Surely the first thing that comes to mind when a friend tells you that he feeds his dog raw meat is, “this guy is crazy and his dog will soon want to devour us all.” It’s normal to think that, if we let ourselves be carried away by absurd urban myths and legends, but if we focus on analyzing this alternative to commercial feed a little more in depth, we will see that it is really interesting.
Feeding a dog with natural products and raw meat is possibly the healthiest way to feed our dog, even if you don’t believe it. In Europe, this type of diet is called the BARF Diet, while in the USA it’s known as ACBA, although obviously, it’s the same. I like to call it “the natural and healthy diet for dogs,” to avoid misunderstandings.
This type of natural feeding has been widespread among the canine community for many years. Although it obviously doesn’t have much publicity, because if you can feed your dog without buying dog food, what will the companies that are dedicated to manufacturing feed receive?
The truth is, in the vast majority of cases in which a dog changes from conventional feed to the ACBA diet, it improves the dog’s energy, health, and even the smell of the feces, remarkably. This type of diet is usually for healthy dogs, so if your dog has allergies, digestive or food-related problems you should consult a canine dietitian beforehand.
How to feed our dog with the ACBA diet
The ACBA diet consists of feeding the dog using only fresh products and completely ignoring the processed feed for dogs. But it’s not enough to just use fresh products, you must also have adequate proportions of the ingredients and provide a variety of nutrients.
It’s also important to know which foods we shouldn’t use, either because of their toxicity or because of the dangers that can occur in our dog’s digestive system.
Basically, we must prepare recipes that have these proportions of ingredients (later I’ll explain what each one consists of):
Meat (between 25% and 30%)
Soft bones (between 50% and 55%)
Vegetables and/or fruits (around 10%)
Organs (around 10%)
The meat can be pork, duck, lamb, chicken, veal, horse, ox… It can really be any kind of meat, including bacon.
Soft bones are those that are easily broken and digested by a dog, which does not cause chipping problems because they are too hard. They always have to be raw and chicken carcasses are usually used since they are very cheap and soft. For dogs with good teeth, chicken thighs or ribs are used as well.
Only some fruits and vegetables are healthy for dogs, so we should not risk improvising with this because we could cause significant diarrhea or intoxication. Vegetables that are usually used are carrots, pumpkins or cauliflower. Other fruits, such as apples, pears, bananas or peaches can also be used. The vegetables should always be cooked with unsalted water and the fruit in small pieces.
And the organs used can be viscera, liver or kidney of, for example, a chicken.
Raw egg, without the shell, and tuna/sardines canned in oil are usually given as supplements. Also, natural yogurt without sugar, cheese, and even tofu and seaweed can be given as well … There is a whole world of ingredients and supplements within the world of the ACBA diet.
The meat and fish should be frozen for at least three days to eliminate possible parasites, the vegetable should always be cooked and the rest should be as I mentioned. Some people pass the meat on the grill or cook it a little, instead of freezing it, this is also completely valid (but be careful not to cook the bones).
Recipes for dieting ACBA at home
Before starting to prepare the food we must know how much of each ingredient we need, and for that, we need to know how much food we have to give our dog.
The amount of natural ACBA food that a young dog or adult needs a day is four percent of its weight (4%), so if our dog weighs about 3o kilos we must give a kilo and two hundred grams daily. This is an indicative formula, if we see that our dog gets fat we should lower his daily ration a little, and if the dog is thinner, then we’ll give him a little more.
The daily amount can be given in one take, two or three takes. I feed my dogs three times, but they are adults. The puppies should have more food, but, honestly, I don’t recommend this type of food for puppies, because they still don’t have good teeth and could also choke … From six or seven months of life is more advisable.
Knowing that he eats 1.2 kilos a day, we simply have to prepare 8.4 kilos for the whole week. We can divide it into daily rations and freeze it, and take it out one day before consumption.
If we need 8.4 kilos for a week, then we will buy 30% of meat (2.5 kilos), 50% of bones (4.2 kilos of chicken carcasses), 10% of fruits and vegetables (840 grams) and 10% of organs (840 grams). Now you just need some special recipes like these:
ACBA recipe of meat (for a total of 8.4 kilos)
Two kilos and a half of chicken meat, duck, lamb, horse, etc … Can be mixed.
Four kilos and two hundred grams of chicken carcasses.
Eight hundred forty grams of apples, pears, carrots, and cauliflower.
Eight hundred forty grams of chicken livers, viscera or mixture.
The vegetables are cooked and crushed, leaving them like a puree; chop the fruit, removing the center of it; add the organs and the meat and mix everything. Individual rations are made and frozen for three days to eliminate possible parasites.
ACBA recipe of meat and fish (for a total of 8.4 kilos)
One and a half kilo of varied meat without bone
Half a kilo of fresh anchovies
Four cans of tuna in oil
A can of sardines in oil
Four kilos of chicken carcasses
Eight hundred forty grams of apples, pears, carrots, and broccoli.
Eight hundred forty grams of chicken livers, viscera or mixture.
Meat and fish are chopped or minced, including organ meats and fish bones (the anchovy has a very soft scraper). Add cooked and crushed vegetables, fruit, tuna in oil, sardines in oil and organs. Individual rations are prepared and frozen for three days to eliminate possible parasites.
Nutritional supplements for the ACBA diet
We can add a raw or cooked egg about two or three times a week, also in the form of a French omelet if we want. Natural yogurt without sugar is good and we can give it once or twice a week, although some dogs can’t stomach the yogurt so watch out.
A piece of cured cheese from time to time is also okay. Some people in this field also add some flaked brewer’s yeast, indicating that it acts as a probiotic (and they are right).
Benefits of the ACBA diet for a dog
And here comes the good part for the skeptics: proof. We have proof. I have tried the ACBA diet with my dogs and at the moment I still maintain it, although I do not use it exclusively, as I apply it only a few days, alternating with the feed.
I have compared my conclusions with those of other people who have published theirs in various social networks. The results are identical in all cases, which indicates that this type of feeding works incredibly well.
The benefits that can be seen quickly and in a few days are:
Increase in energy and vitality, the dog is happier and it shows a lot.
Decreased dog smell, we all know how a dog smells, right? Well, with this type of food, its smell decreases a lot.
The stool is of smaller size, harder and less smelly. The very considerable decrease in flatulence.
Iron health, this may sound like Chinese, but the truth is that dogs get sick less, it’s like if their immune system was much stronger.
Elimination of tartar, the commercial dry feed is the main cause of tartar in your dog’s teeth and mine. With the ACBA diet the bones, their teeth very clean.
When a dog eats fresh and natural foods, which have not been extruded or industrialized, it shows a lot. The change is really incredible, so much that it encourages you to continue feeding it with the ACBA diet indefinitely.
Dangers of the ACBA diet for dogs
All kinds of food carry risks, both for dogs and for humans. We simply must be prepared against these dangers and know how to avoid them and/or how to act when faced with them.
In the ACBA diet, we should avoid raw egg shells, because they can transmit salmonellosis. We must also avoid cooked peels because they are too hard and can cause internal cracks.
Bones should always be raw, because a cooked bone can splinter and stay stuck, and they are harder to digest when cooked. If your dog is a small breed, the chicken carcasses can be crushed and eaten in the form of a paste.
The ACBA diet greatly reduces the volume of stool but sometimes produces constipation, so if this occurs you have to increase the percentage of cooked vegetables and fruit to facilitate intestinal transit.
The meat and fish should always be frozen to avoid the spread of parasites, I sometimes pass them a bit through the griddle and this saves me from freezing them. But I always freeze the chicken carcasses
And there is little more to be said about the ACBA diet, you can search for Facebook groups were the people who use it leave their doubts and conclusions, as well as their knowledge. It’s very interesting and you also learn a lot about nutrition.
I forgot…. one of the most important advantages for many people is that the ACBA Diet is much cheaper than any quality feed. And of course, it offers much higher quality than any feed.
I hope you enjoyed this publication about natural feeding for dogs, I have spent a lot of time on this experience, testing it in person with my dogs to be able to provide you with all this information. In order to reach more people and that everyone can appreciate its benefits, give me a like or share on your social networks :).