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Veterinary Q & A - B.A.R.F. Diet

Bones And Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods

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Related Reading:
Glossary Definition: BARF
The Viewer Viewpoint: Pet Food FAQ & Recipes
Viewer Viewpoint article on the BARF Diet

This Veterinary Q & A is a little different than the other articles in this series. Usually, it is me answering the veterinary questions. This time, answers are provided by some of our knowledgeable viewers. The topic for this article is BARF; Bones And Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods, depending on who you ask.

Questions are common whenever this diet is being discussed, and there are definitely those in favor and those against this type of feeding choice for our pets. I started this discussion in the Forum, with some basic questions to get the conversation going. And did the conversation ever get going! Many viewers offered their opinions and expertise, and excerpts of that discussion will be featured here with links to follow the entire dialog. (A new window will open for each discussion link so that the main body of this article may be followed easily.)

1) Is BARF more expensive than premium kibbled food?
Answers to this question ranged from "no" to "yes, but worth it." The main differences being geographic location -- proximity to a low cost butcher or meat source, and being able to join a co-op or purchase with a group buy to reduce costs by buying in volume.

"I don't spend anymore on BARF than I did when I fed kibble, although I had always supplemented kibble. I belong to a BARF buyers CO-OP so we save quite a bit on meat expenses that way." MELISSA7000
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2) Do you worry about health and hygiene handling the raw foods, both for your pet(s) and for your family?
Not many worries here, according to the vast majority. People just simply followed the same health standards and food handling techniques as they would for the human family's food, and have not reported any problems. Some people take care to wash the pet's dishes or eating areas after meals to reduce the possibility of contamination, especially with other pets or small children in the house.

"I simply use vinegar and water to wash the counters, bowl and crates down. I have two young daughters who are very active with the dogs, there have been no problems to date. I feel that if a person takes the same precautions as you would handling raw meat for humans, there is no reason for contamination or illness." SUNDANCE36
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3) Have you noticed a change in your pet's health since starting the BARF method of feeding? In what way?
A resounding YES on this one from our viewers. The most common health benefits noted were clean and healthy teeth, fresh breath, and shiny coat. Other benefits noted by some viewers included reduced trouble with anal sac impaction, better weight control, reduction or elimination of allergies (skin and intestinal), and a general increase in vigor/acting much younger than age would indicate.

"Very big changes. My Golden Retriever has skin problems and ear infections... allergy to grains. Her arthritis has disappeared (she is now 11) She looks and plays like a 6 year old. Teeth are immaculate. Everyone has soft coats, sparkling eyes and energy that is just amazing! One cat is 24 and still leaps from the arm chair to book case, great teeth! and another cat is 19 years old. The young cats are incredible." MARNIETOO
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