Yes, all of the ingredients in Back to Basics are human grade. The meat comes from local Alberta farmers, fruit and vegetables come from local grocers, and all supplements are made for human consumption. Note however that green tripe is not human grade. The human grade form of tripe is boiled and bleached, leaving no nutritional benefit for dogs. Back to Top
If you feed a combination of raw meaty bones with RMB balancer, it will be approximately 30-40% cheaper than ground full meals. Back to Top
When feeding a combination of raw meaty bones and balancer you feed 50% raw meaty bones and 50% balancer.
I believe that half of the benefit of feeding a raw, natural diet is improved dental health. This is only accomplished when you feed raw meaty bones. Raw meaty bones clean the teeth by scraping plaque off the teeth and massaging the gums which increases blood flow to the area. Raw meaty bones also provide lots of protein and calcium.
It cannot be stressed enough that calcium is ESSENTIAL for bone health especially in growing puppies. By including the balancer, the diet is made very simple, because you can’t just feed raw meaty bones. To complete the raw diet you must also include organ meat which has essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (vitamin A, D and taurine to name a few).
Pureed vegetables and fruit provide anti-oxidants and vitamins and minerals, and green tripe is excellent for proper digestion - it is full of enzymes, essential fatty acids, and has probiotics (lactobacillus acidophilus) for a healthy intestinal flora. Green tripe is one of the most beneficial things you can add to your dog’s diet. There are also some supplements added to the balancer which promote great health and longevity.
Feeding raw meaty bones and balancer is simple, everything needed is added in the mix to make the diet balanced and as close to the natural prey model as possible. Back to Top
If you feed raw meaty bones and the balancer, for a 50lb dog it will cost between $60 - $80/ 4 weeks. The reason for the variation depends on the proteins you feed - if you want to make it cheaper, feed mostly chicken backs and beef balancer.
It is good to add in some variety of proteins, so if your budget allows you can add in some of the more expensive proteins (like bison and lamb) to mix it up for your dog. Different protein sources provide different nutrients so it is a god idea to feed a variety. Back to Top
If you feed the full ground meals it will cost approximately $96 - $114/4 weeks for a 50lb dog. The cost will vary depending on the proteins you choose to feed. Back to Top
Fresh food is best; dogs and cats are carnivores designed to eat their food raw. Cooking food changes the structure and the nutrients lose their bioavailability. For more information refer to the "Benefits of Raw" and "Raw vs. Kibble" pages. Back to Top
BARF stands for "Biologically Appropriate Raw Food". Back to Top
RMB is an abbreviation for "Raw Meaty Bones". Back to Top
Raw Meaty bones are soft and the dog or cat is able to chew through the bone and consume it. Recreational bones are very hard and the dog or cat would not be able to chew through the bone (knuckle bones, femur bones). Some dogs do okay with recreational bones; however, many dogs will go a little overboard with them and break teeth. We recommend using bones such as beef necks, bison necks, and lamb necks - these bones will provide hours of entertainment, a meal, and won`t damage your dog`s teeth. These bones are also a great tooth brush. Back to Top
This is not recommended because kibble is digested much slower than raw food. Slow digestion can create a more hospitable environment for bacteria in the digestive system, and it can cause stomach upset. It is better to feed some fresh food than none at all. If you do feed kibble and raw, we suggest feeding it in separate meals and/or on separate days. Back to Top
Raw food contains live enzymes which assist in the quick, efficient digestion of foods. Back to Top
There are a few supplements added into Back to Basics Raw Pet Food: Kelp, alfalfa, vitamin C, and salmon oil. These supplements are non specific, meaning that they are beneficial to dogs and cats but are not designed to treat any specific condition.
If your dog has specific problems, there are specific supplements that can help. The first thing you need to consider before adding supplements to try to fix something, is whether or not the dog or cat is being fed a species appropriate diet to begin with. Supplements cannot fix a poor diet. A proper, raw diet does not usually require a vitamin/mineral supplement; because the food is not cooked, the nutrients are not lost. That being said, there are some great supplements on the market for things like extra digestive enzymes or probiotics, glucosamine for arthritis, etc.
We have had good success with a supplement called NuVet. It has been shown to help dogs with a wide array of pre-existing conditions. If you are interested in this or any other high quality supplements, click here: http://k9trainingandsupplies.com. Back to Top
You should be aware of it; many surveys have shown that poultry products are commonly contaminated with salmonella. Your dog and cat have a digestive system that is able to deal with it because the pH of their stomach is very low and kills the bacteria. People do need to be careful and use safe meat handling practices. Wash your hands and surfaces where food is prepared.
Studies have shown that dogs can eat chicken covered in salmonella and not show the bacteria in their saliva or become ill in any way, but studies also show that 30% of dogs who ingest salmonella will shed the bacteria in their feces. Make sure you wash your hands after cleaning up after your pet, and don`t allow your children to come into contact with feces. For an excellent article on salmonella, click here: http://www.positivepetzine.com/salmonella Back to Top
Dogs and cats are survivalists - they will do anything to preserve their own life. The likelihood of them choking on a raw meaty bone is very low. Remember, in the wild they eat whole animal carcasses. Sometimes if your dog ingests something too big they will simply throw it up and eat it again. I know this is exceedingly gross, but it is part of the way they eat.
You should feed raw meaty bones that are an appropriate size, and err on the side of too big rather than too small. Raw meaty bones that are too small can be swallowed whole and get stuck. If your dog has to chew the bone, choking is much less likely.
If you are really concerned about choking, think of this: children are high risk for choking but we would never think of feeding them only soft foods until they are 5 or 6 years old. The benefits of feeding raw meaty bones (cleaner teeth, better digestion) outweigh the risk. Always supervise your dog when eating a raw meaty bone. Back to Top
This is a common problem. Try feeding them outside when it is warm, and when it is cold you can confine them to an area that is easy to clean. It is easy to teach pups to eat in a designated area; however, some adults firmly believe that they must hide with their prize. It is best to allow these dogs some privacy to enjoy their treasure, especially if you have multiple dogs. Back to Top
This is an urban legend...with a small amount of truth to it. Dogs that have pre-existing resource guarding issues will be more likely to act aggressively when given something as good as a raw meaty bone.
Resource guarding is a natural behaviour for dogs; this does not mean that it is appropriate. Dogs need to be taught how to act when they have a prized possession. If this is an issue, I suggest you seek the advice of a professional trainer who uses positive reinforcement techniques to teach appropriate behaviours. If your dog does not have aggression issues, feeding fresh food certainly will not create them. Back to Top
Dogs require calcium for bone and tooth development and maintenance. Raw, unprocessed bone is the best way to provide this much needed calcium. Synthetic calcium or rendered bone meal (found in all kibble) are digested differently and can interfere with the absorption of other essential vitamins and minerals. Raw bone is easily digested and anything left over is simply discarded in the feces.
In growing pups, calcium is essential but is often over-supplemented, which can cause many more problems than it solves. Feeding calcium in its natural form is the safest way to ensure adequate calcium. Back to Top
When feeding raw, you will find that your pet poops much less because they are utilizing more of the nutrients in their creating less waste. Raw fed pets have small poop which can sometimes look white and chalky - this is from digesting natural bone. It is common for your pet to strain a bit and this allows them to express their anal glands, which you either would normally have to do yourself or pay someone else to do it.
Once in a while you will find mucous in your dog's feces and this is also common for raw fed dogs. There is mucous in the intestinal tract and it is normal for it to be shed once in a while, especially when first starting with a raw diet. If this is a very common occurrence, it may be due to lactose intolerance. If you are feeding dairy, discontinue and see if that helps. If it is not due to dairy and continues to occur frequently, take a stool sample to the vet as it may be due to parasites or a digestion problem. Back to Top
Canned pumpkin is great for halting diarrhea because pumpkin is a soluble fibre - it actually absorbs water in the digestive tract as opposed to insoluble fibres which add bulk to the feces. Pure canned pumpkin puree (no spices) can be picked up at the grocery store.
Diarrhea can be a normal part of detox when switching to a BARF diet; it should go away in a week or two. As a rule, raw meaty bones make stool more firm, and muscle meat, organ meat, and vegetables make stools looser. So if you are noticing your dog's stool is a little bit loose on a regular basis, you can increase the raw meaty bones and decrease the balancer.
If your dog is acting sick and has had diarrhea for several days or has severe diarrhea, take them to the vet. Back to Top
Constipation is often the result of too much bone. This can be easily alleviated by feeding a bit more balancer. The organ meat and vegetables in the balancer will help get things moving again. Canned pumpkin can also work to alleviate constipation due to the water content. Back to Top
Many vets have had very little education in animal nutrition and most of the time the lectures on nutrition are given by guest speakers from a pet food company. If your vet doesn`t accept your input into the care of your pet, then I would suggest finding a new vet. Back to Top
You can still feed a natural diet on the road. You can use a cooler for your pet`s food and bring along some canned sardines or mackerel. You can often stop at grocery stores and grab chicken wings and some inexpensive cuts of meat.
There are also some dehydrated raw pet foods on the market (NRG). These are a bit pricey but work great when you are traveling because they take up very little space and you just add water to the mix. Don`t forget to stop at the grocery store and get some fresh meats once in a while though. Back to Top
Feeding a BARF diet to an older dog or cat does have a few considerations. Many older dogs and cats suffer from dental disease from years of eating kibble. If the dental disease is causing pain, they may be reluctant to eat raw meaty bones. In this case I would suggest getting your dog's teeth cleaned - you might be surprised at how youthful they are after a teeth cleaning. Once the teeth are taken care of, introduce the BARF diet the same way you would with younger dogs and cats.
Many of our senior friends have medical conditions, are under the care of a vet, and are on prescription diets. I would suggest that you seek the advice of a holistic vet when switching a dog or cat to the BARF diet if they have pre-existing conditions. A glucosamine supplement is highly recommended for older dogs - it makes a great difference in energy levels and you will notice your older dog is not nearly as stiff and sore. You can purchase glucosamine supplements for dogs at pet food stores or online, you can also use "people" glucosamine supplements. Back to Top
Absolutely. If your dog has had dental problems, all the more reason to feed raw meaty bones. The raw meaty bones will prevent further dental problems by massaging the gums and scraping plaque off the teeth. If your dog has no teeth I would suggest feeding ground full meals. Back to Top
Yes, toy breed dogs have even more dental problems than bigger dogs because their jaws tend to be proportionately smaller and there is less space for their teeth. For dogs under 15lbs it is recommended that you feed small raw meaty bones like chicken necks and wings. Back to Top
No, you should also feed organs, tripe, and mashed fruits and veggies. The ideal diet has 50% raw meaty bones, 10% muscle meat, 10% organs, 10% green tripe, and 15% fruit and veggies. This is the purpose of the balancer, to provide the extra essentials that raw meaty bones do not have. Back to Top
We believe that a diet with raw meaty bones is best. Raw meaty bones clean teeth which is essential for good health. Your dog and cat will also get the full “real food” eating experience. Most people really enjoy watching their pets chomp down on and enjoy raw meaty bones. Not to mention how much your dog and cat will love eating raw meaty bones. Back to Top
Yes, 10% of the complete meals are raw bone meal. It is essential that calcium comes from a natural uncooked source. Artificial and cooked bone meal can interfere with vitamin absorption such as thiamine, iron and zinc. Back to Top
The easiest way to keep the food once it is defrosted is in resealable tupperware containers. You can defrost the food in the fridge which takes 24 – 48 hours. You can also fill the sink with cold water and place the vacuum sealed bag in the water - this way will only take a couple of hours to defrost the food. The vacuum sealed bags will not leak, so you can safely defrost the food in your sink (with cold water) or your fridge. Back to Top
Once you get an idea of how much your dog needs, you can get away with just “eye-balling it.” For the balancer and full meals, one 8oz cup equals ½ pound of food, so you can just use a measuring scoop to calculate the amount of ground food. For raw meaty bones you can get a kitchen scale to weigh the food, or you can estimate and just keep a close eye on your dog’s waistline. For example an average 50lb dog would get 2 chicken backs and an 8 oz scoop of balancer in a day. This can be in one meal or split into two. You can also feed balancer one day and RMBs the next. Back to Top
Yes, if you would like a specific diet mixed just for your dog, please contact us by phone or email to discuss the details. Specialty mixes are perfect for dogs with allergies or any special nutritional needs. Specific supplements can be added, you can increase the amount of a specific ingredient, or take an ingredient out, etc.
Not all dogs are the same and not every diet works for every dog. This is a great way to create a diet that works best for your dog’s specific needs. Back to Top
No, you can also order by phone or email and alternative payment arrangements can be made. Back to Top
Once the raw food is defrosted it can be kept in your fridge for 3-4 days. Back to Top
Raw chicken bones are safe to eat, cooked chicken bones are not. When chicken bones are cooked they become sharp, brittle, and hard to digest. You should never feed cooked chicken bones to your dog or cat. It is often believed that all chicken bones are dangerous and this is not the case. When chicken bones are raw, they are soft, pliable, and easy to digest. Back to Top