WHAT IS BARF and Why Should I Give Raw Food To My Pets?
One of the hottest topics right now in pet nutrition is something called BARF, which stands
for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. This means completely raw food (nothing cooked),
including the raw bones. You should NEVER feed your pet cooked bones, as they will
splinter and cause severe internal damage to your pet. You should NOT be feeding your
dog processed food, or a diet based on cooked grains. It’s not what dogs have been
programmed to eat by our ancestors. Artificial grain based dog foods cause major health
problems for our pets – even if the advertising sounds good on television. You would be
shocked at the horrors of commercial pet food, such as meat byproducts, chemicals, and
preservatives that are not good for your pet’s health.
Why should a pet owner make the switch to a raw food diet? Well, it’s actually much easier
for you (the pet owner), cheaper, and much better for your pet’s health! While it might be a
little intimidating at first, you and your dog will quickly adjust, and your dog will be healthier
for it. Now you can control exactly what your pet eats, and be sure that he/she gets the best
nutrition for a long and healthy life.
When you are starting out, I would suggest that you start with something simple – like
chicken, turkey, wings, chicken backs, and turkey necks to begin with. Take things slowly.
Once their bodies get used to the new raw diet, then you can introduce them to a larger
variety of choices. If your dog doesn’t understand the bones right away, you can start by
smashing up the bone into smaller pieces. Once your dog has the hang of it, you can
research various meal plans for different size dogs, and find the ones that fit your dog’s
size and activity level. Do not feed kibble and BARF at the same meal, try to do one meal of
kibble and then one meal of BARF in the beginning, or many dogs actually do quite well with
a switch to an all raw diet right away.
Vegetables need to be processed through a blender, juicer, or food processor before
feeding to your pet. Dogs cannot digest cellulose, so we need to break that down in order
for them to get the proper nutrients from the vegetables. If your dog won’t eat his
vegetables initially, try adding some lean ground meat, canned fish, cheese, baked beans,
Adding richer foods like eggs and liver after your dog is familiar with the new raw diet is a
good idea. You should have a split of roughly 60% raw meaty bones, and 40% vegetables in
their diet. Fish is also something else you can feed your dog a couple of times a week, and
you can feed them the whole fish (head, tail, body)!
Using the proper food safety techniques is always important, and it’s the same for people
food or dog food. When handling raw meats, you should always wash your hands well after
handling the meat, and wash down the areas that touched the raw meat with soap and hot
water to keep bacteria from growing.
The question we get all the time is “will feeding my dog raw meat make them vicious or
mean?” The answer is absolutely not. Kibble has only been around for a short time, but man
has been feeding their dog raw meat and bones for many, many years. There is no
relationship between a dog’s diet and their disposition, and dogs can distinguish between
what they are protecting and what they are eating.
If you are interested in learning more about BARF and raw food diets for your pets, please
read either “Give Your Dog A Bone” or “Grow Your Pup With Bones” by Ian Billinghurst, or
“Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats: The Ultimate Diet” by Kymythy Schultze.
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