Why Serve Raw (BARF) Food to Your Pet?
Dogs and cats in their natural environment were never designed to eat cooked food. After their domestication, cooked meat began to be used to feed pets since the early 1900s. It is a well known fact that animals’ digestive tracts are geared to digest raw meat and bones. It is quite another issue to expect them to eat cooked foods and live long lives.
It is a documented fact that even zoo animals cannot thrive on cooked foods – carnivorous animals like tigers and lions are fed raw meat every day. Wolves in the wild have a life span of 20 years compared to dogs in an urban setting.
Yes, it is convenient to give them cooked food and also dry foods were marketed using the slogan of “no refrigeration and balanced diet”. Cooking alters the proteins, destroys vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, sterilizes food and lowers the availability of nutrients.
Most commercial pet food manufacturers have big advertising campaigns an offer a large variety of products. Since they cannot cook for themselves, it is our job to make sure that they are well cared for. As a responsible pet owner, you have to make choices to feed them the best foods and care for their overall health.
Advantages of Raw Food Diet: it is easier to digest and requires fewer enzymes. Dogs and cats stay slimmer on a natural diet and also have healthier gums and teeth – their mouths function as they were designed to work. It also leads to better fertility and healthier pups or kittens. They have practically no anal gland problems and fecal matter is much smaller. All this leads to longer, healthier lives.
Conditions Addressed by a BARF Diet: Topical allergies like food or contact allergies, ear problems, pancreatitis, digestive problems like Irritable Bowel syndrome, urinary tract infections, auto immune diseases, obesity and diabetes are all addressed by a raw food diet. As we already mentioned earlier, these are all issues of lifestyle change.
A natural diet enables a cat or a dog to eat the right combination of foods and chewing bones mimics brushing teeth. Bones are also a natural source of calcium relative to intake. It is also a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate which is essential for bone health. We recommend raw bones for your pet at least twice a week.
What is in a natural diet?
Red meat is recommended as it is a source of organic, lean, high protein and a natural source of omega 3 fatty acids. Rabbit meat is also a good source as is green tripe. We also recommend including organ meats like liver or kidney twice a week. Meat requirements decrease with age – 80% for pups, 70% for adults, 60% for senior citizens and 50% if one’s pet is on a weight loss program.
Dogs are able to eat more vegetables as compared to cats, whose digestive tracts are geared for more meat content.
In the natural diet, the main carbohydrate source is hulled oats, soaked overnight. It is cheap and does not cause allergies. Other grains that can be used are barley, whole wheat, sorghum and linseed meal. Soaking grain helps to get germination activated turning off enzyme inhibitors increasing digestibility and increasing the availability of vitamins and fiber by 40-50%. It should constitute 10-20% of the diet and must be increased if the activity level is lower.
Vegetables are also best served raw, but grated as dogs and cats cannot digest them as easily. Vegetables provide roughage, vitamins and minerals and keep bowel movements regular and prevent anal gland problems. Wheat grass and parsley also provide micro nutrients and anti-oxidants.
Supplements necessary for good health are Yeast which is a good source for b-complex and selenium. Kelp has iodine for thyroid function and also supplied B, D, E and K. Calcium is required all through their lives for good strong bones and raw bones are the best source. Vitamin C is important to sustain immune function. Garlic is also used to prevent parasites, stimulate digestion and reduce flatulence and has antibacterial properties.
Other useful supplements are probiotics which help gut bacteria multiply and help with digestion. Boron is necessary for healthy bones and joints. Flaxseed oil supplies omega 3s.
What is different about all natural diet foods for pets?
Natural pet foods contain macro and micro nutrients needed to maintain optimal health in your dog or cat. They are more perfectly balanced because they are 100% natural raw food. They contain no chemicals or preservatives and no heat is used in processing the food. It has all the benefits and no drawbacks.
If all this sounds too complicated to do on your own, just check out Taste of the Wild here, to see why it is the #1 selling pet food on Amazon. They have tons of choices for main ingredients, bison, venison, fish, lamb, etc.
Puppy formula: focus on high meat and protein content for with higher vitamin concentrations for growing dogs (0-2 years)
Adult formula: aim for a balanced meal (2 – 6 or 8 years of age) for dogs with normal activity
Senior formula: add some shark cartilage to help pets stave off and also treat degenerative joint problems
Weight loss formula: choose something with lower protein and fat levels, more vegetables and roughage to keep a dog from being hungry and more active to lose weight
Allergy formula: you will want to emphasize omega 3 fatty acids and immune system stimulating herbs like astralagus and shiitake mushroom extracts to help stubborn skin allergies.
Cat/Kitten formula: higher meat content is needed to address their need for tuarine and arachidonic acid.
The Barf Diet highly recommends Vet’s All Natural products.
One veterinarian chimes in about the BARF diet
Veterinarians are moving toward recommending all natural lines of pet food to address a number of issues that are becoming more prevalent among pets, just like their human counterparts. Having studied genetics and worked with all kinds of animals in his practice, Dr. Bruce Syme is of the belief that going back to a diet that has all natural and raw ingredients is the best for them.
He writes: “In my clinic I focus on natural holistic solutions to increasing lifespan, skin allergy control, supporting joint problems, reducing obesity, healthier teeth, enhanced digestion, greater stamina, improved fertility and reducing the number of visits to the vet.”
Dr. Syme shared the basis of his philosophy and why he too has chosen the path of a natural, holistic and BARF diet for his pets. “Our mission should be to provide holistic pet food for our dogs and cats, to extend their lifespan, address allergy issues, joint health, reducing obesity, strong teeth, good digestion, stamina and fertility, which will eventually reduce vet visits.”
About Dr. Syme
Dr. Bruce Syme studied Molecular Genetics at the University of Melbourne and graduated in 1986. He went on to study Veterinary Science at the same University and graduated with Honors in 1991. He worked for a year in England working with the President of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association in 1992, after which he returned to Australia and worked with a veterinary eye specialist and an orthopedic specialist and managed the East Malvern Veterinary Clinic between 1993 -1996. He also found time to qualify as a veterinary acupuncturist in 1995.