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Raw info

General guidelines
People who feed their pets a raw diet are essentially trying to mimic what their pet's wild relatives
eat in their natural habitat, while eliminating the unwanted ingredients of that diet/ lifestyle. Most
variation of raw food diet, eventually have more or less the same ingredients, the differences and
variety can contribute to an even better balance in the diet. (Read more on diet variations)

The ingredients:
• RMB :All advocates of raw food for pets agree that the diet should be based on RMB (Raw
Meaty Bones). The basic principle of RMB is that the meat and bones are served together,
in their natural form to promote the ripping, tearing, gnarling and chewing. There are parts
with greater ratio of bone and there are meatier parts. Since feeding whole carcasses is
part of the philosophy, feeding all the parts, meaty and boney will pretty much even
things. If your pet is large enough to eat a whole carcass, or half (chicken for instance),
that would be the perfect bone to meat ratio. Bones should make about 10-15% of the diet
and the meat 60-75%.
• Internal organs: offal is an excellent natural source of many nutrients your pet needs, and
would naturally eat. The internal organs are very rich (especially the liver) and therefore
should make only 5-10% of the diet.
• Fruit, veggies (and/or table scraps): As carnivores in the wild also tend to eat the stomach
contents of their herbivore prey and other food they can scrape, it is agreed that table
scraps or fruit and veggies should make the rest 15-25% of the diet. These provide a wide
range of minerals and other nutrients less common in meat, and give another type of
balance to the diet. As carnivore eat much of there veggies and fruits from the stomach
content of others (and cannot digest them well themselves) it always advised to mush or
pulverize them.

These ratio guidelines are for dogs. Cats, which are much more strict carnivores, would have a
significantly smaller percentage (2-10%) of fruit and vegetables, and higher RMB content to make
up for it. Cats with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) should not have any veggies or fruits in
their diet. The principals though are the same.

Types of meat
As a general rule, the more variety the more balanced the diet. Carnivores can and should eat any
animal they (or you) can get their hands on. Rabbit, pheasant, quail, venison, elk and duck are
now available on regular or seasonal basis. Wild game and fish are low fat and probably the best
choice. Chicken, beef, pork, lamb etc. are fine as long as they come from a reputable source.
There is a wide variety of non-medicated and organic meats if you are so inclined. Most pets will
gladly settle for 'human grade' meat as well. Dogs may eat meat that is starting to go bad, they
may even bury it and eat it when it's 'ripe'. Cats on the other hand want and need to have fresh

How much
The general guideline is 15-20% of the pet's ideal bodyweight a week or 2-3% per day.
Protein Protein
Protein Total
Meat Bones Organs Veggies (2%)
& Fruits

2.5kg / 7.5 -
30 - 37.5gr 5 - 7.5gr 2.5 - 5gr 50gr
5.5lbs 12.5gr
5kg / 11lbs 60 - 75gr 10 -15gr 5 - 10gr 15 - 25gr 100gr
10kg / 22lbs 120 - 150gr 20 -30gr 10 - 20gr 30 - 50gr 200gr
15kg / 33lbs 180 - 225gr 30 -45gr 15 - 30gr 45 - 75gr 300gr
20kg / 44lbs 240 - 300gr 40 - 60 gr 20 - 40gr 60 - 100gr 400gr
25kg /
300 - 375gr 50 - 75gr 25 - 50gr 75 - 125gr 500gr
30kg /
360 - 450gr 30 - 60gr 60 - 90gr 90 - 150 600gr
35kg / 105 -
420 - 525gr 70 - 105gr 35 - 70gr 700gr
77.1lbs 175gr
40kg / 120 -
480 - 600gr 80 - 120gr 40 - 80gr 800gr
88.2lbs 200gr
45kg / 135 -
540 - 675gr 90 - 135gr 45 - 90gr 900gr
99.2lbs 225gr
50kg / 100 - 50 - 150 -
600 - 750gr 1kg
110.2lbs 150gr 100gr 250gr

Ideal bodyweight means that an overweight cat or dog should be fed 2-3% of the weight they
should be, a day. A more active pet would probably require a bit more. Some small toy dogs also
tend to have higher metabolism and activity rate. If the ribs are starting to get prominent (and it's
not a breed trait), start increasing the quantity. If they disappear, however, under a growing layer
of fat, it is time to cut down on these portions. For a mature healthy dog the weekly quantity can
also be divided to six, providing a day (some even recommend two non consecutive days) of fast.
Puppies and kittens should eat much larger quantities and much more frequently. They may eat
from 5% of their body weight up to what they it as adults (depending on their age). In some
cases they should have unlimited access to food. (Read more on feeding puppies and kittens)
Pregnant and lactating moms should also have extra food, 5-7% of their bodyweight per day, with
extra bone content. (Read more on lactating and pregnant moms).

Since carnivores in the wild are not getting meals served to them in regular hours, the feeding
schedule is usually determined by the feeder. Once or twice a day seems to work for most pets
and owners. The benefit of feeding once is the openness of the pet to try new things. Puppies and
kittens should be fed up to 4-6 times a day.

The so called Balance

We are constantly bombarded with the notion that a diet should be balanced and contain all the
nutrients a pet needs. While the notion is correct it is important that this balance does not have to
stand the test on daily bases (as "dog food" adds claim). If that were true, fasting, which is highly
recommended, would be unacceptable. The wild animal's body (including the domesticated wild
ones) is perfectly capable to create that balance with an irregular diet. Balance should be looked
over periods of weeks. As long as the right ingredients were fed in the right quantities in the
overall time frame, the so called balanced is archived.

Most producers of raw food for pets have whole meals that do make a balanced diet, but would
still recommend variety. For example: A Beef, fruit & vegetable meal: may contain 75% beef (7-
10% offal), combined with 25% fruit and vegetable mix which includes broccoli, carrot, cabbage,
kelp, kale, yams, apples (no seeds), garlic, molasses (sugar extruded) and alfalfa. The same
proportions of ingredients with a different kind of meat or a different choice of veggies would
obviously result in different nutrients. At the same time the division could be made over time,
meaning: Give different types of meat (including types and kinds of offal) in 75% of the time and
pure (pureed) fruits & veggies in 25% of the time. The prey model will use a similar principle and
recommend different RMB from a wide as possible range of animals. (Including whole carcases of
pretty much anything you, or your pet, can find). In the prey model some will also use table
scraps and human food leftovers as complementary to the pet's diet and therefore add to the

The 'recommended' proportions for a balanced diet consist of (about):

• 10-15% bones
• 5-10% offal
• 60- 75% meat
• 15-25% veggies (and fruit)

For the average pet owner these principles open a wide variety of options:
The easiest (and most expensive) choice is the pre-packaged minced portions which contain all he
ingredients. Other options include each of the varieties (or combinations) in separate packages,
which give the flexibility to create other (more economic) meals or proportions. For the more
'involved' pet owner there is an option to get only the 'hard to come by' (such as more exotic
animals), or the hard to make (ground bones), and make the rest out of produce bought at the
supermarket. Bulk meat at sale prices may make for a raw food diet at 'kibble like' budget.

The importance of bones

Bones are at the very core of the raw diet. (Some would say that a pet can lead a full healthy life
on RMB alone). One important benefit of eating raw (and NEVER cooked) bones is mechanical: the
'natural dentistry' effect. The chewing, crunching and ripping (in case of RMB) actions, naturally
'brush' and 'floss' the pet's teeth wile also massaging the gums.

This is of course, much more evident with whole bones, and is the main reason that whole RMB
are recommended as part of any raw diet. Other benefits of bones are nutritional: Bones provide a
wide range of nutrients.
• Minerals - Calcium and Phosphorus among many others. Calcium and Phosphorus are not
only abundant; they are in good balance to what the body needs. The bones are a living
tissue (Raw bones that is) and contain all the minerals that are so important to grow…
healthy bones. A healthy bone eating plenty of bones will probably need no mineral
supplements what so ever. No artificial calcium measures to the effect of digesting bones.
This is especially crucial for puppies and lactating moms.

• Protein - Not only is there plenty of protein, it is of high quality (unlike the protein
'extracted' from bones). This protein contains all the essential amino acids (other then one
which is abundant in meat) needed. As far as amino acids, again, a diet of RMB will provide
everything the pet needs.

• Fatty Acids - Bones contain plenty of fat and fatty acids mostly Omega 6. (chicken and
pork are the richest in that department.)

• Fat soluble Vitamins - Raw bone's fat contains deposits of Vitamins A, D and E. (The do
vanish when the fat breaks down when cooked)

• Marrow - The marrow has plenty of nutrients vital to the production of blood, mainly
copper and iron

• Energy - Fat and protein make a significant part of the bones, and therefore provide lots of
energy (something to watch for in overweight dogs.
Bones are extremely valuable to puppies and their moms, during pregnancy and lactation.

Supplement - "something added to complete a thing, supply a deficiency, or reinforce or extend a

In general a balanced raw diet gives the pet all the nutrients that he needs to maintain a healthy,
long life.

There are many view on how and what to add, from view that "all those expensive supplements
just make for expensive urine", to long lists and specifics. In a culture where 'more is better', the
one thing everyone agrees about is the danger of over supplementing. Supplements in access can
cause diarrhoea, gastric distress (especially if it is plant based), and in the long run strain the

Having said that, supplements can be a very healthy addition to any diet, especially to the weak,
sick and elder pets. The thought behind supplementing should be a way to reach balance and not
to disturb it. There many commercial supplements which include mixes and so called formulas.
The ingredients list is usually long and impressive. It is important to tailor/ find the supplement
that is right for your pet's health and diet. For example: A dog that has no fish included in his diet
could probably use a fish oil supplement reach with omega 3, or an old dog that has been fed
commercial dog food all his life would surely benefit from the addition of some pro-enzymes to his
diet. The key is to know your pet and add what may help him. More is not always better.

The Transition to raw

• Who can transition
• Cold turkey or slow
• Expected side effects
• Tips and tricks

The hard part is making the decision, then sticking to it.

It is important to know what may happen and be prepared.

A healthy dog may go through the transition without a twitch, but some may be more picky or
sensitive then others and there may be a few bumps along this road. In the long run, the feeding
regime becomes a second nature, your pet will enjoy the food and most importantly you will both
enjoy her improved and healthy life.

Who can transition?

As a rule of thumb every cat or dog will benefit immensely from a raw diet. Of course the younger
and healthier the pet, the easier the switch. Puppies and kittens will have the easiest time,
especially if they have never eaten anything else and can see their mom doing the same.
Remember THIS IS natural for them. Pets who have bin fed commercial food all their lives may be
reluctant to change their habit and may require some help and 'persuasion'. Cats (and some
dogs) are known to be a little fussy when it comes to their food so again some patients and
maybe cunningness may be necessary. For very old or sick pets more care should be taken. If in
doubt it is always advisable to consult with a pet health professional that has experience in the
subject. Some vets are not yet open to the raw food diet, and naturally will not be able to provide
positive advice.
From testimonials and stories we have heard and read, it is often harder for the human involved
then the animal…

Cold turkey or slow

Once you have decided to go forth, comes the question: How do we make the transition? There
are probably as many answers to that question as the number of pets who have made the switch,
but there are two main methods: 'Cold turkey' and slow.

The 'cold turkey' (fast) method is simple: up until yesterday your pet ate commercial/ cooked
food, from today he will find raw food in his bowl. Countless are the stories of a dog sniffing and
licking, and after some hesitations gobbling it all as if there is nothing more natural. (And there
isn't..). The fast method works best for dogs who are habitually omnivores. If you have the kind
of dog who will munch on anything you throw his way anyway, he will probably not even think
twice about some raw meaty bones. Most hungry, healthy pets (hungry being the operative word)
will give whatever is given to them a chance. Now, letting your pet be hungry (although against
your 'parental' instinct) is not cruel, it is something they are naturally built for. Wild animals
cannot order their prey on regular hours and may go days if not weeks without food. We do not
advise to starve your pet, but a day of fast is in many cases even advisable. In fact some will say
that a day of fast every week is good practice for a healthier digestion system. Most pets are in
the habit of eating more then they need and the problem of pet obesity is the best evidence. A
day of fasting will let your pet, literally, get that commercial food out of his system, and, make
him much more receptive to trying a new menu.
The slow method: This involves some kind of gradual transitioning from one type of food to the
other. One way is give both at the same time, either mixed to one consistency, or side by side.
The idea behind this is that the taste of the old food will still be there and therefore will seem
familiar. The portions of the mix will slowly shift towards the raw until it will all be raw. The
downside of this method is that you are feeding two foods with very different digestion times and
may cause an upset stomach (more then just switching). If doing this DO NOT try to wet the dry
kibble, it will make it in to a soup of bacteria and fungi in a very short time. A second way is to
alternate meals: One meal of, whatever he is used to, and one raw. The objective is to slowly
eliminate the old meals and stay with the new. If your pet does well with this method, chances
are he would have been fine with going 'cold turkey' anyway and it was mostly to YOUR benefit. A
third, for people who feed homemade cooked food, is to slowly reduce the cooking time until it
eliminated altogether.

Expected side effects

It may get worse before it gets better

Consider the transition a healing process. As with many cases of natural healing symptoms may
get worse or have a sudden outburst. That is normal and probably not as frightening if you are
expecting it. The most common symptoms are itchy skin, rashes and pimples bad breath,
diarrhea, runny eyes and smelly ears. This is a part of the healing process as the body is
detoxifying. These symptoms should pass over a period of time, usually a few days. It is always
advisable to use your judgment and in any case the symptoms seem excessive or persisting for a
long period consult a pet health professional who is familiar with the process. Abnormal stools

As with any change of diet there could be direct effect on the stools.

• Diarrhea or mucusy stools are very common during the transition, and occasionally
afterwards as well. Loos stools can also be attributed to dairy, or just too much veggies for
a transitioning pet. A process of elimination could be the next course of action. The idea is
to start with one type (chicken is usually a safe and a good overall option) of Raw Meaty
Bones. Higher concentration of bones (wings, necks, backs) will also yield more firm stools.
After a few days of stabilizing other meats, veggies treats and supplements can slowly be

• Constipation. Keep in mind that a pet on a raw diet will normally have relatively dry, light
coloured stools, due to the bone content of the diet. Those will also be smaller and less
smelly then what commercial food produces. Your pet will have to make a bit of an effort
(very healthy for his anal sacs). If it seems too much of an effort the easiest way to soften
the stools is to increase the veggie content of the next few meals. For more extreme
situations some recommend giving pumpkin (cooked or canned). Again, if symptoms are
extreme or persisting a chat with a pet health professional or even a stool sample may be
comforting, to rule out other reasons. Vomiting/ regurgitating
There are a few NORMAL instances when your pet may vomit or regurgitate (sometimes
hard to distinguish). He may be really hungry, in which case the stomach is empty and the
vomit will be yellowish or he may have had too much water on empty stomach, producing
a white foamy vomit. In both this cases feeding him will probably solve the problem.
( Some pets do better with more meals of small quantities rather than one feeding a day).
If there undigested food in the vomit there can be a couple of reasons. The more common
is dogs' habit to swallow chunks as big as they can fit down their throat. They may then
regurgitate and eat it again. The other reason may just be rejection of something that did
not agree with their stomach (in which case they will probably not eat it again). Lower
quantities of food consumption
Because a raw diet is what your pet's stomach was designed for, it will digest much better
then processed, grain/ carbohydrates based diet. Therefore lower quantities of food may
be necessary while still providing all the needed nutrition. If your pet seems to want more
but unless he needs to gain weight it is better to stick to the recommended quantities and
observe him after a longer period of regular feeding. Only then adjustment should be made
to the quantity.

Tips and tricks

This is a collection of little bits of advice from many who have made the switch to raw, and shared
their experience.

• Know your pet - Every pet is different and will adjust in his own way. Her character, health
and eating habit will usually determine what the transition will be like.

• If your pet likes to 'steal' food that was dropped by mistake, introduce new ingredients by
"accidentally" dropping them and letting them get away with it.

• Hunger - is probably your best tool of persuasion for a stubborn pet. A day of fasting is
recommended by many experienced raw feeders, once or even twice a week. Dogs can go
days without food without any long term effects. We do not encourage starving your dog,
but a day of fasting after maybe years of commercial food will usually only benefit the
digestive system. Hunger, can make even the most finicky of cats, much more open to
new gastronomic experiences, Cats who are used to an 'all day buffet' should be limited to
meal times in order to create actual hunger. Please consult a pet health provider before
fasting (or avoid fasting) puppies, old, underweight or sick pets.

• Cats should not be denied food for long periods as they are susceptible to a liver disease
called hepatic lipidosis, which can be serious and even fatal, especially to overweight cats.
If a fast switch seems to deprive your feline friend from the amount of food she needs, use
the slower transition methods.

• Pro enzymes - Pets who have been on a cooked/ commercial food diet, have little or none
of certain enzymes (and bacteria) that the stomach and intestines will naturally develop.
Many people would recommend using pro enzymes (or simply pro biotic yogurt), in order
to aid the digestive system during the transition and even on regular bases.

• Tripe - Much like pro enzymes the tripe (cow's stomach), is recommended by many as an
aid to digestion, both in the transition time and after. The tripe itself is full of enzymes,
nutrients and micro organisms. It is always recommended to use the green tripe which is
unwashed. Don't let the smell repel you (it is not rotten, that's how it's supposed to smell),
the pets love it.
• Sprinkle - Even when doing a quick switch, some pet owners recommend sprinkling 'kibble
powder' on the raw food to give it a familiar scent.
• Cats are, in many cases, pickier about their food and may need to be tricked into their new
diet. The sprinkling method or any other form of making raw smell like something they
recognize as food.
• Suspicious pets (cats in particular) may be more receptive to bite size fillet pieces of meat
in order to get used to the taste, and texture. Put the pieces on a surface where they can
inspect it, the bowl might not be comfortable for thst.

• Keep it simple - When transitioning and running into any side effect (let's say, diarrhoea
for example), you may ask yourself what caused it. Although it is a normal reaction, if your
pet has been fed a multitude of meat types, along with different combination of fruit,
veggies, scraps, treats and supplements, you may wonder if one of those may not be the
cause. The safest bet is to start with (or go back to) a simple diet. Choose one type of raw
meaty bones (chicken is usually a safe bet), and go with that for a while. Higher bone
content may by itself help with diarrhoea, and higher meat content (and veggies) will do
the opposite. After the stomach get's used to that start gradually adding more ingredient
and variations. If you have stumbled upon something that doesn't agree with your pet, it
will be easy to identify, and later avoid or try more cautiously.

• Try different things - your pet may love raw meat but doesn't find one type appealing. Try
more then one type of meat if the first one is unwanted.

• Ground to begin - Another way to introduce raw food to a pet that has been eating little
chunks of kibble his whole life, is to give the ground variation first. Once the taste buds
recognize and get used to it, introduce the real meaty bones.

• How do you prefer it? Cold or room temp. Some pets will eat meat out of the freezer and
some will prefer it body temperature. I any case DO NOT use a microwave to thaw or
warm the meat or bones.

• Pseudo balance: This kind of balance is a welcome side effect, although it is not exactly
what we are looking for. The idea is that after eating the same type of food for a long
period of time any addition to it may add those few ingredients that the body was craving.
During the transition period the body will enjoy both the remnants of the old diet AND the
addition of the new regardless of the quality of the diet/s. This effect can happen when
switching between commercial food and a more home cooked diet, or another type of 'high
end' canned food. For example if a person on a strictly vegetarian diet (with no
supplements, for our example) has Vitamin B deficiency and switches to a meat only diet,
the boost of vitamin B he will get in the first few days, when added to what the body has
'stored', will give the impression that her overall health has improved. In fact it wasn't the
new diet or switch that made the difference it was the temporary combination of both.
Unfortunately with unbalanced diets, this state may be only temporary. The test of time is
what will separate a real balanced diet from a temporary coincidence.

• Balance: Remember the balance in the raw diet is not something one needs to measure on
daily bases, it should be looked at in weeks or more. So if there are any hiccups in the diet
or ingredients, in first few weeks, there is no cause for alarm.

• Even if only chicken: Chicken is probably the best all around raw meat to feed. The bones
soft enough for any dog to handle, it is rich with fatty acids and it's highly accessible.
Chicken is a good alternative to get started with, and adding more ingredients and variety
later. Feeding the backs, wings and necks (which have a large bone to meat ratio) will also
help in case of diarrhoea. Although your pet may live a long and healthy life eating chicken
alone (defiantly better then with commercial food), it IS recommended to add nutritional
variety for the full range and balance and nutrients her body needs.
All about bones
Bones are at the very core of the raw diet.
(Some would say that a pet can lead a full healthy life on RMB alone).

One important benefit of eating raw (and NEVER cooked) bones is mechanical: the 'natural
dentistry' effect. The chewing, crunching and ripping (in case of RMB) actions, naturally 'brush'
and 'floss' the pet's teeth wile also massaging the gums. This is of course, much more evident
with whole bones, and is the main reason that whole RMB are recommended as part of any raw

Other benefits of bones are nutritional: Bones provide a wide range of nutrients.

• Minerals - Calcium and Phosphorus among many others. Calcium and Phosphorus are not
only abundant; they are in good balance to what the body needs. The bones are a living
tissue (Raw bones that is) and contain all the minerals that are so important to grow…
healthy bones. A healthy bone eating plenty of bones will probably need no mineral
supplements what so ever. No artificial calcium measures to the effect of digesting bones.
This is especially crucial for puppies and lactating moms.

• Protein - Not only is there plenty of protein, it is of high quality (unlike the protein
'extracted' from bones). This protein contains all the essential amino acids (other then one
which is abundant in meat) needed. As far as amino acids, again, a diet of RMB will provide
everything the pet needs.

• Fatty Acids - Bones contain plenty of fat and fatty acids mostly Omega 6. (chicken and
pork are the richest in that department.)

• Fat soluble Vitamins - Raw bone's fat contains deposits of Vitamins A, D and E. (The do
vanish when the fat breaks down when cooked)

• Marrow - The marrow has plenty of nutrients vital to the production of blood, mainly
copper and iron

• Energy - Fat and protein make a significant part of the bones, and therefore provide lots of
energy (something to watch for in overweight dogs.

Whenever 'Bones' are mentioned as a part of a raw diet for pets, the term will usually refer to
Raw Meaty Bones (RMB), which are fundamentally different than recreational bones. RMBs will
include certain amounts of meat, tendons, cartilage etc. on them and will provide a wide range or
nutritional elements aside from the abundant minerals in the bone itself. Recreational bones are
not part of the diet. However they do give a good workout for the jaw and muscles, and will have
a positive effect on cleaning the teeth. Some bigger dogs are likely to eventually chew their way
through any bone. Smaller dogs may enjoy wrestling with the bone but care should be taken
because teeth have been known to break, especially with large weight carrying bones such as
femurs. There are different (and contradicting) views regarding which bones to use. Generally it is
agreed though that the raw bones will more easily be chewed, but are not likely to splinter as
much as cooked bones. Since we ARE talking about recreational bones and most dogs are likely to
actually chew the soft tissue around it (and maybe nibble on the tips), it is up to every pet owner
to determine what is right for him.
Choking on bones
Choking on bones, particularly chicken bones, is a concern for most pet owners. We have all heard
that you should NEVER give your pet cooked chicken bones. That is absolutely true. As long as
you are talking about cooked chicken bones (or any other cooked bone). Cooked bones can be
dangerous. Raw bones, however, are rarely dangerous. They are digestible and nutritious. When
bones are cooked it changes the chemical structure. The body does not recognize it in the same
way. Cooking bones makes them sharp and splintery and usually indigestible. So yes, throw away
those cooked bones. But go for the raw ones! Cat and dog jaws differ from those of a horse or
cow, right? Cow and horse jaws have huge heavy mandibles (lower jaw bones) with large cheek
muscles. That, along with a jaw that can move side to side (like ours) make it possible for them to
chew their food very thoroughly. Cats and dogs do not have those large chewing muscles or the
same bone structure; therefore, they can't chew their food like we can (or any grazing animal
can). Watch any dog or cat eat. They gulp and swallow. Very seldom do they chew, except to
make larger food particles small enough to swallow. This is how nature designed them to eat (also
to digest large chunks of food rather than ground up food). Don't be surprised if your Lab
swallows a chicken neck whole without even chewing. This is perfectly fine, and is sometimes
accompanied by regurgitation of the food for another chew and swallow, again, perfectly normal.
Some animals when starting for raw for the first time don't realize what size of food particle will fit
down their throats and they can choke. This is uncommon. Normally it is simply regurgitated.
However, animals can choke on bones. Just as they can choke rocks, sticks, toys, etc. It is always
a good idea to keep an eye on your pet while eating (or playing, for that matter) to make sure
everything goes down O.K. Again, this is very uncommon, so do not feel unduly worried. If you
are interested, learn how to give dogs and cats the Heimlich manoeuvre, which your vet can teach

Bones - only Day

Aside from occasional (or weekly) fasting day, some advocate a bones- day. On this day your pet
will get a meaty bone that will be the entire meal for that day. This meal would be like "eating
light" to you. Bones-only provide very solid stools, which will cleanse the digestive tract and help
to release the anal glands when they are having a bowel movement. The stools will dry hard in
the yard and in a day or two you can step on they and they will turn to dust. In cat litter boxes
you will notice a decrease in odor as well. Remember, in the wild a full meal is not served every

The Chemical Composition of Bone

Inorganic constituents
(Technically this means substances that have no Carbon atom present.) 65 to 70 percent of the
bone is composed of inorganic substances. Almost all of this inorganic substance is a compound
called hydroxyapatite. The chemical composition of hydroxyapatite is (10 Calcium atoms, 6
Phosphorus atoms, 26 Oxygen atoms, and 2 Hydrogen atoms). Therefore, 65 to 70 percent of
bone is a mineral compound called hydroxyapatite that is composed of nothing more than
Calcium, Phosphorus, Oxygen and Hydrogen. There are no Vitamins, Fatty Acids, enzymes,
proteins or carbohydrates in this, the largest component of raw bone. It is an abundant source of
Calcium and Phosphorus, though.

Organic constituents
(Technically this means substances that do have Carbon atoms present.) 30 to 35% of bone is
composed of organic material (on a dry weight basis). Of this amount nearly 95 % is a substance
called collagen. Collagen is a fibrous protein. The dog and cat poorly digest it. The other one-
twentieth of the 30% organic substances are Chondroitin Sulfate, Keratin sulfate, and

** For much more information on bones, refer to: "Give your dog a bone"- DVM. Ian Billinghurst !

The Philosophy of a Raw Diet

devised by Dr. Ian Billinghurst

What is BARF? BARF is about feeding dogs and cats properly. The aim of BARF is to maximize the
health, longevity and reproductive capacity of dogs and cats and by so doing, minimize the need
for veterinary intervention.
How do you feed a dog or cat properly? You feed it the diet that it evolved to eat or its
evolutionary diet. A Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet. A BARF diet.

In the case of the cat, which is an obligate carnivore and a hunter, the biologically appropriate
diet is based largely upon animal derived foodstuffs like flesh, bones and organs. Basically,
whatever nutrition can be derived from a whole fresh raw carcass - in its entirety - constitutes a
biologically appropriate diet.
In the case of the dog which is an omnivore, a hunter and a scavenger, the diet can be based on a
wider range of whole raw foods of both animal and plant origin, with the further proviso that the
foods may be either fresh or auto-decaying via endogenous enzymes.

Both species rely on bones as a major part of their diet for a variety of reasons including teeth
cleaning and the myriad of benefits which flow from that together with the nutritional attributes of
bones, their psychological benefits and so on. The BARF movement appears to have started in
response to the dietary guidelines outlined in the book "Give Your Dog a Bone" written by Ian
Billinghurst. The Barf Philosophy The philosophy behind using BARF, or the hypothesis on which it
is based is that the diet a dog or cat evolved to eat - over many millions of years of evolution - is
the best way to feed it. This is the hypothesis accepted by most modern zoos or any zoologist
concerned with preserving a species of endangered animal. It is not the theory endorsed by pet
food companies or the people they train - and that includes unfortunately - most vets. If you want
to feed your dog or cat BARF, it means not feeding your them cooked and/or processed food. That
is, not feeding your them a diet based on cooked grains, no matter how persuasive the
advertising. Artificial grain based dog and cat foods cause innumerable health problems. They are
not what your dog or cat was programmed to eat during its long process of evolution. A
biologically appropriate diet for a dogor cat is one that consists of raw whole foods similar to those
eaten by the dogs' wild ancestors. The food fed must contain the same balance and type of
ingredients as consumed by those wild ancestors. This food will include such things as muscle
meat, bone, fat, organ meat and in for dogs, vegetable materials and any other "foods" that will
mimic what those wild ancestors ate. Please note that modern dogs or cats of any breed are not
only capable of eating the food of their wild ancestors, but actually require it for maximum health.
This is because their basic physiology has changed very little with domestication despite obvious
and dramatic changes in their current physical appearance and mindset.

The BARF diet, being an attempt to mimic the evolutionary diet of dogs and cats, must, from a
practical point of view, use food that is available from the local supermarket or whatever local or
distant source is economically viable. BARF feeders do not have to go hunting or send their dogs
and cats out to hunt. That is why I said BARF must mimic, not duplicate the evolutionary diet of
dogs. This is an important distinction. The BARF feeder will MIMIC as closely as possible rather
than duplicate the NATURAL diet of the dog. We are not trying to return our dogs and cats to
nature. It is impossible to feed any domestic animal its natural diet, let alone allow it to live under
natural conditions. There are grave dangers that go along with the natural diet and natural
conditions the ancestors or wild cousins of our dogs and cats live with. They face lack of shelter,
starvation, attack by other predators, and the potential for their prey to turn on them during the
hunt. They also endure without medical intervention including surgery, vaccination, antibiotics and
preventative measures against external and internal parasites. In other words, natural conditions
can be deadly! They are not what we want for our pets. What we want for our dogs and cats is a
diet and an environment that maximizes health. That means a Biologically Appropriate Diet rather
than a natural diet. This is my favorite use of the term BARF - Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
One controversial aspect of the BARF dog diet is the use of whole, raw, meaty bones as food for
our dogs and cats. I have fed my own dogs and cats with these bones for decades, as have
thousands of my clients and readers of my books. For most dogs and cats, whole raw meaty
bones do not constitute a danger. They simply and easily promote positive good health being a
biologically appropriate food for. However, where there is a perceived danger, do not stop feeding
bones. In this case, simply use bones that have been finely ground.

Pottenger's Cats: A Study in Nutrition by Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., MDThe Philosophy

From 1932 to 1942, Dr. Francis Marion Pottenger, Jr. conducted an experiment to determine the
effects of heat-processed food on cats. This ten-year cat study was prompted by the high death
rate among his laboratory cats undergoing operations to remove their adrenal glands. At that
time, there were no chemical procedures to measure the strength of adrenal extract. So,
manufacturers used cats. Cats die without their adrenal glands. So, the amount of extract the cats
needed to keep them alive allowed the manufacturers to calibrate the strength of their product.
Dr. Pottenger fed his cats a diet of raw milk, cod liver oil and cooked meat scraps, which included
liver, tripe, sweetbreads, brains, heart and muscle. This was considered the optimum diet.

Concerned with the cats poor postoperative survival, Dr. Pottenger noticed the cats showed a
decrease in their reproductive capacity and many of the kittens born in the laboratory had skeletal
deformities and organ malfunctions. By a quirk of fate, since the number of cats donated by his
neighbors in Monrovia, California kept increasing, he couldn't handle the demand for cooked meat
scraps. So, he ordered raw meat scraps from a local meat packing plant, including the viscera,
muscle and bone. Always a scientist, Dr. Pottenger fed these raw meat scraps to a segregated
group of cats so that he could observe any change. Within a few months, this group appeared
healthier, their kittens more vigorous, and they had a higher survival rate after their operations.

The contrast between the two sets of cats was so startling; it prompted Dr. Pottenger to perform
a controlled experiment to verify these facts scientifically. The experiment included 900 cats over
four generations and was well documented by Dr. Pottenger. The cats were divided into five
groups. All the groups were supplied the same basic minimal diet, but the major portion of the
diets was varied. Two of the groups were fed whole foods (raw milk and meat - real foods for
cats). The other three groups were given processed foods: pasteurized, evaporated and
condensed milk.

All four generations of the raw meat and raw milk groups remained healthy throughout their
normal lifespan. The first generation of all three processed food groups developed diseases and
illnesses near the end of their lives. The second generation of all three processed food groups
developed diseases and illnesses in the middle of their lives. The third generation of all three
processed food groups developed diseases and illnesses in the beginning of their lives and many
died before six months of age. There was no fourth generation in any of the three processed food
groups. Either the third generation parents were sterile or the fourth generation cats were died
before birth! Remember, all four generations of the raw food groups were healthy throughout
their normal lifespan. As for as applying his results to human nutrition, Dr. Pottenger said, "While
no attempt will be made to correlate the changes in the animals studied with malformations found
in humans, the similarity is so obvious that parallel pictures will suggest themselves." There is no
similar experiment in medical literature. The findings were supervised by Dr. Pottenger along with
Dr. Alvin Foord, professor of pathology at the University of Southern California and pathologist at
the Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena. These studies met the most rigorous scientific
standards of their day.

For more information: Pottenger's Cats - A Study in Nutrition(at

and Pottenger's Cats - A Study in Nutrition

This is a collection of the most extensive and popular books on the subject of raw feeding. These
books are available to order throught DogWise Press.
For more books on diet, health and other subjects, please click on the "Shop" button above.


- Kymythy Schultze

Natural nutrition for dogs and cats. Contents include: species-appropriate nutrition,
basic food groups, making the meal, snacks, treats and travel, herbs and green food, cautionary
foods, making the switch, anti-cancer diet, pregnancy, puppies and kittens, seniors, food sources
of nutrients, and an extremely valuable resource, Holistic Animal Yellow Pages.

GIVE YOUR DOG A BONE - Ian Billinghurst

Deals exclusively with feeding dogs and designed for those who want easy to read,
common sense guidance on feeding for maximum health, low cost and low environmental impact.
Inspired by the observation that dogs and cats fed their natural whole food diet are far healthier
than when fed cooked and processed foods, and contains valuable information for anyone who is
involved with dogs, including vets, vet students, breeders and dog owners generally. Concerns the
relationship between diet, health and disease in dogs. Everyone's talking about this book!
GROW YOUR PUPS WITH BONES - by Ian Billinghurst

Dr. Ian Billinghurst's puppy book! Author recommends reading Give Your Dog a Bone,
first. Divided into three parts:Part 1: introduces the BARF (Bones And Raw Food) diet for feeding
dogs.Part 2: about feeding for breeding. Practical common sense approach to producing an
optimum number of healthy pups with a minimum of fuss. Part 3: growing pups into healthy
adults that do not develop Hip or Elbow dysplasia, or any of the other skeletal diseases which are
so common in modern dogs. Central to this part is the BARF program of diet and exercise, which
is inspired by the observation that animals are much healthier when fed their biologically
appropriate diet based on Bones And Raw Foods.

THE BARF DIET - Ian Billinghurst

This third book from Dr. Ian Billinghurst was written to help pet owners either understand
or expand their knowledge of evolutionary diets for both dogs and cats. It contains important
background research from his first two books together with lots of new information. Experienced
"BARFers" will benefit from a number of new suggested recipes and practical information to assist
in the home production of BARF diets - now everyone can do the BARF diet for their pets!

RAW MEATY BONES - Tom Lonsdale

One of the most authoritative and complete reference in print on the benefits of a raw
food diet for your dog. Exhaustively researched and clearly written, it provides a suggested diet,
feeding tips and dos and don'ts. Reviews health problems associated with feeding canned and dry
pet foods and explains why authorities, scientists, and vets have been slow to recognize them.
Provides practical solutions that pet owners and veterinarians can adopt for themselves.


New from the author of "Raw Meaty Bones." If dogs could talk what would they say is
the best diet to keep them in tiptop condition? Would they recommend a selection of cans and
packets or would they recommend a fresh rabbit and half a chicken? The author inspires us to see
a dog's dietary needs from a dog's perspective taking account of Nature's teachings, easily
understood science and sound common sense. "Work Wonders" provides essential information for
dogs and their owners, veterinarians, educators and anyone interested in dogs, diets and health.
Leads us through the practical essentials of dog feeding including how to source, store and
prepare raw food. It also deals with risk management, junk-food induced diseases afflicting
modern pets and the epidemic of canine oral disease and "dog breath." View entire book online
(Requires Acrobat reader)


Received the 2003 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Book under 100
pages. Learn why and how to feed your dog this new (but really OLD) diet. "Raw Dog Food: Make
It Easy for You and Your Dog " explains in simple, friendly and understandable terms the logic
behind this approach. This fun and slightly irreverent book shows you how feeding your dog a raw
diet can be effective, economical, and easy for you and healthy for your dog. Learn how to make
it work for your dog and you!

Richard & Susan Pitcairn

How to choose a healthy animal, dozens of recipes for delicious, economical, healthful
pet food--with completely updated tables, charts and nutritional guidelines, how to give your pet a
checkup, what's really in pet foods--and which ones to avoid to ensure your pet's best health,
special diets for special pets, a guide to handling emergencies that includes techniques for
external heart massage, artificial respiration and control of bleeding, plus a Quick Reference
section that gives specific instructions for preventing, diagnosing and treating a wide range of
animal diseases and disorders.

8 WEEKS TO A HEALTHY DOG - Shawn Messonnier

Many health problems can be avoided by this simple, logical 8-week plan which
includes: safe, effective parasite control to rid your dog of worms, ticks, and fleas; the latest
natural and conventional therapies; feeding your dog naturally for optimum vitality; natural
supplements to boost your dog's health and longevity, including antioxidants and enzymes;
healthy exercises for your dog that you both can enjoy; how to wean your pet off potentially
harmful drugs. This is a program that can be easily implemented and integrated into conventional
therapies. Full of practical regimens and sound veterinary advice to prolong and strengthen the
life of your dog.

Raw feeding

• Raw

• Raw

• Dr. Ian

• What’s Really in Pet Food - from API for Animals

• Pottenger's Cats - A Study in Nutrition

• Raw eaty

Cat specific

• Raw fed Cats

• Cat

• Baton Rouge

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