From the beginning of time Dogs have cleaned up the remains of other animal’s bodies, including the bones. That ability is still there with modern dogs that easily and joyfully tackle bones. A dog’s whole system is designed for bones in order to function properly. Bones are living tissue composed of living cells.
Because bones are living tissue, just like any other part of the body, they are a complex source of a wide variety of nutrients. Bones contain minerals which are embedded in protein.
They also contain fat. If the bone is from chicken or pork, then that fat will be very high in the essential fatty acids. Along with the fat are fat-soluble vitamins. The central parts of most bones contain marrow, which is a highly nutritious mix of blood forming elements, including iron. Raw bones provide natural antioxidant/anti-ageing factors including enzymes.
Bones are the main source of minerals for your dog. If meat is added to bone, then methionine and most of the B vitamins are supplied. Puppies and adult dogs fed bone rarely suffer from indigestion or diarrhoea. They produce smaller quantities of solid stools. It is highly likely that bones play a similar role to fiber, that is, a role of bulking out the food, thereby removing toxins and promoting general bowel health. Bone eating dogs are long lived healthy dogs. They seem to be particularly free of the degenerative diseases of old age.
Many people assume that a dog’s natural diet is a meat only diet. Unfortunately this is untrue as a meat only diet is highly unnatural and unbalanced.
Meat should form only a part of the over-all healthy diet, which should include bone, fruits, vegetables, offal and other supplements as well. For example, the muscle meat eaten by wild dogs forms a small part of the diet that consists of a wide variety of other foods, including bone.
What nutrients are in meat?
Meat supplies protein
That is its major role in healthy nutrition. It also supplies varying amounts of fat, water, and some vitamins and minerals. Because it supplies fat and protein, it also supplies energy. Meat is first class protein. That is, it contains all the essential amino acids necessary for dogs of all ages.
Meat supplies energy
There are no carbohydrates in meat. That is no starch, sugar or fiber. As the fat content rises, the percentage of water drops and so does the protein. As the fat content of the meat rises so does the energy it can supply to your dog. The fat in different types of meat varies in the levels of essential fatty acids present. Chicken and pork have the highest levels while lamb and beef are both low. Lamb usually contains more essential fatty acids than beef, but only because it has more fat.
Meat supplies some minerals
Raw meat is low in sodium and high in potassium. That is good news for dogs with heart problems. The meat with the lowest sodium is beef, with pork also being fairly low. The meat with the highest potassium is pork, with chicken having the lowest potassium levels. This makes pork a good all round meat for heart patients. Beef, lamb, chicken and pork meat are all very low in calcium and moderately low in magnesium. This means they are great foods for dogs prone to bladder stones. However, this lack of minerals requires bone material in your dog’s diet. Beef and lamb meat are relatively well endowed with zinc, making them good foods for dogs with a deficiency of zinc. Chicken has low zinc levels with pork containing more than chicken but not as much as lamb and beef. Of the meats, beef is the best source of iron.
In the wild, dogs eat the stomach content and organ meat from the animals they prey upon. In fact, internal organs form a vital part of the wild dog’s diet. Modern dogs have similar requirements. Dogs consuming these foods as part of a sensible diet have superior health to dogs that do not eat them. Although organ meats are valuable dog food, they are not required in huge amounts. They are a concentrated source of many essential nutrients and are particularly valuable during times of growth, reproduction and stress as a source of concentrated nutrients.
In this one product is a vast range of important nutrition. Liver is the most concentrated source of vitamin A and should be fed in small amounts on a regular basis. It also contains vitamins D, E, and K in substantial quantities. Liver is an excellent source of the minerals zinc, manganese, selenium and iron. It also contains all the B vitamins, particularly B2, B3, B5, biotin, folacin, B12, choline, and inositol. It contains B1 in adequate or smaller amounts and is a good source of vitamin C. Liver provides a source of good quality protein and the essential fatty acids, both the omega-3 and omega-6 type. It’s a fantastic food for your dog!
Not unlike liver, kidney supplies good quality protein, essential fatty acids and many vitamins including all the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Kidneys are a rich source of iron and all the B vitamins. They also have good levels of zinc.
Like liver and kidneys, heart as dog food is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins and iron. They do contain some essential fatty acids and a little vitamin A. Heart contains appreciable levels of taurine which is important food… for the heart!
Tripe is the edible lining and accompanying content of a cow or other ruminant’s first or second division of the stomach. Paunch tripe comes from the large first stomach division and honeycomb tripe comes from the second division. Both wild canids and domestic dogs benefit from eating tripe as it contains a very diverse profile of living nutrients including enzymes, omega- 3 and 6 fatty acids, probiotics, and phytonutrients. It has long been quoted as being “the finest of natural foods”.
**All information extracted from Barf World Website: http://www.barfworld.com/html/barf_diet/barfdiet_specific.shtml