You’ve just read about the raw dog food prey model – what are your thoughts?
Are you all in, screaming BRING ON THE MEATS!?
Or maybe Prey sounds a bit too intense, since you’re just starting out and all. You’re all for your dog eating a more ancestral diet, but you’re not sure you completely agree with the absence of all fibrous vegetables.
Plus, these gurus seem to be a little too strict in terms of how you feed your dog.
Maybe your dog would rather eat a softer patty (especially if he’s a senior dog) or maybe your dog has very sensitive teeth and seems to be losing too much weight having to chew all those bones.
The B.A.R.F model stands for:
Biologically Appropriate Raw Food
Bones And Raw Food
Unlike the Prey Model, B.A.R.F advocates believe that a certain amount of vegetable matter is an important addition to your dog’s diet.
Their line of thinking runs that a wolf, when eating its prey, would have consumed the stomach, the intestines, and the contents inside of them. And since wolves would have eaten herbivores, it stands to reason that your dog’s wild ancestors would have eaten plant material on occasion.
This debate can get a bit contentious between raw food gurus.
Some say that just because a wolf would have eaten the stomach contents of its prey doesn’t mean that that food is in anyway optimal (the difference between surviving and thriving).
If you were looking for a definitive answer on whether feeding fruits and vegetables is optimal for your pup, you won’t find it here.
There are already quite a few self-professed experts attempting to do this.
We recommend good ol’ fashioned trial and error.
Does your dog have more or less energy with the addition or subtraction of plant material from his diet?
What does his coat look like, does he still have allergies?
Just like people, dogs can all be different.
For example, while your brother can eat a gallon of ice cream with no ill effects, just a small bowl will have you dashing to the toilet.
If you do decide to incorporate some plant material into your dog’s diet, there are a wide range of opinions on the optimal amount.
Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a raw food expert, states in his latest book, The BARF Diet, that no more than 15% of your dog’s diet should be composed of plant matter.
Conversely, Dr. Lonsdale of Raw Meaty Bones believes that up to a third of your pet’s diet could be composed of vegetables and fruit.
I’m sure at this point you’re just loving the lack of consensus among thought leaders in the raw feeding movement.
Regardless of how you decide to partition your dog’s meals, a B.A.R.F meal could be summarized as being a mix of muscle meats, organ meats, ground bone, fruits, vegetables, and even supplements including fish oil, coconut oil, digestive enzymes etc.
What is important is what the B.A.R.F diet does not include, which are grains and legumes. The reasoning being that our dogs simply weren’t meant to digest starchy foods as they contribute to chronic and degenerative diseases.
Many raw newcomers are attracted to the B.A.R.F way of feeding first, instead of jumping straight to the Prey Model. B.A.R.F food is more widely available for purchase, so squeamish pet owners can opt for ordering their dog’s food online or in-store.
At the same time, many owners have a bit more peace of mind knowing that they’re adding beneficial supplements to their pet’s meal rather than relying completely on nutrition from animal flesh. And as I mentioned before, if your dog can’t consume raw meaty bones because of age or dental problems then he’s not going to thrive on the Prey Model.
At the end of the day, you have to take your and your dog’s unique situation into account when making a final decision!