BARF – the correct way to feed raw meat
The healthy diet your beloved pet is very important to every dog owner, because the feed has a large impact on the well-being of the animal. Too little energy makes the dog weak and sick, but too much food and improper nutrition are unhealthy for the dog. In recent years, in connection with species-appropriate and animal-healthy feeding, BARF has increased and is trending. The main ingredient of this type of feeding is raw meat, which is supplemented by vegetables, fruits and herbs. This form of feeding is based on extensive knowledge of the dog and its needs and requires discipline. Read here why BARF is so popular, what advantages and disadvantages there are and what you need to consider.
The origin of BARF lies with the wolf
BARF feeders recall the dog’s roots that lie in the wild wolf. Raw meat is a basic natural need of the wolf, but the wolf also eats roots and fruits in the forest. It also eats the stomach contents of its prey and therefore herbs and vegetables are part of its diet. A pure carnivore is therefore neither the wolf nor the dog. If you feed raw meat and offer fruits, vegetables and herbs, you can give your four-legged friend a diet that is provided for by nature. However, it is very important to be well informed and to conscientiously implement BARF. Some veterinary organizations are critical of BARF, as there is a risk of malnutrition and there are risks from raw feeding to both the dog and humans.
What is BARF?
Originally BARF was named as, “born again raw feeders” by a Canadian called Debbie Tripp. She and other dog owners fed their animals with raw meat, bones and offal, as she was sceptical of the concept to industrially produced dog food. The Australian veterinarian Dr Ian Billinghurst published his findings on raw feeding in 1993 in his book “Give Your Dog A Bone”. In the 1990s, the acronym BARF changed to bones and raw food. BARF stands for the nutritional method itself as well as for the people who barf feed their dog or cat. You can read more about BARF in cats here.
Why is BARF so popular?
People are becoming more interested in healthy eating and ensuring that there is a variety of fresh and regional ingredients, this awareness has extended to the diet of our four-legged family member. BARF is popular because pet owners have recognized the harmful effects of additives in industrially produced pet food such as too much grain and sugar. BARF brings back the original diet, which provides raw meat as the main component of the feed for carnivores. With the opening of shops that specialize in raw feeding, BARF has become more widespread. Today there are lively discussions among dog owners and in forums on the Internet about dog nutrition, the advantages and disadvantages of BARF and the correct implementation.
What is suitable to feed for Barf and is it right for you?
Variety in the food bowl is extremely important when BARF feeding. If you opt for this form of alternative feeding, you can choose from a large selection of meat, bones and offal that taste good and are healthy for your four-legged friend. However, take it easy when you get started and do not switch to raw feeding immediately. This is because the dog’s digestive system will not be used to the new form of nutrition, a gentle change is necessary, as is the case with the partial BARF. We have summarized everything about the first steps with BARF feeding here. The main portion is muscle meat, raw bones and beef offal. Make sure that your bones are fleshy. Rabbits, goats, lamb and game should be fed without the digestive tract to avoid parasitic stress. Poultry is ideal for BARF, but fur, ears, udders or testicles should be avoided due to their low nutritional value. There is nothing wrong with offering fish, serving fillets and heads. Serve with leafy greens, carrots or zucchini, bananas, apples or strawberries, and fresh herbs. An extensive list with many different ingredients that are suitable for BARF feeding can be found here.
When BARF feeding, keep in mind that bones can splinter and never let your animal eat unattended! Heated bones and long bones also pose a particularly high risk and are taboo for dogs! Raw peas, beans, lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, avocados and eggplants, grapes, raisins, physalis, quinces and the star fruit are also not suitable. We have put together a detailed list of harmful foods for you here.
What are the disadvantages and risks?
With consistent feeding and knowledge, BARF is species-appropriate and healthy for the dog, because you imitate the natural eating behaviour of the species. However, there are drawbacks and risks associated with BARF. Without knowledge of feed science, it is simply impossible to feed the dog a healthy diet. Consultation with a veterinarian, who specializes in BARF will be a help. They will assist to draw up a feed plan and calculate the individually appropriate rations. Due to the high meat content, there is a risk that a dog will be chronically malnourished. Too much protein can be absorbed, causing undigested intestinal gas in the intestine resulting in bloating and diarrhoea. An oversupply of protein can cause permanent damage to the liver and kidneys. A too high proportion of bone can also pose a risk. If you think your animal is preloaded organically, discuss feeding with a therapist! To avoid dangers from splintering bones, but to ensure a good supply of calcium, algae lime and organic eggshells are good alternatives. An adequate supply of vitamins and minerals is extremely important for BARF, which is why we at Naturavetal have developed pure Canis Plus® supplementary foods for dogs and Felins Plus® for cats, which you can combine with BARF for balanced feeding. Raw feeding always requires meticulous hygiene in order to rule out the dangers from salmonella and germs for both the dog and human.