Our raw dog food diets, also called BARF diets, good or dangerous for our animals? Let’s say that raw food ( raw meat, bones, fruit, and vegetables). Although at the center of various debates, it is becoming increasingly popular among dog owners. Greyhounds and sled dogs have been eating raw diets for a long time. The idea of extending these feeding practices to domestic dogs is recent and was proposed. As early as 1993 by Australian veterinarian Ian Billing Hurst. This doctor called these tips the ” BARF diet, “an acronym for Bones and Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. Billing Hurst thought adult dogs could best benefit from an evolutionary diet based on. What dogs ate before they became pets: raw meat and bones, offal, and vegetables. This article guides you with a raw diet for dogs.
Dog Nutrition: Raw Diet For Dogs
The dogs can eat raw meat? Is it a healthy choice? Yes, but only if the food meets the dog’s nutritional needs. Many veterinarians recommend using already prepared commercial formulas, as the raw diets made at home “are rarely complete and balanced.”
The dog’s diet should consist of 50% to 75% animal protein. The puppy’s diet should contain no less than 60% of these proteins. Therefore, animal protein is the most important part of the diet to meet the dog’s nutritional needs.
One of the possible diets that you can submit to your dog is the raw food one. Recommended by many people who say that dogs, in nature, do not eat cooked foods or are subjected to treatments. Therefore, in this way, you know perfectly what the dog is eating (no additives or unknown ingredients). The first to suggest this type of diet for dogs was the Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst. In 1993 stating that the starches contained in cooked foods are harmful to four-legged friends. However, some reasons are quite convincing. Therefore, there is still some controversy, and it is necessary to know some details before opting for this choice.
Main benefits of raw food
- Know the origin and composition of food, which is advantageous in chronic hypersensitivity diseases.
- Avoid additives and chemical and aromatic substances that act as appetizers (sometimes creating addiction).
- Avoid grains: The idea that gluten and grains, in general, are harmful to dogs and cats lacks a scientific basis.
- The effect of heat destroys nutrients: many substances are heat-sensitive, especially vitamins of group B and vitamin A, which can be easily integrated.
- Better fecal consistency: this diet is very digestible, even if cooking food in a domestic environment does not worsen the digestion process at all.
- Improved dental health thanks to more time spent chewing: gnawing on hard pieces of meat and bone reduces the formation of tartar.
Main risks deriving from the consumption of raw food for our animals
- Nutritional imbalances if the diet is not prepared carefully and with the right supplements. The main problems are linked to a protein excess due to kidney or liver dysfunction, high-fat content with risks or pancreatitis, inadequate vitamin supplements (deficiency or excess of Vitamin A, deficiency of Vitamin E, D, deficiency of trace elements such as zinc, a calcium-dandruff imbalance with growth alterations).
- Pathologies related to bone ingestion: oral lesions, dental fractures, bones stuck in the digestive tract (esophagus, stomach, intestine) with a very high risk of perforation.
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- Unsuitable and harmful ingredients: Onions, garlic, raisins, and chocolate are toxic to our pets.
- Use of raw eggs: they contain avidin, which binds to biotin, causing a latter’s deficiency. Furthermore, the egg white contains trypsin, which hinders the digestion of proteins.
- The raw fist contains thiamine, which destroys thiamine, and triethylamine, which binds to iron, causing deficiencies.
It can be exhausting for the owner.
It is not easy to follow this type of diet, and it can also be quite expensive. In fact, you will have to have high-quality vegetables and meat always fresh and constantly at hand. You will need to make sure that the meat comes from reputable suppliers and is free of harmful bacteria. So think of the high risk of salmonella if you eat raw chicken. With ready-made, high-quality foods, you know what you are about to give your dog is safe.
The secret is the best food.
You will have to pay particular attention to giving your dog all the foods necessary for its nutrition, such as proteins, fats, starch, vitamins, and minerals. Suppose you pay attention to what you eat and have followed the advice of an experienced nutritionist. Then this will be quite simple for you. But, as we have already said, pre-prepared and tailor-made food for your dog will save you all these problems.
Consult a veterinarian
Before opting for this diet, it is best to discuss it with your veterinarian as you should consider some special precautions for your dog. Also, your vet will be able to answer all the questions. You ask him and will be able to give you the right advice. If you disagree with the BARF diet, you can always contact someone else. Who is willing to give you all the information you want.
What foods do they eat?: Raw Diet For Dogs
Once you have all the information you need, it is time to check what you need. Typically this diet consists of muscle meat, often attached to the bone, liver, and raw eggs. Many people also include spinach, carrots, and dairy products, especially yogurt, other bone meal. In short, you will have to do a little experimentation to figure out which vegetables and fruits your dog likes. But rest assured that he will not say no in front of a plate with liver or bones!
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The risk of the bones
Despite all the benefits this diet can bring. You need to know that raw bones are one of the reasons this diet is much discussed. In addition to the bacteriological risk, chewing bones can damage teeth or even break them. Many dogs in the wild indeed eat them. But remember that these do not live long enough to experience falling or damaged teeth. A well cared for and groomed pet dog, on the other hand, can live a long and happy life, which is why it is important to take care of his teeth. Finally, bone splinters can damage your dog’s stomach and intestines and can even choke him. This is why many people are skeptical of this food choice.
Following a proper diet can be challenging.
Although supporters of this diet claim that it is better nutritionally, this hypothesis is not always true. In fact, it depends both on the type of dog and on the commitment that the owner puts into it. You may even make an ultra-balanced menu only to find that your dog may not like it at all if you refuse to eat part of the food that serves to integrate some essential elements for your needs. You risk running into nutritional deficiencies. So it may be tough to prepare a meal for your dog that is healthy and appetizing.
There is always plan B
If, despite all these difficulties, you have decided to give it a try. Then make sure you have the full support of your veterinarian to monitor your dog’s health.
The raw food diet could also become the best choice for both you and your dog. But if you find that your dog is picky or your vet deems it inappropriate and harmful. Then you can always go and buy good, high-quality food in pet shops and, given the wide choice on the market. You will surely be able to find the right one for your friend Fido.
Advantages and risks of the BARF diet for dogs
Many vets disagree with giving the dog raw food. Also, because the risks of raw meat diets have been documented in several studies. And published in leading veterinary journals.
But what are the potential benefits of the BARF diet for a dog?
- A brighter and thicker coat
- Healthier skin
- More physical energy
- Smaller stools
Potential Risks :
- Transmission of bacteria or parasites present in raw meat
- An unbalanced diet that can endanger the health of dogs, especially if given for a long time
- Choking problems, broken teeth, or stomach injuries caused by raw bones
After Billinghurst published his book, other types of raw diets for dogs were studied. Including processed, frozen, or freeze-dried commercial food diets and combination diets. That use mixture of grains, vegetables, and vitamins mixed with raw meat.
What is the BARF diet?
The BARF diet, therefore, is a diet for dogs based on raw food and generally consists of:
- Raw meat, often close to the bone
- Whole bones
- An organ such as the liver and kidneys
- Raw eggs
- Various vegetables, including such as broccoli, spinach, and celery
- Apples or other fruits
- Some dairy products, such as yogurt
For some prominent nutrition veterinarians, these foods represent the best a dog can eat.
There is also testimony from a holistic veterinarian, Benjamin-Creel. He began giving raw food to his three dogs after the German Shepherd was diagnosed with cancer. The diet change came too late for the sick dog, but the other dogs benefited enormously from the raw foods.
The risks of raw food
Any benefits that a raw diet might offer the dog will also have its risks. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), raw or undercooked meat can contain bacteria and pathogens. Such as salmonella and listeria, which pose risks to dogs and the people around them. Therefore, many associations do not recommend any raw food, and several organizations, including the FDA, share this skepticism.
Doctors, veterinary specialist, and animal nutritionist recommends only commercial raw foods treated with pasteurization high pressure. Some dog food manufacturers have put in place some stringent quality control procedures. Their products are checked several times both during production and in post-production processes. Doctors also agree that raw food is not without risk and should not be offered to dogs.
Tips for reducing risks
If you buy raw food for your dog, choose quality. It is essential to feed our animals with high-quality meats. So avoid buying meat that smells bad or does not look fresh.
While many vets don’t recommend raw meat for dogs. If you really want to try it, freeze the meat for at least 2-3 days. Please keep it in separate compartments, and wash your hands with warm soapy water after handling the meat.
What is that
The raw food diet for dogs includes a diet based on muscles, often still with the bone; bones (in fact), whole or ground; liver; raw vegetables and eggs (such as broccoli, spinach, and celery); fruit and some dairy products, such as yogurt.
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Supporters of this diet believe that it helps to fight cancer. Taking as an example, the alleged recovery of some specimens after two years from the food change. They would appear more energetic and with reduced gastrointestinal problems.
Whatever the final choice, before thinking about a raw food diet for the dog. It is good to read up and ask your trusted veterinarian for an opinion. Better than him, no one knows the pros and cons, and especially any previous clinical and specific characteristics of Fido.
According to insiders, many of the benefits attributed to a barf diet are a high-fat concentration. However, there are equally rich foods on the market. So treated in such a way as not to present the risks of uncooked foods. Then some supplements can be a valid alternative to increased fat in the diet.
Alarmism or justification?
Proponents of the raw dog diet think that even processed and marketed foods may contain bacteria. That is harmful to Fido’s health as well as raw meat intended for humans. In fact, it would be enough to handle it carefully and take care to wash utensils. Work surfaces and hands that have come into contact with the potential risk.
Many raw foods contain calcium and phosphorus; it would be enough to insert them appropriately in the diet of our four-legged friend to guarantee him the necessary nutrients. But pay attention to the number of proteins contained in the raw food diet for dogs. Dogs suffering from pancreatitis or other digestive problems should follow a diet based on cooked foods.