What is the Raw Food Diet?
The raw food diet; also known as BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding) is a diet that tries to mimic as closely as possible the food dog’s would have eaten as wild animals. Unlike humans dogs are able to break down raw meat and bones, due to the lower pH of their stomachs.
The Benefits of Raw Feeding
Very often non-raw commercial dog food contains; sugars, salt, additives, preservatives, meat derivatives and other nasties. Feeding raw eliminates these whilst providing your dog with a nutrient and protein rich diet on which they can thrive. The benefits of a raw food diet include:
- Fresher breathe.
- Better weight control.
- Healthier skin and coat.
- Easier to digest.
- Ideal for dog with allergies, food intolerances and digestive issues.
- Clears up anal gland issues.
- Less flatulence.
- Inflammatory issues such as skin conditions or joint inflammation reduce.
- Improved and more stable energy levels, even in older dogs.
- Stools are harder, smell less and much easier to pick up.
How much to feed
A good rule of thumb is to feed your dog 2-3% of their ideal body weight. Puppies should be fed 2-3% of their ideal adult weight. Remember this is a guide only. Adjustments should be made to suit individual dog’s needs; if your dog is extremely active, you may need to up their portions and if your dog very sluggish they may need a little less.
If you want to keep things simple you can find Natures Menu’s feeding calculator where you’ll be given the amount of food your dog needs per day in grams and in nuggets. This is a very handy tool for beginners.
Transitioning to Raw
Transitioning your dog to a raw food diet is simple and easy. Once you’d figured out your raw food portion sizes the process only takes seven days.
- For 7 days feed your dog 50% raw food and 50% previous food.
- Try to avoid mixing the two types of food; instead feed then in separate meals. This will aid digestion.
- A good tip is to feed the raw meal first thing in the morning and the previous food in the evening. This way meals are 12 hours apart.
- When the first 7 days is up you can feed your dog a 100% raw food diet.
Before you make changes to your pet’s diet or lifestyle we do recommend consulting your vet who will let you know of any contraindications. It’s also important to do your research about raw feeding. Here are some great resources if you’d like to know more:
Natures Menu’s advice centre offers some excellent guidance about feeding raw, portions sizes as well as answering many common raw diet questions.
Dog Naturally has a great guide to raw feeding written by Dana Scott, who also shares her raw food diet journey.
Wolf Tucker has an excellent guide to BARF and raw feed that’s available to download in a handy PDF.