FEEDING A RAW DIET
EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT B.A.R.F.
Canines, or Canids, are carnivorous mammals. They have teeth called incisors used for ripping and tearing raw flesh or meat. The domesticated canines, or dogs, of today have the same tooth
and jaw structure as their ancestors, the wolves, who lived and thrived upon raw meat, meaty bones and the predigested foods (such as grasses, leaves, berries and seeds) of their prey. In addition,
the large intestine of all canines, both wild and domesticated, is short and straight by nature indicating the biological makeup of a carnivorous eating mammal. This canine trait, a straight
large intestine, is vital to the health of carnivorous mammals. By passing foods more quickly, the digestive period of foods is shortened, leaving very little chance of harm from potential bacteria.
A raw diet recreates the way our pet's ancestors have eaten in the wild for thousands of years. Dogs and cats are carnivores. Left to their own devices, their typical daily diet, like that of their wild cousins (wolves and the big cats), would involve catching (or finding) and eating another animal. A raw diet returns our pets to this more natural form of nutrition, as if they had hunted and caught their "perfect" dinner.
When a carnivore eats an herbivore (plant and grass eating animal) like a rabbit or a deer, the carnivore eats some meat, some bone, some organ meats (liver, heart, kidney, etc.), and a small amount of green vegetation contained in the herbivore's digestive tract. These ingredients are the four main food groups of a good raw diet.
- Fresh, raw meat
- Some uncooked bone
- Some raw organ meats
- Some green vegetation
What is BARF?
BARF....the name alone makes some people ill, but it sure will make your dog happy. The name Barf stands a diet the uses BONES AND RAW FOODS. Thanks to the internet, BARF has been sweeping the pet world. Both dogs and cats can eat a BARF, or raw diet.
Why should I feed a BARF Diet?
Benefits of a Barf, or raw diet that no other diet can match:
- no doggy odor
- naturally clean teeth. no need for brushing or cleaning. no gum disease
- much less stool volume due to no fillers used. firm stools.
- decreased or eliminated vet bills
- less expensive if done correctly
- pups grow at a better rate- stops fast growth spurts
- the ripping and chewing involved develops the jaw, neck and shoulder muscles (a very important benefit that commercial foods can't offer)
What results have people reported in the BARF diet?
- more energetic dogs
- less or non existent allergies
- less or non existent arthritis
- better weight control
- no doggy odor
- dogs are living longer, healthier lives
- bitches managed pregnancies better
- puppies have better weight and survival figures
What is wrong with my commercial dog food?
- a dog's food should never be cooked. it should be fed raw as in nature. cooking ruins most of the nutritional value.
- no bones to clean teeth and work the muscles and gums. chewing bones slows the eating process, less chance of over eating
- the main ingredient of commercial dog food is cereal. these cereals can cause a wide range of problems and allergies.
- commercial foods are full of preservatives, colors and salt. they have flavorings added to cause dogs to over eat.
- the majority of commercial foods have too much carbohydrates. these are linked to overeating, diabetes, weight gain and cancers.
Why do people still use commercial foods?
- ADVERTISING. Millions of dollars are spent to tell you that commercial foods are the best diet for your dog.
Aren't chicken bones dangerous?
- one of the biggest myths. raw chicken bones are are great for your dog. they bend easily and break well for your dog to digest.
- NEVER FEED COOKED CHICKEN BONES. they are brittle and will splinter
- Feeding your dog is about management of risk. No matter which path you decide to take there is always risk. There is always someone who will criticize your decision. However you, and only you can decide what is best for your dogs. Weigh up all the benefits and risks. Do your own analysis. Do your research. Do what will have the greatest overall benefit for your dog.
What about bacteria on raw chicken?
- dogs have an immune system designed to eat all manner of bacteria.
- a dog's digestive system is much shorter and faster than a human's. the bacteria doesn't get a chance to cause health problems
- E-coli, salmonella and other bacteria are found everywhere on this planet.
- follow normal cleaning/disinfecting routines
What about kibble?
Until recently, many people thought kibble (grain-based dry food) diets were fine. They are readily available, easy to store, convenient, reasonably inexpensive and most pets seem to enjoy them.
But within the last 15 years, concerned owners began to notice an increase in certain diseases among pets. More pets seemed to be suffering with diseases like diabetes, cancer, joint disorders, skin issues and dental problems. And they were showing evidence of these diseases at a much earlier age. There had to be a reason.
One of the primary suspects was diet. Natural diets were replaced with highly processed pet food diets based on grain products (kibble), rather than meats, organ meats, bones and vegetables. That's what had changed so dramatically and the change coincided with the increase in these diseases.
Most dry commercial pet foods are at least 50% (or more) grain because the carbohydrates are needed to hold the food together. But as The Merck Veterinary Manual tells us, dogs and cats have "no dietary requirement for carbohydrate". Does it make sense to feed our companions diets made of 50% or more of a substance they don't even need? Additionally, carbohydrates are metabolized by the body to glucose (sugar), which is known to feed cancers, diabetes, and some of the other disorders that now seem to be commonplace among our pets.
As well, most kibble has a low percentage of the high quality meats, organ meats, bones and vegetables a pet needs for good health. Yes, meat and other proteins are added to most kibble formulas, but at a much lower level than is available in a good raw diet.
Unfortunately, many commercial products also use condemned or sub-standard meats as the protein ingredient in their formulas and they are processed at very high temperature under very high pressure, which further reduces the nutritional value.
Will an all-kibble diet satisfy your pet's immediate hunger?
But is an all-kibble diet good for the long-term health of your pet?
Dog and cat owners who have already switched to raw, and a small but growing number of veterinary professionals now feel that kibble may sustain life, but may not promote health. They believe that whole, natural foods are the most likely to result in:
- A longer life span
- The decreased possibility of a debilitating disease at an earlier age
- Lower veterinary bills and dental problems
- An overall increase in energy
Does this mean you should stop feeding kibble?
Feeding an all raw diet is the ideal. But if for some reason, you can't feed all raw, feeding some cooked, canned or kibble foods, as long as they are high quality, is fine. Just aim for the ideal as often as is possible for you. .
Whether you decide to feed 100% raw or a combination, the idea is to feed a variety of high quality foods that includes all four of the main pet food groups important to better pet health.