This article is written by ProDog Raw, one of the leading providers of Raw Dog Food in the UK.
Switching to species specific natural nutrition and feeding a raw food diet for dogs is now becoming much more popular – with more information being circulated about the wide range of benefits that you can expect when choosing a BARF diet. This diet, however, can still be considered controversial. It is common that working dogs and racing greyhounds are fed on a raw diet, however, more and more people are now switching their dogs to a fresh, raw food diet. It has been proposed that all dogs thrive on diets that are based on evolutionary evidence, namely what canines ate before domestication; Raw, meaty bones and green vegetation.
It has been suggested that highly processed, grain-based commercial dog foods or kibble can be harmful to dog health. Therefore, clean and natural dog food is becoming a more and more popular choice for dog owners who want to promote the health and happiness of their faithful companions.
What does raw feeding consist of?
‘BARF’ is known worldwide and stands for ‘Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding‘. Raw feeding (BARF) ensures that your dog is eating as close to what they would have selected as carnivorous wild animals. This is a much more natural diet and has vast benefits towards their health and their digestive system. Due to a lower stomach pH in dogs compared to humans – they can break down bone and raw meat more easily. Manufactured dog food is largely based upon meat derivatives and contains added sugars, preservatives and other synthetic ingredients that are not good for long-term health in dogs. A good BARF diet consists of biologically appropriate human-grade meat, organs, bone and some vegetables, oils & superfoods which are added for extra vitamins and nutrients.
What does a raw diet look like for a healthy dog?
A raw diet is just that – a natural diet for dogs that comprises of fresh, raw foods. In essence, real food for real dogs. There are many different formulas and recipes to create a complete raw dog food diet but one of the most popular and beneficial options is a meal plan consisting primarily of a variation of quality proteins (meats) and additional ground raw bone. This mix is then fortified with some vegetables or fruits for micronutrient support or alternatively a supplement which ensures a complete nutritional balance for your dog.
Dogs are primarily carnivorous – their bodies extract nutrition from animal-based sources. Biologically appropriate meat should be the primary focus of a healthy dog diet and in addition to raw meat and organs – raw bones provide calcium and other key nutrients. Raw food diets for dogs can either be homemade or pre-prepared and bought ready to serve. This more convenient option is highly popular as this takes away the need to buy and then handle ingredients and try to balance the correct ratios. Ready prepared raw dog food comes carefully portioned and handily packaged so it’s often more cost effective too.
Benefits when making the switch
The benefits that you can expect when making the switch from a processed, low grade commercial dog feed to a fresh, raw dog food diet are below:
Improved Condition as the nutritional integrity of the bio available raw ingredients used are preserved. Dogs begin to thrive after just 3 weeks of being fed in a species-specific way.
Healthy & Regular Digestion as dogs have a fairly short digestive system. This limits their ability to digest refined and carbohydrate dense foods. A raw diet based largely on high quality protein ensures easier digestion and leads to fewer and firmer stools.
Cleaner Teeth – ¾ of kibble fed dogs will suffer some degree of dental disease by the time that they reach 3 years of age. Kibble often has a high sugar content adding to decay. A dog will naturally prevent plaque build-up by gnawing on a fleshy bone. This also improves breath and provides fantastic enrichment.
Shinier Coat – A fresh natural diet will provide the nutrients needed for your dog to maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat. This is due to essential fatty acids key to optimal coat and skin condition which are plentiful in a raw dog diet.
Relief from Food Allergies or Sensitivities – Increased exposure to common allergens such as wheat, maize and corn means that dogs fed a dry diet are more likely to develop a reaction. Raw dog food diets typically are gluten and grain free which acts to reduce inflammation and therefore the risk for allergic reactions and sensitivities.