Sunday, February 24, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 23- Gaining Some Weight

As you may already know, one of the main reasons my humans put me on my delicious BARF diet was so that I could gain some weight. When they adopted me about 6 months ago, I weighed 15 pounds. A lean, healthy cocker spaniel of my size should weigh around 25 pounds. I wish I could tell my humans what I was up to before I came home with them, but they figured out right away that it was a time of feastlessness for me. My hunger forced me to go to the streets and try to hunt my dinner, however I wasn't a very good hunter when I was a little pup because I was weak and slow from being malnourished. And, as you know, squirrels are fast. I mostly ate bugs that I found on walls. An occasional lizard or frog was a big treat, as was garbage. I admit that I still like to eat garbage, just because it smells so delicious - kind of like tripe.

It wasn't very long before I was arrested for lifting my leg on private property and put in jail. Luckily, cocker spaniel rescue came and bailed me out and I went to live in a house with 20 other cockers. My humans came and adopted me about a week later, and I was soon feasting hard on kibble, wet puppy food, and puppy weight gainer. I got up to about 18 pounds, but my body just couldn't process all this new food, so 99% of it got rejected out of my bum in poo explosions right after feasting. My muscles just couldn't get the nutrients from this food before my body got rid of it.

About a month ago, I was surfing the Internet and I came across some info on the BARF diet and presented my findings to my humans in a Power Point. My humans decided to give BARF a try and my brother and I started feasting on delicious raw animals like rabbit and goat. I now weigh 21 pounds and I'm faster and stronger than ever. I fly past my dad when we race down the hallway. I now think that I am ridiculously good-looking, and because of this I've made more human friends than ever. I'm glad that I found a family that not only feeds me, but feeds me raw rabbit liver.

Happy feasting,

This is what I looked like the first day home with my humans. I was learning all about the meat locker (fridge), and couldn't believe the feasting potential in this new place. Back then I could fit into a harness that was made for baby dogs, and you could see all the vertebrae in my back and watch my shoulder blades move as I walked.

This is what I look like today. I'm really shaggy since I've grown in my winter fur and that makes me look a little bigger than I am, but I did get 8 lbs heavier than I was when I first moved in. I'm still a skinny boy and need another 2-3 lbs on me, (that's a lot when you only weigh 21 lbs!), but I'm up for the feasting challenge. I stopped gaining weight on kibble, and since starting the raw diet I've put on another 1/2 lb. Go raw meat!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 21- I Feast Hard and Play Hard

The last few days I have been feasting extremely hard on the goat and rabbit I got off the Internet. This raw meat deliciousness has made me so excited that I usually finish my feast in seconds and then try to steal my brother's share. I guess raw meat makes me brave. I even try to take my brother's toys if he's not looking and still eating. The problem is that he is the alpha and he beats me up. I just can't hold in my excitement when this raw meat is around. My brother almost bit my face off yesterday. He thrashed me pretty hard. I don't really care though. I feast hard and I play hard. I also rock hard. My dad got the new Rancid album today and I thrashed around with him to some sweet new tunes. I got so excited I attempted to steal his Subway pastrami and cheese sandwich off the table and got in trouble. My point is that I don't really care about the consequences- raw meat and Rancid, getting thrashed by my brother, getting put in time-out, ocassionally running into a door or choking on a bone- that's how I roll.

Feast hard,

brother's big tip: safety first
Accidents happen. Pups can get too excited over a raw feast and choke. They can get broken bones, suffer from heat stroke and get into fights with other dogs. It's important that your human know how to handle the situation if anything were to ever happen to you, and it is imperative that they handle you correctly for your condition. The best way for them to learn how to do this is to sign up for a class in their area, and I know that the American Red Cross offers pet first aid courses all over the United States. A list of locations can be found here, and their information about pet health and safety is here.

If your person isn't able to make it to a class right away, they can get some books that will teach them how to tend to an animal that needs help, and the Red Cross also has a bunch of books that can help them learn all about this at home. Don't be surprised if they want to practice wrapping bandages on you! I didn't mind it -- it was attention! But it goes without saying that they should never practice full CPR on you, and that's where the actual courses come in handy. They'll have dummy dogs that let your person really try out their CPR skills.

Your person should always have a doggy first aid kit on hand, just as they would have one for themselves at home and in the car. A travel-sized kit should be available for you if you're out on a hike or away from home. The Canis Major website has an excellent list of items that should be found in your emergency pack.

Let's be honest: we're curious guys, and we like to try new things with our mouths. This can get us into serious trouble, and so your human needs to learn all about the signs and symptoms of poisoning, and the proper way to handle a sick dog. They should also have the animal poison control phone number in a place that's easy to find or on speed dial, because time is of utmost importance in the case of a poisoning. The ASPCA has a great web page on animal poisoning, and lists this number to call if your person is worried: (888) 426.4435 - Animal Poison Control.

Finally, here are some more helpful resources for your human to check out:

Have a healthy weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 19- My Meat is Here!

My meat finally came in the mail! I was so excited I ran outside and harrassed the mailman for bringing it late. Then my humans spread it out on the table and packaged it all up for future consumption. The smells of goat meat and tripe made my brother and me go nuts!

My brother turned into a wild animal when a gigantic piece of rabbit fell on the floor and my mommy took it out of his mouth. I went crazy when my mom pulled out a full rabbit for us to feast on... I mean like a whole rabbit that I see on the trail, just without skin or hair. The meaty deliciousness was cut into small RMB bits fit for a cocker spaniel. However, I thought I could handle the whole thing without a problem. Mom set aside some meat in a bowl to defrost for my brother and me to eat for dinner. It was the best feast of goat and ground rabbit that I have ever tasted. Or ever eaten.

Here's what the goat meat and bone pieces looked like. Some were good for eating already, while others had to be cut down to size. I watched the counter to see what was going on with my special meats, but my brother just stared at the ground waiting for things to fall. I guess his plan worked once, but he missed seeing all that tasty goat.

Dinner was so good I scarfed it down super fast. It tasted like I snuck up behind a goat and took a bite. I feel like a wild animal hunting down my nightly feasts and catching them in my bowl.

Dreaming of goaty feasts,



feasting bits from brother:

My humans took a new approach to meat storage this time around. They cut up all of the ground rabbit and tripe into small squares, and because it was still almost frozen when they were doing it, they could toss all of the pieces into containers and just put that in the freezer. This way they can adjust our feeding without taking baggies of meat apart, and they are able to weigh each piece until we have a full meal. I hope that makes it easier on them. I'm all for feasting efficiency.

My mom also suspects that I may be a little allergic to chicken. I've gotten pretty itchy lately. She's not sure if it's from the weather, dryness because of the heat, pollens... or maybe she was right when she thought that I might have an issue when I was eating dry kibble. Well, I'm going off all chicken for the next week or so to see if I improve. I'm in complete support of this experiment if it means that I get to keep eating goat, rabbit, pork, fish, tripe and beef. Regardless of whether or not my itchies go away from food, my tummy will be full and that's what I'm most concerned about!

Happy feasting!

Here's a little video of my brother and me going into a feasting frenzy at the smell of our ground green tripe. My humans covered their noses and kept gagging. I have no idea why it didn't make them salivate. The stinkyness drove us crazy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 18- Stanislaw Isn't Speaking to Us

Our dad did not pay for overnight shipping on that goat meat he ordered, and so Stanislaw is not speaking to him... or any of us for that matter. He vented his frustrations on one of mom's good shoes this morning, but aside for that he's just been sulking. So today's blog will be short, sweet and goatless.

I'm going to post 2 more links that will hopefully make this raw feeding thing a little more financially delicious for your human. The first is a basic list of co-ops, which are broken down state-by-state. If you join one of these groups, usually each of your orders will be placed at the same time, making one big bulk order, and significantly reducing the prices for all of you. Similarly, some places have a agreement with a supplier, and being a member can get you some great deals.

Finally, as I've mentioned before, joining a Yahoo! BARF group in your area can link you into some deals and group purchases. Click this link and do searches for your city or state, and words like "BARF," "Raw Diet," and "Raw Feeders." Better prices mean better feasting, so good luck!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 17- President's Day Stinks

So I've been sitting here all weekend waiting patiently for the raw goat meat I ordered to come in the mail. Then I find out that there is no mail on President's Day because it is a national holiday! I refuse to recognize any holiday that prevents raw goat meat from getting into my mouth. In addition, most holidays are associated with feasting and apparently Presidents' Day has absolutely nothing to do with feasting. It has something to do with sales at car dealerships. Riding in cars makes me puke. In fact, even watching the Daytona 500 yesterday made me carsick. President's Day and everything associated with it stinks like my poo. The only good thing that happened this weekend was that the top broke off my humans' kitchen garbage can, making it easy for me to conduct stealth garbage raids. Although garbage is good eating, I've got to eat me some goat meat as soon as possible! I am one sad raw meat-eating boy.


Presidents' Day is a good day for learning, by big brother:
When I was first adopted I was a very sick boy. I had heart worm, crystals in my urine, and funny kidney readings when i had my blood tested. My doctor put me on a special food that he sold in his office. I got worse. He changed my food. I lost 1/3 of my body weight and began having diarrhea episodes that weren't so much diarrhea as they were blood. I saw the inside of the emergency room on more than one occasion, where these doctors told my human that it couldn't be the food, and they wrote another prescription for antibiotics. This continued until my little ribs were painfully visible, and only came to an end when my food changed.

No, I wasn't on the raw diet yet. I was put on Canidae, a whole food dog kibble that had no corn, soy, wheat, preservatives, and only contained human-grade ingredients. Over night the blood stopped and I began to put weight back on. Energy came trickling back and I no longer felt or acted like I was starving. I was lucky that my grand-human knew about this food and fed this to her dogs, and influenced my human to make the switch. It's difficult to go against what a vet says! And these doctors were, in fact, very good in all other respects. It turns out that I am dangerously allergic to corn. Why didn't they catch this?

While I am sure there was no intent on their part to cause me harm, my humans wonder why this happened. They did a little research, and were surprised by what they found. It seems that while most vet schools are very good and can produce wonderful surgeons and doctors, there is very little focus on pet nutrition. Furthermore, pet food brands like Science Diet contribute massive funds to veterinary institutions, and subsidize these nutrition courses and offer their own research. I'm sure Science Diet is something you've seen at your vet's office before. I know I have!

According to an article from LEDA at Harvard Law School, the Science Diet brand, which is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, promised "hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund research at each of the 27 U.S. veterinary colleges... Practicing veterinarians selling Science Diet pocket as much as 40% of the profits" (section is available here). This is really not much different than your human's dentist suggesting they use Colgate toothpaste and handing them a Colgate toothbrush -- it's all clever marketing. My human and I made a trip to the Science Diet website, and a quick view of the "Adult Original" ingredients reveals the top 4 to be (in the proper order) chicken, ground whole grain corn, ground whole grain sorghum, ground whole grain wheat. Now, I know that if you've been researching the raw or a homemade diet for a while, you'll see something wrong with this! While some people do decide to feed their pups grains, the majority of this food is corn, sorghum and wheat. It's a far cry from what our bodies truly need. I know we're picking on Science Diet here, so I will mention that there are many other brands out there that fall into the same patterns...

...and some stuff that's even worse. I'm talking about those discount brands, which includes anything you'll find at a Wal-Mart or the local grocery store. Most of those have been victim of recall and have even killed pets in the past year. They are full of grains and sugars, and even worse things that not even my brother would want to feast on. Ever wonder what's in that commercial pet food? Check out this ingredient list, which uses AAFCO's definition guidelines. More about pet food regulation can be read in the Harvard Article, with the AAFCO section located here.

Since the pet food poisonings, there have been many investigations into what those kibbles actually contain, and the discoveries have been frightening to say the least. According to NBC's news station in Virginia, low amounts of pentobarbital, the active chemical used for euthanasia, were found in dog foods. How did it get there? The meat used in the foods was horse, and these animals had been put to sleep with the drug. Many animals that fall into the "4-D's" categories are sent to rendering plants, where they are then made into pet foods. These 4 D's consist of dead, dying, diseased and disabled animals, which are deemed unfit for human consumption. There has even been mention of deceased dogs and cats being used! But that's just to horrible to get into, and my human avoided that bit of research.

The Whole Dog Journal is a wonderful resource for dog owners, and every year they come out with a list of the top canned and dry dog foods available. Here is their list of the top 10 dry foods out there. You'll see that none of them are the grocery store variety! A complete list of wet and dry food can be found on the website, and are available at the start of every year. You can also find their list criteria explained in depth on the site.

Well, what all this comes down to, is that if you must be feasting on a commercial food, make sure you know what you're eating. While the food itself may be a bit more expensive, what it will save your human in vet bills and heartache down the road will be immeasurable. However, I bet that if your person is checking out this blog, chances are that they've already put you on a homemade diet or are thinking about it. Knowing exactly where your meats come from, and seeing every bit of what winds up in your belly -- from the veggies to the eggs to the chicken wings -- is really the most premium pet food out there. I love it.

Happy feasting!

Additional resources:
FDA pet food recall list (updated quite regularly)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 15- I Crunch Bones and Swallow Them

I've heard some humans say that they don't want to put their dogs on the BARF diet because they are afraid of the raw bones impairing digestion or creating a choking hazard. I can tell you that bones are no match for my ferocious teeth. I bite through chicken wings with incredible speed, suck down the marrow, and swallow the bits. In fact, last night my humans were having a hard time cutting the last turkey neck in half for my brother and me to share, so they gave my brother some ground raw turkey instead and I got to eat the whole neck myself. I crunched that bony feast in half like a cleaver and swallowed it. I have no idea what happens to the bones after I eat them, but I never see them again -- even when I do my business outside. The bottom line is that RMBs (Raw Meaty Bones) are not only safe, but delicious!

On an unrealated note, I'm still waiting for my goat meat to come in the mail. If I don't get it today, I'm going to get angry and probably bite the mailman in the bum because apparently raw meat doesn't come in the mail on Sundays, and it won't come this Monday because it's President's Day. That means I would have to wait until Tuesday to finally taste goat. This is unacceptable.

Feast Hard,

bone-feasting brother comments:
There are many myths and worries that people have to deal with before starting you on the raw diet. These include the idea that "human food" is bad for a dog, that bones are dangerous, and that the bacteria in raw meats will make us sick. While there is always risk in everything we eat and do, I will try to explain why these troubled feelings shouldn't be that big of a concern.

Sure, there are some human foods that are bad for a dog, some that are terrible, and others, like chocolate, that can even kill us. Our bodies are not able to metabolize certain spices and chemicals the same way as the human body can, and when you plan on tasting some human treats you need to make sure you're being smart about it. But let's face it: we're made to eat meats, and if these meats are human quality then they're going to be that much better for us. Our bodies need enzymes from fresh foods and nutrients from healthy sources. If anything, human food is better for us than our kibble! The only concern is that you're getting all of the nutrients that your body needs, but with a little research under their belt, your human can easily make it work for you. Humans need to learn how to share their food!

Perhaps the greatest concern about the raw diet comes from the bones in our meats. Humans have been told time and time again that bones can cause serious medical problems in a dog, and they can even kill us. This is true... if those bones are cooked. Dogs should NEVER eat cooked bones. But look at our teeth! We are not built to crunch down dry kibble and break down grains. We have no flat molars. Our mouths are designed to rip meat off bone and cut cartilage to little bits. Our natural digestive enzymes are specially tuned to breaking down these foods. However, unlike our humans, we lack the enzymes necessary to digest grains and break through the cell walls of plant matter. This is why many people that feed the raw diet choose not to give any grains and turn our vegetables into blended veggie mush, as this crushes the plant cellulose and releases the nutrients for us to absorb. We are carnivores, and meat is what we're made for!

Salmonella and E. coli are common words you'll hear your humans say. These bacteria can make a person very ill, and they are found in abundance in raw poultry and meats. While it is possible for a dog to become sick too, it is highly unlikely if our immune systems are working as they should. Part of the immune system is in the digestive system, and it is here that our bodies get rid of all that bacteria. You see, our stomach acidity is much much higher than that of a human, and so salmonella and those other yucky things just don't stand a chance. Also, as a carnivore, our digestive system is constructed differently than that of a herbivore or omnivore. Our digestive tract is very short and simple, and this prevents bacteria from having a chance to get out of control and cause problems. This also decreases our ability to digest plant matter and carbohydrates as discussed above.

If your human can't quite come to terms with the idea of bones or bacteria, tell them to think of the stuff we get into even when we're on a kibble diet! Some dogs eat their own feces, and that's just crawling with E. coli and other gross stuff. That has never made my brother sick! We also consume bits of our toys, fuzz, hair, and whatever that tasty thing was that I found outside while we were on a walk. Dogs have eaten socks, shoe leather, carpeting... and people are scared of bones? I'm not saying that you should ever eat a slipper, but our systems are just hardier than a person's. Plus, if bones are truly what's holding your person back, they can always crush or grind them for you. You'll be getting all of the nutrients with none of the worry.

What holds people back is the old way of thinking about doggy nutrition and needs. It's time to enter into the age of feasting! I am calling this the Year of the Chicken Wing. Happy feasting!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 13- Valentine's Day Edition

They say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. That's why I am making raw femur bone my Valentine. I made a reservation for two in my feasting cage for dinner and boy was it romantic. I nibbled on raw femur bone's neck for a while and we had an amazing dinner. I was going to invite raw femur bone home into my crate, but I completely consumed her at dinner. No one said that love was easy.

Happy Valentine's Day,

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 12- I Need to Eat Some Goat

Howdy fellow BARFers! Sorry I am a little late blogging today, but I was busy eating raw chicken livers. My BARF diet has been going well for almost 2 weeks now and I have sampled some delicious raw meats including oxtail, lamb, turkey, beef, and chicken wings. I think I am ready for the big time, that's why I'm telling my humans to go get me some goat meat. And rabbit meat, duck carcass, pheasant wings, pig's feet, quail hearts, buffalo leg, ostrich head, unicorn horn, and liger liver. Being a professional hunter, I always thought I had to hunt my own meat, and ostriches don't happen to live in my neighborhood. But apparently there is this thing called the Internet where you can order just about any raw meat you want and in a few days it comes directly to your mouth. What a great idea! So I stole my dad's credit card and placed an order for a full goat and a meat rabbit, which I plan to fatten up and then feast on. Delicious.

Waiting for the mail,


brother's wise words:
There are many places to get your feasting supplies. Some get what they need from their own farm, some make a trip to their local meat packer or butcher, and others will order what they need online. My humans like to do a mix of things, and they'll supplement their meat supplies from the butcher with a few online orders of more exotic treats. It all depends on how varied your person wants your diet to be. If you are at risk to develop a food allergy as I am, keeping the proteins in your food varied is an important aspect of your diet.

There are many prepared and frozen BARF foods available. These can be expensive, but they make your feedings a snap. They usually contain ground bone and arrive in frozen patties or blocks. Already made foods can be extremely useful if you're traveling, being boarded or watched after, and they can come in handy if your human has a very busy day or is in a rush. There are many online retailers of prepared foods, and many of these also sell their products in stores. Here are a few ready-made BARF foods:

Complete BARF foods

Sometimes finding a variety of meats is difficult, especially if you live in an area that doesn't have a large choice of butchers and shops. Sometimes it's difficult for your human to transport all of the meat you need, because they don't have a car or live in a city. No matter what the situation, there are online retailers that will deliver to your door or meet you at a pick-up location every month. These retailers also make great resources for meats that can be expensive or tough to come by, like rabbit, goat and venison. This is of special interest if you are a dog with a protein allergy. For example, if you are allergic to chicken, which is a staple of most BARF diets, it is possible to continue eating raw and instead have your main RMB source be rabbit, pork or duck. Also, if your human wishes to offer you a greater variety of meats because they believe it's an important thing to do, these online shops are a good way to find what you're looking for.

Please check the retailer's site, as not everyone is able to deliver to your area.

RMB, Muscle Meat & Organ Retailers

Happy exotic feasting!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 11- My Stinkhead is Gone

I'm kind of embarrassed to admit it, but I used to have this weird problem where my head stunk like a skunk and when humans pet me their hands smelled like it. Stinkhead really was a game-killer for me since my favorite thing after biting pigeons in the face is making new friends with humans. First I locate a human in the hallway, elevator, or outside. I then stare at the potential new friend and cry until they make eye-contact and pet me. I was always afraid that these new human friends of mine would notice my stinkhead residue on their hands and not want to pet me when they saw me again. But after a week and a half on the raw meat diet, I am proud to say that my stinkhead is gone! Thanks, BARF diet! Now I can make more friends and get more pets than ever! So here's some advice to my dogs out there that are self-conscious about their stinkhead:

BARF diet, apply directly to the mouth,
BARF diet, apply directly to the mouth,
BARF diet, apply directly to the mouth.

Pet me,


party animal brother comments:
The raw diet has helped many dogs with all sort of issues, ranging from seizures to food allergies and even to things like "stinkhead" and anal gland problems. I know that I was considered allergic to all poultry, beef, corn, wheat, preservatives, and shellfish. While I do not eat many of things anymore, I can tell you that now I'm enjoying my raw chicken wings and turkey necks without a hitch.

As general health improves, health issues will begin to subside. This can be attributed to many factors, with the top 4 as follows:

1. Raw foods contain live enzymes that are killed when food is cooked and heavily processed, as they are in kibble. These enzymes are essential to our health, maintenance, and well-being. They even work within our bodies to prevent cancer, arthritis, and other degernative illnesses.

2. Raw foods are lacking any additives, preservatives, dyes, thickeners... and the list goes on and on. I believe that any time you take out the "fake" stuff and stick to what nature intended you'll wind up seeing an improvement in your health. That goes for both us dogs and our humans!

3. A diet full of raw meats and veggies is chock full of vitamins, minerals and oils, all in their natural state. Many humans believe that the body is more capable of using these nutrients when they haven't been processed. I know these nutrients are tasty when they're hidden within some raw beef meat. That's all I care about.

4. Chewing raw meaty bones keeps our teeth clean. Clean teeth is an extremely important part of our overall health, as the plaque and bacteria that would flourish on a wet or kibble diet eventually builds up and causes gum disease. This is terribly painful, causes tooth loss, and has even been linked to kidney, liver and heart disease! My brother is lucky and since he's so young, his teeth were sparkling white even before the raw diet. But me, on the other hand... I was about 6 months out from having to be anesthetized and given a professional cleaning. But guess what! After only a short time on the raw diet, those delicious meaty bones have made a huge difference in my teeth and little by little they are looking more like my brothers. My humans are also talking about a sudden lack of "doggy breath." Not sure what that's about.

Man, do I love feasting on my enzymes.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 10- My Dad is a Slow Poke

Now that I eat raw meat, I have become a stronger, more agile boy capable of snagging squirrels out of mid-air. But due to the fact that my dad is too slow, I haven't actually caught a squirrel yet. You see, every other day we go running around the lake and I am tethered to my slow daddy and his lack of speed prevents me from eating tasty wild animals. And the opportunities to feast on live creatures are aplenty.

I don't really think of this as running, it is more like fast hunting. First, we run through the park where there is good squirrel and rabbit stalking. Then we cross the street to the lake shore where we chase some geese. When we make it to the beach, I hunt some waves. We then turn around past the monument of Polish astronomer Copernicus, speed by the statue of Polish military general and American Revolutionary war hero Thaddeus Kosciusko and back into the city where I attempt to bite pigeons in the face and eat off their wings.

My point is that my dad is cramping my style by running like a wimp and letting all the wild animals escape my jaws. I am an energetic, raw meat-eating boy and I was bred to hunt. Maybe my dad should start eating some raw turkey necks for breakfast to make him stronger and faster. Either that or I'm going have to whip his bum into shape. There is feasting for the taking out there and I can't let my dad keep holding me back. I'm going to go bite him.


speedy brother says:
Exercise is as important as diet when it comes to keeping yourself in tip-top shape. A nice long walk or a good hard run can work wonders in maintaining a strong and healthy heart and lungs, providing mental stimulation, and it can even help stop any bad or nervous habits that you might have. It's just as necessary for us dogs as it is for humans for get our daily ration of movement in. We weren't made to be couch potatoes!

The amount of exercise we are given should be determined by our current physical condition, our personality, and our breed. Different types of dogs are better suited for that great game of fetch in the lake, while others would do best on a leisurely stroll around town. Generally, working breeds like sporting and hunting dogs need a lot of exercise, and it's a common misconception that small stature dictates a small need. I'll use myself as an example. I'm just a little 20lb cocker spaniel, but I can easily log in 3 miles of running every day, plus swimming in between. Sure, my legs are little but I love nothing more than rolling out of my crate first thing in the morning and sprinting my little heart out -- all before coming home and getting a great big running boy's breakfast. I live for it!

My humans love to go for a run with my brother and me, and they built us up to the task over the course of a few months to make sure that we weren't pushing ourselves too hard. They also spoke to our doctor to make sure our joints and hips were up for it, and once given a clean bill of health we were off! We are a super high-energy duo with crazy gung-ho personalities. If you're not that type, you may enjoy a nice game of fetch in the yard or a walk to the market with your human. Exercise does not have to be strenuous for it to do you good. In fact, a nice slow walk can work miracles in keeping your muscles and mind in working order... especially as you get older. You just need to find what works for you by judging your physical ability and energy levels. I promise you'll love it. And if you're a lean boy like me it makes for more feasting on those hard working days!

a note about weight maintenance:
Since we've started this new diet, my mom keeps calling me to her so she can pet my rib cage. I know she's checking to make sure that my weight is keeping at a healthy level. Well, things must have changed recently because I've been feasting harder than ever! She said that I've been getting too skinny, and since I was a lean boy before I couldn't afford to lose any weight. She did another calculation and has increased my food up to 2.5% (it was 2% previously), and if this isn't enough it will go up to 3%. Although I'm always fed extras on those running days, she says that my metabolism is pretty quick and I burn through those meaty calories. I'm not complaining! I'm always looking for excuses to eat those additional wings.

This just goes to show you that starting your raw feasting at 2% of your weight is just a general measure. As time goes on, your human will have to tailor the meal plan to suit your needs.

Happy feasting!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 9- Crate Puking

Hey guys!

I'm feeling pretty good lately with all of this raw meat in my belly. My apartment has also been feces-free for a few days. I just threw down some chicken wings for breakfast and did a solid poo outside that froze instantly before it hit the ground since it's negative 25 degrees out. I do have to admit that I had done some late-night puking in my sleeping crate a few days this week. Sometimes it just sneaks up on me in my sleep, other times I make it happen. I've found that hurling is a good way to manufacture a late-night snack. However, my mommy has some kind of supersonic puke hearing or something because she always manages to wake up and take my vomit away before I can re-eat my homemade feast. I tend to get sick at night when I eat a heavier dinner involving bones, but if I just eat ground turkey or salmon with veggies I don't. That's why I'm asking my humans to feed me bone-in meats before bedtime. I plan to work on quietly regurgitating some of this while I'm sleeping so I can feast on it again in my crate without my humans noticing. So far I haven't been successful in my attempts, and the past 2 nights I haven't gotten sick at all! My skills need some work.

Happy late-night feasting,

a bark from bro:
Sometimes my brother and I like to share a crate at night, especially when it gets as cold out as it's been lately. However, his frequent vomiting this past week has driven me to spend the nights alone. I've heard friends discuss in the past how they enjoy one of these re-eating feasts, but I'm just not that into it. Vomit is not on the top of my list, and so when I heard that Stanislaw kept getting sick at night I just wanted to avoid it.

These past two nights I have been reconsidering my decision. He hasn't gotten sick at all and I miss my crate buddy. I suppose he's been feeling better because our feasting schedule has changed a bit. As we've been improving and adjusting to the diet, we've been given different kinds of meats and it's made for some super great feasting. We get our big meal in the morning, which usually consists of delicious raw meaty bones (RMBs), some yogurt, fish oil and enzymes. Up until now our dinners have been another light serving of the morning's RMBs, but these past few days we've been given some lean ground turkey with a heaping teaspoon of veggies, fish oil, vitamin E, and some enzymes. My humans tell me that we can expect larger servings of that scrumptious garlicky veggie stuff as time goes on, and we'll also have stuff like beef, pork, rabbit, lamb and fish added to the list.

I go to bed at night dreaming about that stuff! My tummy has been just great... all I need is for my brother to get his digestive juices in order and we'll be on our way to finer feasting. I'm drooling just thinking about it.

Sweet meat dreams.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Friday, February 8, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 7- I Know What is Meat

For your information mom, I know what is meat. In fact, I am an expert on meat. I eat and sleep meat. Chicken wings are meat, lamb is meat, oxtail is meat, and cheese is meat. Pills and supplements are not meat and I refuse to eat them. So stop trying to bury them within my raw meat to trick me into consuming them. I will find them and spit them out. No matter how far you shove them down my throat and massage my neck, I will not swallow them. I eat the raw meat diet for a reason, the reason being that I am a wild animal consuming what I was meant to in nature. If I was in the wild, I would be hunting down squirrels and eating them, biting wings off chickens, and sneaking up on oxen and eating their tails off. Mom, I guess I am okay with eating the veggies you give me as long as you continue to blend them up to resemble the stomach of a kill I made in the wild, but forget about me eating supplements. I mean, how many wild animals do you know that hunt fish oil pills? Whoa, there's a juicy digestive enzyme running up that tree that looks tasty, maybe I'll chase after it! I'm a wild animal, so stop it with the supplements.

bro's notes from the feasting cage:
Whether or not your human supplements your food is a personal choice that they need to make. Tell your person to do their research, consult your doctor, and take into consideration any medical needs you may have before proceeding with these additions. Some people choose to give quite a few extras, while some choose not to give any at all. The following is meant to act as a foundation to give your human a jump start on their supplementation education.

Supplementing your diet:


Fish oil is an excellent source of Omega-3s, EPA and DHA. A good rule of thumb when searching for an oil is to find one that offers 180mg EPA and 120mg DHA per capsule, as this is a good ratio of the two. One capsule can be given daily per 10-20lbs of dog. As this oil is a very unstable substance, light and oxygen can significantly effect the quality of the supplement. It is recommended that your human purchase the pills or capsules, instead of th oil in a bottle. They can give you either a whole capsule, or poke a hole to break the pill and release the appropriate amount of oil for your daily ration.

(Note: Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to have anti-inflammatory qualities and may actually reduce or slow the growth of tumors.)

Olive oil is high in Omega-6s, and some choose to add a touch of this to their pet's food. Omega-6s, however, are generally present in sufficient amounts in the raw diet without needing to be supplemented. It is important to note that Omega-6s can increase inflammation and tumor growth, and too many Omega-6s can "block" proper absorption of the Omega-3 fatty acids.

Flaxseed oil is an excellent source of inactive Omega-3 fatty acids. This means that the body must process this supplement and convert the inactive acids into ELA and DHA that can be processed and absorbed. There is some debate on whether dogs have the enzymes necessary to make this translation possible.


Vitamin E should be given with the fish oil, since it aids in your body's ability to process all of the nutrients it needs from both supplements. E can be added in the amount of 50-100iu per 10lbs of body weight.

Vitamin C can help us cope better with physical and emotional stress, and it also acts as a antioxidant. Some humans choose to supplement vitamin C on a regular basis, while others give lots of C-rich fruits and vegetables in the veggie mix and only add extra vitamin C when we are under stress. This can be supplemented at 250-500mg for every 10lbs, or until bowel tolerance. Bowel tolerance means that it can be supplement in the amount that you can handle before having your tummy get upset. Since vitamin C can cause stomach issues, it is important to introduce the vitamin in small increments to make sure it isn't going to make us sick. Have your human search for C supplements with bioflavanoids.

Vitamin B complex can aid in digestion and help round out a complete diet. Folic acid, part of the B complex, is abundant in fresh meats and isn't as necessary to supplement -- however, if your human does choose to add vitamin B to your diet it is best given as the complex and not as a singular B vitamin (such as B-12 or B-6). I have not been able to find a suggested dosage rate for B.


Calcium should only be considered as a supplement if your human is not feeding you bones as part of your diet. Ground egg shells and bone powder can be added in that case to make the appropriate meat-to-bone ratios. Let your human know that it can be dangerous to over-supplement calcium, so they should speak to your doctor before proceeding.

Kelp is a huge seaweed or algae that grows in nutrient-rich ocean waters. It can supply iodine, lots of minerals and amino acids to your diet. Powdered kelp can be given at 1/2 tsp per 10-20lbs of body weight.

Alfalfa contains vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, E and K, and also has minerals. This can be given at 1 tsp per 10-20lbs.

Apple cider vinegar has been around as a dietary supplement for hundreds of years for humans, although its exact medicinal purposes are debated. It is suspected to aid in digestion, balance stomach acids, and provide a large series of minerals. If your human does purchase ACV, it should be unpasturized, organic and unfiltered (it should appear cloudy, not clear). This can be mixed 1/2 and 1/2 with honey, and given in your food or water. A general rule of thumb is a daily dose of 1/2 tsp for small dogs, 1 tsp for medium dogs, and 2 tsp for large dogs. It is important to note that ACV is very acidic, so it is highly recommended that it is mixed with another food to decrease the strength of the acid.

Digestive Additions

Probiotics can be a very important addition to your diet (and your human's too!). These can be found in specially prepared supplements, or in yogurts with live cultures. Probiotics are important in preserving the balance of good bacteria in your gut, and they aid in digestion and absorption of your feast. One heaping tsp of yogurt can be given for every 5lbs. If giving a prepared supplement follow the dosage guidelines on the package.

Enzymes are something our digestive systems produce naturally to break down our foods, however, for some of us we may not make enough. Many dogs (like my brother and I) need some extra enzymes added to our diet during the first few months on raw food, as our bodies adjust to the new types of feasts we are eating. Animal-based enzymes are best, so tell your human to avoid the vegan or vegetarian varieties that are available. There is an excellent enzyme mix available from B-Naturals online:

L-glutamine can help heal the digestive tract if you are suffering from numerous stomach upsets and other digestive issues, and it can also help an ill dog rebuild muscle tone. This can be given at 500mg for every 20lbs.


Garlic is an excellent addition to your veggie mush, and boy is it tasty. I think I'll eat almost anything that stinks like garlic. This tasty addition acts as an immune booster, antibiotic, and anti-parasitic. Go with what's tasty without going overboard.

Gloucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM -- these are commonly used for dogs with arthritis or other motion-related issues that cause pain. Please have your human consult your doctor for proper uses and dosages to address whatever problems you might have.

Co-enzyme Q10 is used to address a few specific problems, including gum disease and arthritis. A common dosage for this is 1-3mg per pound, but please check with your vet before including this supplement.

It may be easier for your human to purchase a pre-mixed powdered supplement that contains many of the above ingredients in their appropriate amounts. Again, I refer you to the B-Naturals website for these products.

Don't forget to have your human to their homework before starting a regimin of supplements!
I hope this gives them a good starting point.

Happy feasting.

Research for this section is from Lew Olson's K9Nutrition Yahoo! Group, "The BARF Diet" by Dr. Ian Billinghurst, and "Raw Dog Food" by Carina Beth MacDonald.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 6- More Meat!

Because of my tummy problems and the fact I spent the first half of my life living on frogs and lizards that I found in the grass, I am one skinny boy. Since my humans adopted me, I have put on 7 pounds. Now that I am eating the entirely raw food diet, I plan to gain even more and get to normal weight for my breed. This is because when I eat the raw meat, it goes straight into my muscles and not straight out my bum like the kibble I used to feast on. I have noticed that eating raw meat has made me stronger and more muscular. I know I have a lot of hard work and raw feasting ahead of me, but I do believe that one day I will be fast enough to catch a squirrel. My dad tells me I can do anything I believe in if I work hard enough. That's why I am asking my mommy to feed me a larger portion of raw meat. I already get more than my brother (I'm not sure if he notices because I eat faster), but that is not enough for a growing boy like me. I think I should probably get around 17 full chicken wings per day, along with a full oxtail. In fact, it would probably be good for me just to stay in my feasting cage and feast all day long on raw meat and then go outside and hunt squirrels. I want to become as large as a rottweiler, so larger portions are the way to go.

More meat please,


notes from bro's belly:
When first starting the raw diet, it is helpful for your human to have a scale that can measure your food in ounces to make sure that you are getting the right amount of meat each
day. A good starting point is to eat 2% of your ideal body weight if you're looking to maintain your physique or slim down, or 3% if you're in need of gaining some weight like my brother. For example, I'm just a little guy at a healthy lean 20 pounds, so to find my weight in ounces my human multiplied 20 by 16 (the number of ounces in every pound), then multiplied the resulting number by 0.02 (or 2%). It looked like this:

20 x 16 = 320 ounces
320 x 0.02 = 6.4 ounces

I should be eating 6.4 ounces of meat per day. Since my brother and I are fed breakfast and dinner, this amount is divided in half and I get 3.2 ounces of meat in the morning and another 3.2 at night. On the days that I am really active I get a little more. My mom isn't so obsessed about getting 6.4 right on the nose. As long as she's close she feels okay about it -- after all, it's tough to get chicken parts that weight the exact right amount!

As you make your way through those first few weeks of the diet, your person should be checking your weight. Ideally, your human should be able to place their hand on your rib cage and with some gentle petting be able to feel your ribs. They should not be extremely obvious and they should not be tough to find. You should also have a nice "tuck." This means that the soft part of your belly heading towards your groin should have a nice swoop to it, and it tucks up nicely at your groin. Also, if you're sporting a short haired look, your person should be able to look at you from above as see a slightly thinner "mid section" between your rib cage and hips.

Ideal Body Condition
Photo from

Unfortunately, almost 50% of all dogs out there are overweight, so it's important to keep an eye on this. Have your human talk to your doctor if they are having trouble figuring your ideal weight. Of course, as your body changes on this new diet your person should adjust your feeding amounts accordingly.

The general rule of thumb when measuring food weight is to include everything that is completely edible. In other words, since we eat the whole chicken wing, bones and all, the weight of the entire thing goes into figuring our total food intake for the day. On the other side, if a recreational bone has lots of meat on it, the meat may be taken into account, but since we are unable to actually eat the bone part of one of those chewies, the bone weight does not count towards our total. Keep in mind that bone marrow is high calorie and high fat, so go easy on large marrow recreational bones if you are in need of a slimming down.

Since we has such sensitive tummies at the start, we got bland meals consisting of about a tablespoon of yogurt and a teaspoon of pumpkin at every meal with our wings.

However, because our tummies have behaved lately, we will get a meat meal tonight. This will include some ground or cut-up meat without bone, like turkey, beef, pork, or lamb, and we will get just a teaspoon of veggie mush with it. My mom is planning to go easy on the veggies until we're able to digest all that fiber without a problem. Veggie mush is very low calorie and its weight does not add in to your total food ounces for the day. If you need to put on a few pounds, however, the total calories of your food can be increased by adding a raw egg (shell can be added too), some yogurt, or cottage cheese.

Man, breakfast sure looked good.

This is big brother's belly signing off. Happy feasting!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 5- Preparing the Feast

Sometimes my humans leave me and my brother at home and go outside and come back with a huge feast of raw meat. I have no idea where they get this feast because when I go outside looking for it, it is not there. Kind of suspicious, don't you think? Anyway, today my humans arrived home with the feast and laid it out on the kitchen island putting it in little baggies instead of in my mouth. Being in the presence of this amount of raw meat put me into a meat rage. I picked a fight with my brother, thrashed my stuffed lemur toy, and barked like a beast until I was put in time-out. When I was released from time-out, the raw feast was neatly packed away into the meat locker -- I presume for future consumption. My question is, why can't we eat now? And why do I always have to wear that weird dish towel snood on my head while I am feasting on raw meat and bones? And why do I have to go into my feasting cage? This preparation for feasting is making me crazy. First packing it all up, and then when it is actually time to feast, pulling it out, weighing it, scooping yogurt into my bowl, shoveling some blended veggies on top, throwing some digestive enzymes in there, breaking up chicken wings.

Just feed me, humans! I am a hungry boy!

Feed me,

cleaning hints:
It is often far more economical to purchase your meats at wholesalers and butchers. For those that feed larger dogs and/or have lots of freezer space, purchasing things like chicken wings by the crate (usually about 40lbs at a time) can save lots of money. More money saved means more meat, so let your humans know!

When your people come home with these large meat purchases, please try to contain yourself. I could barely stand still but my brother -- he practically became a wild animal. Keep in mind that if you are to feast properly in the future, your people must get everything set and organized. Some humans like to spread the meat parts on cookie sheets and freeze them, so that they may all be placed in a bag together and they can easily pick out one wing or neck at a time without having them frozen into a solid mass. My humans don't have the space for this, so they will set everything out on the island, and with their little kitchen scale they will measure out daily rations for each of us. A day or meal's-worth of chicken wings for me will go into a baggie with a big "A" on it, while Stanislaw's get a big "S" on the package. Our humans will set our next day's feeding in the refrigerator the morning before so that it may thaw. It is very important to never microwave bone-in meats. This can be extremely dangerous to you. If food isn't quite defrosted by dinner time, I have seen my humans place the frozen pieces in some hot water and give it a little time to warm up. It doesn't take long, but it feels like forever to me!

Because my brother and I have long, floppy, hairy ears, we must wear our little dish towel snoods every time we eat so that we don't drag anything through our raw feast. Commercial snoods are available, but if you don't have one at home, they're easy to make with an old, soft dish towel, gently wrapped around the ears and secured with a hair elastic. Make sure these are washed regularly, as they often catch lots of feasting residue.

We have our snoods put on and then we are each put into our own tiny "feasting cage." These are little areas that not only separate us and stop us from arguing over our tasty dinners, but they also prevent us from taking our raw wings and necks to our favorite chewing spots -- the sofa and arm chair. Underneath our little area is a vinyl table cloth that makes clean-up really easy, and doesn't absorb any goodness that may have fallen. This means some tasty lickings for you after you're done eating.

When we are done with our meal, our mom wipes our mouths with unscented, hypoallergenic baby wipes to make sure that we don't carry any feasting juices away from our eating areas. I know I love nothing more than a post-feast, celebratory thrashing on the sofa, and so I get an extra good wipe-down every meal. Once we're clean and set free from our cages, our humans will disinfect the tablecloth and clean up anything that came in contact with the raw meat. Make sure they use a cleaner that kills salmonella and e. coli, otherwise your humans might get sick. Can you imagine that? I can't believe they don't feast with us, let alone avoid the germs! Our bowls are cleaned after each meal with an antibacterial dish soap, and sometimes our mom will spray down the meat locker handles (refrigerator), faucet handle, garbage and our cage bars with lysol just to make sure there are no creepy crawlies growing on there.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 4- I Hate My Mommy

So I'm sure you've heard that I am going through a little detox as a result of my body adjusting to my new BARF diet. I did a few kitchen diarrheas yesterday and also some puking. In fact, I did one particular projectile vomit that grazed my dad in the leg.

So then my mommy comes up with this brilliant idea that it would be good for me to fast in order to let this sickness work its way through my system. Maybe she didn't hear that the BARF diet is about feasting, not fasting. Long story short, I got no dinner last night and I am not speaking to my mommy. I woke up this morning starving and ready to put myself up for adoption. I thought that I would never feast again. It reminded me of the days when I lived on the streets and all I would eat in a week was a banana peel, three frogs, and a Mexican food takeout container.

Much to my relief, I was put in my feasting cage with my dish towel snood on this morning and given a large helping of raw chicken wings. I then did a nice poo outside, so I guess I am feeling better. I'm glad this fasting thing is apparently over. My brother's poo was also good this morning after the long fast, but then he dropped a soft one in the kitchen a few hours later. I was like "come on, man, clean up your act or we are going to have to fast again!" So I am back in action on my raw meat diet after a little starvation scare. My brother has some advice on this whole fasting debacle, but I recommend you bite your humans if they think of following it, even though my stomach does feel better.

No longer hungry,

a hungry word from brother:

If your tummy is not improving and you are still suffering from upsets, fasting may not be a bad idea. Well, if you ask me it's a terrible thing, but I guess the rationale behind it is okay. The thought is that 12-24 hours without food will give your system the chance to settle down, empty itself of what it needs to get rid of, and heal. You should take it easy during your time spent feastlessness, and there should always be fresh, clean water out for you. Your insides should be able to recuperate rather quickly when given the chance, and sometimes they just can't do that if they're constantly being bombarded by irritating foods. Another thing to try would be some slippery elm pills or powder as it coats the intestines with a mucousy layer that helps to protect and soothe. It can even be boiled in some water until it gets thick, and once cooled a little bit of chicken broth or honey can be added to entice you into eating it. But, on your fasting day, that might look quite tasty without the extras. That mix can also be put in with your food, or your human can just add the herb as-is.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Raw Food Diet, Day 3- My Tummy Hurts

I'm not sure if it's the crushing loss the Patriot's suffered last night or my new raw meat diet, but I am feeling sick to my stomach today. I mean, the feasting has been going great. Last night I ate a raw femur bone during the game, as well as some blended-up veggies and raw beef. It was delicious. I did a late-night poo in a snowstorm that was very solid in its consistency. Then, my brother and I went to bed in our crates, happy with tummies full of raw meat.

It was around 2AM when I heard my brother whine and try to break out of his crate for a bathroom emergency. My mom let him out and he had diarrhea all over the living room. Unlike myself, this late-night crying is very rare for my brother who is a mature and obedient boy. I too realized that my tummy wasn't feeling so well, but I was exhausted from a long day of feasting so I went back to bed. When my brother and I woke up this morning, we both did diarrhea poos outside -- very different from the solid, 'grade A' poops I have been doing since starting the BARF diet a couple days ago. Feasting on raw chicken wings for breakfast made me feel a little better, but soon after I suffered from more diarrhea that I let loose all over my kitchen floor, making this the first inside accident I've done since being on my raw diet. Don't get me wrong, I love eating raw meat, but I am a little concerned if it may be the root of my sickness.

So, I plan on taking it easy today. I probably won't go running around the lake. I'm just going to lay back and watch some Animal Planet with my brother. I'll check in again tomorrow, hopefully with a better tummy!


Bro knows:

It is not uncommon for a dog that is at the start of their BARFing experience to go through "detox." This is the body's way of cleansing itself, getting rid of the old and making way for their new. Detox symptoms are not the same for all dogs. Some dogs might vomit, suffer from diarrhea, have dirty ears, itching skin, eye discharge... It is not uncommon for an animal that had ear issues to begin with to have related detox symptoms. Just tell your human to keep a close eye on you when you're not feeling well. If you are vomiting or having loose stools, make sure that you drink plenty of fluids. Have your person pinch up a fold of skin between your shoulders and watch how it moves back into place -- if it falls right back down, your fluid levels should be okay. If it stays up or moves back into place slowly, you need to make a trip to the vet ASAP for some fluids. As with any illness issues, if your person becomes very concerned they should take you to the doctor just to make sure you're doing fine.

Tummy problems should not continue for more than a day or two in a stretch. There are some good ways for your human to help you through these times, if you are in the middle of one of those days. Tell them NOT to give you Pepto Bismal, even though this is commonly recommended to ease diarrhea. Pepto Bismal contains an asprin-like ingredient that can actually exacerbate intestinal bleeding. Instead, have your person give you some canned pure pumpkin (plain, NOT the pie mix). Too much pumpkin can cause loose stools, so tell them to go easy on it. Also, plain yogurt with active cultures can help keep your intestinal bacteria in check. You should get about 1 heaping teaspoon per 5lbs body weight at each meal to aid in digestion.

My mom found that my brother and I do better with the help of digestive enzymes. Ideally, these enzymes should be animal based, and any enzyme mix is best to include pancreatin, pancrealipase, and betaine. Make sure there aren't too many fillers in the pills or powder. Some dogs need a little extra help when starting this diet, some do not. This is pretty easy to figure out as you go along.

Another reason for consistent diarrhea and/or vomiting could be a food allergy. If this is suspected, I would recommend following an elimination diet in order to pinpoint what food or foods might be causing the problem. It is probably best to consult with a holistic vet before embarking on a very limited meal plan, to ensure that you are doing it as effectively and safely as possible.

Finally, it may be a wise choice to start this diet with super bland meals. Don't start veggie mash until you are processing your "intro protein" well. My brother and I began with chicken wings, and we're sticking to those and ground turkey until we're up and running a little more smoothly. Some dogs have iron stomachs and can handle the change well, while others, like my brother and I, are a bit more fragile and need some more easing into things. Feel it out as you go along, and have your human keep a close eye on you throughout your tougher times.

Happy feasting!