What is a BARF diet???? With its rather descriptive name, it conjures up interesting images. All is not what it seems! Euro Puppy has looked into what is becoming so popular today: the BARF diet… The word BARF is an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. Every living animal on earth requires a natural and healthy, biologically appropriate diet. If you think about it, not one animal on earth, is adapted by evolution to eat a cooked food diet. The BARF Diet looks only at giving the freshest whole raw food sources rich in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
So what role does it play in preventing bone diseases? Well, a lot of larger breeds are prone to getting bone diseases; such as: Osteodystrophy (defective bone development due to poor nutrition) and Osteochondroses (bone disorder which affects the maturing skeleton). These two diseases come about in two ways; either due to genetics or due to over-feeding or over-supplementing a dog. Scientists have realized that bone diseases can be prevented by reducing the intake of calcium and phosphorus as well as reducing calorie consumption. Dog owners often over-supplement with calcium, believing that it is a good supplement for bone development. They mean well, but the natural balances are overthrown and this results in bone disease. As with humans, overfeeding can also result in disease. Limiting the calorie intake of dogs can definitely reduce the risk of developing bone diseases. But what is considered to be a calorie bomb?
Foods for large breeds contain rice flour, dried beet pulp, grain sorghum, and dried eggs: all of which are high in calories. If you think about it….how did the large ancestors of today’s dogs and wolves manage without these ingredients? If we think of our large dogs not as family members (for the moment of course!) but as canines…who are actually closely related to wolves, then their daily nutritional intake should equate with a “would-be prey”. Scientists believe this would equate to: 62% meat, 11% organs, 2% bone, 25% vegetable. So why do we feed processed food to our dogs? In one word: convenience. But convenience results not only in bone diseases, but a persistent itch, eczema, dental problems, colitis, food hypersensitivity, lethargy, a dull coat, kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. A “premium” food is usually high in fat and protein. “Generic” foods are even worse, as they have a grain base with meat being the minor ingredient. This is pure bone disease paradise! A “premium” may also be a “generic” nutritionally, since try as hard as they might, pet food manufacturers cannot stuff the “would-be prey” into a 22 lbs bag!
It doesn’t matter if the raw meat you give your dog would be enough to make you “barf”. It matters though, that it will make him healthy and happy! Let that be the key! Dogs love it. And whether the bones end up in the intestines or in the backyard, buried for convenience; never to surface again; a natural diet seems to be the key to a healthy dog these days. Euro Puppy believes that having a purebred puppy is not enough. You need a healthy and happy puppy that will grow into an equally healthy and happy adult dog! All lies in nutrition and care. Of course, it is important to mention here, that food choices are not a matter of right or wrong, black or white – they are shades of gray. By reading up on the BARF diet, and by understanding what is ideal and what is not; intelligent decisions can be made which at least take us ever closer to the healthiest ideal for our beloved dog.