BARF - Bones and Raw Food (also termed biologically appropriate raw foods) - it refers to a type raw diet fed to dogs (and cats) which totally excludes all commercial dog foods.
SARF - Species Appropriate Raw Food - feeding a diet that most closely resembles what a dog would eat in the wild
NOTE:Dogs do not have the digestive enzymes or system to cope with grains. Grains are one of the biggest sources of allergies in dogs. Grains make up the majority of processed, commercial pet food company food sources. Many people find when they switch to a raw meat and bone diet, the allergies their dogs had disappear. This is common.
While Science, Biology and Physiology of domestic dogs and cats have proven that dogs (and cats) do NOT need Vegetables and in fact can not properly digest them, let alone utilize any real nutrition from them; there are still many people who sing the praises of a BARF (Bones and Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods) diet that normally contains raw vegetables.
While raw fruits and vegetables are healthy for omnivore and herbivore animals, dogs are carnivores and such, God did not design them to be able to break down the cellulose or derive any real nutrients from these foods.
If you were to compare the skull, teeth, saliva, stomach acid, stomachs, intestines, liver, etc. side by side; a wolf to your little Boston Terrier or Toy Poodle you would not be able to tell which was which except by the relative size. Our domestic dogs have not evolved to eat grains and vegetables anymore then the domestic horse has evolved to eat meat!
Yes a dog will eat vegetables if offered to him and he will eat the stuffing out of a toy or the plastic wrapper off of your fresh steak as well. This does not mean then any of these things are nutritious or even good for him. Dogs, like their cousins the wolf, coyote, etc. are opportunistic, scavenger carnivores so they can survive in nature. If times are difficult and there is not much prey available, they can and will eat bark, berries some grasses and old, rotten carcases they have dug up just to survive. It is actually common for wolves to go several days without a kill/meal. However, you will NEVER see a wolf in your garden digging up your carrots and potatoes or munching on your lettuce and broccoli. So, why do we feed these to our dogs? While in many dogs it may take years to show up, the eating and attempts to digest these non- species appropriate foods, they do tax the pancreas and liver over time and can cause dis-eases such as allergies, diabetes, liver disease and even cancer.
I do believe in people having choices and believe that just about ANY diet change you can make away from Kibble or processed canned foods is going to be much better for your dog in the long run.
NOTE Veterinarians receive NO formal education at university on pet nutrition other than a few classes that the commercial pet food company reps teach them! (yes, this is the education they PAY to get - unbelievable.) This is one of the reasons most main stream, allopathic veterinarians will tell you NOT to feed a raw diet to your pets. Some simply do not know any better.
For many, it seems a very difficult step to stop feeding canned and/or Kibble food and begin feeding raw meaty bones. Before taking this step, I recommend you do some research.
BARF diets are "RAW", LIVE FOOD.
Most of us know the benefits to ourselves of eating raw fruits and vegetables for their live enzymes, vitamins, minerals, nutritive value. A BARF Diet focuses on Raw Meaty Bones and what BARF proponents think are foods similar to what a dog would eat in the wild, i.e. lettuce, carrots, etc.
What's so magical about a BARF or SARF diet?
Simple! Look at it this way: For any machine to work properly it must be supplied with the manufacturers recommended fuel, lubricants, and spare parts. Anything less will cause that machine to malfunction. Our pets bodies work on the same principle. A biologically appropriate raw diet is the only diet that will maximize health and longevity.
Most pet foods contain a long list of additives, preservatives and grain products. a true SARF or BARF diet has only the freshest whole raw food sources rich in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids from human grade ingredients.
To maximize your pets health, they require protein from sources similar to what he would find and eat in the wild. Proteins, including quail, rabbit, deer, chicken, beef, lamb, or buffalo. These are the same fresh meats you would buy for yourself with one important exception....it's 'bon-e-fied' biologically appropriate raw food! (is fed with the bones, raw, un-cooked and intact as well as the skin and fat)
Our pets wild cousins derived their fats, and more particularly their essential fatty acids, from raw carcasses of animals. To maximize your dog's health, we need to supply fats from similar sources to those consumed in an evolutionary diet.
Some Benefits of a BARF diet include:
Teeth, Oral Health and Breath Your pet will have much-improved breath, no tartar and beautifully clean teeth. All without having to visit the pet dentist or brush the teeth.
We as a human being, need to get over our fear of feeding whole meaty bones to our dogs. Dogs NEED whole bone, they were designed to use their teeth to gnaw apart whole raw carcasses, including meaty bones and organs. It is actually "unnatural" for them to eat food that�s been reduced from its whole, unadulterated state into a soppy pile of mush. Those sharp teeth in your dog�s mouth are there for slicing, tearing and crunching through whole foods - not for gumming up ground pulp. Over time, a regular diet of ground food can cause plaque and tartar to build up on the teeth, and this can cause gum disease, which can lead to a myriad of health problems. Gums that are weak, inflamed and unhealthy can�t support the teeth properly, and dogs that are fed ground foods for a long period of time may risk tooth loss.
Gingivitis and periodontal disease are also an indication of a chronic presence of an increased amount of unhealthy bacteria in the mouth. That bacteria, which is regularly swallowed, in turn affects the entire system. Over time, this can be a major contributing factor in many serious systemic diseases.
Besides the issue of oral health with regards to whole vs. ground foods, is the matter of digestion. Feeding ground food in reality, encourages speedy gulping, because virtually no effort, and so very little time, is needed to consume it. Quickly inhaling ground food allows it to arrive so rapidly into the dog�s stomach, that often there's no time for its necessary digestive acids to be fully excreted. Such meals may end up causing irritation or indigestion, which can mean a greater chance of them either being vomited up, or coming out the other end in a less than desirable form. Remember, one of the great benefits of feeding whole raw food is that it requires some work on the part of the jaws and teeth to hack away at fleshy fibers and bones, and this takes some time. The time it takes to gnaw away at whole meaty bones to the point where swallow-able sized hunks have been torn off, gives the gut time to activate its gastric juices so that when the food finally does hit the stomach, it has a much better chance of being properly digested.
Skin & Coat This can be one of the first changes you will notice when you start feeding a raw meaty bone diet. If those persistent skin problems suddenly disappear or improve, and you no longer need vet visits, medicated washes, antibiotics, cortisone shots and cortisone tablets, it has to mean something. It is really difficult to ignore the deeply colored, lustrous, thick and healthy coat on a raw fed pet!
Immune System SARF/BARF diets normalize and strengthen the immune system. Because the raw meat and bone diet contains a good balance of essential fatty acids and other immune normalizing and strengthening nutrients, it reduces inflammatory conditions and waves bye-bye to infections.
Degenerative Disease Pet owners that switch their older pets to a raw diet usually find that whatever degenerative disease their pet has contracted, becomes less of a problem now.
Lean Body Mass By feeding a Raw meat and bone diet, your pet will lose unwanted fat and gain that much desired increase in muscle mass. This not only makes your pet look better, it increases your pets metabolic rate, its activity levels and its healthy life-span. The effect will be more rapid if you begin a routine exercise program with your dog.
Stool Volume & Odor Once again this reflects the improved health of the immune system and the remarkable difference that bone eating makes in the production of firm stools which are essential for normal anal sac emptying.
Arthritis After a few months you can expect to see much greater mobility in your pet. This is part of the reason so many older pets have a new lease on life when switched to a a raw diet.
Remember, this information is intended to get you started educating yourself. When changing your pet's dietary routine, please do as much research as you can so that all your choices are informed!
If you still have questions or feel you need help and or support, please request a consultation.
If your pet has any medical conditions, be sure to discuss dietary changes in your consultation. One thing I believe for sure is that our pets desperately need alternatives to toxic commercial pet foods. Whole, live, raw food is a huge part of the solution!
Remember, raw food for pets is still a controversial subject among most veterinarians, so please, do your homework and decide for yourself.
Many pet owners just jump right into raw feeding thier pets without properly educating themselves. It is easy to make mistakes and reduce the health of your pet!
Nutrition is NOT intuitive - it is a science. Carnivores have different nutritional needs than Omnivores. Complete nutrition for your dog (or cat) takes a lot knowledge and a little more work to provide than simply opening a can or a bag.
How do I learn more?
There are several good books you can purchase. Check out our Bookstore, we have several great ones available
Also, I highly recommend you start surfing the internet. Here are a few recommended links
There are several good sites in the raw food web ring that will detail all you wanted to know and more about the diet. The webring is for people who only feed 100% raw food, and if you do, then you are encouraged to join the ring.
There are many Dog or Pet Forums on the web that feature topics on raw feeding. You can post questions and get in on discussions on raw feeding. Here is ours: