If you are a dog owner who is concerned about feeding your pet the most nutritious food possible, the BARF diet might have come up in your research. Many others will be hearing the term for the first time, and curious about what it could mean for your dog’s nutrition.
BARF might seem like an odd choices of word to describe a diet, but it is actually an acronym. It stands for ‘Biologically Appropriate Raw Food’, although some websites and people might also refer to it as the ‘Bones And Raw Food’ diet. Either name refers to the same diet, which you can probably guess is based around raw food.
Bennett our dog as a puppy.
The principles of the BARF diet are rooted in the ‘Biologically Appropriate’ aspect. Dogs evolved to eat certain foods, however what they are mainly fed nowadays is a far cry from their natural diet. Dog kibble is usually grain-based, and grain is not something a dog is adapted to eat in large amounts.
Canines should get their carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, not grains. Most standard dog food is too carbohydrate-heavy anyway, and this can have a negative effect on your pet’s health. The BARF diet is designed around the food your dog would naturally eat if it was a wild animal.
BARF diet dog food is mostly comprised of raw meat, select fruits and vegetables, and bone. The meat makes up the bulk of the diet, as this is mostly what a dog would eat in the wild, and the fruits and vegetables give your pet the carbohydrates it needs, along with essential vitamins.
Bennett all grown up, and the king of the castle.
The ground bones may seem unusual, but they are a key source of minerals for your dog. Many owners feed their pet whole bones, and this is one way of getting your pet the correct nutrition, but make sure the bones aren’t too hard as they can damage your dog’s teeth.
The BARF diet also provides your dog with what are known as ‘essential fatty acids’ (EFAs), which are not commonly present in standard dog food. There are two types of EFAs: omega-3 and omega-6. They are essential for good health, and are most commonly found in wild animal fats.
People may initially balk at the idea of feeding their dog raw food, as it seems unsafe. Rest assured though, it is safe for your dog to eat. You may need to introduce the diet gradually, to prevent your dog’s digestive system from reacting badly to food it is not used to, but once your pet is accustomed to the diet you shouldn’t have any problems.
Unlike normal pet diets though, it can be a little unsafe for humans. We are not supposed to eat raw meats, so when you are feeding your dog the BARF diet you must take precautions to properly clean and sterilise your hands, and any surfaces or materials you have used to prepare the food.
Many people have misgivings about the BARF diet due to the unusual aspect of feeding your dog raw food. However, it can be very beneficial to your pet’s health. It certainly should not be dismissed, as it can have real benefits for your dog in the long-term, and might be the right diet for them.