January 11, 2016 | Erin | 10 Comments What is a Raw Diet For Dogs? The basis of a raw diet supports feeding your dog a complete raw diet, one that you have either purchased or prepared yourself. The diet is referred to as BARF and depending on who you ask, stands for ‘Biologically Appropriate Raw Food’ or ‘Bones And Raw Food’. Our dogs today have descended from wolves over thousands of years. Since wolves would hunt prey to feed themselves, it is believed that our domesticated dogs can also digest raw meat. Is The Raw Diet Safe? Raw diet supporters point to benefits that include better digestion, healthier teeth, and overall better health for a dog to eat a natural, organic diet. Since the massive pet food recalls as recent as 2007, many dog owners consider the raw diet a safe alternative to buying traditional store-bought dog food. The question that must be asked though, is if it is safe to feed a dog a raw diet? Veterinarians agree the answer is no, for a couple of reasons. First of all, raw meat carries the risk of infection and disease. Second, most pet owners do not have the understanding of how to prepare a nutritious, well-balanced diet. Therefore, vets tend to advise feeding your dog the right commercial dog food to ensure your dog gets all the necessary nutrients in their diet. Opinions, Opinions Generally speaking, those in favor of raw food diets (BARF) disagree with mainstream veterinarians. They state that a dog’s stomach is very different than that of a human’s and is capable of digesting raw meat and bones. They also believe that veterinarians do not support a raw food diet based on the nutritional expectations penned by the commercial dog food industry. Vets point out that feeding a raw diet means you are running the risk for meat contamination and also putting the health of your dog in jeopardy as well. The ongoing debate seems to focus on the quality of meat that your dog would receive rather than on the dog’s ability to process the meat. Don’t Be Fooled Some dog food companies market their product as “human grade”, which literally means nothing. Legally, they aren’t required to back up to their claims in any way. “Human grade” is simply marketing lingo that looks good and sounds good. However, it’s not a guarantee their product is any safer than a raw meat. Keep in mind the many risks associated with commercial dog foods as well. Most go through extensive processing yet still contain many additives and chemicals that not only are not beneficial for your dog, may ultimately harm them as well. So, Can Dogs Eat A Raw Diet or Not? The answer to this question is yes, BUT. It’s up to you, the dog’s owner/parent, to look at the pros and cons and decide what’s best for your dog and what will benefit them the most. If you are siding with the raw diet, please keep in mind to always get your meat from a trusted, high-quality, local butcher that complies with rules that regulate and monitor, the meat he sells. This will substantially diminish the risk of parasites and/or infection. In addition to meat (raw or cooked), your dog needs a complete, balanced diet including vegetables and supplements.