BARF vs PMR for Raw-feeders

B.A.R.F vs P.M.R Model

We know that the only thing constant is change. But change is something that faces the biggest resistance from us and we might let that trickle down to our pets, thus harming them, more than actually doing good things for them. Therefore, we at BARF India thought that we’d help you gain an insight into the basic differences between a B.A.R.F vs P.M.R Model.

Never heard of these two terms? OR Heard of them, and trying just one model? Or are very new to Raw feeding? Don’t worry because at least you’re open to change and that’s a positive start! So, in our previous post, we referenced the term Raw Feeding which is the simple practice of feeding domestic dogs, cats and other animals a diet consisting primarily of uncooked meat, edible bones, and organs. Many of you will probably have apprehensions about moving to this diet especially if your dog is feeding on kibble or probably because the term ‘Raw’ raises concerns due to the risk of foodborne illnesses and maybe even nutritional imbalances. BARF India You might also be apprehensive to switch to the Prey Model or B.A.R.F because all our lives we’ve seen pets being fed cooked food and they seem to do okay. However, these methods of feeding have been tried and tested and pet owners have definitely seen the health benefits in their dogs after switching to them. A very common question that you might ask yourself is:

Why should I feed my dog raw food?

Well, because it comes as close as possible to the diet of a wild canine with all nutrients untouched and also because pet owners feeding raw food swear by the positive changes they’ve seen in their dogs. Most scientists now agree that the dog is a subspecies of the wolf. A wolf pack primarily hunts and kills deer, moose, elk and in times of scarcity, or if hunting alone, even squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks etc. So basically Raw Feeding is not something new. It is actually a new trend among pet owners just like the consumption of ‘organic’ food is amongst us humans. Many dog owners choose to feed a raw diet as they feel it better fulfills their dog’s natural predator instinct. Feeding a diet that resembles what the wolf, the domesticated dog’s closest ancestor would eat, is more natural. Sardines 1.jpg

There are normally 2 RAW feeding options that we can feed our dogs:

    • The Prey Model Raw or P.M.R, and,
    • B.A.R. F known as Basic Ancestral Raw Food or Bones And Raw Food.
    The primary difference between the 2 diets lies between whether we need:

The Prey Model Raw diet:

A prey model raw diet comes as close to the diet of a wild dog without requiring it to actually go out into the wild and hunt wild prey animals. It is based on a diet of meat cuts, tissue, fat, bone, blood, bone, organs, and even hair, eyes, brains, testicles, tongue, feathers and hide in some cases and it actually uses a variety of cuts from multiple prey animals so as to cover all nutrients. No fruits, vegetables, dairy products or supplementation are fed as part of the Prey Model though. It consists only of meat, bones, and offal. It is important to remember that each prey animal you feed has different levels of nutrients and if you’re feeding a variety to your dog, he’s getting a balanced diet. In this type of a diet, the dog is exposed to eating bones, muscle meat, skin, organs, fat, connective tissues and hooves, hide, hair, eyes, tongue, brain, testicles, and feathers at various times. Some challenges that PMR feeders in India face are:
  • Sourcing: It’s difficult to source a variety of proteins. So they tend to stick to 2 types
  • Cost is an inhibiting factor; therefore, they tend to feed only a certain type or selection of meat and organs.
So, over time there is a very strong chance that nutritional deficiencies will creep in. raw food 1.jpg It is extremely important that all the nutrients from a carcass must be made available. We have recently noticed a spurt in Cranial Cruciate Ligament problems. This doesn't happen suddenly; it causes ligaments to deteriorate over a period of time and then you will suddenly notice hind leg lameness and even arthritis which are very painful for your dog. This is now attributed to a deficiency in Manganese. Although there is a very small amount of manganese present in meat, liver, eggs, and bone, it is not sufficient to meet the daily requirement. The richest sources of manganese actually come from the animal parts which are not of any use — majorly being hair, feathers and wool and which are not fed to dogs as part of the PMR diet. A wolf in the wild could eat the same animal but different parts; eg. hide, hair, feathers, etc. It's important for me to make it clear here, that this information is not meant to be offensive to PMR feeders. There is a huge, enthusiastic and passionate community of people in India who feed P.M.R and are doing pretty well. But P.M.R is not every individual's cup of tea. Handling different meats is just one perspective. Locating different protein sources and being able to afford it is another thing altogether. These are some of the limitations and challenges of the diet. The other version of the raw diet is BARF. BARF stands for ‘Basic Ancestral Raw Food’. The B.A.R.F diet consists of muscle meat, organs, plant matter, supplements; trace minerals, which form the basis of the diet along with a bi-weekly feeding of R.M.B’S (Raw Meaty Bones). I cannot help but quote Dr. Karen Becker and Rodney Habib here from an extract I noted in a blog by Amy Marshall which says, "If vegetables, let’s say hypothetically, were hurting a dog’s pancreas (since the argument is that dogs cannot digest plant matter and adds stress to the pancreas) …Purina would be responsible for death by pancreatitis of 20 billion animals on the planet just from the vegetable content they put in their foods.” BARF Rolls.jpg I personally believe that nutrients locked in vegetables and fruits bridge gaps in nutritional requirements of our dogs. Speaking of the Cranial Cruciate Ligament damages due to Manganese deficiency in the P.M.R section above, I must mention that, a small addition of pureed Spinach, blueberries at times to the diet provides a sufficient level of manganese making it a very ligament supportive diet. Even grass-fed animals consume food from soils which have depleted nutrients. The nutrients available in the soil today are no longer the same as what they used to be in the past. And hence animals grazing in these fields tend to be deficient in those nutrients.

My preference:

Hence, I prefer to fill in the gap by supplementing as much as 10% of the diet with vegetables and fruits and other forms of supplementation. Also, I recommend as part of feeding a B.A.R.F diet one must also feed RAW Meaty Bones (RMB’s) 2 times per week. You might wonder which feeding model is best for your dog. Try both! Adopt one after you feel that it is the best one for your dog. Also, go with what is economically viable for you. Most importantly, it should suit your pet. Remember, rotating as many proteins as you can is the right way forward with RAW feeding your dogs. There have been issues raised that the level of pesticides in the vegetables and fruits from India are very high and that we would be exposing our dogs to these pesticides. The same stands true for us humans as well. So whatever precautions one takes with their own foods must be applied for the fruits and vegetables for their dogs as well. Some of you might feel that the Prey model is rigid because it focuses on the natural way of functioning and doesn’t include plant matter. And the rest of you might prefer it. Those who try a DIY BARF diet, must strictly follow rotation in protein meats, vegetables, fruits along with a bi-weekly supplementation with R.M.B’s to unlock the true potential of this diet or else will meet with a lot health challenges following this type of a diet. At the end of it all, both the PMR and BARF basically works with a healthy rotation of proteins in the right quantities and what works for your dog.

It's finally Your choice:

At the end of it, if your pet is healthy while eating natural food, you will not have the stress of dealing with his poor health issues. As long as we stick to Raw Feeding it doesn't matter what type of model we are using. We are feeding a species appropriate diet which is the best for our dogs! I would love to hear from you guys on which diet you're feeding your dog and how it's working for you. Our communities will benefit from sharing tips and experiences. Write to us and hey Happy Feeding !