Three ways to change your dog’s diet to B.A.R.F
Hello dear friends!
The first questions that arise when we consider changing our dog’s diet to B.A.R.F (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods – ACBA in Spanish) are: “Where do I start? Can I do it overnight? Is there something dangerous?
In this article I would like to share my experience with diet change, from Tokyo. The truth is that the lack of information led us to do it twice. On the first try, nothing went right … I got confused and even a little scared.
“My ignorance in this matter had overcome me.”
Tokyo’s favorite dish. Joke, she loves them all!
During the first two months of having Tokio, I tried many brands of feed, from the most expensive to the least expensive. I tried all kinds of them: just fish, for a sensitive stomach, just chicken, etc. etc. Nothing worked. So, as his belly problems continued (he had diarrhea every two by three) I decided to start with a B.A.R.F.
My ignorance in this matter has overcome me. I thought it would be as easy as going from one day to the next. I couldn’t be more wrong.
“Her stomach problem would persist and I didn’t know what to do”
On the first try, I directly gave Tokio raw food cut into small pieces. At the end of the day, it is a dog, a pit bull that can eat these meats cut into pieces (I did not give him bones, because he ate them before and always vomited them, I think it is because he ate them super fast). She ate it all, and I thought he was done, it was that simple … but he was throwing up all night.
I just went back to giving her dry food.
Overall Tokyo was fine, I mean she would never complain about her stomach ache or something. The only bad thing he had most of the time was diarrhea. And precisely this was not good at all. Imagine that you have to go down to the street about every two hours, also at night. I could only imagine how she suffered during the day, since I am working a lot.
Finally, at the end of the year, I decided to give the B.A.R.F diet another try. This time I did some great research, read lots of articles, joined some B.A.R.F diet groups, or followed people on Instagram who fed their dogs raw food. All of this helped a lot and earlier this year, we made the big step. Tokyo started the B.A.R.F. This time luck was on our side.
First, we always want to do it fast, and it is one of the most common mistakes. Basically I did that one!
Easy, let’s do it slowly. You’ll have plenty of days to cook these tasty meals, so don’t rush and start off on the right foot, slowly.
The other most common mistake is that we don’t fit the dog. While the B.A.R.F diet has some simple and conclusive statistics, we still have to adapt to our animal differently. Don’t mix all the food at once. You have to do it little by little, to rule out any type of allergy and avoid any type of digestive problems.
1 – Switch to B.A.R.F diet with fasting
It is the fastest and easiest way to make the change for your dog. It consists of stopping to give the usual food and to fast for 24 hours. After that, you can start with a full B.A.R.F diet menu. The drawback of this way is that not all dogs can fast (puppies, older dogs or with certain pathologies).
2 – Switch to B.A.R.F with a soft diet
This is how I did the Tokio transformation. As Tokyo became ill again and had diarrhea, I started to give her a soft diet (the normal thing in this case), which consisted of cooked rice, chicken, potatoes, plain yogurt and vegetables. Since I already did the research on the B.A.R.F diet, I decided to take advantage of it and start using it. After a few days of giving him a soft diet, I started mixing it with raw chicken meat (this time I bought a B.A.R.F starter pack from NATUKA). It is a menu of 15 frozen sausages of 500g each. The pack serves to make the transition in a progressive and healthy way. They recommend doing the B.A.R.F diet in the morning, and food that you already ate in the afternoon.
If all goes well, you can eliminate the processed food after 5 days or a week, and move your dog to the Natural diet.
In the case of Tokio, first I put 1/4 of Natuka meat and 3/4 of soft food, then half and half … (always checking if she was healthy and had no problems digesting the food) and so on, until I gave him the complete meal with raw food. I was just adding probiotics and steamed vegetables (so they don’t lose their properties) as I noticed I had some trouble digesting them while they were raw. The best way is to give them steamed vegetables since when they are cooked they will lose most of the vitamins.
When after making the transformation, I followed up with this B.A.R.F. I work long hours a day, so I don’t have much time to organize Tokyo food. Each menu lasts around two weeks and has all the necessary ingredients. However, I add more things to it, like yogurt, egg (2-3 eggs / week), fruit or fish for omega-3 etc.
3 – Switch to B.A.R.F with mixed foods
It consists of keeping the usual dog food and mixing it with raw food, until it makes a complete transition to a B.A.R.F. Mainly speaking, we calculate the daily amount of our pet food and give it 3/4, and 1/4 of the B.A.R.F. ration. After a few days, half of your pet’s regular food and half of the raw food, and so on, until you transform it into a full menu. Always keep an eye on your pet, if the food is good for her.
It is very important not to mix dry food and raw food, since the digestions are different, and could cause some problem due to the fermentation of the food. Keep in mind that the feed digestion is 8 hours and raw food 6 hours. Therefore, we will leave at least 8 hours of difference between both foods, an example is to offer the dog dry food at night and raw food in the morning.
It is often used to switch to the natural raw diet, and there are many dog owners who choose a mixed form, as a basis for switching to B.A.R.F for their dogs. This method is not recommended for those animals that present digestive sensitivity, assuming a very abrupt daily change and some digestive problems.
WHAT AMOUNT OF FOOD B.A.R.F SHOULD I GIVE TO MY PET?
(current / ideal)
|Sedentary or sterilized adult||2%|
|Puppy 2-4 months||10%|
|Puppy 4-6 months||8%|
|Puppy 6-8 months||6%|
|Puppy 8-10 months||4%|
|Puppy 10-12 months||3%|
Lulu: 5-year-old crossbreed dog, quiet lifestyle without much exercise (walks 3h / day), not overweight. Weight 21 kg.
Calculation: 21 Kg x 2% = 0.42 (420 gr) / day
Tokio: 16 months, crossbreed pitbull with warren hound, moderate exercise (4-5h / day), not overweight. Current weight 22 kg. I want her weight to be 23 kg.
Calculation: 23 Kg x 3% = 0.69 (690 gr) / day
If you still have some questions, you see a professional. Investing in health and nutrition is the best investment you can make for your dog.