About The BARF Diet
Today I’ll be looking at the BARF diet for dogs. BARF stands for bones and raw food diet. This diet consists of raw meat, raw bones, and finely ground raw vegetables and fruit. Proponents say the diet retains a high level of nutrients and enzymes, and it keeps dogs healthier.
The diet is free of preservatives, and chewing on raw bones gives dogs a vigorous and engaging activity as well as a thorough dental cleaning. Never feed your dog cooked bones, especially poultry bones, which can splinter and cause internal injury if swallowed.
Some vets believe the BARF diet is a superior diet to commercially prepared dog food; others aren’t sure the BARF diet is a good idea for dogs. While dogs do eat raw meat and bones in the wild, the raw meat available in our supermarkets is often contaminated with bacteria like E coli and salmonella.
Many dogs are fairly resistant to these bacteria, but some can become very sick. Dogs can also get parasites from raw food, and so can the people who handle and prepare the food every day.
Another argument against the BARF diet asserts that domesticated dogs aren’t necessarily the same as dogs raised in the wild, including the way their digestive systems have developed. Our pet dogs may be less immune to dangerous bacteria and parasites than a dog raised in the wild.
Still, some dogs do very well on the BARF diet; many people claim their dogs have recovered from chronic diseases and behavioral problems as a result of switching to a BARF diet. Some dog food manufacturers have even developed more convenient forms of the BARF diet: frozen or dehydrated raw meat patties and raw bones ready for thawing or rehydrating.
Talk to your vet to help you determine whether the BARF diet is an option for your dog, and consider whether you are willing to prepare it.
The Pros and Cons Of The BARF Diet
1. More closely resembles a dog’s natural diet. May resolve chronic problems such as allergies, digestive disorders, diarrhea.
2. Very palatable.
3. Raw bones keep dogs’ teeth clean.
4. Free of preservatives and chemical additives.
5. Rewarding for owner if the dog thrives on the diet.
1. Time consuming to prepare (although frozen and dehydrated options are much easier.)
2. Inconvenient, especially when traveling. Dehydrated options work well for traveling.
3. Dogs can react adversely to bacteria and/or parasites that could be present in raw meat. For this reason, many vets advise against the BARF diet.
4. Preparation can be repugnant for some owners, and people must be careful when handling raw meat to avoid bacteria. Again, frozen and dehydrated options are easier and more pleasant to handle.
5. Vegetables and fruits must be finely ground to be digestible.
6. Frozen and dehydrated options, while easier, can be more expensive and take up more storage space.
Dog Bible by Kristin Mehus-Roe