Dogs and BARF Diets: Dog BARF Diet

Lets look more closely at dogs and both their evolutionary habits and needs as it related to BARF Diets. The dog is classed as an omnivore, a hunter and a scavenger, and their diets should be based on a wide range of whole raw foods of both animal and plant origin. It is interesting to note that wild dogs, which hunt for their food, eat the innards of their prey first. This area of the animal contains the intestines and stomach, which in the case of herbivores is full of vegetation. Even domesticated dogs need to get this kind of well balanced diet in the course of their meals. Dogs that eat only meat can develop what is referred to as "all meat syndrome" which is the result of an imbalance of calcium and phosphorous ratios in their diets. The results of this syndrome can be fragile bones, weight loss, joint diseases, diarrhea and a poor looking coat. The nutrients that dogs need are the same as humans: protein, fat and carbohydrates. Amazingly enough they even need them in about the same percentages as a human's daily calorie intake. Similar to humans, dog's nutritional needs and even dietary likes change through out their lives. The dog's health, age, activities, sexual maturity and environment all play a part in the canine's dietary needs. Both felines and canines rely on bones as a major part of their diet for a variety of reasons including teeth cleaning and the numerous nutritional benefits of bones.

A BARF (biologically appropriate diet) diet for a dog is one that consists of raw whole foods like to those eaten by the dogs' wild relatives. The food must contain the same equilibrium and type of ingredients as consumed by those undomesticated ancestors. This food will include such things as muscle meat, bone, fat, organ meat and vegetable materials and any other "foods" that will mimic what those wild ancestors ate. It is important to note that modern dogs of all breeds are not only able of eating the food of their wild ancestors, but actually need it for maximum health. This is because their basic bodily processes have changed very little with domestication despite obvious and dramatic changes in their current corporal appearance and way of thinking. The taxonomy as a carnivore does not necessarily mean that a dog's diet must be restricted to animal protein alone. Unlike a true obligate carnivore, such as a cat, a dog is able to healthily digest a variety of foods including vegetables and grains, and in fact requires a large proportion of these in its diet. Wild canines typically get such nutrients from the stomach contents of their herbivorous prey, which they consume readily. Dogs can even survive perfectly well on a reasonably carefully designed vegetarian diet, particularly if eggs and milk products are included but because dogs are natural carnivores they normally require the presence of meat in their diets. And scientific studies suggest that under such extreme stress, high protein diets (which implies a lot of meat consumption) help prevent damage to muscle tissue and help to promote better health even under these stressful situations. Another interesting thing we see in nature is when looking at young wolves growing up because we are observing our dog's young ancestors. If we couple what we see in nature with modern scientific discoveries about diet, health and aging, we are better able to produce a realistic, health promoting, evolutionary puppy diet. From studying the eating habits of wolf cubs we see that they are almost always hungry, subsist entirely on raw food made up mostly of bones (left over from the pack's kill) and then being forced to forage a wide variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, and by looking closely at this information we get vital clues about truly natural puppy raising.

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