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BARF, i.e. back to nature by food

author Lucy Byrne | Health and diet

Do you also follow the recent trend which encourages us to come back to our roots and mind our planet more? I am personally very happy about that. More and more households live according to zero-waste and non-toxic principles and we don’t forget about animals either. Many keepers nowadays BARF. And what does it actually mean?

The abbreviation B.A.R.F. can be explained in several ways. The most common explanation is “Bones and Raw Food”. But you can also encounter the interpretation of “Born Again Raw Feeders” and some others. But they all include the essential word – Raw.

It is feeding our beasts in the most natural way for them. Dogs have still a lot in common with their wolf ancestors, including their digestion tract. Their teeth are still capable of killing (tusks) and eating (molars) the prey, thus of crushing meat and bones. Wolfs enrich their diet with fruits, vegetables, herbs, grass and roots. They do it either themselves or this food is in the stomach of their caught prey. That’s why we also shouldn’t forget to add other raw ingredients to meat and ensure a rich and balanced diet for our pets so they would benefit from it.

The suitability of raw diet for dogs is also proven by the fact that the production of digestive enzymes is activated by the intake of raw meat. That’s why lower quality dry food or cans mean a larger food ration. They contain a low percentage of meat and this way a large percentage of plant constituents gets into a dog’s stomach and it causes imperfect digestion. Food will just come though the dog without much of an effect. Moreover, it stays longer in the digestive tract which might cause bacteria and parasites to multiply or digestive problems.

The advantage of BARFing is also the fact that you know exactly what you give to your dog’s or cat’s bowl. Also, tartar creation is slower thanks to gnawing bones and chewing meat. And you can encounter a lack of appetite of the animal only very rarely.

You can worry that you wouldn’t be able to mix the right ratio of food to provide your dog with a balanced diet. That you need to realize that this balance is important within weeks or even months. Therefore, it is enough to alternate several types of meat (50-60 % of a food ration), add bones (20–30 % of a food ration), side dishes in the form of fruits, vegetables, or also cereals (20–30 % of a food ration), sometimes add bowels and not to forget some natural supplement (oils, seed or nuts, eggs, dairy products, etc.).

You can add vegetables and fruits both in dried and ground form. Many dogs are also happy to get fruits like this in the form of a treat. There is also a solution for dogs who refuse to eat vegetables or have a lack of fibre for some reasons. There is also hemp fibre as a finely ground mixture which they will almost not recognize when mixed with meat. Other common supplements are fish and vegetable oils which are necessary and highly digestible (plus better for health) compared to animal fat. You can also buy natural supplement to support the growth of articular cartilages which are very desirable for larger breeds, during demanding activities and when a puppy is growing. Seaweeds, spirulina, milk thistle or yucca are also popular supplements. Choose the supplement according to the individual needs of your dog. You can support recovery or immune system, detoxify liver, etc. If you decide to choose the natural way and practice BARFing, don’t forget to choose natural supplements without preservatives, colorants and other unnecessary stuff.

Who is already BARFing? Were the beginnings tough or are many keepers afraid of the complicatedness of this type of feeding for no reason? Share your experience and you might persuade some hesitating keepers who have not decided to BARF yet.