The first model I looked at was called BARF - Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. The best website I found for this was www.barfworld.com. The website describes the diet as "...feeding pets responsibly and properly to maximize health, longevity and reduce allergies and vet bills. The diet is based on human grade whole foods including raw meat, finely ground bones, offal and other healthy ingredients such as fruit and vegetables." Their basis is that dogs are omnivores and require all those types of foods to eat a healthy diet.
I was pretty much sold on this diet. The benefits were great - keeps the dogs at a healthy weight, makes coats shiny, less poo to pick up (which means they're using more of the food they eat), and the best part? Teeth! A raw diet helps clean teeth as the animal eats. They brush and floss all at the same time. It cuts down on vet bills so you don't have to get your dog's teeth cleaned.
I talked it over with my friends Amber and Anna, who both feed their dachshunds BARF chubs (a small portion of frozen meat with ground bones, veggies, etc). I looked at the prices, and whoa!! No way. Too expensive. Almost four times what I was spending on the dog food at Costco. I shopped around a bit, compared prices, did calculations (several times) and every time, I came up with the same solution. There was just no way I could afford it. I put it out of my mind; the thought came up every so often over the past year, but I just ignored it.
Then the vet told me it was time for Kool to get his teeth cleaned. He turned 8 in May, and the vet said Kool needed to have his teeth cleaned soon - it can lead to all sorts of infections with the plaque build-up. I kept putting it off, then I had a conversation with my new friend, Stephanie, when we were camping for Dachshunds on Parade.
Stephanie told me about some of the terrible things that are put into dog kibble. I found a dog food report that explained it well here. The part that got me was this:
Meat and bone meal is made of more than just meat and bone. All kinds of things find their way into the rendering pot. In addition to slaughterhouse waste, animals that fit within the 4D Rule are also rendered - that includes animals that are disabled, diseased, dead or dying. Other rendered items include restaurant grease and leftovers, road kill, euthanized companion pets complete with flea collars and the green bags in which they are transported, grocery store items such as meat and baked goods that are past their expiration date (Styrofoam tray and plastic wrap included) and much more.I was shocked, disgusted, and horrified. That made my mind up. I was switching over to a diet that I actually knew what was going into my dogs' mouths. (There are tons of other articles if you are interested. Just Google "rendering plants dog food." Be warned - do not read before eating.)
Stephanie and her friend Star both feed their dachshunds raw as well, but not BARF. The type of diet they use is called Whole Prey Model. The best website I found for this was www.rawfed.com. The theory behind this is that dogs are actually carnivores, not omnivores, and only need to eat meat and bones (including organ meats) just like a wolf in the wild would. What I found most interesting was the article dispelling the myth that dogs are omnivores. If you compare the teeth of a canine to that of a bear or human (omnivores), it doesn't have any molars like we do for chewing/crushing vegetables, grains, etc. All of a dog's teeth are sharp and pointy for ripping flesh and gnawing bone.
After doing a lot more research on the two different raw diets, I decided I fell more in line with the Whole Prey Model as opposed to BARF. I joined a couple of Yahoo Groups and a Facebook Group dedicated to raw feeding. Over the past few weeks, I've learned so much just by reading and observing these groups. I'll share some of my views and opinions some other time, but I think this post has enough information!
Overall, I'm pleased with the results after a month of raw feeding, and I'll share the details (and some pictures!) next time.