This is a simple user guide to the BARF dog food diet. What is the diet? What does BARF stand for? Should your dog eat vegetables? There is so much confusing and conflicting information out there, so we wanted to provide you with a simple overview.
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What is the BARF diet?
BARF stands for a Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding, or in some circles Bones and Raw Food.德国赛车 Essentially, it is all about feeding dogs ‘species appropriate food’. It is based on a well informed ‘guesstimate’ of what wolves, the predecessor of modern-day dogs, would have eaten. The BARF dog food diet prides itself on working in line with what a dog can digest.
Is 80:10:10 dog food BARF?
The BARF dog food diet consists of feeding your pooch raw meat, organs and bones. 80:10:10 refers to the ratio in which these should be present in the diet… 80% meat, 10% organ meat and 10% bones.
If you want our opinion, this is a great place to start your raw feeding strategy… but only that. There are loads of great things you can add to your dog’s food to help them thrive.
The other important point to note is that some relatively ‘newer’ breeds are so evolved from their wolf ancestors, that they may struggle with higher quantities of bone, the French Bulldog being one of them. Read on to learn more.
Are vegetables good for my dog and why?
Both emerging science and clinical feedback is showing us that dogs do benefit, quite significantly in fact, from the addition of vegetables to their diet.
Whilst they may or may not have evolved eating these, we will never truly know. What we do know is that dogs tend to live longer if they regularly have vegetables in their diets.
德国赛车There are three main reasons that we believe this is the case.
- Soluble Fibre (motility and probiotics)
We have a longer discussion on the role of vegetables in a dog’s diet here.
Vegetables bring a whole diversity and abundance of antioxidants to a dogs diet that cannot be achieved by eating meats, organs and bones alone. An antioxidant is something that ‘neutralises’ Reactive Oxidative Species (or ROS). These are the bi-products of your dog’s metabolism, exercise and general living. They are normal but contribute to ageing. A brief explanation is, the more antioxidants you can put into your dog’s diet, the slower your dog will age and the more resistant it will be to disease and illness. last point.
The microbiome is the bacteria that live inside your dog’s intestinal tract, and help protect it from invading pathogens like bad bacteria, fungi, mould and other non-beneficial organisms. Vegetable fibres act like the compost that feed these beneficial bacteria. And as a rule of thumb, the lower in sugar the vegetable is, the more beneficial the bacteria tend to be that grow on it. This is even more pronounced when vegetables are fermented.
德国赛车This excellent video from and explains this in greater detail.
德国赛车Fibre comes in two flavours, soluble and insoluble.
The insoluble form is often referred to as roughage. Contrary to popular opinion, science shows us that ‘roughage’ or insoluble fibre can actually harm both the insides of human and dog guts and may even contribute to leaky gut. Some examples of these insoluble fibres are wheat, bran and barley.
The soluble form of fibre is ‘soluble in water’ and soothes the gut as it passes through the intestinal tract. It also helps to maintain regular bowel moments, and can bind and help to escort unwanted toxins out of the back door as well as helping prevent leaky gut. Examples of soluble fibres include vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and kale. As mentioned above, these fibres also bring the additional bonus of feeding and creating a positive microbiome.
The amylase debate
There are three main types of enzyme help break down macronutrients in food:
- Protease, to break down protein
- Lipase, to digest fat
- Amylase, to process carbohydrates (also Maltase)
Many ‘purist’ raw feeders believe that dogs do not produce amylase, or very little, and are therefore ill-suited to digesting any form of carbohydrates. Science is much like a weather report, correct at time of going to press, but subject to updates… and that’s exactly what has happened here.
德国赛车Whilst it’s true that dogs do produce very little to no amylase in the saliva, they do produce quite a significant amount in the pancreas. Scientists suggest this is for two reasons:
- Allows them to survive on other foods when they couldn’t get access to fresh meat
- They benefit from some fermented vegetables and even some prebiotic tubers that they may come across in the wild.
As we now know from above, this contributes to better overall health and longevity.
A word of caution here… we strongly believe that focusing on feeding your dog a high starch diet, or high lectin diet not only negates the benefits of some vegetables, but can cause serious health issues. Pancreatitis is an obvious example of this.
德国赛车For those with your hands up in class already, yes the dog is still classed as a carnivore but the presence of amylase indicates that a dog is more adaptable and omnivorous than we previously realised. This fits neatly with its role as a ‘scavenger’.
Alternative raw feeding strategies for dogs
德国赛车You will hear of two main ‘alternatives’ to BARF or the 80:10:10 templates… the ancestral diet and the whole prey diet.
What is the ancestral diet?
This is an approach which is not so much of an alternative, but in fact the parent of the BARF, 80:10:10 and the whole prey diet. It looks at how the ancestors of dogs fed and evolved, endeavouring to imitate this so that it is ‘species appropriate’. The common analogy would be that you must know your engine, so you can put the correct fuel in it. The ancestral diet hinges on the fact that dogs are both carnivores, developed from wolves, as well as being scavengers , scavenging prey and as such, need to eat a meat or at least a protein-based diet.
What is the whole prey diet?
This is what is says on the tin, or the bird, or the rabbit. It means feeding the dog raw prey, essentially what it would eat in the wild; the whole carcass and virtually nothing else. The belief system behind this being that dogs have evolved from wolves, which is an undisputed fact. It believes they are ill-adapted to digest vegetables or fruits, and if they do, it has a ‘negative load’ on their pancreas that could create pancreatitis or other nasty conditions.
The Bella & Duke approach
An evolutionary template with a sprinkle of modern day science
德国赛车The big question is… what is the right diet for your dog?
Honestly, no one knows for certain. Anyone who presents their findings as overwhelming fact, is perhaps being a little naive, a touch over zealous or at least less open to new developments.
At Bella and Duke, we accept that we might be wrong, but that right now we are doing the best we can, using cutting edge research and tried and tested methods, approved by pets and their owners.
德国赛车Our best-informed guess, from trial, error, experience & interpreting the science we have to date, as well as the success stories with various approaches is the following:
- Dogs thrive on a largely carnivorous diet, especially when the source of protein is quality assured. This latter point is essential. A slice of processed bacon is not the same as a raw, outdoor reared turkey
- Dogs DO benefit from some seasonal vegetables and some fruits. Whilst they may not digest all of it, it is a source of additional very useful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that protect them from various cancers. As per the latest studies, these also serve to improve gut function, motility and feed a healthy microbiome
- Whilst excess carbohydrates are shown to challenge dogs’ health, especially the inflammatory types found in grains or vegetables which contain lectins, the type and amount of vegetables in a Bella and Duke meals have virtually no sugar content. There is certainly not enough to affect the insulin level of the dog. For example, if we were to put 15g of raw carrot (one of the most carbohydrate-rich vegetables) into every 100g of food, there would be less than 1g of carbohydrate and at least two-thirds of which would be soluble fibre. Your dog, therefore, remains true to its evolutionary correct eating template, whilst also benefiting from the latest developments in scientific understanding.
德国赛车Even if you disagree and opt for a prey-based, 80:10:10 diet, we still believe you are gaining the main, and easiest benefits, simply by eliminating processed food, low-quality protein, bad fats and the evil G-word… grain
The rest, as they say, is detail. As we learn more, we will improve more. Until then, rest assured we are doing everything we can, to help you enable your pets to live longer, healthier and happier lives.
A lot of the information I have summarised and gleaned from Amy Marshall’s fabulous article at Primal Pooch
The evolving world of science is educating us all on what may, or may not benefit our dogs. We promise to remain open to new research to help us continuously get better at what we do! Our team of experts are always researching what is best for your dogs, and you will be the first to know when we learn more about this subject.
德国赛车Please leave your most valued feedback, as we love to hear what you think. After all, you are an essential part of our evolution.
- What is Raw Dog Food
- Getting Started with Raw for Puppies
- Successfully Switching Your Dog Over To a Raw Diet
- Allergy, Intolerance and Sensitivites Explained
- A Guide to Pancreatitis in Dogs
- Help your dog lose weight with our obesity guide
- See more info at: .
- from Amy Marshall.