The Raw Dog Food Diet – ‘BARF’

pork bonesSeveral dog owners have become worried about the commercial dog food they’re purchasing for their dogs, especially since an increasing number of product recalls are being issued.  Regrettably the product that you feed to your dog today could possibly be the latest recall tomorrow, and for a few pet owners that isn’t a risk they are really prepared to accept.  If you search the internet or maybe join a dog owners chat room you will discover that the raw food diet is starting to become more and more popular.  Whilst some owners think this diet is the latest trend, the truth is, it isn’t.  It basically mimicks just what your family dog would undoubtedly eat if they were in the wild.  A lot of people refer to it as the BARF diet, which stands for either “Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods” or “Bones and Raw Food Diet”.

In the event that you intend feeding this diet to your dog , you must note that the foods are all raw and so are the bones.   You must never feed cooked bones to your dog anyway, since they splinter and may result in internal damage.

What exactly does this diet consist of?  Quite simply, it is a meal comprised of meat and veg, more often than not in equal proportion.  That’s it!  Remember however that since this is raw food you should always ensure that it is fresh.

Starting The Raw Dog Food Diet
When you are switching your dog over to a raw food diet, initially start them off with meat for the first few days, then gradually start to add some bland veg such as carrots.  You will also find it easier if you use a blender or food processor for your veg since it makes it much easier to mix with the meat.  Don’t worry, you will not loose any goodness from the veg by doing it this way.  Also, it will help to break down the vegetables cell walls, which will make it easier for your dog to digest.

Once your dog is use to meat and vegetables you’ll be able to start adding richer foods, such as eggs.  Like you, your dog will have their own preferences, but do remember to add different vegetables to ensure they get a variety of vitamins and nutrients.  After all, different vegetables have different properties.  Carrots for example should always be included because of the potassium, calcium and vitamins that they contain.  Green vegetables contain vitamins A and C.  Watercress and mustard greens are going to help clean out your dogs intestine.  Whilst there are foods that you must avoid feeding your dog, there are others which are considered “best to avoid”.  Cabbage and broccoli for instance can substantially increase the amount of gas your dog produces, thus creating a rather unpleasant household environment.

Adding Natural Oils
It is possible to add some natural oils, such as fish oil or flaxseed oil (note that some dogs can be allergic to flaxseed oil) given that they contain essential fatty acids such as omega-3.  They also support the heart, help with blood pressure and are essential for a healthy skin and coat.  Feeding essential fatty acids to your dog, especially from fish oil, has been proven to reduce the number of fleas a dog gets, together with a reduction in shedding their coat.  It is therefore strongly recommended for those breeds of dogs who tend to shed their coat a lot.

Benefits of The Raw Dog Food Diet
There are many benefits of having your dog on a raw food diet.  One example, which many people find hard to believe, is that your dog will have a fresher smell to their breath.  Unlike commercial dog food, the raw food diet doesn’t contain any synthetic chemicals or unnatural preservatives which can cause bad breath or “yuck mouth”.  By feeding your dog raw meat bones you will also notice an improvement in their teeth.  This is because raw meat bones clean your dogs teeth naturally.  As stated earlier, you will also note a marked improvement in their skin and coat, with some existing skin problems disappearing altogether.  Since the raw food diet contains a good balance of essential fatty acids and pure nutrients, it is excellent at improving a dog’s immune system. It can also increase your dogs metabolism, which is excellent for dogs that are overweight.

Finally, it has to be said that many people are nervous about putting their dog on a raw food diet.  If you are in any doubt, the best advice is to go along and have a chat with your Vet.  The raw food diet is not for everyone or rather, every dog, however the many advantages that could come from using it are at least worth a try.  After all, there is no harm in it.

 

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