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Dog Food: How About BARF?

When it comes to a dog’s healthy diet, opinions are divided. A four-legged friend needs minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. More and more dog owners are relying on biologically appropriate raw feeding with fresh meat, fruit, and vegetables.

BARF – What is It?

The abbreviation BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. With this feeding method, you are guided by the dog’s original diet. Since this is descended from the wolf, which feeds on prey, the food is composed similarly. It includes raw meat, offal, and bones, as well as vegetables and fruits. In addition, there are dietary supplements such as copper, zinc, or manganese to safely cover the nutritional requirements.

There are other variants of raw dog feeding. In addition to barfing with supplements, this is barfing according to Frankenprey, which does not contain any herbal ingredients. Dogs are fed whole prey or parts of their bodies with fur and appendages like whole rabbits and deer heads.

BARF: How Much Food and in What Composition?

A dog has a daily food requirement of 2-4% of its body weight.

2 x bodyweight: 100 = total daily feed amount

Example for a dog weighing 10 kilograms:

2 x 10 (kg): 100 = 0.2 (kg)
A dog weighing 10 kilos needs 200-400 grams of BARF a day.

This amount is a guideline. If your dog uses a lot of energy, he may need more raw food. If he is older and calmer, it can be less. Start with two or three percent and pay attention to your dog’s figure. If it decreases, increase the amount of food. If he gains weight, reduces the feed a little.

Animal Components of the BARF

70-80 percent of the total amount of feed consists of animal components.

Of these in turn:

  • 50% streaky (fat-infused) muscle meat
  • 20% leaf stomach and rumen
  • 15% different offal (heart, lungs, liver …)
  • 15% fleshy bones

The animal species fed can be varied. Cattle, chicken, turkey, rabbit, horse, sheep, goat, roe deer and fallow deer can all be fed raw. Under no circumstances should you give your dog raw pork, as it can contain the Aujeszky virus, which is deadly for dogs. Fish such as sprats and salmon are also allowed to be eaten from time to time.

Streaky meat is important because the dog’s fat needs are not adequately met with lean muscle meat. The proportion of rumen can be reduced a little if necessary. It is more difficult to digest than muscle meat and not all dogs tolerate it equally well.

Meaty bones contain bone and meat in equal parts. Bones must always be fed raw. Chicken necks, wings, and carcasses are especially good for beginners because they are soft bones. The ribs and sternum of beef and horse are hard bones. Dogs only get hard bones if they have been barked for a long time and initially in small quantities, because not all dogs can tolerate them.

Vegetable Components of the BARF

Raw and well-pureed vegetables and fruits make up the remaining 20-30 percent of the total amount of feed. Only a quarter of this should come from the fruit.

Carrots, lettuce, beetroot, zucchini, berries, apples, and potatoes (only cooked) are suitable. On the Internet, you will find numerous lists with suitable types of fruit and vegetables for barfing.

Dogs cannot “break open” the cell walls of raw food. This is why your dog will excrete the vegetables undigested if you just chop them up roughly. However, if it is well pureed, it can be digested more easily.

The fiber it contains is good for digestion. In addition, vegetables and fruits provide valuable secondary plant substances.

If your dog doesn’t even like the vegetables steamed and also sorts out cooked, mashed potatoes, you can do without them. Your dog is not necessarily dependent on plant vitamins. He gets all the important nutrients from meat, offal, and bones. Instead, you can increase the fiber content by adding some bran or psyllium husks.

Additions to the BARF

The dog’s barf ration is supplemented by high-quality oils that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as linseed oil and salmon oil.

The larynx is not fed with barf. This is because it contains the thyroid gland or parts of thyroid tissue. There is a risk that the hormones contained in the dog will affect the thyroid activity of the dog. At the same time, the thyroid also contains iodine, which your dog also needs. The iodine must therefore come from another source. Seaweed meal is often used for this, but it must be precisely dosed.

Further barf additives are not absolutely necessary. However, every dog benefits from variety in its food bowl. Eggs and dairy products such as yogurt, quark, and grainy cream cheese are useful additions. Cod liver oil is the source of vitamin D3 and seeds and herbs are a source of minerals.

BARF Recipes

Do you need recipes for barfing? Of course not. Recipes for dogs are often only made for people who enjoy creating a special meal for their dog.

Use the above composition as a guide and switch between different types of meat and vegetables. Your dog gets everything he needs and also has variety in the food bowl.

If you still want to experiment with recipes more often, always keep an eye on the composition. The supply of individual nutrients should not deviate too much from your dog’s needs in the long term. In order to prevent malnutrition – both oversupply and undersupply – nutrient tables help to comply with the requirement values.

BARF: Yes or No?

Barfing with dogs has advantages and disadvantages. It carries health risks for your dog and can even become dangerous for you if done incorrectly.

Benefits of BARF

  • No more badly declared feed. You know what your dog is eating.
  • You can adjust the food yourself if you have allergies or similar illnesses, but also if you have slight intolerances.
  • Done right, barfing is a natural and very healthy form of nutrition for your dog. Your dog will definitely like BARF better than the same dry chunks of food.

Disadvantages of BARF

  • You need to read into the topic and get it right. You feed your dog with beef and the occasional chicken heart because it does not meet his nutritional needs.
  • Barf requires good kitchen hygiene because meat from bare feet suppliers, in particular, can contain pathogenic bacteria. Dogs usually get along with it without any problems. But you have to pay attention to cleanliness during preparation and carefully separate the utensils you use from your dishes.
  • Barf can take a lot of effort. The sight of innards and the smell of rumen takes some getting used to for many.

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