BARF Dog Diet
BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. This article is about the BARF diet for dogs. We will discuss its importance in your pet dog’s life. Although this has been a very controversial topic but the latest studies and research show the importance of raw food diet for your dog’s health. The BARF diet includes raw meat, bones, fruits and vegetables. Though dogs have always eaten raw foods but with access to preserved and canned dog food, it became very common to feed our pet dogs with these. However, an Australian Vet named Ian Billinghurst proposed the idea of BARF diet. He proposed that dogs, especially adult dogs should be fed what they actually use to eat before they were domesticated and that is; raw meat, bones and some vegetable scraps. According to Ian and other researchers, the commercial pet food is harmful for your pet dog’s health. It causes obesity, and multiple organ diseases in dogs. About 46% dogs have been diagnosed with cancer in a recent study. Commercial food for dogs is the same as fast food is for us humans, therefore we should switch towards a healthy diet for our pets. A complete and nutritious BARF diet for dogs contains about 70% meat, 10% bones, 5% liver, 5% of any other organ and 10% of fruits and vegetables. You will be surprised to know that dogs eat plant bases items as well. However, it is only included as a 5-8% part of their diet. Dogs usually don’t have proper jaw structure, teeth and salivary enzymes that would help them with the chewing, so one has to make sure the vegetables are pureed, steamed or fermented so that the nutrition are properly absorbed from the vegetables and fruits.
Benefits of BARF Diet
Dogs who are fed raw food are potentially healthier than the dogs who are given commercial pet food. Some major benefits of BARF diet for dogs are:
- Shiny and Healthy coats
It is said that if a dog is healthy, its coat will be the first thing which will show a healthier change. BARF diet provides a dog enough protein that would make its skin and coat healthier and shinier. Whereas, a low meat diet and a cereal based diet would cause hair fall in dogs and the less protein would not make it grow a healthy coat.
2. Healthy Muscle development
BARF diet for a dog makes its body lean, sleek and toned as they will shed all the carbohydrate fueled fats. The raw meat makes its muscle grow naturally and helps its body develop properly toned muscles, making it look beautiful. Like a human body, a dogs body also requires proper intake of protein to build proper muscles, organs, skin, hair and joints, therefore there is no alternative.
3. Cleaner and Healthier Teeth
You will be surprised to know that giving your dog a little meat on bone improves its dental hygiene. It reduces bad breath in dogs and reduces chances of gum diseases. However, a commercial food diet in dogs cause several gum problems and cause bad breath. Also, 9 in 10 dogs suffer from poor dental hygiene.
Dogs have no amylase in their saliva. Lack of amylase in saliva causes them to break down the carbohydrate sugars in their mouth. Hence, the commercial pet food’s sugar encourage bacteria growth in the dog’s mouth which leads to teeth and mouth hygiene problems. The diseases caused due to this are plaque, tartar, calculus, gingivitis and periodontal diseases. That’s why meaty bones are got for your dog.
4. Better behavior and Increased level of energy
The commercial pet food affects the dog’s behavior negatively. The easily digested carbohydrates in the commercial food increase the level of blood sugar and insulin in the dog’s body which affects the dog’s behavior. The chemicals and preservatives used in the commercial food harms the dog’s overall health and also affects its behavior. The canned and commercial food has very little vitamins and specially lacks in vitamin B which is the vitamin that soothes the mind, therefore the dog becomes restless and doesn’t give its best of performance.
A BARF diet has proven to make the dogs produce lesser waste. A raw food intake has no artificial salt or preservatives therefore dogs produce less amounts of urine. The science behind this is; the commercial food contains a huge amount of salt in it. This is the reason why dogs eat a greater amount of these foods and then drink lots of water. The more water they drink, the more they produce urine. Apart from the higher amount of urine, this also develops kidney disorders in dogs.
BARF diet is easier to digest which leads to less faeces. Raw food diet not only helps reduce the amount of stool but also helps reduce the odor of it. Whereas, the commercial diet available in the market causes the dog’s stool to smell worse than what actually it smells like.
Myths about BARF diet
There are a couple of myths regarding feeding your pet dog raw food. If these myths were true, dogs would apparently be extinct, but that is not the case, which means these myths are just myths and they have no truth in them. Some of the misconceptions and myths that are very famous among dog keepers are:
- Raw food contains bacteria.
There is a common concern that raw food leads to bacterial infections as there is bacteria still present on the meat and it can pass on to humans through the faeces of the dog or through the dog’s saliva. Therefore, some people cook the meat before they feed their dogs.
Now, this is true that raw meat can contain bacteria. To avoid bacterial infections, one should take necessary precautions while feeding their dogs and also while feeding themselves of any member of the family, especially children and old aged individuals. These precautions shall include; cleaning the counter, using a clean knife and a clean utensil and washing their hands properly. As far as the bacteria being transferred from the faeces is concerned, again it depends on the hygiene factors you undertake.
Apart from this, dogs are natural scavengers and their bodies can deal with such type of bacteria. The kind of contamination present in the raw meat can be bared by dogs and is not a problem for them to cope with. A dog’s saliva has antibacterial properties. Also, their digestive track and juices eliminate bacteria by killing it. So, this myth is not at all true and one can surely give their dogs a raw food diet.
2. Dogs are Omnivores.
Dogs are actually carnivores with omnivorous abilities. They belong to the carnivore family and are designed to eat flesh with a capability to digest meat with their digestive juices. But this does not mean that they cannot eat vegetables and fruits. It has been proven that they can also survive on vegetable and fruit scraps in times of hunger.
3. Cooked bones are better.
There is a misconception that cooked bones are better as raw bones may get stuck in a dog’s mouth or cause something or the other. However, this is not true at all. Instead, feeding your dog raw meaty bones is beneficial for them. A dog’s teeth are built to eat bones. Also chewing bones is a simulating activity for them as it releases endorphins that promotes a feeling of well-being in them. Bone chewing is very beneficial for dogs as it helps avoid tartar build-up in their mouth. Also, it acts as a tooth brush for them.
However, dental problems in dogs can be fatal and not giving dogs bones to eat can cause a lot of dental problems.
A BARF diet is the best for your dog!
There is no doubt in choosing a natural diet for your dog rather than feeding it a commercial processed food. But make sure when you feed your dog a BARF diet, you shouldn’t feed it any cooked or processed food. The BARF diet is different from any raw food diet as it copies the evolutionary diet of dogs. With a BARF diet you don’t have to worry about sending your dog’s outside to kill or hunt for food. Your dog can enjoy a natural meal that is full of nutrients.
Physical benefits of BARF diet are numerous. It gives your dog fresh breath and cleaner teeth while maintaining their weight. You will notice your pet dog to be more energetic and having an increased stamina as compared to when you were feeding it the processed or commercial food. Other health benefits include an improved liver, and a better pancreatic and bowel health. Also, you can save a lot of money that would be spent on the trips to the vet in case of an ill dog.
A BARF diet helps your dog in numerous ways. It helps them reduce the risks of obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritic conditions, skin allergies, ear infections and diabetes. So, isn’t a BARF meal better than a processed and commercial food diet? The choice is yours.