Although I've been feeding raw for more than four years, I'm nervous about feeding bone. I thought that I would be satisfied feeding ground raw for all my days; I thought my dogs would love it too.
I was wrong.
Last month, Scout became disenchanted with his meals. He wasn't sick; he wasn't picky – he just wasn't interested. I had ordered my first case of duck frames and decided to see if he would be interested in that because he LOVES chomping down on whole duck necks.
The duck frames WERE A HIT!
The definition of FrankenBARF had officially changed.
What is the FrankenBARF Model of Raw Feeding?
The FrankenBARF model of raw feeding is something me and tons of other raw feeders made up. When I started feeding raw, I tried both BARF model and Prey Model, and I found that a combination of the two worked for my dogs. In BARF Model, some people recommend replacing 15-30% of the muscle meat with vegetables and fruit, reducing muscle meat from 80% down to 50-65%.
Over the years, I've learned that the decrease in muscle meat in a raw food diet isn't the end of the world. Every dog is different, and the 80/10/5/5 ratio (80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, 5% offal) of raw feeding is just a starting point, and we have to adjust the percentages to meet each dog's individual needs.
So this is how I feed my dogs, for now:
- 80% muscle meat
- 10% bone
- 5% liver
- 5% offal (secreting organs)
- fruits and vegetable puree aka veggie mix (which I plan to alternate with fermenting vegetables)
I use mostly whole foods instead of adding supplements. I only add a small number of supplements, which I plan to replace with food as I learn more about dog nutrition. For instance, I'm now learning that fermented foods act as a liver detox (replacing milk thistle); fermented foods may also be able to replace Rodrigo's pancreas supplement.
Raw feeding is a constant learning process.
Benefits of Feeding Whole FrankenBARF Raw
Two years ago, I wrote about the model I feed my dogs that I call FrankenBARF. This week, I updated the post to remove the many mentions of “ground” raw dog food because, to be honest, this diet can be fed with whole foods or ground foods. I'm leaning towards whole for many reasons.
- Feeding whole raw allows the gut to prepare itself to digest food which leads to better digestion.
- Feeding whole raw satisfies a dog's chew drive.
- Feeding whole raw is great for cleaning teeth and gums.
- Feeding whole raw helps to exercise and build jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles.
- Feeding whole raw receives a fantastic reaction from the dogs; they love crunching on bone and cartilage.
I will continue to feed ground raw, but it'll be the food that I get from brands and farms through our co-op:
- Quail from Columbia River Pets
- Lamb and bison tripe from Darwin's Pet Food
- Green beef tripe from GreenTripe.com
- Ground emu from a farm (sourced through our co-op)
Incorporating Whole Duck Wings in Raw Feeding
Like I said at the top, I was nervous about feeding raw bones. So I did a few things to get over my fears:
- I reminded myself that my dogs do well on duck necks, lamb necks, and beef knuckle bones; this isn't their first rodeo.
- I tested each dog to see how they did with the bones; making sure they didn't swallow them whole.
- I learned that the dogs can eat a whole duck wing outside, but inside, they need them chopped into two pieces or else they'll take their wing to the living room to eat.
The dogs have had two meals with whole duck wings, and everyone is doing great. They are fantastic at chewing the wings well. Sydney and Rodrigo did try to swallow a big chunk of the wing and promptly regurgitated it when that didn't work. Then they chewed the properly.
Can you imagine if I did something like that at the dinner table?
Anyway, feeding whole duck wings instead of ground turned out to be pretty anti-climatic. And meal prep was super easy and fast (took an hour to separate 70 pounds of duck wings and frames). But I will admit that it easier and the dogs are happier and I have this weird sense of pride in my pack.