hehehehe. It was hard not to laugh.

Then it occured to me that she probably didn’t know how to tear the meat chunks because she has probably forgotten the instinct. I split the chunk of meat patty into small bite-sized pieces and fed it to her. She was more receptive and ate it all up, slowly and carefully because this time, she had to actually chew properly instead of gobbling it down in a jiffy.

Good job, Moon!

Interestingly (and quite expected because G already told me so), her poop the next morning was lesser than usual. This is apparently because more food actually gets digested, hence less poop. I also noticed that she peed more but I cannot contribute it to her new diet because she is also on her kidney stones medication that makes her drink more water.

The next morning, I prepared the same portion and this time round, she looked really excited and couldn’t wait to eat it. Quite a big difference from the day before. This time round, she gobbled it all up in a jiffy without me having to even break it up. She cleaned out her bowl, then gave me this face.

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Notice how she has a litle bit of meat stuck on her chin? Ha. Oh yes, the “problem” with feeding raw food is the need to really wipe her mouth thoroughly after each meal. I have found tiny bits of meat stuck in her fur. Pfffft. Another drawback? The cost. Each 12-pack kangaroo box costs $66. Gulp.

The 2 sample packs soon ran out so we had to switch her back to her kibbles (it’s finishing anyway). I have gone ahead to order 2 boxes and will be receiving it on Monday evening. Shall monitor to see if Moon takes well to it.

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