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Why Freeze a BARF Diet?

Freezing BARF diets has many benefits, allowing it to remain preservative free with a long shelf life and helping to make it a safer choice compared with fresh raw meat-based products. Let’s look at all those benefits in more detail.

Chemical preservatives are unnatural and go against the very principles of Evolutionary Nutrition. So, we don’t add any of these to Doctor B’s BARF. The only preservative used in/on our recipes is a freezer! The patties are individually sealed in easy-open pouches, then frozen so they can be conveniently stored in the freezer for up to two years, then simply thawed and served to your pet.

Freezing is also appropriate – at least for dogs, from an evolutionary viewpoint. We know that the dog is a descendant of the wolf and research carried out by the Canadian Mounties during the 1950’s confirmed that wolves in the depths of winter depended upon frozen prey for their survival. And many dogs prefer their patties in the frozen state, particularly during summer, when they are hot and would like a cold treat to cool them off.

A common concern with raw meat is that it can be a source of bacterial or parasitic infections for both the dog and its human family. Freezing can be used to remove or reduce some of these concerns. The three major parasitic concerns in Australia are trichinosis (Trichinella spiralis) which dogs can contract from pork, hydatid disease (Echinococcus granulosus), which dogs can contract from offal of many species and toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma gondii),which cats can contract from practically any raw meat. Freezing at a low enough temperature and for long enough will kill each and every one of these parasites.  So that is what we do with Doctor B's BARF. It is frozen at -18°C to -20°C for at least one to two weeks before it reaches your freezer at home. You can read more about each of these in other blog articles on this website.

As for bacteria which may be present on meat, people worry that these may cause digestive upsets in pets. We need to bear in mind that pets - dogs in particular - are natural scavengers so are naturally very well-equipped to deal with bacteria. Their bodies are well designed to deal with the low level of contamination which may be present in raw meat. Their saliva has strong antibacterial properties; and their short digestive tract and powerful digestive juices are designed to eliminate food and ‘kill’ bacteria quickly.  And in fact, a small dose of certain types of bacteria can actually serve to build upon the ‘good bacteria’ in the gut and bolster the pet’s whole immune system!

Just as – if not more – worrying is that these bacteria could be passed on to humans through poor meat preparation, or via the faeces or saliva of a pet. So a big part of the reason Doctor B’s BARF is frozen is to reduce the risk to humans. Freezing won’t kill all the bacteria, but it certainly will halt their growth and keep them at minimal levels.

A small number of bacteria can remain dormant within the food during freezing, so as there are no chemical preservatives in Doctor B’s BARF, the bacteria will resume growth and food will spoil if our BARF is left unfrozen or unrefrigerated. Doctor B’s BARF must be kept frozen until thawing and should not be frozen again once thawed.

Doctor B’s BARF patties are individually sealed in easy-open pouches to make meal times easy. They should be kept frozen until thawing. To thaw, simply remove the patty from its plastic container, place in a (preferably) ceramic container with a lid and defrost in the refrigerator, on the bottom shelf.  Don’t allow it to drip onto any other food, so ensure the container is sealed and upright. The maximum refrigeration time (in a closed container) prior to serving is 36 hours. Patties should not be frozen again once thawed.

Once thawed, feed to your pet and allow them up to 30 minutes to eat, then any uneaten food should be discarded.

When preparing raw BARF patties, take the usual precautions that you would when handling raw meat for the rest of your family, by using a clean knife, cleaning the counter or any other surfaces or utensils it has come into contact with, and washing your hands with hot soapy water and drying thoroughly immediately after contact.

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