BARF is a raw meat-based diet for dogs. Its name stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. Its main premise is that the healthiest food for a dog is one that is as close as possible to the natural diet of wild canine ancestors – the physiology of the digestive system of domestic dogs is the same and has not changed over thousands of years of evolution. The creator of BARF diet is an Australian veterinarian, Dr. Ian Billinghurst, who recognized that many of the dog’s ailments (such as allergies) are due to inadequate diet. It is worth adding that by using raw meat-based nutrition we have total control over what our pet eats – raw food does not contain artificial colourings, grains, fillers or preservatives. The main assumption of the BARF diet is that the animal eats from about 60% to 80% of raw meat, bones and fish. The rest of the diet should consist of offal (10%), vegetables (15%), fruit (5%), and other additives (10%).
What should a BARF diet look like?
Raw bones with meat is the basis of the BARF diet. We should daily give our animal bones from poultry (e.g. wings, necks, bodies), which are a valuable source of protein. They contain a small amount of meat, fat and cartilage. Bones of sheep, pig or rabbit will also make a good meal. However, remember that white meat is definitely healthier for our dogs than red meat, as it contains more unsaturated fatty acids. Beef bones, due to the fact that they are very hard, are not a suitable food source, but their undoubted advantage is that they have a good effect on muscle development and teeth cleaning. They are a valuable source of calcium, fats, proteins and vitamins. It’s worth adding that they are also a great toy for our pets and satisfy their psychological needs – chewing is a natural need of dogs and has a calming effect on them. Let’s remember that under no circumstances should we give heat-treated bones to our dogs! Another important ingredient in a dog’s diet is meat. Any type of meat can be given, and the more types the better. The diet should also include fish (served whole) – worth mentioning here are raw sardines, which can be a permanent component of the diet. Using BARF, we must remember to give the animal also offal (tongue, liver, tripe, kidneys, hearts, brains, stomach), vegetables and fruit (check what fruit can eat a dog, and what vegetables can eat a dog), preferably mixed, as well as milk, eggs, yogurt, fats. The diet should also be supplemented with essential vitamins.
Can every dog be on the BARF diet?
Yes! All dogs, regardless of breed, size or age have a very similar structure of the digestive system and similar nutritional needs. It should be remembered, however, that the diet must be properly balanced and adjusted to the individual needs of the animal – its activity level, age, energy requirements and metabolism.
Proponents of a raw food diet often wonder if BARF can be used with puppies. The answer is: yes. There are no contraindications to introduce BARF at an early stage of development of a pet dog. Of course, any diet…