BARFing (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding) is actually not as complicated as it first appears. If you observe a few basic rules and pay attention to your animal, the switch to a BARF diet will be successful. In our blog article "BARF Your Dog Properly" you will find out how healthy BARF is for your dog and how you can ensure the right supply of nutrients for your four-legged friend.
Nonetheless, there are some common mistakes pet owners make with BARF. If noticed in time, they hardly cause any damage, but if the malnutrition persists over a longer period of time, deficiency symptoms can certainly arise and illnesses can result. In this post we will explain the five most common mistakes with BARF and what you should pay attention to when feeding raw.
1. The daily BARF ration does not cover the dog's needs
Everyone is unique, and animals are no different. They too are individuals who have their own personality traits and needs. Therefore, the diet should be specially tailored to the needs of your dog. If your four-legged friend is a quiet companion who prefers leisurely walks and does not let himself be disturbed, then he needs less energy supply than a dog who goes hunting for prey over a longer distance. The activity, age and state of health of your four-legged friend determine the daily composition of the BARF menu. You should observe your dog closely after switching to BARF in order to catch an imbalance in their diet early on.
2. Too one-sided meat diet
Many dog owners misunderstand BARF: they think it is all about feeding raw meat. Dogs are carnivores feeding mainly on meat, but they also eat berries, fruits and vegetables. Those make up the smaller part of the meal, but definitely belong to it. Due to their high fibre content, they stimulate digestion and support the utilisation of nutrients. In addition, fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals.
3. Beware of raw pork
Raw pork should never be fed to dogs or cats. It can contain the Aujeszky virus and trigger pseudo anger in our pets. This disease is caused by the pathogen Suide Herpesvirus 1 (SHV-1) and is fatal in dogs and cats. There are no vaccinations or treatment options. The pet dies painfully within two days. Therefore, you should be careful when BARFing and it is best to delete pork completely from your pet's feed plan.
4. Incompatible and toxic fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are important for BARFing, but there are foods that are unhealthy or even dangerous for dogs. Avoid poisonous foods for dogs – these include:
- Nightshade plants in their raw state such as potatoes, eggplants and tomatoes
- Almonds, macadamia nuts and a few other types of nuts
5. Boiled bones, too many bones and bone faeces in dogs
Bones are important sources of calcium, phosphorus and other essential minerals. In addition to offal, they are also part of the meat portion of a BARF ration. However, you shouldn't feed bones cooked or fried. When heated, they develop a porous structure and split faster. This can lead to injuries in the mouth and throat area of your four-legged friend. Load-bearing bones should also be treated with caution, they are particularly hard and can damage the dog's teeth.
Also, be careful with the amount of bones in general. Too much bone matter contributes to an imbalance in the calcium-phosphorus ratio, causes an oversupply of minerals and can lead to urinary stones. Bone overfeeding can also lead to what is known as “bone faeces.” The hard feces can cause blockages in the rectum and damage the dog’s intestines.
BARF is still the most natural way to feed your four-legged friend. If a few basic rules are observed, raw feeding is not hard and can be implemented by every dog owner. A BARF feeding plan, adapted to the needs of your favorite, makes the switch easier and helps you get all the right ingredients. If you are still unsure about BARF, consult your veterinarian or animal nutritionist.