BARF Diet for Bulldogs
Have you heard about the BARF diet? It’s an animal food diet that has been rapidly growing in popularity among Bulldog owners recently.
You might be asking yourself why this food plan is called the BARF diet. Does it make your dog vomit so much they lose weight?Are the ingredients so disgusting they make the owner get sick while mixing them together? Well, maybe. That depends on you lol. The gross out factor can be sort of high for some of the more squeamish pet owners.
Actually, BARF is an acronym that can stand for biologically appropriate raw food, or bones and raw food. Thankfully, it’s called the BARF diet because of the ingredients that go into it, not because of it’s power to disgust. Chances are, your Bulldog will scarf this mix down like no other food they’ve eaten.
The BARF diet was introduced to the family pet food scene in 1993 by an Australian veterinarian named Ian Billinghurst. This might be the first you’re hearing about the BARF diet, and, because it is rising in recent popularity, a lot of people think this is a new idea. Actually, this diet has been around for centuries, keeping dogs healthy and happy for generations. It was forgotten in the 1930’s when canned food and kibble became popular.
Most Bulldog enthusiasts can mention right away at least a few ingredients, that once ingested, can make their Bulldog feel sick, cause loss of hair, skin sores, itchy skin, and loose stool as well as a host of other health problems. Makes you wonder how many more of the ingredients in our dog’s food could be secretly hurting him? Nearly every store brand dog food contains at least one ingredient that has been proven “problematic” for our extra sensitive English Bulldogs.
Ingredients like potatoes, eggs, corn, beets, and soy sound healthy, but it’s possible each of them can cause allergic reactions for Bulldogs. Believe it or not, some Bulldogs are even stricken with undesirable symptoms after eating even wholesome proteins such as chicken, salmon, beef and venison. Imagine that, an allergy to protein. For this reason, there is such a thing as a vegetarian Bulldog.
So what goes into a typical bowl of BARF? Ingredients can include:
- Muscle meat, often still on the bone
- Organ meats such as livers and kidneys
- Raw eggs
- Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery
- Apples or other fruit
- Some dairy, such as yogurt
**Bones are a part of traditional BARF diets, but for our special Bulldog Barf Diet I strongly recommend you ground them before feeding. I feel that the addition of even raw bones, although soft, are an unnecessary risk of choking. In fact, it is my opinion all ingredients in your Bulldog’s BARF diet should be minced, ground or cut to very small pieces to avoid choking.
There are tons of potential benefits associated with the BARF diet. It cuts down on tarter buildup, eliminating bad breath and giving your dog healthier teeth. You’ll notice a much shinier, healthier coat, along with combating itchy skin associated with allergies.
The BARF diet also improves your bully’s digestive system, counteracting chronic diarrhea, stool volume, and odor. Your dog’s overall immune system will be strengthened as well, which can lead to better mobility, especially in pets dealing with arthritis. Pet owners have also noticed big differences in energy and vitality in their Bulldogs.
How the BARF Diet Works.
Each Bulldog will need varying portions and ingredients based on his size, age, and history of food allergies. If you have two dogs, it’s possible each of them may need their own food mix based on their own body’s level of tolerance for each food ingredient.
But how much of this mix should be given to your Bulldog to keep them healthy and in shape?
It’s recommended that adult dogs be fed between 2%-3% of their body weight, with slight variations depending on the age of the dog and how active they are. This amount should be split into a morning and evening feeding time. The amount for puppies is suggested at up to 10% of their body weight split over 3 or 4 feedings daily.
Ingredient handling, storage, washing, freezing, and many other factors come into play as well, when considering the BARF diet. The process of preparing your Bulldog’s meals will all be determined by the ingredients you choose and the overall mix of materials.
For example, some meat has to be frozen for a certain period of time before it is safe to feed to your dog. These include meats like salmon and pork, though some experts recommend staying away from feeding raw salmon to your dog at all.
You can prepare bulk amounts of food and freeze them for later servings as well. It’s recommended to freeze servings in vacuum sealable plastic bags or containers in a freezer set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below for safety purposes. Any temperature over 40 degrees can allow bacteria and other microbes to grow in your dog’s food. Pork and wild game such as boar should be frozen for 3 weeks to kill off any harmful bacteria before feeding to your bully.
Are There Dangers Involved Feeding the BARF Diet?
There are quite a few benefits of the BARF diet, but there are also documented possible risks involved. These include threats to human and dog health from bacteria that can reside in the raw meat and other materials involved. Cleanliness and proper handling of all uncooked meats and bones is important. An unbalanced diet can lead to health damage if given to a dog for an extended period. I’ll outline an example of a balanced meal plan fit for your Bulldog below to ensure you get off on the right start.
Why are vets so nervous about raw feeding ? If humans were to cut out all processed food and eat CLEAN, would doctors start to worry ? It makes no sense …
- BARF User Kerry Potter
Also, because some recipes call for bone in the mix, there is the potential for the dog to choke on bones, break teeth or cause internal punctures. Bulldogs are especially prone to choking on bones because a Bulldog has a shorter esophagus than many other breeds and they tend to swallow their food whole. For these reasons, we recommend bones be ground or minced before serving. You may also choose to leave bones out of your Bulldog’s meal plan entirely.
Proper handling of BARF.
You should thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator to ensure your dog’s meat is never at an unsafe temperature before it is ready to be served. You should also never wash your dog’s raw meat ingredients because bacteria isn’t killed in this way, but can be spread by splashing and other factors. Any knives or utensils used in the meal preparation should also be kept separate from other silverware and cleaned thoroughly. Always be sure to thoroughly wash your hands and anything else that comes into contact with the raw food materials.
There’s a long list of ingredients that should never be considered in the mix of your dog’s raw diet. These include fruits and vegetables like onions, grapes, corn on the cob, raisins, walnuts, macadamia nuts, dough, chocolate, and any fruit with pits. These ingredients are harmful to your dog physically, or nutritionally.
How to BARF Diet For Bulldogs + Recipes.
Take a look at the basic structure for any raw meal designed for dogs:
1 1/2 cups of raw chopped meat (including some on the bone)
1/2 cup raw vegetables/fruit (perhaps a mixture of carrots, celery and apples)
2tsp of fish oil
Vitamin/Mineral supplement as directed on product (optional)
We followed this exact model for the Salmon dish we whipped up for our bullies (featured above). We served this meal up raw smothered in 2tbs coconut oil, but it’s wonderful cooked in a skillet as well. Just simmer your coconut oil over medium heat until the salmon is cooked as desired.
An adult dog needs to eat just over 2% of his bodyweight in food each day
So, for a 10lb dog that’s just under 1/4lb of food; for a 50lb dog just over 1lb, and for a 100lb dog about 2.5lbs. You can use this guide to figure out how much your dog needs, but of course bear in mind that all dogs are different and that these figures are guidelines only.
Each meal should be made up of about 75% meat and 25% vegetables.
The bones in any raw dog food recipe should have an equal amount of meat and bone (ie a 1:1 ratio). Big bones with just a little bit of meat aren’t nearly as good as smaller bones with more meat on them.
What Kinds of Meat Can You Base Your Dog’s Diet On?
Chicken – chicken necks, thighs, wings and even feet are great choices
We consider chicken to be a great meat to start your Bully on because it’s cheap and the bones are softer. Try sticking with chicken for the first week of raw. For the second week choose one evening to introduce a new meat like beef. With each new week try adding a new meat for one day.
Turkey – as above
Duck, Lamb, Beef, Rabbit, Venison, Wild game birds such as Pheasant or Partridge
Offal (or organ meat) such as liver, kidneys and so on are excellent, but rich, so use sparingly
Whole fish like Trout, Salmon, Haddock are excellent choices.
What About Fruits and Vegetables?
There are tons of different fruits and vegetables that you can add to any raw dog food recipe. Something worth noting here is that a dogs’ digestive system can’t absorb the nutrients from raw vegetables/fruit unless they are finely chopped or ground (as if when using a food processor or blender) or juiced. Like people, some dogs prefer certain ones and you will find out about your dogs’ preferences as you go along.
Don’t be too rigid about this though as it’s important that he gets a wide variety of fruit and veggies so keep trying different ones until you have a good selection that he will eat.
Also, there are a few that can cause excess gas or other digestive upsets, others that are actually dangerous, even toxic, to dogs. Here’s a list of some vegetables that you can use safely:
- Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Okra, Green Beans, Peas, Pumpkin, Squash, Romaine Lettuce, Parsley, Celery, Sweet Potatoes
You can also add a number of different fruits to any raw dog food recipe.
Here are some of the most common and popular choices:
Apples, Bananas, Pears, Strawberries, Blueberries, A variety of Melons
Other ingredients that can be used to add variety and extra nutritional value to raw dog food recipes include:
Cottage Cheese, Plain Yogurt, Raw Eggs – including the shells, Peanuts or Almonds (NOT Macadamia Nuts), Sunflower seeds, Food grade bonemeal, and Kelp
Obviously raw food has one big difference to dry kibble, and that is the fact that it doesn’t have much of a shelf-life. Whatever isn’t going to be served/eaten right away needs to be refrigerated immediately. Remember the expiration dates of the food you’ve prepared and mark those dates onto the bag before you store it.
To make life a little easier you can prepare large batches of food in one go, then divide it into daily portions (using the guidelines given earlier for the daily requirements) and freeze it. Make sure to defrost thoroughly, in the refrigerator, before serving though – otherwise you could make your dog sick.