Many of my clients are dissatisfied with the manufactured dog food that is available for their dogs. For these clients I advise a switch to a raw meat diet. There are two types: the BARF diet or the Whole-Prey Diet.
The BARF diet is more popular due to the inclusion of fruits, vegetables and grains such as rice or oatmeal.
BARF diets generally recommend feeding:
~ ground, not whole foods (which encourage gulping and provide no oral stimulation for healthy teeth and gums)
~ fruit, grains, tubers, vegetables (which are not species appropriate foods for carnivores)
~ very bony body parts like necks, backs and wings (which contain a disproportionately high ratio of bone to meat)
~ supplements (which are unnecessary in a prey model diet because all requisite nutrients already exist in whole foods. The only caveat is that most commercially raised livestock is deficient in essential Omega 3 fatty acids, so some prey model raw feeders supplement with fish body oil if they are unable to feed raw fish)
The Whole Prey Model consists of:
Large parts of animals that a wild dog would hunt in the wild. The important thing about prey model diet is that it involves feeding parts of animals, in as close to the way nature made them as possible, because this is what carnivores' teeth and digestive systems are designed to consume.
These prey animals are made up of bones, organs, muscle meat, skin, hide/hair/feathers, fat and other connective tissue. In the average prey animal, the ratio of these parts is approximately:
- 5-10% organs (brain, liver, kidneys, gall bladder and other glands)
- 10-15% edible bones
- 80-85% muscle meat, hair, skin, and fat
Since it's not practical for us to feed the exact prey animals that wolfs hunt the next best thing is for us to match our dog's diet on the ratio of parts found in wild prey, and to feed these proportions of whatever raw product (chicken, turkey, lamb, goat, rabbit, deer) that is readily available to us.
The important thing about prey model diet is that it involves feeding parts of animals, in as close to the way nature made them as possible, because this is what carnivores' teeth and digestive systems are designed to consume.
Another important aspect is that it's important that we provide as much variety in our dogs' prey model diet as possible. We need make up for the fact that livestock does not contain the concentration and variety of nutrients that's present in wild prey.