Have You Considered Feeding Your Dog A Raw Diet? Part 5
BARF Vs. SARF Diets
S.A.R.F. stands for Species Appropriate Raw Food. The Canid species (the dog) is a carnivore by nature and design so they are going to thrive on a natural, raw meat and bone diet such as they would as a species (carnivore) eat in the wild.
The diet I am talking about today is the BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), differs from the diet you often hear me or many other raw feeders refer to as the SARF diet.
Those who feed a BARF diet, falsely (although sometimes ignorantly) assume that dogs are omnivores.
Dogs do not need, nor has their digestive system been designed to even be able to properly digest vegetables and grains, they lack the necessary enzymes in their saliva to begin their digestion. It is important to note here and now that wild canines/wolves don’t eat stomach contents as many BARF advocates want us to believe. Wild canines have been observed and studied and found that they first empty the stomach and intestines by shaking them out before eating. A species appropriate raw diet will model the prey killed by wolves in the wild, (thus the name “prey model diet) recreating this type of diet is a complete and sufficient diet for our carnivore canines to thrive.
Dogs do not need a lot of supplements either, as long as they are fed according to their species in nature (carnivores). Most supplements on the market today are not only: not species appropriate but most are synthetic as well (man-made, not from whole food). While it is perfectly understandable that when feeding processed pet food, dogs are not getting much if any nutrition, supplements can be a very good idea. However, when fed what they are designed to eat and in as close to whole prey as possible and the animal has been raised on organic pasture, very little supplemention is necessary.
“BARFers” advocate feeding 50% bone or more in the diet–this can be way too much bone!
Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation pg 126; tells us that “the bones and skin of an animal compose no more than 25% of the animal’s weight. In the larger herbivores a wolf brings down, not all of the bones are consummable, which means the percentage of bone a wolf actually eats is less than 25%.”
BARF diet advocates claim our domestic dogs have evolved into omnivores with time. However, evolution and nature clearly demonstrate that wolves are carnivorous animals and that no prey animal that wolves eat is 50% bone and X% veggies.
Read more about dogs being carnivores here.
It is far better to take the money you would spend on supplements and vegetables for your dogs and buy some whole rabbits or chicken for your dog and if you have small dogs, buy baby bunnies or Cornish game hens. If you can only find larger rabbits and chicken, then simply cut it into appropriate meal sized portions including the skin, fat, bone and organs. You’ll save a lot of time in not chopping and grinding the vegetables too. If it makes YOU feel better to feed your dogs vegetables, then go ahead. Just please be aware and recognize that your dog has no use for them and they will come out in the stools the same way they went in with no real nutrition assimilated from them. In fact, your dog’s pancreas will be working over time trying to digest something it was never designed to. Feeding dogs carrots, squash, sweet potatoes or brocoli, remember, these are not things a wild dog or wolf would ever go hunting and raiding someone’s garden for.
The other prominent difference between BARF and SARF diets are that the SARF diet does not alternate between raw meaty bone meals and meals consisting of ground, lean meat (without bones and skin). SARF meals are based on RMBs (Raw Meat with the Bone intact) along with the organs and offal of the animal..
Now, all this is not to say that the BARF diet is bad, only that we are going to feed what is species appropriate for our dogs as the carnivores they are. The true species appropriate raw food (SARF) diet is, I believe, more nutritionally sound for domestic dogs. It is essential, if we expect our dogs to thrive, that we feed them some form of raw, whole food diet that includes the fat, skin, bones and organs.