June 15, 2009

The BARF Diet's Natural Origins

Part two in a series on the BARF diet

Rich: The first time I saw Buddy, our previous black Lab, eat a live bunny whole was the last time I mistakenly believed that dogs are little more than furry, four-legged humans who bark. Buddy demonstrated wild-dog instincts that years of breeding and domesticating hadn't yet destroyed. He instinctively toyed with the bunny, eventually tiring it, then swallowed it--fur and all--in one satisfying gulp.

That experience was behind me when I first learned of the raw food diet for dogs. Without it, who knows? The idea of a raw food diet for my domestic companions might have taken a lot longer for me to accept.

The wild ancestor of the modern-day dog, the wolf, is a magnificent creation. In addition to being an exceptional predator, he's a dietary opportunist and scavenger, often consuming the leftover bones and scraps of dead animals of any sort. Fresh kill provides an excellent source of protein and nutrients, while rotten kill serves as a vital bacterial source.

The wolf is an omnivore. While it's common knowledge a wolf devours its prey's muscle meat and bones, it's less known that a wolf consumes vegetables, too. The prey's partially digested stomach and intestinal contents provide the primary source of vegetable matter and is often the first eaten and most highly prized.

The domestic dog, selectively bred by man from its wolf origin, maintains this dietary heritage. So should its diet. A manufactured (i.e., kibble) diet attempts to emulate the nutritional content and variety of the wolf diet. However, that the processed food, supported as it is by changing scientific nutritional research, actually adequately supports a dog's nutritional needs is a matter of some debate.

Into the debate steps the BARF or raw food diet. Think of BARF as the domesticated version of a wild dog's diet. Its sufficiency as a dog diet is demonstrated every day by the wolf and lately by a small but growing number of domesticated animals.

In our next post I'll touch on the health benefits for your dog of this natural-emulating diet.

Previous post: An Introduction to the BARF Diet


  1. We look forward to reading your next blog - our D is toying with the idea - at the moment she prepares most of our meals and she doesn't believe in kibble for dogs. So we get a mixture of cooked and raw - we love polenta night!
    lots of licks
    Sally and Paddy

  2. My goodness, he looks like Scott my black lab who passed away 3 months back, maybe this is one way of getting over my grief over with my dog. I miss him and sometimes I call his name unintentionally. I can't help but stare at the pictures. Nice blog anyway.

  3. I wish I could eat a raw diet, but my mom is a vegetarian and never has meat in the house. I do get the special meats some times from the pet store and when my tummy is upset she boils hamburger meat and mixes it with rice. Those are the good ol' days, kinda makes me want to be sick more often. hehe

  4. We are enjoyin these posts, we are all raw fed & our vet says we are the healthiest clients in his clinic!!

    Feather, Darla, Pappy & LizzaBella ^..^

  5. Hey there Woofgang,

    This BARF diet sounds very interesting. I'll stay tuned to learn more!

    Happy Trails
    Ziggy Marley

  6. Your furry pals are THRIVING on this diet. Bravo! To your health,

    Chloe xo



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Happiness Is . . .
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