The BARF Diet and Healthy Bones
What is 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.
It does not just mean 'give your dog any raw food. It is a specially programmed and selective diet aimed at ensuring the perfect health for a dog. The BARF Diet looks only at giving the freshest whole raw food sources rich in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
Dog Food Health Issues
Kibble and canned food is the most common food given to dogs. Many brands are excellent, and high quality. But nevertheless all are processed and not natural.
Many 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 not only increases the chance of bone diseases, but also, eczema, dental problems, colitis, food hypersensitivity, lethargy, a dull coat, kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
These health issues can still happen with dogs on the BARF diet, but chances are reduced.
A “premium” food is sometimes 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!
Benefits of the BARF diet
Studies have proven the following
- It provides delicious taste for your dog. Most dogs prefer the BARF diet to other food.
- Improves skin and coat health
- provides higher energy levels
- Results in healthier stools
The BARF diet and Bone Diseases in Large Dog Breeds!
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.
The BARF diet does greatly reduce these issues, as the balance of calcium, phosphorus and calories is right in the BARF diet for a dog's bones.
Drawbacks of the BARF diet
The main risks with raw meat diets specifically are the following...
Dog's have a shorter digestive track, and higher acidity, which makes them more able to withstand bacteria. And they are biologically designed to eat raw meat.And although the BARF diet has been designed to reduce harmful bacteria, it can be very hard to ensure that there is none, and this can risk a dog's health.
Bones can be a choking hazard, so close monitoring is vital when feeding your dog raw bones. And not all dogs are fond of chomping on bones....
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!
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 grey.
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.
The BARF diet it is an opinion of certain experts and may or may not work depending on the particular dog and the owner.