Why You Should Feed Your Dog or Cat a Biologically Appropriate Diet
This diet is sometimes referred to as BARF (Bones and Raw food OR Biological Appropriate Raw Food). There are many benefits of raw feeding and we believe in a diet that makes sense, promotes health and encourage all dog owners to do the same. Proper nutrition is vital to good health. In nature, it is live foods that truly nourish animals. If your animals are to thrive, they need the live enzymes, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and unadulterated amino acids, vitamins and minerals that only raw food can provide. While commercial pet foods are convenient, most contain sub-standard or condemned meats. And because they are also highly processed at extreme temperatures, they are devoid of many of the building blocks of good health, and often full of questionable preservatives. So, commercial pet foods may sustain life, but unlike raw diets, they do not contain the life-enhancing nutrition that promotes health.
The philosophy behind using BARF, or the hypothesis on which it is based is that the diet a dog evolved to eat - over many millions of years of evolution - is the best way to feed it. This is the hypothesis accepted by most modern zoos or any zoologist concerned with preserving a species of endangered animal. It is not the theory endorsed by pet food companies or the people they train - and that includes unfortunately - most vets.
Dogs and Cats Are Carnivores
Cats and dogs are carnivores, or meat-eaters. Raw diets simulate the menu that nature intended carnivores to eat. When a carnivore eats an herbivore like a rabbit, the carnivore eats some meat, some bone, some organ meats (liver, heart, kidney, etc.), and some green vegetation contained in the herbivore's digestive tract. That's nature's perfect meal - the meal that raw diets replicate.
Reduced "doggy" odor. The odor of breath and stool will be greatly reduced. Reduced volume of stool. WHY? Because the food they eat is almost all used (absorbed) by their systems.
Teeth will be whiter. The tooth-cleaning action of chewing on bones is fabulous.
Reduced Vet bills. Most dogs that are on a natural diet are more healthy. They have stronger immune systems and are not over weight like more kibble fed dogs are. These all add up to less visits to the vet and over all less medical costs.
Less hyper. Some dog owners have reported that after switching their dogs to a raw diet, their dogs seem to be less hyper and more calm.
Less yeast build-up. Yeast infections in the ears have been known to disappear in dogs that have this problem.
Decrease in skin irritations and hot spots.
Greater ease in getting to and maintaining a healthy weight.
Variety. The dogs absolutely love it in all its myriad forms.
Increased muscle mass and improved energy level.
Dogs will love and enjoy eating again.
Reduced flea activity. Why? because the garlic that most raw feeders use is a natural anti flea / anti tick remedy.
Anal glands are usually expressed naturally by forming firmer stools.
Many pet allergies, such as skin scratching, redness etc. go away when a raw diet is fed.
Dogs with various digestive problems often have their problems resolved, or at least controlled.
Why Raw Diets Are Safe
Dogs and cats are NOT humans. They have a very different digestive tract and process. For example, we can eat all the onion we want without harm, but some dogs can get anemic from a single, small portion of them. We can eat a pound of baker's chocolate and merely get fat or nauseous, while dogs can die from even a lesser amount. We can get very sick from raw meat, while dogs thrive on it as their natural diet. Again, they are NOT human. Compared to us, dogs and cats have a very short digestive system, which means that foods are processed quickly -- before harmful bacteria have a chance to multiply and cause problems. Also, carnivores have a very high level of acidity in their digestive systems. This high acidity, which allows them to break down the nutrients in raw meats and bones, is also hostile to bacteria. We've all seen dogs eat true garbage (rotten foods, decaying squirrel carcasses, etc.) without any ill effects. Nature did not evolve carnivores to eat a diet that would kill them. And remember, we aren't suggesting you feed spoiled, contaminate foods. A raw food diet consists of good quality, USDA-inspected and approved meats and bones.
Why Vets Are Not Promoting the Benefits of a Raw Diet
However, finding a vet that supports or understands the raw diet is very hard as most vets only have the limited amount of knowledge they have been taught in veterinary school about dog nutrition. Most veterinary schools employ nutrition educators that work for or are supported by commercial pet food companies.
If you want to know and understand more about commercial pet foods you will be shocked by the information you read. Be careful when doing your own research as many sites and vets will say that feeding a raw meat diet is bad and dangerous. They may have their own interests in mind, such as selling their own brand of a processed/rendered food or may just be unknowing of this way of feeding and scared
of something new or different.
Adapted from http://drianbillinghurst.com/barf_philosophy.html and http://k9joy.com/education/feedyourdog.php
Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats by Kymythy Schultz, C.C.N., A.H.I. (A very easy read!)
The Barf Diet: Raw Feeding for Dogs and Cats and Give Your Dog A Bone by Dr. Ian Billinghurst
When we came across the natural way of feeding: the BARF diet I was a sceptic and only agreed to feed fresh meat cooked and raw vegetables. As I learned more I cooked the meat less and less and eventually added raw bone. I was so amazed at the results that I have only fed my own dogs biologically appropriate raw foods for the past 4 years or so. Gone are the days when I had to slide a kibble across the floor as if playing a game to get them to eat. Gone is the majority of itching. Gone is the stinky breath.
The BARF diet is not just raw meat, but raw meat, raw bones (NEVER feed a dog cooked bones of any kind) and raw crushed vegetables. These things together with some supplements make up the foundation of a biologically appropriate diet.
Feed raw food in a stainless steel container
Never cook bones!
Never feed SALMON RAW!