BARF problems

Talk about diets, exercise, and disease.

BARF problems

Postby HugABull1 » Sun Dec 28, 2003 11:06 pm

I need a BARF pep talk. I'm pretty tired of making mash, buying meat, finding bones, making sure things are defrosted on time...you know the drill.

I love the advantages to BARF, I love that Angel's demo cleared up, she gained a couple pounds, and Gage is looking great, as well as being less itchy. I love that there's less poop (although now it almost seems like more? I guess that's cause there's three of the beasties lol). I love that their poop doesn't smell like dog poop anymore. I love that my dogs LOVE their food and are excited for meal times, and I love knowing exactly what they are eating.

On the other hand, I have some concerns. First off, before jumping into this, I did all the "pro BARF" research, and read that uncooked bones turn rubbery in the stomach acids, so punctures to the digestive system aren't a risk. So, I didn't worry about feeding my dogs chicken backs & necks. But lately, Angel's been puking off and on (she's always been a puker). I wasn't concerned, except that even though she pukes up to 4 hours after eating, all she's puking up is SHARP, not rubbery, chicken bone pieces (and occasionally beef bone). If they're still sharp four hours later, couldn't it be hurting her inside?

I have to take Angel to the vet soon anyway, I think there's something wrong with her - she's mopey, she's been fussing with her feet (she's got one chewed right raw, which she's now favoring, so she's wearing a cone), her hair looks a bit thinner (to me), her growth looks a bit bigger (again to me, hubby says it's the same), she's throwing up again (she stopped for about a month after we started BARFing), and just over the last few days, she's had 3 pee accidents and 2 poop accidents in the house (gone and done it in my son's room), which is really odd, as she's been housebroken for 18months. I'm giving her foot a couple days, and if it doesn't improve significantly, or if there are anymore "accidents", then it's off to the vets.

Angel's also been looking more bow-legged lately, which could be due to the degenerative nature of her condition (straight hocked/stiffled, with luxating patellas, kept in check by phsyio, which we haven't been doing for about 6 months, as she seemed to have stabilized), but I'm worried it could be due to an improper calcium/phosphorus ratio in her diet.

All of a sudden, I'm reading tons of articles online about how BARF is dangerous, due to the bones and the possibility of bacterial contamination. I'm not worried about the bacteria, I store and handle their foods safely. I am worried about the bones. Pro-BARF says bones are good for teeth and safe, look at wild canids. Anti-BARF says bones cause broken teeth and tears/injury to the throat and digestive tract, most wild canids don't live past 4 yrs old, and they also consume the fur, etc., which helps protect the digestive tract from the sharp bones.

I feel kind of stuck, b/c I don't know I'd be able to find any dry food Gage could tolerate, maybe I should pay the big $$$ and have him actually tested for allergies, or maybe I should go back to the most basic of basic diets for him (straight chicken and bone with veg, NO TREATS or additives), keep him there until he is completely symptom free, then try adding things one at a time? I don't even know if that's possible, as he counter surfs and cleans the floor (the second my son drops a triscuit, Gage hoovers it up, then he's congested and itchy all day/night )

I know some people suggest a homemade cooked diet as an alternative to BARF, but then how do they get the calcium and minerals they would've gotten from the raw bones?

I don't know what to do...I just want what's best for my dogs, be it BARF, kibble, home cooked, whatever. And it can't cost like a zillion bucks, or my hubby will never go for it. Right now, BARF is costing around $100/month for the three dogs, once I start feeding beef bones instead of the ground backs/necks, it'll be more like $70/month.

Any suggestions? Encouragement? Advice?
User avatar
HugABull1
www.HugABull.com
 
Posts: 1500
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 3:21 am
Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada

I completely relate to ya'

Postby jmann4 » Mon Dec 29, 2003 12:45 am

Chilli,

I can understand exactly what you're goin through. I went through it myself.

When I started the BARF diet I had tons of worries. Now after 3 years off and on with my dogs I can tell you, stick with it. Maybe you should get some turkey necks instead of chicken. Or feed a different type of beef bone to them.

One of the things that I noticed with my dogs is they tend to eat less and that worried me a little bit. My female, ironically named Angel as well, and ironically is also a vomit prone dog, excels on hamburger with a little steak thrown in.

Other than that she gets 2-3 turkey neck treats a week.

Basically, mix it up a little bit, use different items instead of bones maybe add a bully stick (make sure it's a real one) instead.

My dogs puke up some of the bone's as well. I think some of the fragments are a little to hard to digest so they get rid of them by throwing up. Of course I'm no expert. However, I have not seen my dogs get hurt from eating a raw bone since I started giving it to them.

Finally, do what YOU feel is right for your dogs.

I hope your dog gets better and you continue to enjoy BARFing your dogs to a healthy lifestyle!
jmann4
 

Postby Kirstan » Mon Dec 29, 2003 12:47 am

Here's the thing with the BARF diet according to my dogs nutritionist: a lot of people don't know what they're doing when they feed it - they don't know what their dogs are allergic or not allergic to - they don't wash the bowls enough - they feed disproportionate amounts of meat to fat to carbs. Many dogs can't or don't handle the bones well and it will make them puke. That said, I do feed my dogs raw BUT I grind the chicken necks first - Maverick grinder - $100 online. It makes me feel better even if they didn't puke!

I had both dogs tested by the NAET method to find out what their diets should be - one has 2 to 3 chicken necks, goat milk yogurt, hard boiled egg, various minerals, ground raw vegetables (equal part above and below ground) plus his glucosamine/chondroiton and vitamin E and the fish oil and apple cider vinegar. The other has equal amounts of a grain (cooked), vegetable mash, and ground chicken necks plus the vitamin E, fish oil and apple cider vinegar. They get to chew on the big femur bones - organic, AHA certified a couple times weekly. The deal is with this is that I NEVER would have figured that diet out without the help of the vet. I did read the pros and cons of the BARF diet and, frankly, thought I'd just be to lazy to do it - I love the results BUT I do it based on her written, calculated, allergy tested diet on BOTH dogs - I fed Cobi the same as Emmitt at first but the results weren't that great - found out after testing, she was allergic to grass, trees, minerals (below ground veggies), dairy and eggs. I fed her 3 out of 5 and, well, we do have trees and grass where we live. In the end, it's all worked out really well due to the prescribed diet and the acupuncture treatments. She's also said that some dogs just don't handle raw well and if it's cooked, it's still healthier than the kibble if it's done correctly.

Everyone always told me I'd be amazed by the change in them and I am but it isn't because I just started in and thought it would work out (I'm not saying that's what you did). Incidentally, I don't notice a drastic stool reduction. I hear a lot of people say their dogs coats were so much glossier with the BARF diet but that could just be b/c of the extra fat or oil - that will make anyone's coat glossier. I'm not blasting the BARF diet and I do feed it but with supervision - I'm an accountant not a nutritionist. I barely get myself the right nutrients!

Luck - Kirstan
Kirstan
Forum Junky
 
Posts: 3813
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2003 7:28 pm
Location: Seattle-ish

Postby HugABull1 » Mon Dec 29, 2003 3:37 am

Thanks for the replies. Angel will see the vet sometime this week, as her foot is worse and I'll discuss my concerns with him then; although he is familiar with their diet and very supportive. FYI this is what I feed:

am: half regular ground beef, half veggie mix (put through food processor), apple cider vinegar, plain yogurt, kelp, ginger, cayenne, and halibut oil. I vary the veggies. They include:

carrot, yam, taro root, radichio, radishes, egg plant, zuchinni, butternut squash, cabbage (small amounts), bean sprouts, alphalpha sprouts, kale, turnip, beets, watercress, parsley, spinach, peas

I sometimes give fruit, including apples, canteloupe, watermelon, bananas, oranges (but only in small amounts, and I brush their teeth after!)

pm: generally partially ground chicken backs and necks, sometimes pork or beef bones, occasionally moose or deer (if I can get it) - I may be getting some buffallo bones in future. Also, I don't like the way the backs/necks come (in a fifty pound bag frozen, which i have to thaw, divide, and refreeze - YUCK!!), so I'm switching to beef bones soon.

Also, chicken feet are a common treat in this house.

A couple days per month I'll feed offal (liver or tripe usually) or fish (canned pink salmon, or raw smelt).

I've started giving the odd cooked grains, generally barley, although tonight they had rice. I stay away from grains as Gage is very allergic, although he seems okay with the barley. Tonight's rice has him snoring something fierce though...
User avatar
HugABull1
www.HugABull.com
 
Posts: 1500
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 3:21 am
Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada

Postby jmann4 » Mon Dec 29, 2003 5:09 pm

What is the NAET method?
jmann4
 

Postby HugABull1 » Mon Dec 29, 2003 5:25 pm

Well, we saw the vet and it's not too bad. Angel has a bacterial and/or fungal infection in her feet, it's the worst in the front one that she'd fussed with. Could've been caused by an allergy, something in the yard (they've been digging up all the old rotted potatoes from the garden and playing with them - YUCK), licking her feet out of boredom, a small cut or scrape, just about anything. Angel's definitely bored lately as the weather is crap, so we haven't been to the river enough (plus there's tons of dead fish there ).

The vet thinks Angel has a crappy immune system, due to poor breeding and being a white dog (remember Angel had demo too, and she has a benign growth on her back, and she's allergic to sutures, and she sunburns in a heartbeat, and she throws up easily...you get the drift).

I talked to him about my concerns about BARF re: the bones. He said that while there was some risk of puncture, he feels it's very low risk. He reminded me that all diets have some risk associated with them, and that BARF may work for some dogs, and not for others. He still feels Angel is doing well on it, particularly with her low immunity/skin issues. He also said that the size of bone pieces that she's vomited up are not a concern. And her general mopeyness/not feeling so hot can be attributed to her feet.

So we're sticking with BARF, and Angel will be fine . She's on antibiotics, and I have to wash her feet with Nizoral dandruff shampoo, leave it on 10-15minutes, rinse, then blowdry, once a day until they're better. Lucky us huh? :roll:
User avatar
HugABull1
www.HugABull.com
 
Posts: 1500
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 3:21 am
Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada

Postby Kirstan » Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:45 am

Gosh - that sucks!

At least your vet supports you in the diet - if her feet stay that way, maybe have her allergy tested to see if some of the veggies make her chew, maybe it's combinations, I don't know. It was weird things for Cobi and after the acupuncture and the treatment, they went away. She did a lot of feet chewing, watery eye stuff.

The wet weather and mud always makes everything worse - at least that's what we have here (not lately though - it's been clear!).

Luck - and Happy New Year!
k

Oh! NAET is Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques and you can view it at www.vetnaet.com/about.html
Kirstan
Forum Junky
 
Posts: 3813
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2003 7:28 pm
Location: Seattle-ish


Return to Health Issues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], MSNbot Media, Yahoo [Bot] and 4 guests