BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding) - The Ideal Meal Plan For Your Dog

BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding) - The Ideal Meal Plan For Your Dog

BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding) - The Ideal Meal Plan For Your Dog

If you have decided to BARF your dog, food plans are a good way to get a routine into the new diet. Above all, they help you calculate the quantities of meat and vegetables and support you in planning your shopping. The total requirement must always be adapted to the needs of your dog. But what does that mean exactly? How much meat, bones and, above all, which fruit and vegetables should you offer your dog? We explain how to create the right nutrition plan and which ingredients are essential.

Creating a nutrition plan for your dog – the basics

The daily BARF ration should be 2-3% per kg/body weight of your dog, made up of meat and vegetables. The ideal distribution of the menu should consist of 80% meat and 20% fruit and vegetables - minimal deviations are possible. Don’t experiment too much so your dog's gastrointestinal tract can get used to the transition to the BARF diet. To start with, let your furry friend get used to just one type of meat. This way, the intestinal flora can better adapt to the new diet. After two months, your dog's intestinal environment has adjusted and you can start varying meat.

The following composition can help you to put together the feeding plan:

Animal content (80% of the total meal):

50% lean meat with fat

20% gizzard or green rumen

15% raw meaty bones or soft bones like chicken necks and duck carcass

15% offal - divided into liver, heart, kidney and lungs

Vegetable content (20% of the total meal):

75% vegetables

25% fruit

BARF feeding pyramid

What can you feed?

BARF meat content:

Many BARF beginners ask themselves, which meat is best for the dog? As a rule, you can feed almost any meat - except pork. Cattle, poultry, venison, horse or lamb are natural prey animals for the wolf and therefore also suitable for dogs. The more fatty the meat, the more energy it provides to your four-legged friend.

So if you have a quiet couch potato, consider feeding less high-energy meat as carbohydrates, mainly found in pasta and potatoes, also provide your dog with energy. The main component of the feeding plan should be muscular meat. It provides your dog with lots of minerals and proteins and is also the main meal of the wild wolf.

Offal in a dog's diet:

When it comes to offal for dogs, their owners do not necessarily burst into storms of enthusiasm. Especially not if you are supposed to feed raw. However, the wolf, the ancestor of the dog, feeds on all parts of its prey. This also includes innards and organs. They also provide your dog with lots of vitamins and minerals. 100g of veal liver already provide 300g of phosphorus, 28,200 µg of vitamin A and numerous B vitamins.

Bones in the food plan:

Feeding bones is important for the calcium-phosphorus ratio. Soft bones like chicken necks contain more phosphorus and are easier for your four-legged friend to digest. As a calcium-rich balance, you can feed large beef, lamb or rabbit meat bones. However, be careful not to overfeed your dog with bones. Otherwise, hard bone feces can occur and cause your dog pain. The dog's gastric juices are very aggressive and can digest individual pieces of bone very well. If you don't want to feed your four-legged friend any bones, you can switch to calcium-rich BARF additives such as eggshell powder or meat bone meal.

Rumen, gizzards etc.:

Rumen and gizzards are part of the digestive tract of ruminants. To humans, they have a very intense and unpleasant odor, but are a delicacy for many dogs. Both contain important bacteria (probiotics) for the dog's intestines, helping to digest and break down plant components. Probiotics protect the intestines from inflammation and support the dog's natural intestinal flora. They also contain lots of trace elements found in plants. This means that rumen and gizzards also belong onto your dog's BARF food plan.

Fish for omega-3 fatty acids:

Once a week, the meat can be replaced with fish. This provides essential omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and is a natural source of vitamin D. If you want to avoid feeding fish, you can instead integrate high-quality salmon oil into your feeding plan. Fatty fish such as mackerel, herring and salmon are particularly suitable. Fish should be frozen for a few days before feeding to the dog so that parasites such as fish tapeworms and the fish bacteria rickettsiae won’t be present anymore.

Fruits and vegetables:

Fruit and vegetables are part of every BARF feeding plan. They contain important roughage and fibres that are difficult to digest, which through their fermentation serve as nourishment for the intestinal bacteria. Green vegetables in particular, such as various garden salads, carrot greens, dandelion leaves, spinach and swiss chard, contain many vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. But they also provide plenty of phytochemicals that have numerous health-promoting properties. In addition, these plants mainly consist of water and have a positive influence on your dog's water balance.

In addition to fresh or cooked vegetables, you can also use freeze-dried or air-dried vegetables. Frozen vegetables are also good, but they should be thawed before feeding. Fruit should not exceed 8% of the total BARF ration.

BARF additives for dogs - preventing health problems

BARF additives are available for the immune system, bones and joints, for skin and coat and many other indications. The extra addition of certain nutrients can be useful for raw feeding. They contribute to an improved supply to the metabolism and protect against possible deficiency symptoms in dogs. Especially in particular situations, your four-legged friend has a higher need for nutrients and needs more vitamins and minerals. With a specific diet, many symptoms can be alleviated and secondary diseases prevented. BARF supplements also serve as a precaution so that your furry friend does not get sick in the first place.

Special situations requiring nutrient addition:

  • High activity
  • Illness
  • Change of coat
  • Growth in puppies
  • Pregnancy
  • Increased stress (moving, travel)
  • Feed change

However, when supplying your dog with additives, you need to be careful to use the correct dosage - a lot doesn't always help a lot.

BARF Complete

BARF feeding plan example

We have put together some feeding plan examples for you, so you can orientate yourself better when you start BARFing and adapt the diet to your dog's needs.

Recipe suggestions for an adult dog of 20 kg with 3% of body weight. Alternatively, it can be reduced to 2%.

Beef and chicken for the agile dog

Horse and fish for the sensitive stomach

Conclusion

As you can see, a BARF feeding plan can be created easily. Once the basics are in place, you can adapt the raw feeding to your four-legged friend over time. You know your dog best; know his needs and preferences. Above all, it is important to supply your dog with all the important nutrients he needs for staying healthy and happy. Observe your dog a little more closely at the beginning of the BARF diet, so you will not miss any reactions to the change. If you are ever unsure, discuss the nutrition plan with your veterinarian or veterinary practitioner. We are also happy to recommend the best AniForte products to complement your dog’s BARF diet. For five common mistakes to avoid when BARFing your dog, read our blog here.

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