The three main types of pet foods readily available to pet owners are:
- BARF diets (stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, or Bones & Raw Food),
- Kibble (Dry Food), and
- Cooked food.
Each has advantages and disadvantages; the best choice for your pet will depend on their needs and tastes. Barf vs kibble pros and cons are important factors to consider for all pet owners who are considering what the best option to feed their pet is. Let’s explore what these are in simple terms so you can make the best-informed choice.
What is BARF?
A BARF diet consists of raw, unprocessed food, including meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables. The main advantage of a BARF diet is that it is more natural and biologically appropriate for pets. However, it requires careful preparation and handling to ensure the food is safe.
- Natural & preservative free
- Mimics the diet of the wild, ancestral lineage of dogs & cats
- For more information, check out our 8 Benefits of BARF Diets article
- It can take some time to transition from other diets. Read our Raw Feeding Guide to learn how
- If you DIY, it takes careful preparation, handling and knowledge
- It may not be suitable for pets with certain health conditions
What is Kibble?
Kibble is dry, processed food that is convenient and easy to store. It is usually made from a combination of meat, grains, and other ingredients and is available in a wide range of flavours and formulations.
- The Barf vs Kibble cost, it is the most affordable option
- It is convenient to source
- There are plenty of different brands and optionsF
- It may not provide as much nutritional value as other types of diets, and some pets may not enjoy the taste or texture.
- May contains grains, cereal or other manufactured fillers which has no nutritional value to your pet and can cause stomach upset & allergies
What is Cooked Food?
Cooked food is another option for pets, and it can be prepared in various ways, including boiling, baking, or grilling. Many sources tell pet owners that homemade food is superior to commercial products. Whilst no scientific proof supports this claim for homemade diets, whole ingredient-based diets are undoubtedly better in the long term.
- It can be flavourful & easier on the stomach of some pets
- It may appease picky eaters or certain food intolerances
- It may be better suited for pets with certain health conditions
- Owners have control over what goes into their pet’s food
- Cooked food may not provide all the nutrients pets need, as cooking food at high temperatures can remove some of the beneficial enzymes
- It can be more time-consuming and;
- Expensive to prepare
Why Natural Raw Diets are the Best
You are probably still wondering, is barf better than kibble or cooked food for your pet? We believe it is, but it’s best to try it first & see it first-hand. When food (like kibble or cooked meats) is brought to a specific temperature, the beneficial enzymes and nutrients from the meat are destroyed, meaning your pet loses all the benefits they need for a healthy digestive tract. Without these enzymes, your pet’s organs need to work twice as hard to break down the nutrients in the food they eat.
Most dry kibble brands go through extensive baking and drying processes, so when you feed your pet kibble, you’re feeding them food that will fill them but not provide the optimal nutrients to help support healthy organ function.
Commercial kibble, cooked foods and natural raw food diets differ widely in nutrient sources and ratios (particularly proteins and carbohydrates). These differences have been shown to significantly alter the abundance and diversity of the canine gut microbiota.
As such, feeding a species-appropriate, nutrient-rich diet that more closely resembles the canine ancestral diet would seem to be the sensible approach if we want our dogs to achieve optimal gastrointestinal health and all of the health benefits that come from that.
A growing body of barf vs kibble reviews, research and independent studies show the benefits of feeding a raw diet long term. Here is a great article on raw feeding for gut health that highlights feeding a young puppy raw food or leftovers early in life can greatly decrease the chance of gastrointestinal issues later in life. Check out our Puppy Barf for the best option if you choose to start a subscription with Barf Time.
Which food option should you choose?
At BARF Time, we are big advocates for BARF diets for Dogs & Cats. We have seen first-hand the benefits for our pets, directly and through word of mouth, with friends and family.
A pet’s best diet depends on its needs, preferences, and health conditions. Working with a veterinarian and/or qualified pet nutritionist is important to determine the best diet for your pet and ensure they receive all the nutrients they need for optimal health.
Ensure your vet is also raw-friendly, as many vets tend not to recommend raw diets. There are a few reasons, but the primary fear is that owners may decide not to go with a reputable BARF manufacturer brand and instead buy and prepare raw food for their pets, which may not be a complete and balanced diet.
Whichever method you choose, Barf vs Kibble or Cooked Food, always cater to your dog’s health and nutrition needs. Monitor your pet’s mood, stool, coat, teeth and energy levels for indicators of any dietary imbalances.