BARF® - Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods
BARF® is about feeding dogs and cats properly. The aim of BARF® is to maximize the health, longevity, and reproductive capacity of pets, and by so doing, minimize the need for veterinary intervention. How do you feed a dog properly? You feed it the diet that it evolved to eat... It’s evolutionary diet... A Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet. The BARF Diet® is simple in philosophy and construction. It looks at the diet of a wild or feral animal, and mimics that type of feeding regiment using available whole raw foodstuffs, although the diet may be enhanced with various supplements. In the case of the cat, which is an obligate carnivore and a hunter, the biologically appropriate diet is based largely upon animal derived foods. Basically, whatever nutrition can be derived from a whole fresh raw carcass – in its entirety – constitutes a biologically appropriate diet. In the case of the dog, which is an omnivore, a hunter, and a scavenger, the diet can be based on a wider range of whole raw foods of both animal and plant origin. Both species rely on bones as a major part of their diet for a variety of reasons including teeth cleaning, jaw exercise, and complete nutrition.
The philosophy behind using BARF® is that the diet a dog or cat evolved to eat - over many millions of years of evolution - is the best way to feed it. This is the hypothesis accepted by most modern zoos or any zoologist concerned with preserving a species of an endangered animal. It is not the theory endorsed by most pet food companies or the people they train - and that includes unfortunately - many vets. If you want to feed your dog BARF®, it means not feeding your dog cooked and or processed food. That is, not feeding your dog a diet based on cooked grains, no matter how persuasive the advertising. Artificial grain based dog foods cause innumerable health problems. They are not what your dog was programed to eat during its long process of evolution.
A biologically appropriate diet for a dog is one that consists of raw whole foods similar to those eaten by the dogs' wild ancestors. The food fed must contain the same balance and type of ingredients as consumed by those wild ancestors. This food will include such things as muscle meat, bone, fat, organ meat, and vegetable materials and any other "foods" that will mimic what those wild ancestors ate. Please note that modern dogs of any breed are not only capable of eating the food of their wild ancestors, but actually require it for maximum health. This is because their basic physiology has changed very little with domestication despite obvious and dramatic changes in their current physical appearance and mindset.
The BARF Diet® must, from a practical point of view, use food that is readily available. BARF® feeders do not have to go hunting or send their dogs out to hunt. That is why I said BARF® must mimic, not duplicate the evolutionary diet of dogs. This is an important distinction. The BARF® feeder will MIMIC as closely as possible rather than duplicate the NATURAL diet of the dog. We are not trying to return our dogs to nature. It is impossible to feed any domestic animal its natural diet, let alone allow it to live under natural conditions. The natural diet and natural conditions under which the ancestors or wild cousins of our dogs live include grave dangers such as lack of shelter, starvation, attack by potential food, attack by other predators and the non use of medical intervention. In other words, natural diets and natural conditions can be deadly! They are not what we want for our pets. What we want for our dogs is a diet and an environment that maximizes health. That means a Biologically Appropriate Diet rather than a natural diet. This is my favorite use of the term BARF® - Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
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