The raw food diet has become popular in the last five years. For working dogs like sled dogs and some hunting dogs the raw diet has been used for many years. It became more widely know to the general public in the 1990s when Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst began talking about it and coined the acronym BARF diet which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
The theory is that dogs would thrive on an evolutionary diet based on what canines ate before they became domesticated: Raw, meaty bones and vegetable scraps, sinew fat and such. However many Veterinarians and food regulators disagree with this theory. They site hazards such a bacterial contamination that can cause illnes or even death. Chocking hazards from consuming partial broken bones and also internal intestine punctures from bone fragments.
Billinghurst published a popular book “Give Your Dog A Bone” and in recent years some dog food companies have developed freeze dried food and also raw frozen food that can be defrosted as needed and fed cold to the dog. Advocates say the dogs eating this way have better health, shinier coats, better skin and joint function.
The homemade version of the raw diet is usually as follows:
A raw dog food diet typically consists of:
- Muscle meat, often still on the bone
- Bones, either whole or ground
- Organ meats such as livers and kidneys
- Raw eggs
- Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery
- Apples or other fruit
- Some dairy, such as yogurt, which can act as a natural probiotic for the dog.
Some important points to to keep in mind if you decide to try this with your dog. This is not appropriate for all dogs and or puppies, check with you Vet first. Be careful of bacterial contamination.
Keep in mind you will probably need to supplement the food with some vitamins and minerals to make sure your dog is not depleting calcium and other important minerals.
(photo credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/catdonmit/)