Raw food is good food!
I know the first thing you think of when hearing the word barf is not a pretty one, and you wonder how barf and feeding your dog can possibly have anything to do with each other. But keep reading. BARF is the short word used for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food…and that has everything to do with feeding your dogs, and feeding them properly. Becoming more and more popular, people understand that eating good and healthy food prolongs life, not just for us but also for our animals. Pet owners are increasingly looking into holistic feeding programs rather than the dry commercial kibble.
Dogs’ natural diet
In the wild your dog would have hunted for meat such as rabbits, mice, rats and birds and forage for fruit, vegetables and berries that are in season. What we are feeding them today is bits of scraps off the table, filled with salt and seasoning and lots of preservatives. Dog food kibble is no better. Even though the dry food nuts are a good way to clean their teeth, it is still filled with incompatible ingredients such as fillers and preservatives, fat sprays and taste enhancers. Some of the inferior foods in the low price ranged use the lowest quality meat that gets scraped up off the floors of abattoirs and butcheries and it is in fact not fit to feed your dog or any dog. These foods may be legally acceptable, but it is not biologically acceptable. The average commercial dog food has a recipe based on cost: to put in as little as legally required and make as much as possible profit. Added with chemicals to increase a much longer shelf life and colouring dyes to make it attractive to clients.
But let us not talk about what not to feed your dog, let us concentrate on the best thing you can give your dog to eat, which is biologically appropriate raw food, or barf in short.
Health advantages of barf feeding
A lot of the ingredients and additives in commercial food cause dogs to have health problems. These health problems include skin conditions and allergies, directly related to the ingredients of pet foods. Raw feeding will eliminate these problems, leaving your dog with a much better coat and will have your pet a lot happier when they are not constantly scratching themselves to pieces and having to go on steroids and anti inflammatory medication from their vet.
Some of the ingredients in commercial pet foods also causes stomach upset to pets, making them having runny tummies all the time which can make them very miserable. A suitable raw food diet will take care of this and help your dog to properly digest nutrients and vitamins essential for a happy healthy dog. In fact, you will notice your dog will poop less and it might even look white. This is because most of the food ingested is actually being used by the body.
Obesity and weight maintenance
Some dog foods are filled with sugars and fillers equivalent to eating out of a fast food take away three meals a day. Raw food contains none of that, helping your dog to maintain a healthy weight balance which will help with all sort of things for example a better heart and less pressure on their legs and hips.
Some dogs will not eat the kibble or hard nuts and will only eat tinned food. These tinned foods are packed with ingredients such as sugars and fillers, and because there are no bones or hard pieces such as carrot or apple in them, they do not get cleaned off the teeth after eating. Food particles stay between the teeth causing cavities and gum disease. This in turn causes rotten teeth and very stinky breath. In worst cases teeth will have to be removed when tooth decay and gum disease sets in. In raw food feeding, your dog will not only get soft foods, but a variety which will help make sure dental disease does not become an issue.
Potential benefits when you are feeding your dog the raw dog food diet will include:
- Shinier coats from natural oils released by the skin
- Healthier skin
- Cleaner teeth
- Higher energy levels
- Smaller stools
Main stream veterinarians and pet food manufacturers, says that there are potential risks to feeding raw. These they say include:
- Threats to human and canine health from bacteria that can be found in raw meat such as salmonella. The truth is Salmonella is everywhere – not just in raw meats. Execute basic hygiene food practices; wash your hands and keep surfaces clean and this should not be a problem at all.
- If an owner feeds an unbalanced diet it may damage the health of dogs over time
- Potential for whole bones to choke an animal, break teeth or cause an internal puncture.
These are however risks that are common and common sense should be used. When care is taken, this should not create any problems at all.
The principle foods used in raw feeding are:
Meat and bones
- Chicken backs/carcasses
- Chicken necks
- Chicken wings
- Chicken legs (thigh & drumsticks)
- Beef ribs
- Lamb (a little, as it is rich)
- Lamb ribs & laps
- Fish: Mackerel, Sardines, Sprats, etc. Canned fish (buy only the ones that are in Spring Water, or Oil), or whole fish – head, tail, etc included. Salmon should be frozen first if it is fresh.
- Offal: Organ meat – heart, kidney, liver, tripe (also very rich)
- Green beans
- Spinach (small amount as it is very rich)
- Kale (small amount as it is very rich)
- Broccoli (small amount as it is very rich)
You can also give eggs, yogurt, oils and supplements
Grains would include food such as rice, barley, oats, bread and pasta. There is not yet conclusiveness about grains as some advocate for and others advocate against. The argument against grains is that canines would not eat it in the wild other than when they hunt and eat the stomach content of their prey. It is also said that grains convert into sugars which is a keen breeding ground for cancerous cells. Our advise is that all things should be given in balance. There is nothing that builds up a dog’s strength after illness like chicken and rice, or help a dog recover after a stomach infection
Raw feeding for vegetarians and vegans
If you are a vegetarian and do not want to feed your pet any meet you can still feed a raw diet. You will have to change the meet that your pet is not getting with good quality protein substitute. Try lentils, peanuts, tofu and avocado. Putting together a proper and nutritionally complete vegetarian diet for your pet can be quite as complex as the traditional raw diet.
Digestive enzymes and probiotics
We need digestive enzymes to break down the food that we eat so that its nutrients can be absorbed and used for all the functions our bodies need to perform. Dogs are no different. Cooked food does not have any digestive enzymes because the heat kills it off. Probiotics are good bacteria that help with the digestive system. Also, if your dog has been on antibiotics for an illness, that will kill any good organisms in the gut and you will need to add extra probiotics to the diet. Any good supermarket or health store will sell probiotic products such as probiotic yogurt
The good thing about feeding raw is that you can feed your dog whatever you are feeding yourself…without adding salts and sauces.