Do you know what BARF means? No, it doesn’t just refer to an unpleasant experience you might have after eating something rotten. BARF is an acronym relating to a dog food diet. There are two versions of the acronym that mean much the same thing:
- Bones and Raw Food
- Biologically Appropriate Raw Food
Most dog owners give their pets regular dog food. This could be dry kibble or tinned wet food or a mix of the two. But is this the best option?
How many dogs are on this type of diet?
One study discovered 16.2% of dogs had bones and other kinds of raw food included as a regular part of their diet. However, it seems opting for a top raw dog food is becoming more popular. Part of the reason for this is likely to be the many benefits associated with such a diet.
So, how could a raw food diet help your dog thrive?
The potential benefits dog owners have seen in their pets
Dog owners who have switched their pets onto a BARF diet have noted several benefits. These have commonly been highlighted among many whose dogs have adjusted to the diet:
- The coat becomes shinier without grooming
- The skin is generally healthier
- The stools do not smell as bad, are not as soft, and therefore they are easier to pick up
- Better dental health, including fresher breath
- More energy
- Less wind
There are many other benefits that can be seen in dogs on a raw food diet as well. Of course, the changes seen can depend on the individual dog, its breed, age, and general health. However, when you begin reading stories from owners who have switched their pets to the BARF diet, the above benefits keep popping up time and again.
Why is the BARF diet gaining more interest?
Consider the life of the average dog before we domesticated them. Perhaps of more relevance is the fact that prior to 1860, there was no such thing as dog food. A man called James Spratt created the first dog food to hit the shelves in England that year. It was designed to appeal to sporting dogs, but the idea soon gathered pace.
His formula was purchased by a business who started larger production runs. Other companies then got the same idea and came out with their own dry dog food and tinned foods. The market grew into the dog food industry we know today.
Going back to basics
Before the advent of mass-market dog food occurred, many dogs enjoyed the same foods their owners ate. If bones were available, the dogs ate them. Various meats and vegetables also made it into dog bowls across the land.
Many people are turning their backs on processed food and going back to a diet filled with natural, fresh foods. So, is it any surprise that some people are doing the same for their dogs?
Switching to an ancestral diet
The ancestral diet dogs were once fed every day included raw meat as the main ingredient. The same premise is attached to the BARF diet. Remember, this focuses on Bones and Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
Many people have spoken of the advantages of giving their dogs raw foods instead of tinned dog food or kibble. Since you prepare much of the meat yourself, you know exactly what your dog is eating. Would you know or even recognize half the ingredients on your manufactured dog food, even if it is one of the better ones on the market?
Better digestion and happier dogs
A raw food diet seems better for the dog’s digestive system, providing the necessary enzymes to aid proper digestion. That could be why owners see marked improvements in the dog’s stools, along with much less wind, and why it’s been touted as a lifesaver by owners who’s dogs struggle with stomach sensitives. Something we could all appreciate!
If your dog has a health condition, speak to your vet for advice before switching to a raw food diet. Do your own research and make sure you understand the best way to feed your dog. You might be surprised at the various things you’ll learn.
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