The Raw Dog Diet – The BARF vs Prey Raw Diet Model
There’s a lot of controversy over which is better, the BARF vs Prey raw diet model of raw eating, so let’s discuss both and then I’ll share our thoughts after much study and experience with our own beloved dogs. But these are our opinions, and I invite you to experiment and see which model best nourishes and pleases your dog.
The BARF Raw Diet Model
The rather unappetizing acronym BARF stands for “biologically appropriate raw food.” BARF is a raw diet designed to provide dogs with a homemade diet that consists of raw meat and bones as well as vegetables and fruit while eliminating all processed foods and grains.
Fruit and Vegetable Guidelines:
If choosing the BARF model, it should be noted that the fruits and vegetables should never become a large portion of your dog’s diet.
It’s also important to select the appropriate fruits and vegetables that are healthy and safe for dogs and prepare them in a manner that allows for optimal nutrition absorption.
Lastly, dog’s don’t have the teeth, jaw structure, or salivary enzymes to begin the digestion process in the mouth. That said, if you choose to add fruits and vegetables to your raw dog diet it’s best to puree, steam, or ferment them to ensure the best nutrient absorption.
The BARF Raw Diet consists of the following proportions, though percentages may vary slightly:
- 70% raw muscle meat – often still on the bone
- 10% raw, edible bone – either whole or ground
- 5% offal (entrails)
- 5% organ meats such as liver and kidneys
- 10% fruits and vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, and berries
- Supplemented by additions such as raw eggs, plain yogurt, and/or healthy fats like coconut oil
The BARF diet includes fruits, veggies, and other food sources that some people don’t believe dogs need, but I personally lean toward this diet, not only because of the digestive traits that have evolved in dogs over thousands of years, but because domestic dogs have been bred from recent ancestors that regularly consumed table scraps and manufactured kibble.
It’s my belief and experience that dogs benefit from the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, disease-fighting antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in wholesome fruits and greens to boost immune system function and provide fiber and enzymes for more rapid evacuation of waste and toxins. Vegetables have been proven to help promote a more alkaline internal environment in dogs, which naturally reduces the excess acidity in meats that can invite disease.
Even wolves, which are genetically different from dogs by only .3%, probably ate some plant foods when meat was hard to come by. What dogs DON’T need are grains, beans, legumes (like peanuts and peanut butter – sorry, Fido!) and other dangerous and/or empty foodstuffs. You’ll find none of that in any of the products offered here at Doggone Real.
The Prey Raw Diet Model
The Prey model replicates the diet of a wild canine without requiring your dog to hunt and kill wild prey. It too eliminates all processed foods and grains, however Prey Model feeders are of the opinion that fruits and vegetables are filler foods that dogs don’t need, and I’m not one to argue with them. There is plenty of research that supports both sides, so our humble suggestion is to try both models and see which one your dog prefers, and if you notice a difference in its health and vitality.
The Prey Model Raw Dog Food Diet is composed of the following, though percentages may vary slightly:
- 80% raw muscle meat
- 10% raw, edible bones
- 5% offal (organs and entrails)
- 5% liver
Followers of the Prey Model have valid points in their position that dogs, whose stomachs are highly acidic in order to protect them against bacteria and other pathogens found in raw meat, should promote a strongly acidic internal environment for ideal digestion and safety.
We at Doggone Real suggest you pick a model that makes the most sense to you and see how your dog performs after a few months. If you find your dog has gas, evacuation or breath issues after it has had ample time to adjust to the new diet, try the other model. Dogs, like people, are different in what they prefer and what they can digest easily.
Whichever model you start with, you’ll likely find rapid improvement in your dog’s vitality, weight and lust for eating, so you can’t really go wrong either way.