While it's true that most pet owners are becoming increasingly concerned about their pet's diet, there are still many more who continue to turn to unhealthy, processed foods for their dogs and cats. However, more and more animal nutrition experts are recommending a more natural and healthy alternative: the BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food).
If you don't know what we are talking about, in this article we are going to explain what it consists of, how it is prepared, benefits, disadvantages and many more questions regarding the BARF diet. Shall we start?
What is BARF feeding?
The BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) is the name given to natural food for dogs, which is based on the idea that dogs and cats can have a diet based on fresh products, such as: raw meats, bones, fruits , vegetables and some other natural ingredients.
The idea behind this diet is to provide our pets with a more balanced and healthy diet that allows them to obtain all the essential nutrients they need to stay strong and healthy.
Benefits of the BARF diet
There are many reasons why the BARF diet may be a good option for your pet, here are some of the most important:
More natural diet
The BARF diet allows our pets to eat more natural and less processed foods, which can help prevent many diseases and health disorders.
By eating raw food, cats and dogs can digest their food more easily and get more nutrients from each bite.
The BARF diet for pets can help prevent diseases such as obesity, thyroid disease, arthritis, and other diet-related conditions.
If your pet is a puppy, we recommend that you pay attention to distemper in dogs , a disease that is not related to food but which you should take care of if your canine is very young, since it is very contagious.
Better appearance and coat
It helps their skin to be better hydrated and their coat will be healthier and shinier, since raw food provides more essential nutrients and vitamins.
Paying attention to the diet of our canine friends is something really important, since this is one of the most common causes of hair loss in dogs .
Less bad odors
By eating raw food, cats and dogs emit fewer foul odors. And the BARF diet helps keep your teeth totally clean, avoiding the unpleasant and harmful tartar that originates from consuming industrialized food.
Disadvantages of the BARF diet
Although the BARF diet can be a healthy and natural alternative for dogs, there are also some drawbacks that should be considered:
The BARF diet can be more expensive than processed, dry dog foods, since fresh, raw ingredients are more expensive than canned or packaged products.
Preparing the BARF diet for dogs requires more time and effort.
Foodborne Illness Risk
When serving raw meats, there's a risk of transmitting diseases like salmonellosis and E. coli, which means it's important to make sure ingredients are fresh and handled properly.
Lack of nutritional balance
The diet must be balanced and provide all the essential nutrients that our pets need to stay healthy, which can be difficult to achieve if you do not have enough knowledge about which nutritious dog foods to choose.
Not suitable for all dogs
Some dogs may have difficulty digesting certain raw foods, such as bones, which means the BARF diet is not suitable for all pets.
BARF diet food list.
A BARF diet for dogs may include the following foods:
- Raw meat: either chicken, lamb, beef and fish.
- Bones: Raw bones provide calcium and other essential nutrients.
- Fruits and vegetables: such as apples, carrots, broccoli, and spinach.
- Viscera: the liver, heart and kidneys, are rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Raw eggs: including the content and the shell.
- Supplements: such as fish oil, bone meal, and apple cider vinegar to improve nutrient absorption.
It is important to note that the proportion of foods in a BARF diet must be adequate and balanced to meet the essential nutritional needs of our pets. Also, some ingredients, such as bones, should be served raw and crushed to prevent injuries or intestinal disorders.
Raw or cooked BARF food?
Opinions are divided on whether the raw or cooked BARF diet is better for our pets. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice depends on the individual needs of each pet.
The raw BARF diet is based on the idea that dogs are carnivores and need raw foods similar to what they would eat in the wild. Some believe that raw meat offers a richer source of nutrients, such as protein, fat, and vitamins, than cooked meat. However, there is a potential risk of foodborne illness with raw meat, so it is important to handle it properly.
On the other hand, the cooked BARF diet is cooked to kill any potentially dangerous bacteria, making it safer for dogs. It may also be easier for some dogs to digest, especially those with digestive issues. However, cooking can destroy some important nutrients and make the diet less natural for dogs.
Is the BARF diet suitable for puppies?
Yes, the BARF diet can be suitable for puppies from 5 weeks if it is prepared and served properly. However, it is important to speak with a veterinarian or canine nutrition expert before starting a BARF diet as puppies have special nutritional needs due to their rapid growth and development, so it is important to provide them with a balanced and complete diet, with the right nutrients and the right amounts.
It's important to note that puppies are also at higher risk for foodborne illness, so it's important to handle raw and cooked food properly. Also, it can be harder for some puppies to digest, especially those with digestive problems, so it's important to watch for any changes in their health and behavior after starting a BARF diet.
Transition to BARF feeding, how to do it?
If you want to transition your pet to a BARF diet, it's important to do it gradually to avoid digestive problems. Here we leave you a small guide to carry it out:
Consult your vet
It is important to speak with your veterinarian before beginning any changes to your dog's diet to ensure that you are providing the proper nutrients and in the correct amounts.
Start with a small amount of raw food
Start by adding a small amount of raw meat or organ meats to your dog's current food and gradually increase the amount as your dog gets used to it. As your dog gets used to raw food, you can increase the amount and gradually reduce the current food.
Mix with current food
For the first few weeks, mix the raw food in with his current food to help him get used to the new flavors and textures.
Add crushed bones
Crushed bones can provide you with calcium and other essential nutrients, however it is important to add them gradually and make sure they are properly crushed to prevent injury or intestinal upset.
Observe any changes in their health and behavior
During the transition to the BARF diet, it is important to observe any changes in your dog's health and behavior and consult a veterinarian if necessary.
It's important to note that the transition to the BARF diet can vary based on your dog's age, breed, size, and individual needs, so it's important to speak with a veterinarian or canine nutrition expert before begin any changes in your dog's diet.
At W aggy's we understand that these changes in our puppies' diet can cause stress and anxiety in dogs , even if they are gradual. That's why we offer you CBD products for dogs that help calm an anxious dog. You also have the option of relaxing dog treats .
How to calculate the amount in the BARF diet?
There are a few factors to consider to help determine the correct amount, here are a few:
Size and breedThe size and breed of your dog influence the amount of food it needs. Larger dogs generally need more food than smaller dogs.
Puppies and elderly dogs need smaller and more frequent amounts of food than adult dogs.
More active dogs need more food than less active dogs.
It is important to provide a balanced and complete diet with the correct amount of protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals to meet your pet's nutritional needs.
An adequate amount should contain between 50% and 80% meat, bones and offal, with the rest made up of fruits, vegetables and other food supplements.
In conclusion, the BARF diet can be a healthy and natural alternative for our pets, however, there are some disadvantages that should be considered before opting for this option. This is why it's important to always speak with a veterinarian or animal nutrition expert to determine if the BARF diet is right for your pet and so you can get recommendations on how to follow it safely and effectively.
Tell us in the comments what other benefits or drawbacks you know of, or if you're already fully familiar with the BARF diet what do you recommend to people who are still thinking about it.