I have often wondered why do we feed our dogs raw food? I know, like many of us that dogs come from wolves, which come from the wild, where they eat and have always eaten raw meat, berries, vegetables, etc. But still, is a raw food and bones diet better for your pet than processed dry dog food (kibble)? According to my findings, YES.
What is the Raw (B.A.R.F.) Diet?
The term B.A.R.F. (Bones and Raw Food) Diet was formally introduced in 1993 by an Australian veterinarian, Dr. Ian Billinghurst in his critically acclaimed book of the same title. The B.A.R.F. diet generally consists of :
1) Meat from the muscles of a cow, chicken, or pig.
2) Ground organ meats, like liver, kidneys, or gizzards.
3) Raw eggs.
4) Raw vegetables.
6) Some dairy.
In his book Billinghurst praises raw food as being responsible for the overall good health and appearance of pets. In my experience, the benefits that Billinghurst claims to come from a raw diet are indeed true. The following is a breakdown of some of the pros and cons in Raw vs. Kibble:
Raw Diet VS. Dry Dog Food
1. Appearance. Builds more muscle and eliminates excess fat.
2. A shinier coat.
3. Healthy teeth, gums, and breath.
4. More energy and endurance.
5. Keeps dogs hydrated.
6. Neat poop.
7. Prevents arthritis, allergies, autoimmune disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and other gastrointestinal conditions, kidney disease and more. In the end, you spend less money on health issues.
1. Less convenient storage (must keep frozen).
Dry Dog Food
1. Healthy teeth, gums, and breath.
2. Ease of storage.
1. Does not prevent common illnesses in pets.
2. More money spent on vet visits.
Raw Diet Affect on Appearance
LET'S DO THE MATH
Before After Raw Raw
Ours are show dogs, so appearance is big in our family. Personally, once I started feeding raw I saw the change within a week. Which made me wonder why raw makes the dog so lean and muscular. I found that a high protein diet is just a important as exercise, when it comes to building muscles, and the BARF diet is generally packed with the highest protein content known to us: raw meat, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. The moister in this mixture hydrates the muscles, further promoting growth - which makes total sense to me. The eggs provide the shiny coat, while the bones keep the breath in check.
How does BARF affect energy and endurance?
Mammals turn water into glucose, which turns into energy.
Dogs bodies digest the food they eat by mixing it with fluids (acids and enzymes) in the stomach. When the stomach digests food, the carbohydrate (sugars and starches) in the food breaks down into another type of sugar, called glucose.
The stomach and small intestines absorb the glucose and then release it into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, glucose can be used immediately for energy or stored in our bodies, to be used later.
The BARF diet is high in fluids also. If you think about it, every ingredient that I listed above is high liquid content. Its the hydration that provides so many of the benefits that a raw diet offers. So, you can be assured that you pet will not be lacking in energy or endurance once you start feeding raw.