BARF – Biologically Appropriate Raw Food Diet
Pet Food Manufacturers would have you believe that their products is the best food you could possibly give your animal, however studies have shown that it is most likely the pet food and the repeated vaccination that are shortening you pets life span.Commercial pet food has only been available in the Uk since the 1930’s; reason dictate that this is not long enough time for our carnivorous pets to have ‘evolved’ into being healthy from this diets lack of meat content. My pet’s breaths, wind and waste alone would tell us they were sick, if human had that problem.
There are many alternatives out there; all stating that they are ‘natural diets’ from the herbal diet, to home cooked recipes. I cannot bring myself to believe that these are necessarily the ‘right’ diet for our dogs, but I do believe that they are better if only for the fact that they contain real meat and no added chemicals.
I personally feed BARF (Bones and Raw Food), I find that my pets no longer have bad breath problems, have whiter teeth, sleeker softer coats and I have proved to myself that it saves money on weekly pet food spend and Vet fees simply because the animals heal twice as fast as the vets initial estimate and they are ill less frequently. Food also impacts our pets behaviour as does processed high sugar food in children, many of my clients noticed a marked improvement in their dogs after changing their food.
Traditional Vets do not generally promote feeding BARF and if fact I have had several disagreements with Vets about what they anticipate are the ‘dangers’ of BARF feeding. They quote ‘salmonella’, ‘bone splintering’ and ‘increased worms’, I have never had an occurrence of splintering and have been assured that in fact healthy raw meat feed animals have higher immunity to salmonella and worms anyway.
I have even been asked by someone why didn’t I at least boil the meat, I asked him if he had ever seen a wolf with a kettle!
For a study on the difference between feeding raw and cooked meats, please visit www.price-pottenger.org/Articles/PottsCats.html
Surely if there was such a huge ‘danger’ to our animals eating fresh meat and bones then their races would have died out millennia ago.
People against this feeding method will also tell you that it is ‘very complicated’, ‘a lot of hard work’, ‘difficult to get the balance right’. The truth is that Vets make a profit from selling food on their shelves. If you can cook a balanced meal for yourself and your family, why can’t you put on together for you pet?
I am often asked what the cost of this feeding method is, as most people assume that it is more expensive that the pre-packaged foods, quite the contrary. My pet food bills are drastically reduced compared to when I fed commercial, as are my vet bills, My animals are healthier, have reduced odour and waste problems and I couldn’t be happier with the results.
Commercial Pet Food
In the UK Pet food regulation is much better that the United State and Canada, in that the UK at least euthanised dogs, cats and horses are not allowed to be put back into the food.
Adherence to the Animal by-product code of practise is however strictly voluntary.
This code of practise (*which applies to 95% of the UK Pet food market) allows the following to be used in commercial pet food: -
Animal carcases, parts of animal carcases, which are not intended to be used for human consumption.
Non- ruminant blood, hides, skins, hooves, horns, prig bristles, and feathers.
Chicken heads and feet.
All waste food from restaurants, catering facilities and kitchens, including cooking oils.
The above will be labelled meat and animal derivatives or animal by –products on your pet food. The code states that these animals must of passed a post mortem inspection and be free of disease communicable to man or animals.
Basically the pet food you are buying be it wet or dry is made up from Industrial waste, this includes: -
Burnt chocolate unfit for human consumption (Chocolate is poisonous to dogs).
Feathers, which increases the protein levels, but are undigestable.
Anti-oxidants have to be added to the mix because of the fact that this food is rancid.
Extra vitamins and minerals are added, but before cooking at 200 degrees, which of course breaks down most of the vitamins and minerals that were present.
Large skips are filled with meat left over from the docks or our supermarkets, this all goes into our pet’s food still in its polystyrene containers, along with the fag butts and coffee cups of the people filling the containers.
WOULD YOU EAT THIS?
There are of course other ingredients than meat and meat derivatives in commercially available pet food. These are mostly grain but also include: -
These include but are not restricted to BHA and BHT both suspected to be carcinogens, research shows that they also can initiate birth defects and damage to liver and kidneys.
Ethoxyquin also used as a preservative and has been associated with: -
Immune deficiency syndrome, leukaemia, blindness, skin/stomach/spleen and liver cancer.
Vitamins and Minerals
This content has been tested at up to 20 times higher than the recommended daily amount (toxic levels).
Food colouring is added to this mix in order for it to look good for the consumer (i.e. Pet Owner) these and the way that the label show meat as the uppermost ingredient on the list (but is usually only between 4% and 30% of the content) convince us that this is a healthy meal for our beloved carnivorous pet.
Canine Health Concern (http://www.canine-health-concern.org.uk/) did a survey in which they found switching to a raw diet brought an 85% drop in visits to the vets, so it also saves you a lot of money.
N.B. Please be aware that there is no governing body for the regulation of the contents of Pet Food, it is all done by the individual manufacturers. The Pet Food Industry are not obliged to list all ingredients, nor are they obliged to list contents in any sort of order, therefore they list the tiny ‘meat and animal derivatives’ content at the top to make you think it’s the most used ingredient.
Some Pet Food Manufacturers are now proud to state that they have not tested their food on animals. Where as experimenting to detrimental effect is something I do not agree with, how do they know if its any good for the animal, if the animal hasn’t been fed it for a while?
Please read following article by Tom Lonsdale from the Royal College Of Veterinary Surgeons.
Needless to say, I do not feed any commercially available complete pet foods to my dogs. Nor do I feed commercial available pet treats; I feed BARF (Bones and Raw Food). For treat they are given dried liver, fruit, veg, cheese, pig ears etc. I advise everyone to do their own research and make your decision what to feed you dogs based on your findings. I also appreciate that not everyone wants or has the inclination to feed BARF and in recent years there have been a number of companys now catering for this, whether its a more natural convenient food or pre-packaged raw. Locally we are blessed to have Nurturing by Nature - a natural feeding shop for pets based in West Moors, Dorset run by Nettie Platt . Nettie and her team are all on had to help and advise and answer any questions you may have, or visit www.nurturingbynature.co.uk
For Further information: Please read an article on the study of joint problems in dogs cause by dried food: FOOD NOT FIT FOR A PET By Dr Wendall O Belfield.
FOOD PETS DIE FOR Shocking Facts about Pet Food – by Ann N Martin
www.pfma.com – Pet Food Manufacturers Association
SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM – By Catherine O’Driscoll www.canine-health-concern.org.uk
Give your dog a bone By Dr Ian Billinghurst.
Grow you Pups with bones by Dr Ian Billinghurst.