You might know a dog parent or two who have switched from regular kibble to a BARF diet for their pets—a change which might have prompted you to ask, "Is BARF good for dogs?"
When you're used to feeding your pup pre-packaged meals or kibble, this feeding regimen will naturally raise concerns on whether a raw food diet will be safe for your dog. While there are potential risks to feeding your dog a raw diet, with safe food handling practices and veterinary advice, BARF can be a great way to improve your dog's health.
What is BARF?
BARF stands for Bones and Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, and is the most well-known canine raw food diet which emphasises feeding muscle meat, bones, eggs, fruits, vegetables and some dairy (like yogurt).
Based on the theory that dogs thrive the most when fed an ‘Evolutionary Diet’ which is very similar to what wild ancestral dogs would have consumed, raw diets were first adopted for racing greyhounds and sled dogs before Australian Veterinarian Dr. Ian Billinghurst proposed to extend the diet to family dogs in 1993.
Today, BARF or raw diets have become mainstream as more pet food suppliers have caught onto the concept and started producing high-quality pre-packaged raw meals, making it easier and more convenient for dog owners to follow a BARF diet.
Is BARF Good for Dogs: The Benefits
The main benefit of a raw diet is that it is natural—it’s free from artificial additives, flavours and preservatives, ensuring the quality is far superior to heavily processed commercial dog food.
BARF diets are also better than other raw model diets because they provide the additional benefits of including vegetables, seeds, nuts and fruits, making for a more complete and balanced meal for your doggo.
BARF diet supporters and pawrents also report seeing significant improvement in their pets, such as:
- healthier skin and shinier coat
- increased energy and stamina
- cleaner teeth and fresher breath
- better weight control
- smaller, firmer and less smelly stools
- improved digestion
- improved bowel, liver and pancreatic health, and
- a strengthened immune system.
A dog's diet can also affect their behaviour and mood; a poorly balanced diet can be linked to aggression and a number of other behavioural issues such as:
- excessive digging
- stealing food
- excessive drinking
- excessive itching and scratching
- coprophagia (eating poop), and
Diet deficiency isn't the sole cause of these behavioural problems, but if you notice these behaviours manifest in your pup, a change in their diet may be a good place to start as many people who have switched their pets to a BARF diet have reported improvements in their dogs' physical health and behaviour.
Chat to Your Vet or Animal Nutritionist
So, is BARF good for dogs? Even though many dogs thrive on a BARF diet, it doesn’t mean all dogs will have the same experience.
If you are leaning towards a raw diet for your fur baby, it’s worth talking to your vet first to find out if it’s likely to be a good option for your dog, as they’ll be able to take any health issues and specific needs into account. Holistic vets and animal nutritionists can also be a great source of information and advice to help you decide if a BARF diet is right for your doggo.
In case you're seriously considering a raw food diet for your pup but don't have the time to prepare a balanced meal plan, Petzyo can help. We deliver all-natural and sustainably-sourced premium-quality pre-portioned raw dog food straight to your doorstep!