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The Whole Dog

Your best resource for all your dog's needs. From nutrition to training - you will find lots of articles, tips and training advice, as well as my reviews of various popular dog training techniques and product reviews. Updated daily, so come Back often.

Barf - the bones and raw food plan for dogs - feeding your dog food

BARF stands for "Bones and Raw Food" and there is great controversy about feeding your dog this way. However, many say it is the most natural and healthy way to feed. Dogs are only fed natural, whole foods.

The BARF diet consists of raw meats, raw bones, eggs, dairy products, supplements, fruits and vegetables, and eliminates processed and commercial foods which usually have grains as their main ingredients.

Some of the benefits of the Bones and Raw food diet

* Natural and nutritionally-balanced diet
* Healthy coat and skin
* Better digestion and stool
* More energy and a healthy immune system
* Free of preservatives, sweeteners, additives and filler

* Less carbs and wheat products then commercial dog foods

Some of the controversies are:

* Benefits are not scientifically proven
* Potential for bacteria, including e.coli and salmonella
* Possible choking or puncture a dog's gastrointestinal tract
* Can be costly and time consuming

Follows of the BARF diet say that dogs have a different digestive system and will not get e.coli or salmonella poisoning and that all bones and meat are safe if served raw.

Dr. Billinghurst, author of the books 'Give Your Dog a Bone' and 'Grow Your Pups with Bones', describes the BARF diet this way:

“BARF is about feeding dogs properly. The aim of BARF is to maximize the health, longevity and reproductive capacity of dogs and by so doing, minimize the need for veterinary intervention. How do you feed a dog properly? You feed it the diet that it evolved to eat. ... Artificial grain based dog foods cause innumerable health problems. They are not what your dog was programmed to eat during its long process of evolution. A biologically appropriate diet for a dog is one that consists of raw whole foods similar to those eaten by the dogs’ wild ancestors. The food fed must contain the same balance and type of ingredients as consumed by those wild 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 was those wild ancestors ate.”

Since dogs are descendants of the wolf, the Barf diet can make sense.  Wolves are very hardy animals with no packaged dog food, chefs or disinfectants.  Worth looking into.

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