If you are planning to introduce your dog to raw food, it is important that you understand the different aspects of not only feeding but also handling raw food. Here are some pointers you need to keep in mind when feeding raw food:
- Food safety techniques – Generally, the basic food techniques when handling dog food is not any different from those that apply to handling people food. For starters, you need to clean your hands after handling meat. You will also need to ensure that the cleaning cloths are washed regularly. Benches too must be cleaned with hot water and soap to prevent the growth of bacteria. Although these are the basics there is much more that can be done in ensuring safety.
- Thawing food – When you are introducing your dog to BARF, it is important to ensure that the meat is fresh. The easiest and best way to thaw your pets meat is by thawing slowly in the fridge. You can also consider thawing it for a couple of hours in a container overnight. Be sure to thaw just as much as is needed during the day.
You may also use a microwave to thaw raw food even though this calls for extreme caution because the microwave heat tends to begin cooking the food from the bones to the meat. In fact, thawing raw food with microwaves is not recommended as it can splinter resulting in internal complications. Thus, the best way to thaw food is at room temperature. If you do not have time and are in a hurry, you can soak the food in cold water in your kitchen sink – You’ll be amazed how quickly that works!
- Food allergies - Some dogs can exhibit allergic reactions upon the introduction of BARF. If you suspect that your dog is reacting to BARF, you can identify the cause through an elimination diet. That is, feed your pet with one food item at a time with the exclusion of supplements and watch out for possible reactions. This is a good way of knowing the particular thing that the dog is reacting to. Be sure to keep a diary of the food item you have introduced daily and give it two days before introducing another food item.
- Omega oils allergies - Your dog may also react to Omega oils. Some dogs are known to react to Flaxseed oil therefore; if you are using it then you can consider using a fish oil such as Salmon Oil instead.
Other possible reactions to look out for
Constipation – When you notice that your dog is constipated, you can consider introducing pure pumpkin that helps in loosing the stool. In addition, you will have to consider reducing the amount of raw bones and add the veggies. You may also consider adding liver in the meal.
- Diarrhea – When your dog is new to BARF, it may suffer from diarrhea due to normal detox process that involves elimination of impurities and toxins. Diarrhea can also be caused by a reaction to a quick addition to many things. If the diarrhea is caused be a new food addition, you can apply elimination diet and watch the reaction. Feeding your dog on pure pumpkin will stop diarrhea. You can also add honey, applesauce and slippery elm powder to settle your pet’s tummy. It’s worth noting that if you dog is on dry or canned food at present and suffers from Diarrhea then switching to a BARF diet could improve their stools.
- Mucous in stool – The presence of mucous in stool can appear at any point regardless of how long you have fed your dog on BARF. If you notice mucous at the onset of BARF, it may signify elimination of junk from the system by the digestion track. If the mucous stool has traces of blood, it may imply an inflammation of intestinal track. Mucous in the stool can also mean the presence of coccidian, a parasite that is common in puppies. Thus, you may want to drop a sample at the vet.
- Vomiting – There are various reasons for vomiting. It may be a sign of normal detox process. It may also mean a reaction to a new food item or regurgitation especially if he gulped it at first. Your dog may also vomit it the stomach was completely empty or if he drank too much and too fast on an empty stomach.
In summary, it is important to understand how to handle B.A.R.F when feeding raw food as well as the possible reactions from the introduction of this diet in order to be able to respond appropriately to ensure your pet is comfortable.