Barking for the BARF – The Bones and Raw Dog Food Diet

We’re increasingly living in a food obsessed world right? Paleo, gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan, macrobiotic diets.... the list goes on with an increasingly growing number of diets and nutrition regimes that we try out to see if we, as humans, “feel” the difference. But what about when it comes to our beloved four-legged friends and their diet?

As a loving dog owner, we only want to provide our doggy’s with the best that nature has to offer (and that is still affordable of course). But let’s face it, there are A LOT, and we mean A LOT, of different options out there on the shelves that could be on the menu for your dog’s daily meals. What is best though? A rising trend right now in the doggy culinary world is raw dog food. Not surprising considering it’s also a hot topic in regards to human diet and nutrition as well.

The Bones and Raw Feeding Diet (funnily enough abbreviated to BARF) was first brought to the table in 1993 by Australian vet Ian Billinghurst. Centred on the concept that adult dogs would benefit from a diet that is more aligned with what was being eaten before they became domesticated, things such as raw meat (muscle and organ products), bones, raw eggs and some dairy, as well as fruit and vegetables is what’s on the menu. It’s the processed grains in many commercial dog foods which Billinghurst calls out as being detrimental to a dog’s health.

Claims of a raw food diet declare a number of ways that your dog could benefit, including improved digestion and weight control, cleaner teeth and fresher breath, a shinier and healthier coat, increased levels of energy, stronger immune system and harder, smaller, less smelly stools.

But there are some concerns as well to the adoption of this diet, which mainly circulate around the sufficient delivery of the necessary nutrients and minerals that your pooch needs to ensure it’s as nourished as possible. As well as this, other potential risks include the threat to a dog’s overall health due to bacteria which can exist in raw meat, as well as the danger of splintering bones for your dog – however, this is less of a concern given that bones normally only splinter once they have been cooked.

A sample raw dog food diet could be as easy as some yogurt in the morning with an evening meal of raw ground meat, plus some still on the bone, all mixed together with some vegetables. The ideal ratio is believed to be 75% meat and 25% vegetables with the addition as well of some healthy oils (such as fish oil) and any vitamins or nutrient supplements you may wish.

If you are thinking about making the change to a BARF menu for your beloved pooch, it’s important to remember to introduce this change slowly, so your dog can get used to the change and their body can accustom to it too slowly. Each case is different, and there are no hard and fast rules for what

works for one will work for another, so ensure you’re always keeping a close on your dog and

observing the effects of the change as well as any reactions to the change of diet, both positive and negative.

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