What is BARF?
BARF is appearing more and more frequently as a keyword in everyday life. What is behind this abbreviation? BARF stands for “Bones And Raw Food” (bones and raw food) but also for “Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods”. A Barferin German it in “biological species-appropriate raw food”. The underlying idea for BARF came from the Australian vet Dr. Ian Billinghurst. 20 years ago he began researching the connection between industrially produced food and dog diseases. In 1993 he published his findings and feeding method in his first book, Give Your Dog A Bone.
The basic idea of this nutritional program is based on the evolutionary development of the domestic dog. Ready-to-eat food consists of intensively processed, cooked products. The originally wide range has shrunk to a few ingredients and is based on grain.
Billinghurst quickly realized that 70 evolutionary years must not be long enough for the organism to adapt to such radical change and damage to health.
In the course of industrial feed production, the owner was told that only the feed industry was able to produce healthy and balanced feed. Cooking yourself would inevitably lead to an oversupply or undersupply of nutrients, vitamins, etc. and thus endanger the dog’s health. An absurd assumption, because bags and cans have only been around for a few decades and even today they are still not available in every corner of the world. And dogs have thrived and still thrived for at least 15,000 years, isn’t that why? The BARF concept leads back to a biologically species-appropriate diet, just like French Bulldogs used to be fed. With what was there and without much fuss. The owner didn’t need books back then either. You just knew how to do it. Unfortunately, we have forgotten a lot of it and have problems with it, to revive this rather instinctive and more nature-loving way of dealing with the dog. We look for the solution in ready-made recipes and mathematical formulas.
The digestive tract of wolves and dogs is still 98% similar. This has been shown by so-called mitochondrial tests. As a result, the dog actually needs the same food that a wolf eats/would eat.
However, a prey animal does not consist of 20% meat and 80% grain, fillers and soy. Also not 30% meat and 70% plant-based ingredients (like the high-quality tofu varieties). It consists of 70% (at least) meat, the contents of the stomach (plants) make up maybe 5-10%, then there are bones, fur, blood and the like.
For millions of years, the dog’s ancestors ate raw animal and plant-based foods almost unchanged. In the course of domestication, the diet was enriched with human waste and leftovers from the table. An extremely varied diet that has not changed significantly over thousands of years. A diet to which the dog is still physiologically adapted today.
Industrial feed production is about 70 years young and brought about a radical change. Up to this point, the diet consisted mainly of raw meaty bones, to a lesser extent of muscle meat, offal and other wholesome raw materials of animal and vegetable origin. Cooked food and grain made up only a very small part.
With BARF, you can increase the meat content to an amount that makes sense. 70-80% depending on the dog’s age and activity. The potentially allergy-causing grain can be reduced to a minimum (rice or dog flakes once a week), otherwise, there are vitamins (which the TroFu contains artificially) in a natural form: fruit, vegetables, and herbs.
A lot of vital substances (vitamins, etc.) are lost when drying food into dry food. These are then added back by the manufacturer. However, they are mostly artificial products that do not always have much in common with the natural occurrence and cannot be utilized by the organism in the same way as the natural vitamins, minerals and vital substances.
With fresh meat and fresh vegetables, you don’t have to give a (healthy) dog any artificial and therefore often harmful additives, because everything is still in it in the fresh food.
Of course, there are many additives that have certain effects and are “good for the dog”, but they are not absolutely necessary. calcium e.g. B. can be supplied in sufficient quantities via dairy products, bones or ground eggshells.
No food manufacturer works only for the good health of the dogs. The dog food industry is all about profit. Many dog food manufacturing companies are subsidiaries of large food companies, which can still turn their waste into good money. If you delve deeper into the subject, you learn a lot about how to read food labels (between the lines!) and you get the chills of what’s in there – by no means only in cheap foods, but also in premium and super-premium foods is.
The market is huge and the “overly concerned” dog owners – who only want the “best” for their darlings – are very accessible to the well-formulated claims of various experts, since as a simple dog owner you are actually far too “stupid” to own your dog alone to feed properly with self-composed meals.
But when you think about the fact that every mother is believed to be capable of feeding her children healthily, that is more than unbelievable. No mother looks at composition lists for baby food. She buys what she thinks are the best “raw materials” and cooks healthy and varied meals. And she certainly doesn’t rack her brain every day as to whether the phosphorus-calcium ratio in the food is really correct, nor does she calculate it using tables.
We, humans, are no less complicated than dogs in our whole metabolism, growth, etc. But one of us thinks, “I hope I don’t get HD! I hope my blood values are good! I hope my hair grows nicely!”
And why should the dog be the only creature on the planet that can ONLY survive on ready-made food, which is already frowned upon elsewhere?!
We don’t just eat packet soup to survive, do we?! (However, if you look at the shelves in the supermarket with all the “fix” stuff, baking mixes and frozen ready meals, you ask yourself which housewife can still cook “normally” and by herself.)
If you take a look at the shelves of pet shops, you will almost get dizzy with the offer. It says: This food contains everything your dog needs. It ensures a good coat, healthy teeth, a long life, elastic joints, etc. etc.
At the same time, the same manufacturer offers additives for an EVEN nicer coat, extra chewing sticks for EVEN nicer teeth, and powder for even more elastic joints.