Different types of raw feeding
If you spend any amount of time in the raw feeding community, you'll soon come across the age old debate, BARF vs Prey. There are two distinct camps here, and today we're going to run through some of the differences in an unbiased manner. The main difference here is that BARF often contains fruits and vegetables which are generally excluded by Prey feeders. There's a controversial divide about whether dogs are omnivores or carnivores and no one seems to be able to agree on a single answer.
BARF Diet - Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods
New raw feeders tend to gravitate towards BARF due to it's low barrier to entry and wider commercial availability. A BARF diet consists of a mix of not only meat and organs, but fruits, vegetables and supplements such as fish oil, coconut oil, digestive enzymes, etc. Commercial BARF often comes premixed in frozen 'chubbs' or smaller packaged portions, but many dog owners choose to cut costs and prepare their own BARF diet at home.
Prey Model Diet
Prey feeders on the other hand believe that dogs are purely carnivorous and have no need for fruit and veg. Following the Prey model diet means striving to feed whole prey wherever possible, in an attempt to mimic the exact diet dogs would naturally consume. This can include whole chickens, deer, fish, rabbits - essentially anything that can run, swim or fly, although it predominantly consists of red meat. To get the perfect nutritional combination, Prey feeders aim for meals to provide:
- 80% raw meat
- 10% bone
- 10% offal (with 5% being liver)
It's not hard to see why Prey is such an important feeding method for dogs as it is the closest you can get to what wolves, dogs closest ancestor, eat in the wild. Supplements are rarely used in the prey model diet however some feeders will add omega-3 acid to compensate for the lack of it in grain fed commercial livestock. Bones can be a choking hazard for dogs, some do fine and some don’t, it really depends on the dog. If you decide to go down this route, keep a close eye on your dog during feeding time and take away anything which they don't agree with.
Which should you feed, BARF or Prey?
There's honestly no right or wrong answer, it's just a matter of opinion. The main thing most would agree is that you're doing right by feeding your dog raw rather than kibble. Try out both and see what works best for you and your dog. Personally I like to feed a mixture of both. BARF definitely wins on the convenience factor, however Prey also has it's benefits.