Barf diet for dogs for beginners - everything you need to know about natural dog feeding
Surely you've heard about barfing for dogs. Maybe you're wondering if you'd rather stop feeding your dog ready-to-eat food. You are thinking about changing his diet. But what is this barfing anyway? Is it really good for your dog and right for you? And how do you do it?
Barf dog - what is it?
Let's start with what Barf actually means. In German BARF stands for "Biologisch Artgerechtes Rohes Futter". This definition comes from the German Barf expert Swanie Simon.
Barfers want to feed their dogs the way their ancestors ate in the wild. The feeding habits of wild dogs and wolves serve as a model. Barfers give their dog raw meat, bones and vegetables. They orientate themselves on the composition of prey animals.
For barf diet beginners: The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
First of all you should inform yourself well. You will harm your dog if you feed him raw meat without sufficient knowledge. First of all, inform yourself in detail and only then decide whether you really want to feed your dog this way. You can educate yourself with books, on the internet or through seminars. If this is too complicated for you, you can look for a certified BARF consultant. He will provide you individually with all the information. Of course, this has its price. You can also get advice from your vet. Or ask the breeder or the shelter where you got your dog.
The website of Swanie Simon is highly recommended.
She is an animal health practitioner and is considered an expert on barf in Germany. Ms. Simon was a dog trainer, kennel master and veterinary assistant in the USA. During this time she developed her interest in optimal nutrition for dogs and came across raw feeding. Swanie Simon's books are also a good introduction to barfing. Recommended books for beginners are e.g. "BARF - Biologisch Artgerechtes Rohes Futter für Hunde" (organic, raw food for dogs) by Swanie Simon and "Das Barf-Buch" by Nadine Wolf.
As a Barfer, you no longer just open a can of ready-made food for your dog. You have to prepare his food yourself every day from fresh, raw ingredients. This requires a lot of effort and expertise. If you don't trust yourself to put together your dog's food ration yourself, you can get help. Nowadays there are so-called barf shops almost everywhere. Here you can buy the ingredients and get advice.
Search for a meat supplier
You need to find a meat supplier where you buy the raw meat. Supermarkets are less suitable. Meat can be sourced from abattoirs, farmers, local barfshops or online barfshops. When shopping, make sure all ingredients are of good quality. Check with nutritionists to see if they are reputable and competent.
Create a BARF feeding plan
You need to create or have created a feeding plan, individually adapted for your dog. There are barf calculators on the Internet.
What might a barf recipe look like for your dog? Here are some examples:
- 80% animal ingredients (50% muscle meat, 20% rumen, 15% offal, 15% bone).
- 20 % vegetable ingredients (vegetables, cereals or fruit)
- Additives (oils, seaweed, brewer's yeast, etc.)
- Chicken gizzards
- Beef liver
- Beef gizzards
- Vegetable mix
- Linseed oil
- Beef muscle meat with beef rumen
- Vegetable Mix
- Omega-3-6 oil
You have to adjust the quantities individually to your dog (taking into account weight, age, activity etc.).
Dogs do not tolerate a sudden change of food. The change must be made carefully and gradually. You can find good tips in Nadine Wolf's guide "Barfen für Anfänger".
Take your time to decide whether barfing is really the right feeding method for you and your dog.