The feeding of our dog is clearly the key to maintaining the good state of his health. This time we want to talk about the BARF diet for Yorkshire Terrier (also known as Realfood for dogs or Dog Realfooding), a type of natural food that offers great advantages for our pets. Take note of everything we have to tell you!
Yorkshire Terrier feeding
The digestive system of dogs has a large stomach and a short intestine (preventing food from rotting inside). In this sense, we must take into account that Yorkshire Terriers experience slow digestion, especially in the case of solid food, remaining in the stomach from 3 to 8 hours.
Due to its anatomy, the digestive system of dogs is fully capable of processing and metabolizing copious meals. Due to the long digestions mentioned above, it is possible for a long interval of hours to pass between each meal.
Historically, dogs have been carnivorous animals. Despite this, over the years they have gone through a long process of adaptation and today they are also prepared to consume non-animal products. This does not prevent them from having a balanced diet that provides them with adequate amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.
The correct development and growth of the dogs will depend on all this, as well as their state of health, preventing them from being fat or thin and, in the case of the Yorkshire Terrier, having a beautiful coat. Very important issues in the case of puppies, which require careful feeding and special attention.
What is the BARF diet?
The BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) is a way of recovering the traditional diet of dogs as carnivorous animals that they are.
The origins of this type of diet based on natural food and raw food comes from Dr. Ian Billinghurst, an Australian veterinarian who, after several studies, found that offering dogs a diet based on meat, meaty bones, offal or vegetables, among others, had a very positive impact on their health and development.
In a few words, the BARF diet for dogs is nothing more than a way to offer a healthy and balanced diet to our pets, starting from fresh products like the ones we could consume as people and leaving aside the processed options we know in the market such as animal feed.
The objective of the BARF diet is none other than to improve the health conditions, life expectancy, energy and reproductive capacity of dogs, minimizing disorders, diseases, premature aging and, therefore, visits to the veterinarian. The important thing, in any case, is to find the perfect balance or equilibrium to cover all the needs of our pet.
10 advantages of the BARF diet
Advocates of the BARF diet argue that a diet based on this type of food offers great benefits for the health of our dogs, significantly improving their quality of life and life expectancy. But what exactly are these benefits?
1️⃣ Improvement of the immune system
Recovering the type of food (carnivorous, avoiding food processing) for which dogs were conceived contributes to the proper functioning of our pet’s immune system.
2️⃣ Healthier digestion
By providing them with nutrient-rich foods, these are absorbed in a high percentage, resulting in less bulky and foul-smelling feces.
3️⃣ Better hydration
In the BARF diet, the percentage of moisture in fresh food is between 70 and 90%. This ensures that the dog is better hydrated through the food, reducing water intake and the stress to which the kidneys and liver are subjected.
4️⃣ Healthier teeth and gums
Natural food favors the cleanliness and hygiene of our dogs’ mouths, helping to reduce tartar and preventing bad breath.
5️⃣ Stronger bones
The development of muscle mass avoids joint problems and helps to keep bones healthy and strong.
6️⃣ Better mood, greater vitality
Natural food is directly related to happier moods and more active and vital attitudes, improving the dog’s sociability and avoiding sedentary behaviors or other disorders such as coprophagia.
7️⃣ Good skin condition and more beautiful hair.
Helps to recover the natural color and good condition of the skin, without dandruff or itching, making bad body odor disappear. Another advantage is the appearance of a much more lustrous, shiny and beautiful coat.
8️⃣ Ideal weight
If there is something that characterizes this type of diet, it is the absence of carbohydrates in which the usual dry food is rich, helping the dog to maintain its ideal weight and preventing diseases related to the colon or diabetes.
9️⃣ Improved appetite
Fresh meat and meaty bones are very attractive foods for dogs, which they will gobble more eagerly than any other conventional feed.
1️⃣0️⃣ Minimizing the occurrence of allergies or intolerances
The BARF diet contributes to maintaining a healthy intestine, which is directly related to the prevention of possible allergies or intolerances.
Ingredients of the BARF diet for Yorkshire Terriers
In a properly balanced BARF diet, a wide variety of nutrients, vitamins and minerals should be present. With great predominance of bones and meat, as good carnivorous animals that dogs are, the rations should also be completed with offal, vegetables and some supplements.
Although there are brands that offer already prepared menus, you can always resort to seasonal products, in addition to meats and offal on offer in the market. Below is an approximate ratio in percentages for each type of food:
Bones (between 50-60% of the total): such as chicken carcasses, wings, necks… They are provided raw (never cooked to avoid chipping) and there is a great variety: poultry, rabbit, lamb… They are a great source of energy, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants. Care must be taken since an excess of bones in old and sedentary dogs, even if ground, can cause constipation.
Meat and fish (between 20-30 % of the total): starting from butcher’s and/or fishmonger’s scraps, they should be provided raw or lightly cooked. They offer a high protein and energy intake. While adult dogs should be fed in chunks, puppies should be given this food in minced form. In the case of meat, it can be of bovine origin (head, trimmings, deboned…), poultry or rabbit (neck or head). On the contrary, with the fish we can resort to lean species of salty water, with attention to the bones from their elimination or crushing them.
Offal or giblets (approximately 10%): with organs such as heart, liver, tripe, gizzards, brain, poultry stomach, kidneys… They have a lower protein content, but are very appetizing for dogs.
Vegetables (approximately 10%): fruit and vegetables (carrot, zucchini, tomato, spinach…) should not have a great presence in the diet of our Yorkshire Terrier, since their nutritional contribution is really low and, often, this type of food is not very appealing to dogs. Its intake can be recommended, mainly, in sedentary dogs with obesity or to combat cases of constipation. This ration can be perfectly substituted by a spoonful of bran, which offers a great contribution of minerals and vitamins. In case of supplying them with fruit and/or vegetables, it is always better to do it in crushed form (for a better assimilation of nutrients), always avoiding potatoes, grapes, raisins and quince because of their toxicity.
Others (approximately 5%): in order to complete the BARF diet even more, we can resort to some supplements such as brewer’s yeast, highly recommended in Yorkshire Terriers, as they contribute to strengthen and present a long, loose and shiny coat. Other foods such as eggs are rich in proteins, fats and vitamins. While the yolk can be served raw, the white should always be cooked.
Quantities in BARF feeding
This is perhaps one of the most difficult questions to answer regarding the change to the BARF diet for our dogs. Why? The amounts of food vary according to many variables such as weight, age, breed, daily activity level….
Under normal circumstances, it is stipulated that larger or older dogs require a smaller amount of food per day, while mini breeds or younger dogs and puppies will require more food in proportion to their weight.
As an approximation of what might be the right amount to feed your dog, you can take as a reference that an adult may need between 2 and 3% of food in relation to its weight daily. The percentage, however, can rise up to 8% in young, light-weight and highly active dogs.
As an approximation of what could be the right amount to feed your dog, you can take as a reference that an adult dog may need between 2 and 3% of food in relation to its weight daily. The percentage, however, can rise up to 8% in young, light-weight and highly active dogs.
Puppies, however, should be fed approximately 10% of their weight, otherwise they would not get the necessary nutrients for their correct development.
In the case of an adult Yorkshire Terrier, the approximate amount of BARF food would oscillate between 120-150 grams per day, preferably distributed in two feedings per day.
In the end, as usual, what works best is observation and common sense. If you detect that your dog is losing weight, you will only have to increase the daily rations. While if he gains weight, you will have to do the same: decrease the daily rations.
Transitioning from feed to BARF diet
If your dog has been feeding on dry food for years, you should keep in mind that the transition to the BARF diet should not happen suddenly (especially in older dogs or dogs with digestive problems), as this could cause gastrointestinal problems in our pet due to the effect of the immediate contrast.
In order to make a correct transition to the BARF diet, it is important that you never mix raw food with dry feed in the same feeding, since they are digested by very different processes. The ideal, in this case, is to start the supply of natural food on an occasional basis or as a reward to reinforce positive behaviors.
For a few days, we should continue with this dynamic and make sure that the feces maintain their usual consistency at all times. Once this stage is over, we can replace one of the daily feedings with BARF food. If after several days the stools are still normal, we can make the complete transition to BARF.
This process may take several weeks or even a month, depending on the adaptation of each dog. However, if you notice that during the first months from the beginning of the transition to BARF your dog sheds its hair or generates excess mucus in the stool or bites, keep in mind that this is part of the adaptation process and these alterations will disappear in a short time.
Although this process should be the usual one for dogs that have been fed dry food for years, in the case of younger dogs you can opt for a direct transition from small intakes. Some specialists recommend, in these cases, a fasting day to favor rapid adaptation to the new type of food.
How to prepare raw food for your dog?
If you are in the process of transition to the BARF diet, start with a soft food and watch how your dog assimilates it (chicken carcasses and necks are a great option for beginners). From there you can incorporate more natural foods into your dog’s daily routine.
One of the most common fears is that your dog may choke on the bones. If they scare you at the beginning, grind them for your peace of mind until you observe that he is adapting little by little.
Serve meat and fish with skins and fats, as this is the main source of energy for our dogs. In addition, it is interesting to vary between three or four varieties to keep covered all the nutrient needs of our pet.
Remember that food should be frozen for at least three days to avoid the transmission of parasites, especially in fish and viscera. Among them, liver stands out in their diet, which you can combine with others.
If you have any doubts or consider that your dog’s needs may require some kind of supplement, it is best to consult a specialist in natural nutrition.
Fighting the fear of the BARF diet
When betting on a change of diet, such as the BARF diet, for our little furry ones, it is normal that doubts or worries may arise. As this type of diet is contemplated, respecting the proportions of each type of food, your dog will have all its nutritional needs complete, so no supplements of any kind will be necessary and it should not present any deficiencies.
Another fear, given that the BARF diet resorts to raw meat and bones, is the appearance of possible bacteria that may contaminate our best friend. In this sense, the organism of the dogs is prepared to fight these bacteria of the raw meat, since historically (and by its similarity to the wolf) they have been carnivorous-scavengers animals and are completely adapted to this type of feeding.