Conventional pet food or BARF?

The Comparison

Commercial pet food, ultra-processed dry ‘kibble’ food in particular, uses a large amount of starch and grain in the processing. We consider both to be inappropriate to feed to dogs and cats with an inability to efficiently process these ingredients, as they are carnivorous animals. It is apparent that a predominantly meat-based raw diet is more natural, healthy and appropriate for both dogs and cats.

Introducing pups and adult dogs to a raw food diet

Though some owners can switch their dogs’ diet without a problem, we feel the best way to make any change of food is to do it gently. We wean pups onto raw with exactly the same method as we advise to make the change – old food for one or more meals, and green tripe for the other meals for a few days, increasing the tripe at a rate that suits the dog, and decreasing/phasing out the old food.

The next step is to introduce new proteins, one at a time, and encourage the dog to chew, which is a more natural way for them to eat. We gently introduce each food, then onto boned mince, then with offal, then onto boned products.

Using this method, we’ve gently alter the ph level in the dogs’ tummy to a more natural state, where they can properly process and digest bone efficiently.

Dogs need meat, bone and offal, with the proportions of 80%, 10% and 10% in general. This ratio doesn’t require measuring for each meal, as long as everything is balanced over a few days. Dogs also need oily fish, an occasional egg (with shell), perhaps some fruit and vegetables, and other supplements if required. A transition to raw will generally take between 10 days to 3 weeks, and Raw4Paws-Sussex are here to help through the process.

Physical and Behavioural Benefits of Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding

It is absolutely without doubt that the saying “as fit as a butcher’s dog” is spot-on, a raw meat diet, with bones and offal, is the perfect blend for optimum health in dogs, cats, ferrets etc.

Physical and behavioural benefits of biologically appropriate raw feeding

Just some of the physical benefits of a raw dog and cat food diet can be as follows:

  • Better weight control
  • Improved digestion
  • Shinier, healthier skin and coat
  • Reduction of allergy symptoms
  • Smaller, firmer, consistent and less smelly stools
  • Increased mobility in older animals
  • More energy and stamina
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Improved liver, pancreatic and bowel health
  • Cleaner teeth and fresh breath
  • Savings due to less trips to the vet

Behavioural issues

Aggression and behavioural issues can also be linked to poor diet, so switching your dog to a BARF diet could substantially improve any behavioural issues.

The BARF diet has been shown to assist with the following:

  • Obesity
  • Periodontal diseases such as gingivitis
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Colitis
  • Reproductive health
  • Arthritic conditions
  • Skin allergies
  • Ear infections
  • Diabetes

How much feed do I need?

Quantities required for feeding your pet

We appreciate that in our fast paced modern lives, we do not always have the time to prepare a balanced raw food meal plan for our pets, and that’s where Raw4Paws-Sussex comes into play.

We have done all the hard work for you. We stock a large range of balanced meals, bones for teeth-cleaning, also fish, chunks and other chews, providing a huge range of nutrients.

There are no short cuts when it comes to providing the best food for your pets. All of the food we sell is from Defra-registered manufacturers, all human-grade meat, all stringently checked to guard against any harmful bacteria. We stock a large range to cater for all ages and requirements of dogs and cats.

Puppy Feeding Guide

Age% of bodyweight
7-10 weeks8 - 10% of bodyweight
10-16 weeks7.5 - 8.5% of bodyweight
16-20 weeks6-5 - 7.5% of bodyweight
20-24 weeks5.5 - 6.5% of bodyweight
24-36 weeks4.5 - 5.5% of bodyweight
36-56 weeks3.5 - 4.5% of bodyweight
56-68 weeks3.5% of bodyweight
68 weeks +Maintain at 2 - 3% of bodyweight

This chart is intended as a guide, based on a minimum requirement of 2% of their adult weight and a maximum of requirement of 3% of their adult weight.

There are other considerations in relation to your pets weight, eg how active the dog is, their breed, their age etc, so is a general guide.

You know your dog best, and can easily alter the amounts to maintain your pet at a healthy weight.

The allowances should include ALL food, ie any fruit and vegetables fed, treats, extras like fish or eggs too. For puppies up to 68 weeks, please follow the Puppy Feeding Guide.

So, why is a BARF diet better for my pet compared to conventional feeding?

Because commercial pet foods are assumed to be the primary or exclusive element of a pet’s diet, manufacturers enrich their product by supplementing the food with vitamins and minerals. As the heat used to process commercial pet foods may reduce the level of naturally occurring nutrients, critics question the actual nutritional value of commercial foods. Critics argue that there may be elements to pet nutrition yet to be discovered or that are not understood well enough to be supplemented. There is skepticism over the efficacy of supplements vs the natural absorption of naturally occurring nutrients. The same rationale is used by some to reject supplemented home cooked pet food. A study involving rats has suggested that the digestibility of the amino acids in cat food is altered during heat processing.

Most dry commercial pet foods are at least 50% grain because the carbohydrates are needed to hold the food together. Dogs and cats do not need, and certainly cannot properly digest the amount of unnatural carbohydrates found in such feed. This goes a long way to explaining why dogs on a commercial diet have much bigger stools than those fed on a raw diet. It’s the first thing people notice when they move to raw; smaller, firmer and less smelly stools due to the high digestibility of the natural food.

BARF allows your pets to be fed a variety of human grade raw meat and bones, fruits and vegetables and supplements with the objective being that your dog will receive a balanced diet. In the wild canines and felines eat meat, bones, skin, organs, stomach contents, and an array of other parts. They may feed on fruits, berries, herbs and grasses. Hence the most common BARF diet consists primarily of raw, meaty bones as well as a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, muscle meat and organ meats. The goal is not to create a well-balanced meal each day, but to create a balanced diet over a period of time.

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