BARF, the Raw-Food Diet for Dogs - dummies

BARF, the Raw-Food Diet for Dogs

By Gina Spadafori, Marty Becker

A great many dog lovers have embraced the raw-food diet known as BARF, which stands for Bones and Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. The idea is that the diet is most like what a dog would eat in the wild: raw flesh and bones, along with vegetable matter from the bellies of their prey.

A BARF diet requires a leap of faith for many pet lovers: The first time you hand a whole chicken wing or turkey neck to your dog, you’re certain that you’re killing him. After all, how many times have you heard that poultry bones can kill? (Which cooked ones very well may. They shatter easily and take on the properties of an ice pick once inside a pet.)

BARF advocates argue that a diet of cooked meats and grains, which is what goes into commercial foods, is both unnatural and to blame for many health problems. And they also question the quality of the meat, which often ends up as pet food because it’s deemed not fit for human consumption.

On the other side of the issue, many veterinarians aren’t satisfied with the data to support the claims of the BARFers, and point to feeding trials conducted by commercial pet-food manufacturers that show generations of healthy pets. They also worry that most pet lovers aren’t capable of preparing a proper pet diet on their own and worry about food contamination such as salmonella.

If you’re considering a raw-food diet, you absolutely must do some homework first. Talk to your vet first and foremost. If you’re given the green light, do as much research as possible tofeel comfortable with your decision.