Initially I began feeding a modified Volhard regimen in 1993, but subsequent reading led me to adopt the Billinghurst "BARF" type of diet in 1995, eliminating grains completely from the diet. The original diet is at the bottom of the page in italics. Following is the current feeding program.
BARF Diet (Bones and Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food)
This is mainly chicken/bones (can be given whole or ground) for about 65-70% of the diet; veggies (leafy greens, root veggies, squash) — you can use just about anything except onions and kale 25%; organ meats 10-5%. I started using whole chicken parts, mostly backs, breast frames (found a supplier to buy for about 25-50¢/pound), turkey necks. After a choking accident when I received a case of turkey necks that were much larger than previously, I switched to ground chicken/bones. Supplements of flax seed, alfalfa, sea kelp and parsley.
Note that this diet does not contain any grains (even the potato that is used in most grain-free kibble).
Modified Volhard Diet (original Crestwood feeding plan)
MORNING (**For puppies through teething, try to split into two feedings -- am and noon)
Morning meal is composed of grains (75% rolled oats [such as Quaker regular oatmeal] and 25% of another flaked or rolled grain such as barley, rye, wheat or a combination mix such as 4 or 6 grain; Quick Oats can also be used), live culture plain yogurt (goats milk preferred), raw milk (goats milk preferred) or buttermilk, natural organic honey or molassas and dried fruit (raisins, prunes, apricots).
Based on Volhard's recommendation for puppies (and her weight chart for quantities) feed from chart for an adult of twice the puppy's current weight. Continue this way (adjusting quantities as weight increases) through teething, then begin gradually cutting back until you are at the appropriate adult weight quantities. I have weighed my rolled oats and 6 grain cereal and 3 oz equals 1 cup dry weight.
Prepare in one of two ways:
1. Cook on stove according to directions on Quaker Oats carton using at least twice as much water as grain. The yogurt and milk will cool the mixture some. If not enough, add cold water until it is lukewarm.
2. The night before boil appropriate amount of water add grains, cover, turn off heat and let stand until ready to serve in the morning. In winter you may want to warm slightly or add a small portion of grains that have been cooked on the stove.
Add about 1-2 tablespoons of yogurt, ¼-½ c. milk, 1-2 tablespoons of honey and a sprinkle of dried fruit. Add supplements (kelp product/I use Source, vitamin C, Multi-vitamin/I use VetLine, vitamin E). Stir, serve and stand back!
EVENING (**Again, for puppies through teething, split into two meals if possible -- late afternoon and about 8:00pm)
Feed meat amount according to Volhard charts for weight (twice the adult weight quantities). Vegetables are chopped extremely fine (food processor, blender or juicer) as the canine cannot digest cellulose well. Greens (parsley, watercress, sprouts, veggie tops) are chopped fine or pureed in blender with some water. Meat is fed in chunks appropriate for the puppy's (dog's) size, or ground meat. Try to feed only 2-3 red meat meals a week, utilizing poultry, lamb or fish for the other days. I currently feed poultry only -- turkey and chicken. Beef and lamb can be fed raw. Poultry can either be treated with Nutrobiotic (citrus seed extract)* or steamed for a couple of minutes to remove parasites (according to Dr. Billinhurst/Give Your Dog A Bone, this is not necessary as the dogs digestive system can handle all raw meats fine -- I do not use this on my poultry any longer as my older dogs started on the diet have developed the appropriate digestive enzymes to handle the parasites and any puppies I bring in have been raised on raw meat and bones. Fish should be steamed for a couple of minutes.
Any of the following vegetables can be used: squash (all kinds), carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, broccoli, yams, beans (all), asparagus, beets, brussel sprouts, spinach, eggplant, canned pumpkin, etc. The only ones to really stay away from are onions and kale which can change the red blood cells, causing anemia. Variety is good. Try not to use more than one gas-producing veggie (cauliflower, broccoli, beans, asparagus) at a time. Its hard on the dog's stomach and your nose!!
Mix the appropriate amount of meat with greens (1-2 tablespoons) and veggies (about a cup of mixed veggies). I usually try for two - three different veggies per meal, sprinkle with raw wheat germ, wheat bran or oat bran (for roughage), add a little hot water, supplements and serve.
Volhard's recommended supplements are fine, although I usually follow a slightly different schedule for the vitamin C and E. An easier way is using a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement powder along with extra vitamin C and E and the oil/molasses. I use VetLine because it has so much more in the way of enzymes and minerals. The seaweed/kelp supplement I use is Source, which is made for horses and found at feed stores.
The vitamin C/E quantities recommended are from Dr. Belfield's book, How to Have a Healthier Dog. If using a multi-supplement, check the label for the amounts and add enough to make up the recommended amount. Exact accuracy is not vital.
*Nutrobiotic can be obtained at health food stores. Mix 4 drops with 6 oz. purified water (it must be stirred) for each pound of poultry to be treated. For ground meat mix in until absorbed, for chunks marinate for an hour and use the water with the food.
**Due to my work schedule I feed at 5:00am and 5:30pm and the puppies do not seem to have a problem with it.
Canines usually digest and produce stool in about 8 hours. The stool from the cereal meal will be looser than that from the meat meal (which will be softer than on regular commercial dog food), this is normal. You will have much less stool (particularly in the adult dog) when on natural rearing because they are utilizing all the food.
Vitamin C can sometimes cause loose stools. Work up to the recommended amount gradually. If loose stool develops cut back until you are using an amount the dog will tolerate (my Rott, who is getting large doses of Vitamin C for hip dysplasia pain, is on 10,000mg/day with no stool problem).
Young puppies of large and giant breeds put tremendous stress on their bones through the growth periods. They are much better kept "lean" during these times, but not "caved-in". Adjustments to quantities will be necessary through growth stages and during adulthood to maintain an appropriate weight for the activity level of the dog.
If started when a puppy, raw meat bones (beef and lamb neck bones for young puppies and larger ball joint bones for adults) are good sources of calcium and exercise for teeth and gums. They should be given shortly after the evening meal and removed when the meat is gone, before there is a chance of splintering.
Grains: Quaker Oatmeal is the easiest to obtain, although probably not the most economical. A 42oz container will last a 100# adult about a week. Bulk rolled oats and other grains (including wheat germ, oat bran and wheat bran) can be obtained from some grocery stores that carry bulk bins and most health food stores. I have found prices from 49 to 69/#. I use Boneys in the San Diego country area. In Arizona, Smith’s and Smitty’s have bins. I also utilize corn bread, whole grain breads from day-old stores as my grain source.
Dairy: For raw dairy products, you will probably have to find a large health food store/market or actual dairy. I use Boneys in Escondido for my raw goats milk and yogurt as well as the grains which I buy in 50# bags. Without this source, I use regular plain yogurt and buttermilk.
Veggies: Produce markets or grocery stores are fine for any of the veggies, unless you can find an economical organic source -- or grow your own.
Meat: Probably the most expensive part of the diet, particularly for large dogs. Unless you get lucky, meat markets are usually unable to match the prices (because of volume) of the grocery stores. I look for sales as much as possible and freeze amounts in 2-3 meals size packages. Try to have a balance of lean meat and fatty meat (according to Pitcarin). Boneless shoulder clod or chuck roast, ground beef, chicken and turkey (both ground and chunks), lamb and organ meats (heart, liver (not too much), gizzards). See note below for current feeding.
If I find a sale on the roasts I will buy quantity and cut it up myself. Lowest price I have found is $1.49/#. Sales on ground beef, chicken and turkey are easier. I try to buy the "tubes" (10-20#/each) which have only been ground once. Prices from 79 to 98/#.
Supplements: Using the Volhard system, most supplements can be obtained at a health food store. Be sure to get human consumption/nutritional products -- yeast, bone meal, kelp, etc.
Multi-vitamin products can be obtained at the large discount pet stores or by catalog order.
Updated August 30, 2012
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