It is important to know vegetables and fruit are not a necessity when it comes to feeding a carnivore a balanced diet. A carnivore does not have the essential tools to properly breakdown and digest plant matter like humans do – so when providing veggies and fruit in a raw diet it should never take up more than 10% of the diet.
When feeding vegetables and fruit it is important to prepare the items properly in order for your pet to digest and absorb the nutrients through plant matter. Vegetables should be pureed, fermented, or lightly steamed for optimal nutrient absorption; and fruits do not need any special preparation other than cutting into chunks.
This guide is for the use in dog BARF diets only. It is important to know that cat’s should not be fed plant matter in their diet.
Vegetables should be the primary source of plant matter in your pet’s diet if you choose to feed BARF model. Out of the 10% veggie and fruit ratio in BARF, 7% of that ratio should come from vegetables. It is important to choose veggies high in nutrients, low in starches, and low in carbs. Leafy greens are an excellent choice when selecting veggies to add to a raw diet.
All veggies should be pureed, fermented, or lightly steamed for optimal nutrient absorption. Without preparing veggies properly, the plant matter goes undigested and gets passed as waste.
Recommended Vegetables to feed in BARF Model:
Vegetables from cruciferous family should be fed in moderation due to the chances of suppressing thyroid function – these include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. Do not feed vegetables from the nightshade family – these include potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, and eggplant.
Fruits should not be the primary source of plant matter in your pet’s diet if you choose to feed BARF model. Out of the 10% veggie and fruit ratio in BARF, 3% of that ratio should come from fruits. It is important to choose fruit high in nutrients, high in antioxidants, low in starches, and low in carbs. Berries are an excellent choice when selecting fruit to add to a raw diet.
Fruit is mostly water, special preparation is not necessary when feeding the recommended fruits. It is important to remember fruits are high in sugars which is why you should not feed too much fruit in a raw diet.
Recommended Fruits to feed in BARF Model:
Fruits are high in sugar, pets will love them and they are great as a treat. Fruits should only make up a very small portion of the BARF model diet. Many different fruits can be fed but berries are the optimal choice. Do not feed grapes, raisins, or dates which can cause kidney failure in dogs.
Toxic & Harmful Items to Avoid
Grapes & Raisins
Although the exact toxic substance within grapes and raisins (dried grapes) is unknown, dogs should never ingest them – even in small amounts. It is well documented that grapes and raisins cause kidney failure when ingested.
Fruit Seeds & Pits
Apple seeds, cherry pits, peach pits, and plum pits contain toxic cyanide. Additionally fruit pits cause intestinal obstruction due to their size and density.
Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate which is toxic to dogs. The ingestion of onions causes hemolytic anemia, which is the damage to red blood cells causing them to burst.
Tree nuts such as pecans, walnut varieties, macadamia, pistachios, and brazilian nuts should not be fed to a dog. Many contain toxic substances, most will cause gastric upset, and others can cause pancreatitis. Additionally, tree nuts cause intentional obstruction due to their size and density.