The use of Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) for dogs has faced some criticism over the past few years. There are numerous research articles giving warning that this form of dog feed beings many disadvantages for the animal. This causes confusion among animal lovers if they are doing the right thing by feeding their four-legged friends BARF.
In the article below, we have clarified some of the errors commonly carried out when feeding BARF to your pet. Of course, these errors don’t necessarily mean your pet is at risk of disease, but the diet of the dog is positively influenced if these mistakes are avoided. As an owner, avoiding these errors can make sure that your pet is satisfied and well looked after.
Below are five common errors associated with BARF. Also, we have highlighted various solutions to help change previous habits.
1) Not Understanding the Needs of the Dog
Firstly, it is important to know that every dog has different dietary requirements. However, as an owner, you should know the approximate nutritional values which you are feeding your four-legged friend. If you don’t, you could always ask for advice from other dog owners or seek help from a vet. There are also many ready-made nutritional plans on the internet. If your dog is responding well to the food, it is recommended that you continue with your current routine. However, if your dog shows some abnormalities, you should start adjusting these values accordingly.
For example, many animals eagerly eat meat and bones but tend to leave vegetables. Therefore, it makes no sense to provide the animal with vegetables every day. Especially with stubborn dogs! With this in mind, the dog food supplied to your pet should match their requirements, but also their taste buds! This is precisely the point where it is important to understand the nutritional demand values of the food you are giving to your four-legged friend. Depending on how big and heavy the dog is, the following values have to be adjusted;
– The calcium requirement, as well as the calcium-phosphorus ratio, must be determined as accurately as possible.
– The ratio of muscle meat to offal should be considered.
– In addition, the unsaturated fatty acids must not be overdosed. Otherwise the animal could quickly become overweight.
– The need for iodine must be determined.
For this there are special powders that can be added to the BARF, or alternatively you can rely on an animal feed with a species/breed-appropriate recipe.
2) Offer Little Variety
Just like with your own diet, the temptation to cook the same dishes repeatedly, because you get into a routine, is high. However, there are many options available and variety should be incorporated as much as possible. Despite dogs willing to eat anything without hesitation, variety should not be neglected. Therefore, it does not hurt to inform yourself occasionally about new recipes and options available. No one expects you to come up with new dishes for your pet every day, but it is important to understand that dogs enjoy variety too!
3) Wrong Bone Quantity and Quality
Faulty bone feeding can quickly lead to health consequences for the dog, which can be serious for your four-legged friend.
The amount of fed bone should always be based on the demand for calcium. About 80mg per kilogram of body weight is the usual guideline. However, this is only recommended. It is suggested that you calculate the weight of your dog and use this to measure the amount of calcium which they will require.
The smaller the dog, the softer and more cartilaginous the bone should be. However, the larger the bone, the longer the dog has fun with it! It is very important to note that the bones should never be precooked. This does not do any size dog any good as cooking the bones results in them becoming brittle. If the dog then bites into the bone, it may brake causing razor-sharp fragments which could hurt the dog. Moreover, if these brittle pieces are swallowed, there will be even more consequences for the animal.
Whether the dog gets mainly soft or hard bones, is a matter of taste. Just pay attention to which ones they prefer. Remember dogs can be picky with taste just like humans!
4) Too little Fat in the Feed
Only a few dog owners know how much fat their own animal really needs. The amount of fat required is often underestimated. A dog should be fed as healthy as possible and fat is typically considered unhealthy. However, fat is essential for survival and therefore the required amount should give to the animal regularly.
You can usually tell if your dog is having the right amount of fat in their diet. If the dog is too thick or too thin, the fat addition must be lowered or increased accordingly. A classic mistake to make, is that too little fat is fed.
A tip to increase the fat in your dog’s diet is by feeding poultry skin. Poultry skin is relatively rich in fat and thus provides a good way to feed your four-legged friend an extra fat source. In addition, the feed should always be coated with some oil.
5) Too many Carbohydrates
The last crucial mistake is to feed the dog with too many carbohydrates. At the latest when your dog develops flatulence, the amount of carbohydrates must be lowered. These are caused by the intestinal bacteria, which split the carbohydrates. In this process gas is released. If the diet is not adjusted, it will eventually become more frequent diarrhoea episodes and the dog will be reluctant to move, due to the painful flatulence pressure sensation.
Other Common Mistakes
Some other common mistakes associated with a BARF diet is related to protein content. More often than not, dogs are fed too high with protein because the owner feels it is the ‘right thing to do’. However, too much protein in the animals diet can be harmful, especially for the kidneys if the protein levels are not adjusted in a timely manner.
The second “classic mistake” revolves around the level of carbohydrates in the dogs nutrition. If the carbohydrate levels are too low, the animal may feel tired and unwilling to move. Similar to humans, the circulation doesn’t get going and we often feel lethargic. However, a lack of carbohydrates in the animals diet should not mean that you resort to grain as a source. There are better carbohydrates variations such as potatoes or rice.
Ultimately, the nutrient content is often not sufficiently considered which can often cause immense damage to the animal. For example, bones become more brittle and break faster when injured. The healthy and balanced diet of a dog is as extensive and sometimes complicated, similar to that of a human.
As you can see from the article above, there are many considerations to take into account when feeding your dog BARF. If you feel BARF is too complex and complicated, we recommend you switch to a grain-free dog food rather than to a conventional dry or wet food.