You have heard the phrase ‘You are what you eat’? Well, for our pets, we should change this to ‘You are what you are made to eat.’ And we all know how we feel if we have spent a few days eating the wrong types of food such as junk food or too many cakes and pastries. So imagine how our dogs feel when they are not given the right sort of food. Pretty much as we do, sluggish, depressed, and often times they will even experience some weight gain. You do not have to be a dietician to understand that pre packaged or processed foods are not good for you in the long run, so why do we give this to our dogs? For convenience? For the cost? But our dogs are members of our family and would you feed processed food to a family member time and time again? Of course you wouldn’t. Take one minute to look at the ingredients on the side of your regular dog kibble; is it made up mostly of indigestible ingredients such as ash, preservatives, fat sprays and artificial flavourings? If so it maybe time to change, but what to? Dogs are natural carnivores that have been partially-converted by domestication to eat as an omnivore and forcefully trained by man to survive on a grain-based diet. Although dog possesses the necessary physiological equipment to digest and utilize meat or grain ingredients, the question is which is better for the dog? To answer this, you should look to your own dog. If you feed your dog grain ingredients over a long time period, you will overstress the dog’s digestive system and harbor a larger amount of undesirable toxins to build up in the body. This is because it stays in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract for a much longer period of time before being utilized or eliminated. Why? Because it takes longer for the dog’s digestive system to break down the foreign matter, which means that the ingested grains must stay in the digestive tract for much longer than normal. If you want proof of this digestive difference you can see it in their stools. The difference in consistency and volume of a dog’s stool that has been fed a raw, meat-based diet and that of a dog fed a dry, grain-based kibble diet is significant. Dogs fed a raw diet tend to have smaller, more compact stools that are less odorous.
Their owners also note that their dog’s stools are of a gray, ash-like color. This is a result of maximum nutrient absorption of the diet by the animal. The dog’s body better digests a raw diet so all that really remains in the stool are ash and fiber. Dogs feed on kibble and wet food tend to have smelly, wet and loose stools. Yet feeding your dog is not that difficult. BARF stands for Bones And Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, depending on which books you read. Basically a BARF diet is completely raw and never exposed to any heat processing (cooking). For your dog this means that all the enzymes, vitamins, and micronutrients found in the whole food ingredients are kept as close to their natural state as possible. Also, the proteins in a BARF diet have not been denatured by heat processing as they are fed in a raw state.
To feed your dog on a BARF diet, try them on as varied a raw diet as possible, with lots of raw meaty bones, e.g. chicken wings, poultry necks, rabbit, oxtail, minced meats, lamb shanks, eggs and their shells, liver, heart, fish, yoghurt, veg (blended), fruit (blended), herbs, nuts and seeds. If this sounds daunting it shouldn’t be. Just think of the human ‘meat and two veg’. Just feed dogs something similar – for every handful of meat, they get 2 handfuls of blended veg and fruit. That’s it. It’s as simple as that. To this you can add herbs, seeds and nuts for minerals and essential fatty acids, but the basics really are basic. Here is a list of some of the benefits you can see from feeding dogs a BARF diet: Healthy, shiny and glowing coats and good strong teeth with fresher breath.
Older dogs displaying an increased amount of energy and a greater zest for life.
A strong, healthy immune system – the body’s best defense mechanism.
Healthy weight maintenance with a lean, more defined body build and appearance.
A noticeable reduction in stool volume, and odor. A biologically appropriate raw food diet just makes sense. Afterall, dogs are carnivores and as such, should not be eating dry or wet rubbish, completed with things like ash!