We feed our dog a raw diet, or BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) diet. For our last dog we bought commercial BARF at wholesale price, it was still expensive but it was obviously more reasonable than buying it retail. Since Dave joined the pack we’ve bought raw meat, bones, & commercial BARF at retail price.
Not only is the retail price of commercial BARF prohibitive, there is also a lot of packaging. The BARF is packaged in individually wrapped portions, the portions are very small & we use 3-4 per meal which leads to a lot of unnecessary rubbish. I have decided to save us some money & save us the packaging by creating my own BARF recipe. Of course, I’m not a vet Dr or vet nurse. I have no qualifications in animal health & I’m just attempting an approximation of the commercial BARF based on a bit of online reading & a bit of package reading…
The ingredients I use are:
5kg beef mince & 2kg chicken mince*
2kg fruit & veg pulp**
12 free range eggs including the finely crushed shells***
500mL raw milk kefir****
5 heaped teaspoons kelp powder
100mL cold pressed flaxseed oil
100mL sunflower oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons colloidal minerals (I use Fullhealth Industries brand)
*I buy this fresh from a local pet food store. The beef has got lots of fat & organ meats in it, and the chicken mince includes the fatty chicken necks. Lean mince is not suitable in my opinion, dogs need the fat. Other kinds of mince could be substituted. I think kangaroo is the best lean meat available in Australia, if your dog has been prescribed a low fat diet. If you are only buying mince with no organ meats I’d reduce the amount of mince & include minced organ meats in the recipe too.
** I make fresh juice regularly, I freeze the left over pulp (which is otherwise a waste product) to add to this dog food. If you don’t juice you can simply blend up 2kg of a variety of raw fruit & veg to a chunky puree. You might want to strain the excess juice off, depending on how watery the final product is.
*** I say free range purely because I don’t support the ethics of cage or barn laid eggs. I crack the eggs in to my thermomix & throw the shells in to, I then blend the whole lot on high to crush the shells, a good blender should do the same.
**** You can use yoghurt if you’d prefer. I just find kefir easier to make than yoghurt.
I make the BARF in a 15L bucket & I mix it by hand – I wear latex gloves while mixing so I can whip one off & quickly tend to a child if I need to. I then put the final product into 1L reusable plastic containers, that I fill to about 3/4 full (700-800g), which is enough food for one day for our active & growing kelpie pup. I put the containers in the freezer & thaw them as needed. We also feed Dave 1 or 2 chicken frames every couple of days to account for the need for bones & cartilage. We sometimes give meaty kangaroo tail bones instead of the chicken frame.
The above recipe feeds Dave for about 2 weeks, it’d obviously feed a smaller or less active dog for longer. It costs us around $85 for 2 weeks of commercial BARF which excludes the chicken frames (they’re 40c each at the local chicken store, I’m sure they’d be cheaper at an independent butcher). The above recipe cost me about $35-40 & a bit of time. It’s really not that much time either, the whole process takes me 20 minutes, which includes clean up. Of course, Dave gets to lick the “bowl”!
Like I said, I’m not qualified to give veterinary advice, this just works well for us.