These days I make a lot of dog food. I guess that’s what happens when you have four dogs and are committed to feeding them unprocessed raw food, otherwise known as the BARF (bones and raw food) diet.
Why would I go to all the trouble of such an inconvenience when there are hundreds of types of dog food on the market? Because I can’t bear to feed my animals what I won’t eat myself. The things I won’t eat I avoid because I was born with a genetic auto-immune disorder. Genetics, the gift that keeps on giving. My father gave it to me and I passed it on to my son.
Although I started dealing with the pain caused by this disease– ankylosing spondylitis– at around 13, without realizing what it was, I wasn’t officially diagnosed until I was in my early 30s. The doctor who diagnosed me was very excited. He’d never seen it in a woman. I, on the other hand, told him firmly, “I won’t have this disease!” and walked out of his office.
Denial isn’t always a river in Egypt. Needless to say, deciding I wouldn’t have the disease didn’t actually stop its progression. Some ten years later things my immune system had completely crashed. Since Western medicine doesn’t do immune system rebuilds, I left the world of pharmaceuticals behind and headed into alternative medicine. That included changing my diet to avoid the toxins and lack of nutrition in the SAD (Standard American Diet) while I instead rebuilt my depleted gut microbiome.
It was one of those changes no one ever really wants to make, but turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. At forty I could barely walk. At fifty I did a handstand in the middle of the room (thank you Yoga!) on my birthday. And the longer I maintain my clean diet, the stronger I get.
So when it came to my dogs, dogs that I expected to be my partners on the farm, I started reading the ingredients on commercial dog foods and researched the processes used to make them. I just couldn’t feed my partners what I wouldn’t eat.
That’s when I came across the BARF diet. I was thrilled to discover I wasn’t the only one who wanted to feed raw food and lots of bones to an animal that evolved to eat raw food and lots of bones. All I can say is that neither Moosie nor Bear have ever needed to have their teeth cleaned, and feeding them grass-fed or non-GMO meats have kept them from ever being ill. For a long time I worried that I wasn’t giving them enough vegetables, but they get lots of organ meat, raw milk yogurt, and fresh eggs. They also snack on gross things like the intestines of the animals they kill and the chickens I slaughter, and occasionally, cow and sheep manure.
But when the puppies arrived, I wanted to start them off right, so I looked up recipes for dog food, When I found something that I liked, I added my own twists, most especially adding the Celtic Sea Salt so they get their trace minerals.
So here’s what the girls eat, each of them getting a pound of this food a day, along with another 12 ounces of meat, organ meats, or bones, plus 1/2 a cup of raw milk yogurt and 2 eggs. That’s 2 eggs if they don’t find more during the course of the day.
Mix it with your hands, measure out their portions, top with yogurt and eggs. Then watch your puppies do the happy dance when you go to feed them.