What does a BARF diet include?
“BARF leads to symptoms of deficiencies.” You often hear this claim from various dog food manufacturers which are advertising their “balanced” ready-prepared dog food, and it is not true. BARF will give your dog all the nutrients it needs for a healthy and vital life, and in a natural form – namely RAW. Here you will find a few tips on how you can vary the structure of your dog’s BARF diet. You will be amazed at all the things your dog can eat!
MUSCLE MEAT: The main part of the meat ration. This includes among other things pork belly, meat from around the sticking point, gullet, heart, head meat, etc.
INNARDS: You should only feed your dog small quantities of innards, e.g. liver, lungs, stomachs, kidneys, etc. (3-4 times a week). Innards contain many vitamins, but if overdone can also cause diarrhoea.
Beef tripe also actually counts as innards, but you can feed your dog more of this without a bad conscience. Tripe is healthy and most dogs really enjoy eating it. You can even include a tripe day, on which you only feed your dog tripe.
CARTILAGE AND BONES: Also definitely form part of a balanced diet. They are important suppliers of calcium which should not be omitted. This includes among other things veal breastbone, chicken necks, turkey necks, larynxes, veal bones, shoulder cartilage, etc.
VEAL BREASTBONE: This will keep your puppy happy while its second teeth are coming through. Veal breastbone consists mainly of cartilage and is not too hard. NB – You must NEVER cook bones, this is life-threatening for your four-legged friend!
PORK: Pork is generally fine, although a few years ago it was still infected with Aujeszky’s disease. This virus is entirely harmless for humans, but if a dog becomes infected, it is fatal. So if you do not want to omit pork, always boil it thoroughly! All other types of meat can and should be fed RAW – even chicken meat: dogs are actually scavengers, so they have much more aggressive gastrointestinal bacteria than humans. It is therefore very unlikely for a dog to become ill with salmonella.
Vegetables should also form part of a balanced diet for your dog. With a BARF diet you can either steam the vegetables or puree them with a food mixer. We recommend the “mixer version”, as vitamins and nutrients would be lost through steaming, and the preparation is also simpler.
Your dog’s stomach and intestines are unable to digest the cellulose in vegetables, which is why it is necessary to break the vegetables up. A teaspoon of oil will also help your dog to absorb the vitamins.
Your dog can eat the following types of vegetables:
Carrots (carrot soup helps relieve diarrhoea),courgettes, broccoli, fennel, lettuce, kohlrabi, cucumbers, cabbage, pumpkin, sweetcorn, chard, radishes , beetroot, spinach, parsley, parsley root, rhubarb (without leaves!) and many more.
- All pulses such as peas, lentils and beans (of any kind) must be cooked beforehand!
- Plants in the nightshade family, such as tomatoes, chillies and peppers, should only be fed to your dog in moderation and when overripe.
- Onions and garlic should be fed sparingly. They are said to be helpful against parasites.
While for meat you should decide on two to three varieties, you can give your dog a wide variety of fruit and vegetables (pureed or steamed). You can and even should feed these to your dog when they are overripe.
The following types of fruit are healthy and your dog will enjoy them:
Apples, pears, oranges, bananas, berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, bilberries, redcurrants, etc.),cherries (without the stone),kiwi fruit, rosehips, grapefruit, lychees, tangerines, mango, plums , nectarines, papayas, lemons, peaches, melon.
APPLES: They have few calories and will fill your dog up. They also ensure good digestion. Always finely pureed, and as red and sweet as possible!
BANANAS: Good for the stomach and intestines. Best when the peel is dark yellow with brown spots! Too much banana can have a constipating effect!
KIWI FRUIT: Kiwis have a great deal of vitamin C and strengthen the immune system. Take care with dogs which have stomach problems. Best fed when overripe and peeled.
Milk products are not foods that are available in nature for canids (carnivores). However, if your dog tolerates lactose, milk products can offer a good alternative source of fat and protein when you are feeding it raw food. Untreated goats’ milk is the most suitable, as it is particularly rich in vitamins and fat, and is also easier for your dog to digest.
High-quality milk products such as buttermilk, yoghurt or soured milk contain living cultures which are good for the intestines. Cottage cheese has relatively little fat and is well tolerated. Curd cheese is also well tolerated; it is also helpful for skin diseases, and can help your dog put on weight. Butter can also be fed in small quantities, and serves to provide fat and to enhance the flavour of food.
TO SUM UP: You can feed your dog milk products, but you do not have to. Always test whether your dog tolerates them first.
Cereal – yes or no? Carbohydrates tend to play a subordinate role in a BARF diet, and you can actually do without them. But if your dog is too thin or generally finds it hard to put on weight, we recommend adding in some carbohydrates.
Suitable cereals for dogs:
- Millet, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, rice
- Potatoes, rice or pasta: only cooked!
- Various flakes when well soaked in water (at least 4 hours)
TIP: Psyllium is a good remedy for constipation!
YEAST: A small piece of baker’s yeast for intestinal development (especially for puppies).
EGGS: Place the whole egg (including the shell) in the mixer. Eggshells work wonders against diarrhoea and are a good source of calcium!
OIL: Helps your dog absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Suitable oils are olive oil, safflower oil, linseed oil, evening primrose oil and fish oil (salmon oil).
Your dog is unable to produce omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids itself. Feeding it meat will give it enough omega-6 fatty acids, so you should use oils with a high omega-3 fatty acid content as a dietary supplement. Fish oil, hemp oil and linseed oil have the highest percentage of omega-3 fatty acids.
Itching or a poor coat are signs of a deficiency of fatty acids. Venison also has a high omega-3 fatty acid content.
HERBS: Herbs are a good source of minerals and vitamins. Watch out where the herbs come from. There are many cheap suppliers whose goods come from China, for example, and generally do not undergo any checks for harmful substances. Herbs that are suitable for feeding to your dog are: alfalfa, borage, nettles, watercress, dill, rosehips, dandelion, parsley, mint, ribwort, mallow, basil, edible burdock, ground elder, chickweed.
FOOD LEFTOVERS: A healthy dog can also tolerate your leftovers provided they do not become the main element of its diet. Take care with foods that have a high sugar content or are highly seasoned. Putting your leftovers on the compost heap is often the better alternative.
SEAWEED: Provides minerals, trace elements (iodine, copper, zinc),vitamins and proteins. It is also a good source of calcium.
NEW ZEALAND GREEN LIPPED MUSSEL EXTRACT: Promotes the regeneration and build-up of cartilage and connective tissue. Mussel extract helps puppies of large breeds to build up and maintain lubrication in their joints, and makes sense for breeds that are inclined to develop joint diseases.
DO NOT FEED your dog the following
- Star fruit
- Stone fruit (only without their stones)
- Dark chocolate
- COOKED BONES!
- Ready-prepared dog food ;)