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Raw Pet Food: Mistakes to Avoid

New trends on how to feed pets keep popping up all over the place. Raw feeding has long raised discussion, and its popularity has greatly increased over the past few years. This was due to tons of blogging, reviews and first-hand experience statements, which are a well-known source of reliable and not-so-reliable information. We’re all aware that there is a need to triage information if we want to assure our pets are well-nourished, and the subject of raw pet food is no different!

Switching to a BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding) diet is actually not as simple as it may seem at first glance. In fact, seeking guidance from a vet nutritionist is the best way to ensure the right supply of nutrients is being provided.

There are common mistakes some pet parents unintentionally make with BARF. They’re not usually harmful if identified early on… However, when malnutrition persists over a long period of time, deficiency symptoms will certainly arise, and most likely lead to serious illnesses.

Once explained, the five most common raw pet food mistakes can easily be understood:

1. Daily amount

Everyone is unique and animals are no different. That being said, diets should be specifically tailored to each pet’s needs. Their activity, age and health status will determine the daily amount of raw food. 

Keep in mind that after starting a dog or a cat on BARF or any other diet, they should be closely monitored so that any signs of nutritional imbalancement can be identified. 

2. Variety

Fighting the routine and assuring variety is key for a healthy lifestyle, whether we’re talking about our pets’ diet or our own. It’s easy to rely on quick and easy dishes, especially for those of us whose lives are highly demanding and lack time. Variety plays an important role in the BARF diet and there are many options available to overcome this issue.

3. Menu composition

There’s a surprisingly high amount of people who believe this misconception: BARF is all about feeding raw meat. Dogs and especially cats are carnivores, and they do need to eat meat. However, fruits and vegetables should also be a part of their diets, as they’re the only source of some vitamins and minerals.

Another thing to consider is that meat is a generic ingredient. It can be divided into raw meaty bones, muscle and offal, and every single element should be offered to the pet, taking into account their needs.

4. Toxic fruits and vegetables

Even though fruits and veggies are important, some of them can be poisonous. Grapes, raisins, onions and nightshade plants in their raw state such as potatoes, eggplants and tomatoes, are a no-go. 

In addition to these, the dreaded chocolate, coffee and sweeteners like xylitol should be kept far away from our best friends.

5. Boiled bones (or too many bones)

Bones are important sources of calcium, phosphorus and other essential minerals. As is the case with offal, they are part of the meat portion of a BARF diet. 

You should NEVER feed bones that were previously cooked or fried. When heated, their structure becomes porous, making the bone easier to split and break. This can lead to mouth and throat injuries.

Be careful with the amount of bones that are fed. Too much bone matter contributes to an imbalance in the calcium-phosphorus ratio and causes an oversupply of minerals. It can also lead to urinary stones, among other issues. Bone overfeeding is also a common cause of constipation and intestinal blockage.

Conclusion

A BARF feeding plan designed by a vet nutritionist allows a much smoother transition to this kind of diet and helps assure that all nutritional demands are met. If you would like to discuss your buddy’s diet (raw pet food or not), our vet team will be more than glad to help!


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