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