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Do Your Pets BARF?

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BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods) is fast becoming the catch acronym in the pet world. Feeding a BARF diet is a simple, satisfying way of improving your pet's health. If your pets are fed typical commercial food, they are missing out.

BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods) is fast becoming the catch acronym in the pet world. Feeding a BARF diet is a simple, satisfying way of improving your pet's health. If your pets are fed typical commercial food, they are missing out. Pre-prepared pet foods became the norm in the 1950s, when a large food distribution company invented "dog patties." Instead of owners doing what they had always done giving scraps and leftovers to pets they began providing them with "fast food" every day.

I ask you two questions: if you ate pre-packaged, processed foods every day for the rest of your life, would you be healthy? Would your body function optimally? I think not.

Our pets depend upon us to make sound decisions regarding their health. Although we maintain regular vet visits and provide lots of love and fun, are we forgetting the most important thing? That is, high-quality, nutritious food that isn't processed, cooked, then preserved to sit on a shelf for months on end.

We have been told, "Don't feed your pet 'people food.' It's bad for them." Where did this idea come from? "Dog and cat foods are designed specifically to meet their nutritional needs," say many animal food providers. But are these foods truly nutritious? If cooked at high temperatures, preserved and packaged, food regardless of what kind it is has relatively little nutritional value.

I agree that dog and cat nutritional requirements differ from each other as well as from humans. I don't, however, feel pets should be given less than human-quality foods. After researching about how animals in their natural state catch their prey and eat it fresh, I chose to start feeding my pets a BARF diet. Within two weeks, my female longhaired cat's open sores almost completely healed over. Her hair started growing back and her thyroid levels returned to normal. She was a new, friendly cat. Since then, I have yet to come across a pet that hasn't done well with real food, no matter their health status, age or breed.

The rationale is simple. Cats and dogs are carnivores. Their bodies are especially designed to eat raw meat. Their saliva contains antibacterial agents that break down bacteria in fresh cut meats. If bacteria survive, they then meet extreme amounts of hydrochloric acid in the animal's stomach (with pH levels two times more acidic than humans). If any bacteria still survive the stomach, the short, straight intestinal tract holds food for a very short period of time before elimination, thereby passing bacteria with the feces.

Many believe it must be expensive to feed pets this way. This is fortunately not the case. There are a variety of ways to provide a BARF diet to your pets, including preparing it yourself, purchasing portions of prepared mixes and putting it together or simply purchasing finished, pre-prepared meals. A dog owner can expect to pay from $15 to $75 per month for a 50-pound dog.

So what can you offer your pets? Meats (bone and skin, too), organ meats, vegetables (excluding onions and nightshade varieties such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), fruits, yogurt, eggs, cheese and limited whole grains, such as oats and brown rice-all organic when possible. Variety and proportion are the keys!

The bodies of cats and dogs are specially designed to eat raw meat. Their saliva contains antibacterial agents that break down bacteria in fresh cut meats. If bacteria survive, they then meet extreme amounts of hydrochloric acid in the animal's stomach. If any bacteria still survive the stomach, the short, straight intestinal tract holds food for a very short period of time before elimination, thereby passing bacteria with the feces.

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