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The BARF Feeding

The BARF Feeding

The BARF Feeding 650 366 K9-DogHealth.com

The BARF Feeding means Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. Among today’s dog owners, an increasing number are facing health issues affecting their pets. The widespread use of antibiotics, the increasing presence of chronic skin and fur diseases, bacterial infections, leukemia, parvovirus, various liver and kidney diseases, and various malignancies are becoming more common diagnoses. An alternative solution to these problems might be the BARF feeding.

All these issues serve as a warning that the immune system of household pets is becoming more vulnerable, and they are unable to naturally respond to the effects on their bodies. The consensus between responsible conventional veterinary medicine and animal naturopathy is that the primary cause of changes in the immune system lies in alterations in the animal’s diet. One of the factors to examine first is the “fuel” the dog’s body receives.

Amidst the buzz of product advertisements, today’s pet owners tend to forget that their dogs’ ancestors lived in the wild. They hunted, primarily consumed raw meat and raw plants, and their digestive systems developed accordingly. The pet food manufacturers might not be thrilled about the simple statistical fact that degenerative diseases and skin problems among dogs were not as prevalent until their products appeared in such quantity and quality as they do today.

It is a well-known fact that the majority of commercially available pet foods contain artificial flavors, colorings, additives, preservatives, and various chemicals. Most of these are inadequately processed by the animals’ bodies and have serious negative effects on their immune systems.

The Origin of BARF feeding

BARF feedingThe term BARF and the method originated in the United States. A passionate dog breeder discontinued feeding their kennel with dry and canned food due to the aforementioned reasons. They reformed the complete nutrition of their dogs based on their own autodidactic ideas and named the method “Born Again Raw Feeders,” signifying the rebirth of raw feeding. The BARF diet essentially represents a return to the ancient diet of domesticated dogs. Biologists claim that an organism needs at least 10,000 years to adapt to a complete change in nutritional composition. The history of modern dog food production cannot even tell a story of 100 years, yet remarkably, there has never been such a rapid health deterioration process observed in the history of the dog species as in the last 60-80 years.

BARF feeding, therefore, means the consumption of a dog’s diet in its raw form. It involves the preparation of food, either homemade or commercially produced, that aims to resemble what dogs used to eat before becoming our adorable companions in ancient times.

Biologists, geneticists, and veterinarians argue that genetically, dogs are still coded for the dietary habits and nutritional components from the early days of domestication, thousands of years ago. Their teeth, saliva and stomach acid composition and quantity, stomach, and digestive tract still function healthily according to the diet of that time.

The Purpose of BARF feeding

The primary goal of the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet is to provide dogs with a balanced and diverse range of raw foods, including organic meats and bones, a variety of vegetable and fruit mixes, along with other probiotics and antioxidants.

This is considered successful when the diet closely resembles the natural prey that nourished our pets throughout their evolution.

BARF feedingImportant differences between the BARF diet and diets composed of various leftovers or commercial dog foods include the presence of live enzymes in the former, as they are not destroyed by cooking, drying, or heat treatment. Raw nutrients in BARF, such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, remain in their original state, which cannot be said for commercially produced diets with mass production processes. However, the presence of these natural elements serves the well-being of dogs, improving digestion, strengthening their immune system, supporting metabolic processes, and aiding in the reconstruction of cellular mechanisms. Consequently, a raw diet supplemented with live enzymes can extend the life of our beloved pets.

Advantages of BARF Feeding

Experiences with the introduction of the BARF diet are shared among dog owners on mailing lists and forums, and interested individuals gain insights into these experiences.

The most common changes reported include:

  • The dog no longer has a “doggy smell.”
  • Chewing and tearing of bony, cartilaginous, larger meat pieces act as a natural toothbrush, strengthening jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles.
  • During chewing, the stomach prepares for digestion, producing digestive juices.
  • Firmer, less frequent stools.
  • Reduced veterinary costs.
  • Raw diet is cheaper than canned or dry food.
  • Balanced, more even development of puppies, without the rapid growth that stresses bones and joints.
  • Prevents the dog from gulping or choking on food. Slower eating is promoted when chewing is required.
  • Previously lethargic dogs become more active, energetic, and agile.
  • Allergic symptoms disappear.
  • Significant reduction or elimination of joint inflammation and pain.
  • Maintains a healthy weight in dogs.
  • Eliminates unpleasant dog odors.
  • Longer life expectancy.
  • Female dogs handle pregnancy better.
  • Enhanced coat quality.

Oppositions and Disadvantages

Naturally, there are opposing views. For example, there are millions of dog owners who have believed throughout their lives that only industrially produced “complete,” “premium,” and similarly labeled foods are the most suitable for their dogs. On the other hand, there is another group that, lacking knowledge and information, essentially provides their dog’s nutrition with cooked/baked/spiced kitchen leftovers, and they may find it difficult to embrace this novelty.

From an animal health perspective, skeptics often mention constipation, diarrhea, solid bone-induced esophageal injuries, and the possible lack of calcium, zinc, iodine. However, these can only be valid if the BARF diet is not properly prepared, if the components are not mixed in good proportion, and if the mineral composition becomes one-sided. The initial symptoms of potential mineral deficiencies often go unnoticed by the owner and are not counteracted.

Another critical point is the potential danger of finding intestinal worm larvae in raw meat. This significantly depends on the living conditions and nutrition of the livestock, the hygiene and technical level of the processing slaughterhouse and butcher shop. The risks can be further reduced with regular deworming methods.

BARF feeding and Infections

Another skeptical opinion is that using the BARF method may increase the rate of infections transmitted from animals to humans. In today’s enlightened conditions of animal keeping, the chance of this is much lower than it could have been 2-3 decades ago. No statistical survey or data has supported the real danger of this theoretical assumption. On the contrary, it is now a proven fact that the canine digestive system easily destroys salmonella and other foodborne bacteria.

Some critics like to refer to their own dog’s habit of almost vegetarian-like eating, showing little resemblance to the carnivorous wolf or dog. These justifications overlook recent observations of wild wolves, revealing that alongside the stomach contents of mainly herbivorous prey, they consume significant quantities of forest fruits, medicinal herbs, roots, grasses, insects, and the feces of herbivorous animals.

Mostly, pet food propaganda suggests that all the necessary nutrients for a dog’s daily needs can be found in the food they produce. However, not every nutrient component needs to be ingested into the body on a daily basis. The consumption of certain substances weekly or monthly more closely aligns with a dog’s life rhythm than the compulsory daily practice of everything-all the time.

Undeniably, a disadvantage is that for people living in a hectic world, a dog’s proper BARF nutrition composition and daily preparation can pose a challenge in terms of time and energy. However, with the use of frozen meats and by-products, professionally prepared and commercially available grain products, and the utilization of vegetables and fruits found in households and gardens, providing a highly healthy BARF diet for dogs is much easier than initially thought.

BARF feeding tips and rules

Recommended Composition for One Serving:

  • 40% raw meaty bones (hindquarters, neck, beef brisket)
  • 30% raw vegetables-fruits (finely chopped carrots, lettuce, zucchini, apple, banana)
  • 30% raw meat (chicken, beef, lamb, rabbit)
  • The quantity of food = 2% of the adult dog’s body weight per day
  • Divide the food quantity into two portions to be given to the dog daily
  • Best Dietary Supplements: Green-lipped mussel powder
  • Every 3 days, in place of meat, an equal amount of liver, heart, and kidney can be provided
  • 1-2 teaspoons of yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, olive oil can add variety to the diet
  • Recommended the use of dandelion flower oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, and evening primrose oil
  • Once a week, 50% of the meat portion can be raw fish
  • 1-2 boiled or raw eggs, crushed with their shells, can be included in the diet weekly (excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and calcium carrier)
  • Dandelion, sage leaf, lemon balm, mint leaf, blackberry leaf, raspberry leaf, nettle, dill, parsley, and chamomile can serve as spices and flavorings
  • For Dogs Initially Reluctant to Eat Vegetables: It is advisable to grind the meat portion and mix vegetables into it, or flavor with a small amount of tuna or liver
  • Oats, barley, millet, rye, corn grits, grated coconut (or their ‘flake’ versions) can be substituted for 50% of the vegetable quantity once a week, mixed with yogurt, goat milk, or carrot juice
  • Avoid including tomatoes, onions, avocados in the diet, as all of these contain a toxin called ‘solanine,’ which is harmful to the dog’s digestive system
  • Include a small amount of boiled potatoes only in cooked form in the diet

Fundamentally, for the nutrition of dogs with cancer, it is highly recommended to revert to natural feeding, essentially the BARF diet.

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