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Eating All Natural– For Your Dog

With the exception of your spouse and kids, there are few relationships that top the one you have with your dog. Indeed, many could argue that your dog understands you as well or better than your wife or husband. Their needs are pretty simple. Feed them and give them a place to lay their head that’s warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and keeps them from getting wet when it rains. Of course, the deeper you take the relationship—meaning, the more you understand his needs—the better.

Let’s call your dog Rocky. If you are anything like most of us, you have seen commercial after commercial that promise that some dog food company has the most balanced diet for Rocky’s needs. Scientifically formulated, Purina, Proctor & Gamble, Royal Canin, heck even the organic dog food makers know what’s best for Rocky. Well, if you look at the food, it sure seems like they do—food shaped like fire hydrants, bones, and steaks that are painted all these wonderful, attention-grabbing colors. Rocky gobbles it all up, doesn’t he?

Here’s the truth: Rocky doesn’t know the fire hydrant from the steak because his eyesight can’t focus on anything that small and that close up. And speaking of eyesight, Rocky is colorblind, so whether it’s red, blue, or green, Rocky doesn’t care. He’s hungry, so he eats it.

What’s Good for You Isn’t Always Good for Him

Most dog owners feed their dogs whatever is on the shelf, what’s on sale or is the cheapest and have no clue that they are destroying their dogs’ insides. Not only are these products not nutritionally balanced, many actually contain ingredients that are poisonous and can, over time, compromise Rocky’s immune system and cause organ damage. These are tall claims, aren’t they?

It’s been drilled into our heads over and over that chocolate is harmful for dogs. Today dog owners are catching on to the potentially fatal dangers of eating grapes and a few other foods.  But there are others, such as garlic, which, while they aren’t going to kill Rocky immediately, with repeated ingestion can cause gastrointestinal problems and damage his red blood cells.

Next on the list are grains. Often the first or second ingredient in nearly every brand of commercial dog food – either before or after the extremely elusive, but oh-so important “meat by-product”—whole wheat and grains are not only not part of a dog’s natural diet, they are known to cause many problems for them. Allergies in dogs such as dermatitis are probably the most common and one symptom you may have already experienced. Perhaps you have noticed him itching and scratching endlessly. Wanting to end the discomfort, dog owners take their beloved canine to the vet to try and determine the source. The vet’s solution is to run an allergy panel to pinpoint the allergen. When it comes back that Rocky is allergic to whole wheat, the vet will usually suggest putting Rocky on a natural dog food, which contains smaller amounts of whole grains. It’s pretty safe to assume that vets have no clue about what’s proper nutrition for a dog. Actually, at best they have no clue, and at worst many are too easily swayed by the kickbacks they receive from the multi-billion dollar commercial pet food industry.

Grains and whole wheat also put a strain on a dog’s pancreas. Grains turn into sugar, and because Rocky’s intestines are considerably shorter than ours, they are unable to break them down as easily as we can. Odds are you won’t see any studies performed to prove this and so I have nothing to back up my claim except logic, but if grains turn into sugar, and dogs can’t expel them as easily as humans, it seems only logical that all that sugar build up can lead to diabetes, which is very prevalent in dogs. Whether commercial dog food producers are using grains solely as cheap binding material or whether they are purposely poisoning dogs is not clear. Again, perhaps a tall claim, but we already know that the alphabet soup is in bed with Big Pharma and agribusiness, so one doesn’t need an overactive imagination to believe the same about the dog and cat food industries.

While the pet food industry isn’t stupid enough to add chocolate and grapes to their formulas, all of the commercial and most of the natural dog foods contain both garlic and whole wheat—even supposed organic formulas list whole wheat in their ingredients.

Raking in an estimated $13.2 billion USD in 2010 in total sales is Nestlé Purina, makers of Purina Dog Chowâ, which is considered the most popular commercial dog food in the U.S. They list the following ingredients for their formula:

  • Whole grain corn
  • Poultry by-product meal
  • Animal fat preserved with mixed- tocopherols (form of Vitamin E)
  • Corn gluten meal
  • Meat and bone meal
  • Brewers rice
  • Soybean meal
  • Barley
  • Whole grain wheat
  • Animal digest
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Salt
  • Calcium phosphate
  • Potassium chloride
  • L-Lysine monohydrochloride
  • Choline chloride
  • Zinc sulfate
  • Vitamin E supplement
  • Zinc proteinate
  • Ferrous sulfate
  • Added color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2, Yellow 6)
  • DL-Methionine
  • Manganese sulfate
  • Manganese proteinate
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin A supplement
  • Copper sulfate
  • Calcium pantothenate
  • Copper proteinate
  • Garlic oil
  • Pyridoxine hydrochloride
  • Vitamin B-12 supplement
  • Thiamine mononitrate
  • Vitamin D-3 supplement
  • Riboflavin supplement
  • Calcium iodate
  • Menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity)
  • Folic acid
  • Biotin
  • Sodium selenite

Ever curious, I endeavored to understand what each ingredient was. Some were clear (salt for example), some I thought I knew based on their name, and some I had to Google because I had never heard of it and assumed it could only have been created in a lab.

About a third of the way into creating links to definitions to the ones that stumped me – not only in name but also in trying to understand how they benefit dogs – I became literally dizzy! Fortunately it was about this time that I found this site that explains in depth what each ingredient is and its “benefit” (or perhaps lack thereof) for your dog.

Take the Power Back

It is difficult to imagine anyone when faced with facts such as these would want to continue feeding their pet “food” that is not only unhealthy, but is downright dangerous. But what do you do? We are bombarded by loads of advertisements on TV, the radio, the Internet, billboards, and in magazines. It’s estimated that the pet care industry spends as much as $575 million to rope you in. These ads are directed at dog owners who know very little about nutrition, so if they say their food is healthy, it must be true—or so people think.

Who decides what you feed your livestock? Are the choices you make about their health influenced by the 1001 channels your TV funnels in? My guess is no! And so why would you allow your pet’s health to be determined by an industry that is hell-bent on compromising their health? No better than agribusiness and Big Pharma, it’s the usual song and dance of profits over the health and well being of people and pets.

The Healthy Alternative

You’ve heard about it—maybe your friends already rave about it. The bones and raw food diet (or BARF for short) is not only healthier for Rocky, but it fits in perfectly with an off-the-grid lifestyle.

Dogs are carnivores with hints of omnivore in them, not herbivores with the occasional hankering for meat, as the pet food industry would have you believing. This means that if left to themselves – as they were before humans domesticated them – they would naturally hunt for an animal and eat it. Given a choice, Rocky is going to give chase to a rabbit, catch it, rip it to shreds, and eat it. People mistakenly assume that because Rocky will eat the food you give him, it must be both nutritionally balanced to meet his needs and that he likes it. If I were facing starvation and you offered me kibble, eventually I too would eat it. In the wild, Rocky would get all he needs from eating that piece of rabbit, chicken, or venison, because inside it are the digested vegetables it ate before it met with its untimely death, along with the bones Rocky needs. Think about it—at what point were Rocky’s ancestors able to cook their food? They developed a digestive tract that allowed them to eat and process raw meat.

Nothing is without its controversy, and the BARF diet has both its supporters and detractors. Those against will cite a million and one reasons why it’s unhealthy for dogs to eat people food. People food? Is that what they call the food eaten by dogs in the wild who don’t have stoves to warm their food and a factory to process the crap they happily shove in their dogs’ mouths because it’s convenient?

Arguing that it’s somehow not appropriate or it’s unhealthy is literally a baseless argument given how many thousands of years dogs have been subsisting off the animals they hunt.

Citing convenience might be valid for many (although not preppers). It does take forethought to create balanced meals that mimic what Rocky would eat if it were solely to his discretion, which again, is based on instinct, not a degree in chemistry.

Among the common concerns people have about switching their dogs to the BARF diet are any or all of the following:

  • Splintering bones
  • Predisposition to an allergy
  • Feeding a pregnant dog raw meat
  • Fear of salmonella and worms
  • Death from eating raw meat

Splintering Bones

This is a fair concern, but only if you are cooking your meat and giving Rocky the bones. Cooking meat and its bones changes the composition, and they become brittle and can splinter in Rocky’s stomach. However, raw bones do not splinter, and part of the design of Rocky’s short intestines allows him to digest the raw bones quickly—and moreover, efficiently. The raw bones are actually essential to Rocky’s diet. The marrow helps clean his teeth, and during digestion the calcium and other minerals are expelled from the bone, which are distributed and absorbed into Rocky’s system.

Predisposition to an Allergy

This is a common misconception; I had heard similar things long before I considered the BARF diet for our dogs. I had heard that German Shepherds (and we have two) can’t digest beef – raw or cooked. I had always avoided beef when I was making my dogs’ food. My husband suggested we try it and see what happened. They gobbled it up and loved it. As I began reading the concerns people had over feeding their dogs beef or lamb or chicken because they assumed their dogs had an allergy, all the literature I read said, “Well, then don’t feed them that if you are worried. Feed them all the meats that you have no fears about.”

Feeding Pregnant Bitches a Raw Diet

Ask yourself what pregnant and lactating bitches did and do in the wild. Do they starve themselves? Do they stop eating until after they have given birth and are no longer feeding their new pups? No.

Fear of Salmonella

There can be traces of bacteria left on meat, and if consumed by a human this could be dangerous, if not deadly; however, because of the digestive systems of both dogs and cats, it just doesn’t bother them. Apart from the shortened digestive tract, dogs have higher levels of digestive acids than we do. But when I hear the salmonella argument, I simply direct people to this NIH study, which tested equal numbers of dogs eating the BARF diet to those eating kibble. While salmonella was found to be present in three of the dogs’ stool samples, it was shed with the stool and not absorbed into their systems.

As for the human members of your family, one simple way to avoid salmonella from being an issue is to clean up properly after handling raw meat. Wipe counters down thoroughly and designate trays and chopping blocks for the raw food; although you are going to clean up carefully, don’t use them for yourself and your family.

Fear of Worms

Interestingly, I do have personal experience with this issue. On my farm, aside from my three dogs, we have nine cats. With cats come lots of feces that dogs just have an affinity for. When we were feeding our dogs kibble and cooked chicken, they routinely had to be dewormed. Since we have switched them over to the BARF diet, although they continue to eat cat poop, we haven’t seen any traces of the flat worms that continue to be present in the cat poop.

My Dog Could Die Eating Raw Meat

To this I offer them five words: Pet Food Recall of 2007. Some statistics to take note of that came out of this recall:

  • More than 500 cases of renal failure were diagnosed
  • 60 different brands of dog and cat food contained melamine, which is known to cause cancer and renal failure in both animals and humans
  • An estimated 8,500 pet deaths were reported to the FDA

What Can Rocky Eat on the BARF diet?

Part of why the BARF diet ties in so well with an off-grid lifestyle is that you and I are already setting up our lives so that we needn’t rely on the grocery stores to feed us. You are already embracing this lifestyle for yourself, so taking the next step to include Rocky is actually far easier than it will be to maintain your kibble obsession. Among the meats Rocky can eat:

  • Venison
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Pork necks and ox tails
  • Turkey
  • Rabbit
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel

If Rocky isn’t eating fresh kill, you will want to supplement with either fresh fruits and cooked vegetables (minced) or vitamins. For supplements and feeding portions, my suggestion is that you download the following free e-book. Portioning is based on more than just body weight: Our sixty-pound male, for example, eats more than our two bitches, although they weigh ten to fifteen pounds more than him. If we were to go based on the portion suggestions on the bags of kibble, our dogs would be overeating and could get fat. Of course, if you live on a farm, your dogs are getting ample exercise.

Noticeable Differences in Rocky on the BARF Diet

  • He will poop far less
  • His feces will no longer be runny and foul smelling
  • His feces will be almost powder like
  • He will no longer fart noxious gasses
  • He will drink a lot less water (this is normal)
  • His breath will be better
  • His teeth will have significantly less tartar
  • He will no longer beg for extra at mealtime
  • He will scratch less
  • His health will improve
  • He will live longer


If you are buying cuts of meat rather than hunting for your family’s food, the BARF diet is quite a bit more costly than feeding Rocky kibble. You will likely notice a dramatic difference in your food bill. However, there are some things you want to keep in mind. BARF isn’t some new trend—again, it dates back as long as dogs have been alive. Dogs on the BARF diet also live longer statistically. Dog owners who have had their dogs on the raw diet report that their dogs live healthier lives, have fewer short and long-term illnesses, have more energy, and develop fewer problems with ligaments and their bones. So while the initially outlay is more costly, what you save in the long run makes it worth it.

For more information, here are some websites to check out. Of course you can also just Google “BARF diet,” “raw food for dogs” and “RMB” (which stands for raw meaty bones).

The Decision is Yours

Ultimately, the decision whether to switch to a raw/BARF diet is yours. Given how perfectly it fits in with an off-the-grid lifestyle, it seems natural to make the switch.

©2012 Off the Grid News

© Copyright Off The Grid News


  1. About the giving them raw bones…………that doesn’t work for all breeds.
    I have a Lab/pit mix. When he eats his month/throat opens wider then normal and he downs stuff without chewing at times………
    My other dog eats 80-90% and swallows the rest(small parts)………..He is Roth mix.
    I used to give raw beef, and or lamb bones, mostly neck, (soup bones).
    Yet, always they had trouble pooding for next day or two. Then once Lab/pit couldn’t. pood– by 2nd day blood was coming out—–took him into the Vet. it was over 3k. to get the bone parts that were stuck inside; near his but out. He was in pain for about a month afterwards.
    I stopped giving bones for 6-8months. Now i boiled the bones then give to them, That happen when he was around 3, he is now coming up on 14.
    If we don’t hunt and get raw meat flesh. We know stuff from markets aren’t the best.. Are our Dogs disquest track able to deal with the junk that was feed to the animals?
    I give my dogs alot of veggies, few fruits, cooked beef/lamb/turkey/chicken, little milk, little Purian One.
    Could their system deal with the change to a store bought ‘raw’ meat diet? cause it seems their system been dummied down for one, two the junk in foods from the markets. Their system/ or ours, was never make to deal with stuff one buys from the markets.
    I truely agree if i lived in aplace i could hunt, to switch them over. I have over 70 fruit trees, 40veggies growing for self, knowing store stuff is junk. I love my dogs would do the same for them.


    • Daniel,

      Boiling the bones you give to your dog is the WORST thing you can do! Cooked bones splinter, and can easily kill your dog. What you need to do is do some research before you feed a raw diet, it’s not rocket science.

    • Hi Daniel,

      In my research for the article, I came across sites that talk about dogs who “wolf” down food and don’t bother to chew. In the link I provided for Ed Frawley, he talks about that, as is also talked about in the free eBook. It’s not uncommon for dogs to do that and yet, still I would feed by dogs a raw diet over kibble. Were you cooking the meat prior to giving it to your dog? Apart from cooked bones being terrible for dogs, cutting them up is to avoided. It is hard to avoid fully when you’ve got say three dogs and you’re trying to make the best use of a big ole turkey or a chicken. I wouldn’t put out one turkey and watch the dogs fight over it, so sometimes you’re better off cutting. Neck bones, however, shouldn’t be cut.

      In regards to your question about how long it takes them to switch? Although vets and kibble manufacturers suggest titrating down of one kibble and slowly titrating up the other, raw isn’t like that. One day our dogs were eating kibble and the next they were on raw. There was no stomach upset, there was no adjustment period, the next day their poops were similar to what you’d see if you ever paid attention to some of the wildlife in your area – maybe a bobcat’s or a coyote’s. Small, powdery and almost an undetectable smell. I am not kidding.

      We started feeding ours raw because we inherited a stray dog about 11 months ago. He came to us with demodectic mange, was very malnourished and had every food allergy known to dog and man. We tried process of elimination and switching his kibble. We live on a farm and like you, have fruit trees and some vegetables. We went from kibble and baked chicken (sans bones) and papaya and banana and sometimes rice to researching on the Internet. Watching him have his allergic fits was awful! He would bark, tear up, run around and rub up against every single thing he could.

      We talked to our vet, who of course suggested hypo allergenic dog food. We had long since figured out that he had an allergy to wheat, and all those supposed hypo allergenic ones still contain wheat. He also wanted us to give him Benedryl twice a day. Come on! Don’t treat the allergy, we thought, eliminate the allergen.

      Anyway, long story short (our journey was six months with him and the process of elimination), we came across the raw diet. We talked it over and switched them all that night.

      Hector never scratched or itched or teared or barked during meal time up again. Our girls love it, too. Their dinners usually consist of majority poultry (like Kerry in Kentucky we search for the under a $1.00 a pound and that’s usually poultry), garbanzo beans (they all love them) and they share a can of sardines. Usually we put the sardines and the garbanzo beans in the blender and pour it over the meat.

      Since you’re already cooking the meat, why not just give it them raw? Or are you afraid of the bone issue again? I guess I am wondering whether the bones that made your dog’s stool bloody were raw or cooked. Your description is consistent with them having been cooked. Even boiling them is harmful. 🙁

      Sorry to ramble. I hope some of this helped.

    • Hi Daniel,
      I never give my wolfhounds cut up bones like soup bones or any leg bones of mature large animals that are cut up. They are just too hard. When I give them these I give them the whole knuckle, not cut up pieces. The same with deer, or any other large animal. Veal bones are softer as the animal is younger. They can eat and digest the bones. Chicken is a mere 11 weeks old when slaughtered. I have had a 5 week old puppy swallow a whole chicken wing with no adverse affects and they are fully digested.
      So my point being, in the wild a dog would not have the legs bones cut up for them, but chewing them as a whole unit should not be a problem. As a precaution, I take the leg bones away after a couple of days as they harden and I don’t want them breaking a tooth or wearing down the teeth prematurely.

  2. Regarding Daniels problems with bones: neck chops are famous for getting stuck inside dogs due to their shape, especially if they have been cooked (makes them hard and the dog cant digest them or they splinter). Almost all dogs can handle raw bones if they havent been cut up so they have sharp edges. To me it makes sense to feed as close to a whole animal’s composition as possible, because when a dog catches something, thats what they eat, the whole thing. You can try mimic this and compound your own recipe. I have used one based on Dr Pitcairns for years with good results (just Google him) or as far as bought foods go, Nutro is the best brand I have found

  3. I’ve been feeding 2 St. Bernards for just over 9 years now on a raw diet – which does NOT include any grains, vegetables or fruits (although they do get “treats” of certain fruits if they want). A good website for myths of raw feeding, guidelines, etc is

    Please NEVER feed any cooked bone to your dog. Feed your dog the size of the raw MEATY bone (not just a bone) to what they can handle. Neither of my girls can have leg quarters because they will try and swallow them – so they get 1/2 a chicken. I do feed pork necks, but they are whole necks, not the cut up soup bones ones. Look around your area for butcher’s or bulk buying. I try to average everything at under a $1 a pound, regardless of where I get it from. Giving them organs is important and should get them around once a week or so, along with green tripe if you can find it – great stuff!

    • Kerry,

      I am curious why you don’t do veggies for your girls. I’ll check out your link. We don’t give ours a lot and it’s always cut up, minced or put in the blender. Whole was difficult for them to digest. I’ll check out your link. I know ours would love to eliminate the veggies in favor or more meat. He he! But they do love the garbanzos! Hector loves raw papaya and looks for it, so he gets that in his food. The girls don’t like fruit.

      I am glad you’ve had great success with your girls for so long. I love reading and hearing that. We’re still newbies, but we’ll never go back to kibble. I read about some people who’ve been doing this for 40 and 50 years (not the same dogs, but same family, different generations) and they’ve had no incidences of diabetes, kidney failure and other common illnesses for dogs. That also sold us.

      Thanks! I just love reading success stories like this.

      • Sarah, I initially started with feeding some ground veggies, but the more research I did, the more I found out it’s not needed. After about a year of researching the vitamins, minerals, protiens in just raw meats, organs & bones – veggies are just a filler. Dogs do not need carbs of any type, it’s a waste of energy to bother with them. I do feed my dogs dinner scraps with veggies, a bit or two of fruits if they want, including grapes. And remember when feeding you don’t need to stress about trying to feed your dog a balanced meal everyday, just over time. One other thing,if your dog wants to gulp food, trying feeding partially frozen. A dog’s jaw & teeth are designed to rip & tear, not chew – thus a dog will only get an item small enough to get down it’s throat. Feed large which makes them chew & cleans their teeth!

        • Thanks KerryinKentucky!

          We’ve read some conflicting stuff on the veggies and thought since they are mimicking dogs in the wild who would naturally eat an animal who eats veggies, it’s needed. But I can see your point completely – based on their digestive tract, they shouldn’t need any carbs. But what about the nutrient value with the vitamins that veggies offer? That’s the reason we were most concerned about veggies?

          Interesting.. But I can see where you’re coming from, entirely.


  4. I feed raw, not BARF, my boys get a prey model diet. Raw bones are fine. You must ensure that the bone is large though. For example, I will not feed my boys (a German shepherd & a pit/labx) a quarter of a chicken. Feeding only the thigh, it leg poses a choking hazard. I would feed either the whole chicken, or half of the chicken. I also do not feed weight bearing bones of large mammals, like cattle, unsupervised. That type of bone may be too hard and poses a risk with tooth breakage. I will feed whole deer carcass.

    Chances are, if your dog(s) did not poop due to bone consumption, my guess would be that you were giving them too much bone. I feed 80% meat, 10% bone, & 10% organ (5% liver,5% other). My dogs are thriving and their teeth never looked better. There are quite a few resources including:
    As well as a great FB page, raw feeding tips & yahoo list.

    I also feed my felines (obligate carnivores) raw. To me there is nothing natural about kibble. That would be the equivalent of me eating cereal every day & expecting that to meet all of my nutritional needs.

  5. This is going to sound horrible. We have 6 big dogs here in the sticks with us. 2 we wanted and 4 that were dumped on us. I won’t get started on folks abandoning their pets. 21% protein kibble is what we feed, along with table scraps. Always food and water are available. Our dogs regularly drag up wildlife of some sort and munch that too. They are all a picture health and we take good care of them. My point is that basically I think they have an iron gut and adapt to foods quickly. They cruise during the day and go to work at night, watching our little acerage. NOT THE BEST SECURITY, but affordable and will wake up a cranky ‘ol fart.

    • Hickabilly, we certainly have that in common. When we bought our farm, 2.5 years ago, we had two cats and two dogs. One cat died and we moved onto the farm with just a cat and two dogs. Today, thanks to drop offs, we have three dogs and nine cats. I understand, I think, your feelings about the numbers of “gifts” you are given. We can hardly go three months without a new drop off. It gets old, doesn’t it? 🙂

  6. I’ve enjoyed this article and all the comments as well. The one thing that don’t agree with is the negative message about garlic. The truth about garlic? It’s a natural antibiotic, antiviral and anti-fungal herb which boosts the immune system too. You can read more about it at: – By the way, a large dog would have to ingest substantially more than 2 cloves per day long term to affect blood in a negative way. As for gastrointestinal problems, I see it on the curing side, the opposite of this article.

    And I have a funny one to add to the list of fears about feeding raw meat. While putting 40 pounds of chicken leg quarters in my shopping cart (for 5 large dogs) a couple asked me what they were for. When I told them I fed raw they said to be careful because it would make them vicious and aggressive! My mouth dropped. Once I regained my composure I explained that was not true and I’d been feeding raw for quite some time.

    As for bones, my dogs haven’t had any problems with them whatsoever. When I first started raw, one of my dogs tried to wolf down a large chicken leg quarter, I held onto the other end of it while she was eating. It slowed her down since she had to chew pieces off and after that the problem disappeared.

    And last but not least, I wonder about cooked bones for dogs. It’s definitely one of those big no-nos that we’ve heard for years, yet my dogs have eaten them out of the trash a few times and were fine. And in Dr. Martin Goldstein’s book “The Nature of Animal Healing” he says his small dogs have eaten cooked bones many times and while he has no problem feeding his own dogs cooked bones, he doesn’t promote it.

    • Andrea,

      I will do more investigation into that. So many sites I went to said the same thing. I know where I live, dogs get mostly scraps and that means large amounts of garlic and onions, so maybe there’s lots of truth to what you’re saying. Thanks for the tip.

      Aggressive huh? Wow, that’s a new one! LOL! Now it changes their personality! That’s incredible!

      Your funny story reminds me of the last time I was grocery shopping. One of the supermarkets recently closed in our town and so everything was dramatically reduced. I picked up like 75 lbs of chicken for like $40! I was so excited. Along with it, I got 15 lbs of pork, sardines and some pig knuckles. I had two grocery carts and only a few things for my husband and me.

      This woman said, “wow! You eat a lot of meat.”
      “I have a large family.”
      “How many kids do you have?”
      “Three dogs.”
      “That’s all for your dogs?”
      “Well, my husband and I will eat a little of it, but yes, mostly all for them.”
      “Do you bake it or fry it?”
      “They get it raw, just out of the bag.”
      “And they’ll eat that? Dogs eat meat? Do they like it?”
      “Yes, dogs have been eating meat for thousands of years.”
      “They have? Are you sure?”
      “Yes, I am sure, there weren’t any dog food manufacturers 100 years ago, let alone 1000.”
      “There weren’t? I had no idea. I have always fed my dog dog food. It never occurred to me that they’d eat people food. You’re very strange.”
      I just smiled.

      Ding, ding, ding! No, Purina didn’t exist thousands of years ago. I was very polite, but I did wonder how she has managed all these years. 🙂

      • That’s funny, lol! I always get comments like that too when checking out upwards of 200 lbs of beef heart, chickens, liver, kidney, pork ribs etc. Last week the clerk was a young man who simply smiled and said: “I take it you’re a vegetarian?”. Cracked me up, lol!

      • Sarah your grocery store story made me laugh. Thanks for the humor. Some people must eat bowls of ignorance and stupid for breakfast.
        As for garlic I feed my Tibetan Mastiff once a week garlic. As for the raw bones, I sterilize in a preheated oven at 450° for 5 min. and the bones dont splinter, nor harden. I keep seeing people use the guideline of what animals do in the wild….
        Animals in the wild have shorter lifespan than a wolf in domestic living.
        As for just feeding meat?
        You are starving your dog or cat vital nutrients. Especially if it is store bought meat.
        Herbs such as cilanthro, oregano, thyme, parsley, tumeric and sea salt ( celtic, or himilayan ) are extremely important in your pet’s diet. Commercially raised meat is bad for us, so why would it be good for a dog, or cat?
        I have studied nutrition and natural medicine for many years and have found that a balanced diet with vegetables is best for dogs and cats.
        Also research deadly vaccines. You may be extremely shocked
        Look up Dr. RussellBlaylock, Dr. Mercola, Robert Scott Bell, Dr. Rebecca Carly, Dr. Sherry Tenpenny. The ingredients in vaccines are deadly to both humans and our pets.
        And while you are at it, look up eugenics, and you will start to understand why vaccines are deadly.

  7. I have been feeding our Bouvier raw food since she was 8 weeks old. She is now very healthy at 14 months and doing just fine. This was all on the recommendation of the breeder and was reinforced by the vets we saw. It’s not hard to do. The Bouv eats chicken carcasses with gusto – I think we get fresher chicken from the processor than we do from the supermarket! She chews the chicken very carefully and only wolfs down the beef, which is ground. Our breeder has an excellent connection for raw beef. The dog also gets a selection for veggies from broccoli to sweet potato, some brown rice, squash, pumpkin, green peas…..don’t forget kelp and eggs are also fine with her. Mackerel is also a favourite. It’s true…. she drinks less water than dogs on kibble, her stools are smaller and they do actually disintegrate faster than other stools. All in all it’s been affordable and better for our dog. Yes, it’s a little more inconvenient but I don’t think I could ever actually feed my dog anything else.

    • We just started doing the raw eggs and shells. We couldn’t initially because our hens were brooding their chicks and were only laying an egg every other day, if we were lucky. Now they’re back in production – sort of. They love the eggs and shells!

      I personally don’t see it being inconvenient any longer. We did at the start but that’s because we’d not gotten the hang of things. Now it’s just second nature.

      Not to be a voyeur, but I do love to look at their poops now. They don’t smell, they disintegrate and they no longer have worms. They’re also so much smaller.

      I am super impressed that your breeder recommended it. That’s great! Our vet is only half sold on the idea so far. It’s about training him in nutrition. 🙂

    • Chris, what breeder did you get your bouvier from? I’m looking for a breeder that feeds raw.
      Thank you

  8. One of the biggest questions I usually get is ‘aren’t you worried about the dog getting sick from the samonella & bacteria’? To which the best answer & simplest to understan – Your dog licks it’s own butt!

    • That’s my husband’s response all the time! LOL They lick their own butts, they eat cat poop, and you’re worried about a little bacteria? Good one! =)

  9. Good writings Sarah. Just butchered a steer and should have kept the bones. Interesting ideas and we’ll try it. Got a cousin who row crop farms, says he just pops a deer now and then for his dog food. They look like a pack of heyenas…

    • Thank you so much, Hickabilly! Hey, it’s so perfect for our lifestyle. We don’t hunt but we’re inching our way toward owning livestock. We are raising chickens so far. But it just seems to work. Yes, watching even our most timid dog go into instinctual mode is pretty interesting. Now they act the same toward any intruder (animal, not person) who enters the farm. It’s very interesting.

  10. Great article. We have a 5yo Cairn terrier who was raised from when we got him at 9 weeks on a raw food diet. He is a gulper though and can NOT be given individual “parts”! But he’s a good chewer and will crunch a piece down one bite at a time if I hold the rest of it and make him bite it off. He does seem to be allergic to eggs but our Husky loves them, shell and all. Sometimes I just throw in shells only if we are low on bones. We also give our dogs salmon carcasses which our Husky will eat head and all. Our vet assured us that the rumors we’d heard about never giving your dogs raw salmon did not apply to our Alaskan salmon. In the Pacific Northwest though there is a parasite that can be found in salmon which would be potentially dangerous.
    I do give my dogs cooked bones BUT… ONLY the leftovers from making bone broth for ourselves which turn soft and can be crumbled by hand. I also give those to our chickens and they leave nary a trace in their dish! Our Husky is a garbage loving dog who periodically gets into trash unintended for her, thus eating cooked bones including those from chickens with no apparent harm… yet. But I would never intentionally give any dog cooked bones that have the potential to splinter and damage the gut.

    • Hi Bebe,

      Thanks for your comments. The longer we feed our dogs raw, the more I love hearing about people who do as well. We have been giving our dogs eggs again. We had to stop because we had three hens brooding and then raising chicks all at the same time. We were only getting a couple of eggs a week for a few months. And I refuse to buy eggs. 🙂

      Now that we’ve resumed, they love them! Sometimes they go for the eggs first. Instead of salmon, we give ours sardines and blend them with garbanzo beans. One of our girls vomits after eating veggies, so have found that beans are a great alternative for them. They love the paste that comes out of the blender. Oh so tasty! 🙂

      Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate them. It’s great to know how many people advocate the raw diet.

      Have a wonderful day,

  11. Bebe,

    Oh! Hector, the stray who wandered onto our farm last year, is a dumpster diver as well. He had a rough life before he came here. I will spare you the details but it was an awful life, anyway, he ate what he could and when he could, so he has an affinity for garbage and the stinkiest, rotting fruit. If he could, he’d dive into the compost and drag it all out. We have to watch him. 🙂


  12. Hi Sarah.

    This is an interesting article. I have three dogs – 2 Rottweilers and a German Shepherd. We feed them cooked meat and wheat bread three times a day. They were doing fine till recently (they are 3 years old now – all of them) and then the problems started with my boys – the 2 of them – they itch, itch and itch, they’re loosing hair and seem to have lost appetite for meat. They gobble only on bread!

    All my vet does is prescribe more and more antibiotics and give them infection shots! Their coat is lacklustre, their energy levels are on an all-time low and their teeth has a lot of tartar. 🙁

    I love them all – the girl is doing great, by the way – and I cannot bear to pain them thus. Do you advocate a completely raw meat diet? Do I say a firm NO to veggies and grains? They love bread – but if it works for the long run, I’m prepared to give it up!!

    Pls advise!! I’m all for a prepper lifestyle. 🙂

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