Before the commercialization of pet food in the 1900’s, pets enjoyed table scraps as well as anything they scavenged out of the garbage, as well anything that was caught in nature. While pets certainly didn’t live longer, due to medical advancements of our time, there was less of an epidemic of obesity. While table scraps are definitely a health risk for a beloved pet, they do have some merit.
There are two main branches of homemade food: Raw and biologically appropriate raw food (BARF). The difference between the two is noticeable. Raw will strictly feed a diet of raw meats and bones, with no added vegetables or grains. One would be required to use supplements to make up what is lacking in the dog’s diet. In this diet it is advised to feed approximately 2%-3% of a dog’s body mass to maintain a healthy weight.
The advantage of this raw diet is easily noticeable. The dog’s stools will become harder and smaller, the creature will drink less water, and it is said that the quality of the dog’s coat will increase. The BARF diet can be a more complete solution, including a mixture of meat, vegetables and grains. Similar benefits are seen with this diet as with the raw, but there is less of a chance of requiring supplements in the diet.
Pet owners and certain veterinarians alike often voice the concern about bacteria affecting a pet. However, as dogs in the wild are scavengers, their digestive track has evolved to be able to handle most common bacteria that can be found in raw meats. The cost of raw/BARF is more obvious to the objective pet owner. Natural feedings, as with humans, are more expensive and can range to around $200 or more. This, of course, would depend on the dog’s size and weight, as well as the price of the materials at the time.
Either variation of feeding can provide a pet with the nutrients needed to maintain a happy, healthy pet. However, in today’s society with the cost of meat as well as vegetables it’s easy to see why many pet owners still turn to the more affordable solution of commercial food. Of course, before one makes such a giant change over to raw or BARF, it is advised to contact a local vet who is knowledgeable in the subject and able to give a person all the necessary information for their pet.