BARF - Is raw feeding necessarily a better choice?
Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, BARF, is a type of diet that focuses on raw meat and bone feeding to provide the necessary nutrition needed by a dog. Also known as the Bones And Raw Food Diet, and the Born Again Raw Food diet, BARF diet is picking up and getting more popular lately.
The argument for a BARF diet is that it follows closely the diet of the ancestor dogs as they ate raw food too. Studies also show that cooking food would reduce its nutritional value, breaks down valuable proteins, and sometimes even cause certain food like bones, to be detrimental to the dog’s health.
This viewpoint has a great deal of truth because it is well known and documented that certain vitamins are reduced or degraded by heat, some more cooked bones would also splinter when chewed.
Nevertheless, there are also many reasons to go against the BARF diet. The main reason is that it is a fact that current domestic dogs live longer than before and there are good grounds to believe that they must be eating right or rather better than they used to.
Secondly, a cooked diet is safer to feed in terms of bacterial content as the heat from cooking kills most of the bacteria that might survive in the meat. Dogs have also been eating cooked food throughout their long relationship with humans.
There is no concrete evidence to prove which type of diet is better at the moment, and both sides have their own set of supporters. The decision whether to raw feed your dog depends largely on you. The factors to consider include the willingness to spend time and determine what type of food is biologically appropriate to your dog, to handle the food appropriately, and to incur the extra expense if you decide to raw feed.
On the other hand, a cooked diet or a commercially prepared diet is less expensive to feed. There are also commercial raw diets available in the market. These foods are safer to handle if they have been irradiated to kill bacteria. These diets may differ a little from BARF diets, however, they still largely consist of ground meat and bone fragments or bone meal. In addition, they may also contain vegetable matter that a typical BARF diet may lack.
Last but not least, no matter what diet you decide to feed your dog, it is always advisable to seek advice from your veterinary. He should be in the best position to advise you accordingly depending on the condition of your dog and your current lifestyle.
Do you feed your pet a raw food diet? How long have you done that? Would you share your experiences with us below in the comments section? Also check out this other article on feeding your pet a raw food diet.