Prey vs. B.A.R.F - How to feed your dog raw

Published: 27th April 2011
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versus Prey

So, you have decided to start feeding your pet a raw diet. But, there is so much information out there on raw pet food that it is hard to make any type of decision. What should you feed? How much should you feed? Should you feed bone? Or is bone a choking hazard? So many questions! And the main question is should you follow the Prey Model, or B.A.R.F.? The following article attempts to break it down a little bit in order to help you decide what kind of diet is right for you and your pet.
The Prey Model is meant to resemble as closely as possible the feeding practices of your dog or catís wilderness counterparts. From a physiological standpoint, dogs are almost identical to wolves and cats are almost identical to small wild cats. Therefore, the belief is that they should mimic the same diet. And since these wild animals feast almost exclusively on prey animals, so should your pet. There is a wide range of prey animals that are devoured in the wild by both wolves and wild cats so, following the Prey Model, your petís diet should be both varied and elaborate. Usually packs of wolves will feast on larger prey animals such as bison, deer and caribou, whereas wolves traveling solo will attack smaller creatures such as rabbits, squirrels and other small rodents. Wildcats are less picky when it comes to their dinner and will feed on reptiles, fish, birds, rodents and even insects.
However, when feasting on prey animals, wolves and wildcats do not have access to a butcher to pick apart the nice cuts of meat. So, following the same diet as in the wild, the Prey Model requires a certain percentage of fat, connective tissue, hair, fur, organs, skin, bones, and feathers. The general model is about 5 to 10 percent organs (of which half of this is liver), 10 to 15 percent bones and 80 to 85 percent meat.
Not only is the percentage of raw meat and other parts important in the Prey Model, but the way the meat is fed is also very important. And although it is not very convenient to feed our pets whole critters, the act of gnawing and crunching through the entire animal is highly beneficial to our petís oral health. To that effect, following the Prey Model requires as much bone-in raw meat as possible in order for your pet to fully benefit and enjoy healthy teeth and gums.
The B.A.R.F. diet differs slightly from the Prey Model. The B.A.R.F. diet, which stands for Bones And Raw Food, or can also stand for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, was created by Dr. Ian Billinghurst. The largest and most prevalent difference between the two diets is the addition of vegetable matter in the B.A.R.F. In addition to a little bit of scavenged vegetation, our petís wild counterparts also eat some prey animal stomachs (such as mice and other small rodents), as well as the stomach lining of larger prey animals which contains partially digested vegetable matter.

Even though the difference in the two models is minimal, the idea remains the same. And the benefits to the Raw Diet are numerous.

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