There are two main reasons to feed your pet a BARF diet. One is to avoid all the ingredients in processed pet food that is NOT good for them. The other reason is to provide all the nutrition they really need.
There are a lot of ailments that affect our furry friends that are completely unnecessary for them to suffer with; all because of the food they are served. Some, but not all, include: Dry, Itchy Skin
Fleas and Ticks
No. But I am suggesting you research it yourself and make your own decisions. If you currently have a pet being fed commercial kibble, then try a switch. Gradually switch over to the BARF diet over a few days, continue it exclusively for at least 30 days, and see for yourself:
Are his teeth cleaner and whiter?
Are his gums pink and less swollen?
Is her breath cleaner?
Has her coat become shinier and softer?
Is he happier and more content?
Does your vet see an improvement in their overall health – especially if there are current medical conditions or allergies?
There certainly is controversy over the BARF diet. There usually is whenever mainstream meets alternative ideas. I strongly encourage you to do your own research in this area. My research uncovered concepts like the most common allergy in dogs is to wheat/grains. Others have gone so far as to show a complete intolerance for grains in both cats and dogs. (Dogs with allergies to food often have a dull coat, sometimes fur loss, or dry itchy skin.)
The primary argument for raw meat is to look at feral dogs/cats as well as their closest ancestors in the wild and what do they eat. With cats, it is believed across the board that they are carnivores. Really, I do not think you will find a wild cat anywhere in the world that eats corn, carrots, or avocados. With dogs however, there seems to be a bit more of a disagreement even in the world of raw diet lovers. Though wolves primarily eat meat, they will also substitute berries, tree bark, and other fruits in their diets. Others have argued that it’s what they have access to that directs how omnivorous a dog’s diet is. Feral dogs will often substitute their diets more widely. The question remains – will a dog’s natural preferences direct him to choose for himself the foods best suited to him, or would he just eat ‘anything’?
Because dogs being fed kibble are not having their nutritional needs met, in the search for those nutrients, they will eat anything – including everyone’s favorite – other dog’s poop. I love that my dogs do not eat other animal poo.
I also appreciate that their breath doesn’t stink. I like that they do not have fleas or ticks, they rarely scratch, and their teeth are beautiful pearly whites – without me getting in there with a toothbrush!
Due to the decreased level of proteins, and the increased level of carbs in commercial dog foods, hyperactivity is a large concern. With more active breeds in our home, I appreciate the balanced blood sugars in our dogs as well.
It is amazingly simple. The general rule of thumb with raw meat is that a dog will eat about 2-3% of their body mass in raw food per day. So a 50 lb dog will consume 1 – 1.5lbs of meat per day. If you feed your dog twice a day, she will eat 0.5 – 1 lb per meal. So, at her next mealtime, offer her both raw meat and her kibble. Give her a portion of meat that is more than her weighted amount would be. In this case, I would put about 2 lbs of meat in the bowl. *If she has always eaten kibble, she may be used to eating her food extremely fast and may almost inhale her meat. Please supervise your dog until you are certain that she has begun chewing her meat like she should.
Give your dog about half an hour to eat, and then pick up the rest – including the kibble if it has not been eaten. Keep track of how much meat she ate, and offer the rest of that meat as well as top up her bowl at the next meal. I find it very difficult to overfeed a BARF fed dog. I also do not regulate the meat at each meal. Just like in the wild, sometimes our dogs will eat a lot for a few days in a row, and then only pick at their food – or even miss a couple of meals the next week. As long as they average what we expect, then we are not worried. When she stops eating that kibble within the half an hour, you will know when it’s time to stop offering it.
Once you are comfortable with the meat at each meal, then start supplementing other foods into her meals as you feel agrees with your own opinions of carnivorous vs. omnivorous. We offer yogurt, raw eggs, carrots, apples, and various types of meat. Chicken is our staple, but we also offer beef and lamb.
Weight gain is an interesting point. When serving commercial dog food, it is imperative that your dog not be overfed or they will become overweight. Why is that? In humans, our bodies crave food until our nutritional needs are met. This is one of the main reasons when you eat an ‘empty’ meal (like at a fast food chain) that shortly afterwards you are still hungry. Your body has processed the food, found its nutritional needs unmet, so it asks for more. We keep eating and eating and never feel satisfied. Take a different day when you eat healthy meals of balanced proteins, fats, and raw fruits and vegetables, and you find yourself feeling contented between meals, and not actually hungry again until 3-4 hours later when your body is ready for more nutrients. Is it possible that animals are the same way? Let’s look: If you are dog is fed commercially prepared dog food, which does not meet his nutritional needs, will he keep eating and eating? The answer seems to be yes. If he is fed raw meat, does that happen? For most dogs the answer is no. It’s exciting! Your dog actually has the ability to self-regulate his diet, leaving him contented throughout the day - not hungry, not stuffed, not overweight, but ‘just right’. (This is also a nice benefit when switching your dog to BARF - it really is easy to do!) Also, because your dog’s nutritional needs are met, they do not need to go searching in inappropriate places. Yes, they will still clean the floors after meals, and if poorly trained clean your counters too, but what they do not do is go eating other dog’s poop. The food under the table is still nutritionally healthy (hopefully) - another dog’s poop isn’t.
The rule of thumb to determine if a dog at its proper weight is to check his ribs. You should be able to feel his ribs, but not see them. If you can see them, offer more meat each meal. If you put your hand on his side and push gently and cannot feel his ribs, he may be overweight. If you are just switching to BARF, then give him time before limiting his diet – the switch alone may be all he needs.
**Most Importantly – Consult your vet before drastically changing your animal’s diet, especially if there are current medical conditions or medications that they are on. There are lots of vets available who are in support of a BARF diet if you are looking for one that will support your decision to feed your pets naturally.**
We do not claim to be an expert on animal diets. All we can talk about is our own experience and the results we have seen in our own animals and the puppies we raise. Please, do your own research and make your decision for yourself! We would love to hear from you though. Either send us an email, or share on our forum so others can enjoy learning from your time!
BARF stands for either Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones And Raw Food. Raw Food consists of raw meat and fruits and vegetables where appropriate. Either one sends the same message. Dogs and Cats bodies simply are not designed to process grains, cooked and processed foods, additives and fillers.