BARF diet help - please :)

This is a dedicated place for all of your questions and answers about Raw Diets. There are also some really cool groups like "Raw Fed" on the topic you can join. This forum is for people who already know they like the raw diet or sincerely want to learn more. Please remember that you are receiving advice from peers and not professionals. If you have specific health-related questions about your dog's diet, please contact your vet!


Member Since
Barked: Fri Feb 1, '13 3:43am PST 
Hello All! I am new to RAW feeding and need some guidance/a but of mentorship smile

My dog, Otis: 18 week old labradoodle (5th gen.) 10.55kilos

Diet: BARF diet: I read books and have been trying to find info online. Otis has been on the BARF diet since 10weeks

Current Sample Diet:
Breakfast: 50/50% patty meet/veg: 140grams, 60grams dog food
Lunch: 50/50% patty meet/veg: 140grams, 60grams dog food
Dinner: 50/50% patty meet/veg: 140grams, 60grams dog food

**He gets offal 3xper week and liver 4xper week
**vitamin E and cod oil daily

Problem: We were giving him chicken wing bones but he started swallowing them WHOLE then throwing them up. We have tried giving him other bones: lamb neck, lamb ribs, but he won't eat the bones.

We know it's VERY important for him to get the bones as part of this diet but we don't know what to do. I heard you can grind the bones but it's not a beneficial. I think there are also supplements you can give, but again, bones are better....

Any guidance you can give would be much appreciated.

I want to play!
Barked: Fri Feb 1, '13 7:30am PST 
What breed is your dog? Can't tell..

Try chicken quarters if a big dog can take it away if the dog ate enough depending on size..

Is the cod oil cod liver oil?

I'd switch to fish oil or salmon oil as it's better plus you don't want to overdo it on vitamin A liver has vitamin a..

I'd prefer to feed chicken and beef liver over cod liver oil as the beef and chicken liver provide other nutrients.

I rotate each week one she gets chicken next beef and so on. When I have pork, turkey and lamb liver I add those in the rotation.

What does your dog do with the lamb ribs just eat the meat and leaves the bone?

Bella my boxer loves lamb ribs, necks, and chicken quarters.

Chicken wings are pretty small so some dogs need bigger item like chicken quarter or half or whole chicken and you take it away once the dog ate enough food.

If I break down a whole chicken I usually leaves the chicken wings on the breast so it is attached to it and not loose.

the chi-weenie
Barked: Fri Feb 1, '13 7:33am PST 
Well he shouldn't be able to swallow bone whole.. try to feed raw meaty bones that are bigger than his head if he's trying to scarf them down. They need to chew and crunch the bone.

Has he ever had a chunk of raw meat not in patty form? Maybe he's just not used to it. Try giving him some boneless meat and see if he eats it. If he's never had it, it may take him a while to realize he has to chew pieces off.
and once he learns, he can use that same skill to chew meat off of a bone, and as long as the bone is big enough, he shouldn't be able to swallow it whole. Hopefully he will try to chew the bone too.


I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Fri Feb 1, '13 9:44am PST 
What is in the patties? Just meat and veggies or is there bone in there as well?

What is 'dog food'?

That is a lot of veggies, are you following a particular diet that says to feed 50/50 patties, offal/liver, bony chicken and dog food? If the patties don't have bone then he needs bone and that does sound like a good amount of organs. I wouldn't feed veggies at all but if my dog couldn't eat bone for stool bulk I would feed about 25% veggies at the most, without doing any figuring it does look like that is about what is happening here.

I think the others are on to something, feed larger bits. A chicken quarter is likely a good size. After your little glutton grows up it is possible he might do okay with small stuff. Max would eat necks and wings too fast when he started and now will chomp them up well enough. They don't have to take bites, just chomp a number of times before swallowing. If it comes back then there wasn't enough chomping. Depending on what dog food is he may not need bony chicken for nutrition anyway and you could just offer a larger piece a couple times a week instead of the dog food or one of the patties.

Or if you have a stock of the small pieces and it is important for him to respect the piece you could try a trick that works for Max. I can force the knobby end of a chicken foot, wing or drumstick into an appropriately sized kong and he will have to chew down to the kong. Max hasn't figured out how to pull the bony stuff out of the kong, some dogs likely would. Afterwards I have the fun job of getting that knob back out of the kong though. So far so good!

I would switch to fish oil as you are doubling up on vitamin A and there is plenty in your diet already. I would watch how much vitamin E you are offering too, more is not better. The standard 400iu cap is enough E for 20 days for Max but I do give it about twice a week anyway - senior dog and all.

And small pieces of chicken are a bore. Pups need to have some fun no matter what they are doing - right? See if you can find larger bony bits so he can chew for half an hour or so sometimes. Pig feet, slabs of beef or pork ribs, beef/pork/lamb neckbones, whole joints of legs..... Max is getting a beef rib+organ/tripe for dinner today and yesterday he got a baby goat head+emu heart.

Otis-Beast-Vicio- us Bird Killer
Barked: Sat Feb 2, '13 4:21am PST 
Thank you all for your responses. Esp. Maxwell! You have some very good suggestions. I have only been giving him 5 drops of Vit.E per day and I will switch over to regular fish oil when the Cod Oil pills run out (pretty soon). I am definitely going to try putting the chicken wings in the Kong...I think it might to the trick! And, I will also try giving him larger bones.

Basically, what he was doing was crunching up the chicken bones while still encased in the meat, then was able to just swallow it :0

Maxwell, how do I find out if the dog food/kibble has enough calcium so that I would only give him the bones a few times a week, like you suggested.

Because we are new to this, we are wary of taking him off commercial dog food/kibble completely until we have more of a handle on it. I am however happy to replace kibble or patties for the bones.

As for the veg quantity, that's how much the BARF diet recommends. What are the down sides to feeding him that much? He loves it and never leaves a piece of ANYTHING in his bowl.

Many Thanks!

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Sat Feb 2, '13 12:02pm PST 
The bag of kibble should have a list of nutrients on it or you can contact the company for that information. If you take 100 grams to be 100% then 100 grams of kibble that is 1.1% calcium has 1.1 grams or 1100mg of calcium present.

Here is the sticky part. I don't know how much calcium your pup needs. For prey model raw we offer pups about the same amount of food as the adult dog would need in the same proportions. If that is so [it is what I will do if I have a pup] then feeding the amount of calcium your pup will need as an adult would be appropriate. Max needs about 1000mg a day, a 60 pound adult dog needs about 1550mg a day.

Most high quality kibbles have more calcium than dogs need which is the reason large breed puppy kibbles can be a good idea and is the reason I wonder if you need to feed bony stuff daily.

Downsides to veggies? Expense. Carrots and cabbage are the only ones cheaper than meats around here for instance except maybe chicken. For leafy greens bok choy can be cheap per bunch but per pound it is still more expensive than meat. I bought frozen spinach a couple weeks ago that was $2.80 a pound. Max never gets stuff that costs that much! I would be feeding the same amount of meat anyway as veggies don't give much energy or put on weight. Max doesn't need them when I go through his diet needs I would have to feed huge amounts to fill any nutrient deficits so I would rather not. Last time he got some canned pumpkin it came out completely unchanged, he doesn't even assimilate the most processed veggies. Once your pup is grown you can experiment with more or less and different combinations of foods to see what works for you. As he is growing it is probably more difficult to evaluate what is going on and you are feeding a recommended diet that many dogs have grown up well on. If you are comfortable feeding BARF then keep it up.

Really it sounds like he is eating properly. Max just chomps very rapidly for about 40 seconds and down goes the wing/neck. He has had a wing redo [he was not happy but I made him eat it again] once and a neck fail [found whole neck in his stool] once in five years.

Otis-Beast-Vicio- us Bird Killer
Barked: Mon Feb 4, '13 1:00pm PST 
Ok,so I am feeling quite dull at the moment. I am looking at the dog food nut. guide and from what I can tell it basically has very little calcium?????
UGH! Am I just not reading it correctly?

I also read I could add eggshells for calcium supplement. 1/2tsp per 1lb of food....I am considering that...thoughts?

I cannot believe you found a WHOLE neck in your dog's stool! WOW!

Mind glancing at the info below and letting me know what you think? Sorry!
Thanks again for all your help!

Duck 28% (Duck meat meal, Duck gravy),Brown rice (26%), Barley Meal (14%), Potato Protein (10%), Rapeseed Oil(8%), Sugar Beet Pulp (6%), Linseed (5%), Alfalfa (2%), Minerals (includes Kelp 250mg/kg, Yucca Extract 200mg/kg, Marigold Meal 50mg/kg, Rosemary Extract 5mg/kg), Seaweed (0.4%).

Nutritional Additives; Vitamin A 21,000IU/kg, Vitamin D3 2,000IU/kg, Vitamin E (a � Tocopherol) 500mg/kg, Zinc Chelate of Amino Acids Hydrate 200mg/kg, Iron Sulphate Monohydrate 167mg/kg, Manganese Oxide 156mg/kg, Zinc Sulphate Monohydrate 97mg/kg, Copper Sulphate Pentahydrate 30mg/kg, Sodium Selenite 9mg/kg, Calcium Iodate Anhydrous 3.3mg/kg. Calcium 1.8mg/kg, Phosphorous 0.16mg/kg, Omega 6 4.65mg/kg, Omega 3 1.33mg/kg.

Typical Analysis:

Protein 30%, Crude Fibre 3%, Oils and Fats 11%, Crude Ash 7%, Moisture 10%

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Mon Feb 4, '13 5:21pm PST 
That is because there are very few analysis of meaty bones out there. Monica Segal puts a couple into each of her books to help us out and there is one that we can retrieve with the wayback machine from a barf site. Take out any pesky spaces or go to the archive site and put the barfworld address in to retrieve it again.
http://web.archive.org/web/20111207140751/http://www.barfwor ld.com/html/barfworld/analysis.html

Long ago I used those numbers and made up custom food profiles on nutritiondata.com, a super helpful nutrition site, but I probably ought to recheck how well I did!

Member Since
Barked: Tue Feb 5, '13 11:17am PST 
I don't know the breed profile for a labradoodle, but a labrador retriever is considered large breed.

Large breed puppies - a puppy that has a fast growth spurt - need lower calcium than regular puppy food so that their bones will not grow faster than their ligaments.

Any puppy, needs to be careful with calcium overload anyhow for balanced growth.

Just thought I'd throw that in there to help guide you.

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Tue Feb 5, '13 6:18pm PST 
Exactly. If Max ate kibble he generally would get about 200% of his daily requirement of calcium and phosphorus from an adult premium kibble if he ate about 600 calories/150 grams. If he ate the amount the bag reads I don't even want to look to see how much over it would be! BUT the rest of the ingredients may be binding some of the calcium so he wouldn't actually be getting to use all that calcium. That part I have no way of knowing, just know that is part of the strategy of making kibbles a 'complete and balanced food'.