A raw dog food diet, once commonly referred to as the BARF diet, which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones, has been a subject of debate for many years among pet owners, veterinarians, dog care professionals, and critics and fans. Raw food for dogs can be homemade or bought commercially for convenience, as there are now companies that manufacture dog foods with all raw ingredients.
A raw food diet for dogs, as the name suggests, will contain all uncooked ingredients derived from meats or from plant matter, such as fruits and vegetables. Some common components of this type of diet include raw meat in the form of beef, chicken, fish, lamb, pork, rabbit, and turkey, as well as organ meats, such as kidneys and liver.
Shredded or ground vegetables with a high starch content such as broccoli, carrots, peas, peppers, and spinach, as well as fruits including apples, oranges, and pears may also be included. can dogs eat pears Raw eggs and foods like shredded cheeses, cottage cheese, and yogurt are often a part of a raw dog food diet.
The Advantages of Feeding Dogs a Raw Food Diet
Some of the advantages and benefits of feeding dogs an all raw diet include better digestion, healthier coats and skin, increased energy levels, improved disposition, and fresher breath and cleaner teeth and gums. Weight control and following a diet that closely resembles that of dogs’ ancestors are two other reasons pet owners may want to consider feeding their dogs a raw diet.
A raw diet is also very low in carbohydrates, which are usually a prime component of ordinary commercial dog food. Carbohydrates are often the culprit behind food allergies and digestive problems. A raw diet is also free of chemicals, preservatives, sweeteners, fillers, and additives.
What are the Disadvantages of a Raw Dog Food Diet?
The long term effects of a raw food diet for dogs have yet to be scientifically studied over a long period of time, and the benefits are based largely on anecdotal reports from pet owners. There’s definitely the potential for harmful bacteria to make its way into a dog’s system when eating raw foods, including the deadly E. coli and salmonella bacterium.
A raw diet for canines can also be considerably more expensive than an ordinary diet of dry commercial kibble, and a homemade raw diet can be rather time consuming to prepare, as foods must be kept fresh and ready for feeding times. It is also important to supervise meal times closely to ensure your dog doesn’t choke on any bones. Bones can pose more than a choking hazard; in addition to possibly getting lodged in your pet’s throat, they can also cause serious problems by puncturing the gastrointestinal tract.
Best Brands of Raw Dog Food
There are many reputable brands of commercially prepared raw canine food on the market today. In no particular order, here are three of the top brands based on ingredients, price, and consumer opinion:
1. Bravo Balance Raw Food Diet – This is available in three different varieties including beef, chicken, and turkey. All of Bravo Balance raw foods are frozen, ready to eat, and free of all chemicals and preservatives. Bravo also has several other varieties of raw food, including vegetable free and boneless formulas. A 5-pound package of original turkey formula currently costs around $13.
2. Nature’s Variety Raw Food Diets – This brand is made from 95% bones, meats, and organs and 5% fruits and vegetables. Nature’s Variety raw foods come in ready made 1-ounce medallions and 8-ounce patties for both small and large dogs. Some of the ingredients include organic fruits, sprouts, vegetables, and Norwegian virgin salmon oil, along with no grains or fillers. Varieties of this raw food include beef, chicken, rabbit, lamb, and venison. A 6-pound package of chicken and turkey patties currently costs around $27.
3. Stella & Chewy’s Frozen Raw Food for Dogs – This brand is made from free range beef and chicken with no artificial colors, preservatives, or chemicals of any kind, including hormones, steroids, and antibiotics. Stella & Chewy’s frozen raw foods for dogs are made from 96% human grade bone and meats, along with 4% organically grown fruits and vegetables. A 6-pound package of the beef bone and vegetable formula currently costs around $28.