BARF Diet: What is it? What’s the plan? Model Diet, Balance, Benefits, Costs and Considerations

Feeding raw diets (biologically appropriate raw foods) is becoming increasingly popular among dog owners.

Feeding with a raw diet is controversial and not recommended by many licensed veterinary associations.

This is due to the lack of evidence that it is beneficial and the risk of infection, especially for people. Those in favor of a raw food diet argue that the diet is similar to what a dog would eat in the wild.

What is the plan with the BARF diet?

Why do more and more people change “normal” dog food? Think of the large bag of dry croquettes you buy at the supermarket or pet store, a raw diet for your dogs, whether they buy it or do it at home.

What is the point? Well, we will get there, and we will see that, although some celebrate BARF as a return to nature, not everyone thinks that BARF is the best of ideas. But let’s not get ahead. First let’s see what the BARF diet is like.

One of the things you will notice is that the “Raw” in BARF does not really mean that everything is really raw. It might be easier to think that “raw” in this case means “unprocessed” instead of “uncooked.”

There are dozens (maybe even hundreds) of online recipes for homemade BARF meals for your dog, but almost all include some combination of the same ingredients.

In addition, commercially available BARF foods are typically simply pre-packaged cans or bags that also contain minimally processed combinations of the following foods.

  • Chicken, pork, veal, lamb, turkey or other uncooked meats.
  • Bones uncooked, mashed, cubed, grated.
  • Vegetable juices and some fruits, especially sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, peaches, apples, peas, broccoli and others.
  • Some of these, such as sweet potatoes and turnips, are cooked and then crushed.
  • Boiled eggs.
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Nutritional supplements such as Vitamins B and E, Zinc and Probiotics.

Should you feed your dog with a BARF diet?

The BARF diet is a popular and responsible choice for your pet. But there are some factors that you should keep in mind before following this route.

It is a sensible principle. Dogs and cats should be nourished with the nutrients that their bodies are designed by nature to thrive.

But proper nutrition for the species can not be found in the vast majority of commercially available pet foods, a fact that many knowledgeable people are realizing.

BARF (Biologically appropriate raw food diets, or bone foods and raw foods) are based on the principle of natural nutrition.

This diet generally consists of feeding ground beef with a supplement of calcium or edible bones (for example, chicken wings, backs and necks) that can be fed whole or ground, viscera, eggs and fish, mashed vegetables and a small amount of fruit, as well as the necessary supplements to balance the diet.

Do you want my dog ​​to eat what? BARF? That’s gross!

Quiet. It is not what you are thinking. BARF is really just an acronym that, depending on who you ask, means “Bones and raw foods” or “Biologically appropriate raw foods”.

In the veterinary community it is often referred to as Diets based on raw meat, RMBD. You can follow the BARF / RMBD diet by preparing meals at home or buying BARF meals commercially available at the store or online.

Model prey diet

A diet of whole-grain raw pet foods is sometimes also called a ” prey model ” diet . This is because it is based on the type of food that is generally provided to the canine or wild carnivorous feline cousins ​​of our pets in the form of an average prey animal.

There are two ways to feed a model prey diet:

The first way is to feed creatures of intact prey. This means feeding whole animals, destemmed, with things such as skin, feathers, scales, skin, heads, organs, glands and entrails, etc.

The second, more common method is affectionately known in the rough feeding circles as the ‘Frankenprey’ feeding model and is composed of a set of pieces and pieces of raw pieces of boneless meat, raw fleshy bones and raw organs.

These parts are supplied, with the passage of time instead of at each meal, in the approximate proportions found in the dam. These approximate proportions are:

  • 80-85% unprocessed boneless meat.
  • 10% raw meaty bones.
  • 5-10% raw organ meats, at least half of which consists of raw liver.

Keep in mind that these proportions are approximate, and as such, should only be used as general guidelines. In other words, they are by no means intended to be considered rigid rules.

It is also possible to combine the two feeding methods, prey meals and using the ‘Frankenprey’ feeding model the rest of the time.

BARF for the balance

In nature, dogs and cats consume small whole prey (such as moles, field mice and mice), but selectively eat larger prey, sometimes leaving behind the stomach and entrails.

For this reason, a BARF diet is recommended over the prey model. When canines and felines consume intestinal content, they receive a rich dose of their prey’s diet, which passes through the food chain, including finely chewed herbs and berries.

Feeding foods that mimic the intestinal contents of a prey provides sources of phytonutrients, antioxidants, enzymes and vitamins that are not found in muscle meats, and are very beneficial to the overall health of our peers.

Start by adding certain carefully selected foods and supplements that provide optimal and balanced nutrition . Instead of feeding the carnivorous viscera that are in whole prey, give an “intestinal replacement” of pureed vegetables and probiotics.

The guts may contain parasites that adversely affect the health of your dog or cat. A plant replacement is guaranteed free of parasites.

Regardless of how you decide to feed your partner, it is always important to do some homework first.

The BARF diet is a fundamentally excellent option, but it is advisable to find out about possible drawbacks and benefits, so you can ensure that your best friend enjoys optimal nutrition.

Why do some people change their dogs to the BARF diet?

There are two main reasons pet parents give to switch to BARF.

# 1: Dogs are mainly carnivores, so let them eat as carnivores!

Evolutely speaking, dogs are, in fact, carnivores. After all, tens of thousands of years ago there were no dogs; there were only wolves. Have you ever seen a wolf eat wheat grains or eat corn on the cob? No, they’re out there ripping the flesh of a rabbit or a deer.

So, does it make sense for your dog, which evolved from the wolves, and probably dig into the venison if you had the chance, to eat processed foods largely made up of grains? The defenders of the BARF diet say no.

While dogs can and should eat some vegetable materials, vegetables and fruits instead of grains, dogs should eat mostly meat. It is not “raw protein” but real meat, uncooked, unprocessed.

# 2: Considerably processed food can not be better for dogs than it really is for us

We have all been warned about the negative effect that highly processed foods can have on our health. If it’s true for us, is not that also true for our dogs?

In the same way that our bodies were not made to survive on pre-packaged and highly processed foods that are full of preservatives, corn syrup and fillings, neither did the bodies of our dogs.

You may think that BARF is similar to a dog version of a paleo diet or whole foods. The less processing, the better.

Possible benefits

  • The coats of the dogs seem to be brighter. This is probably due to higher levels of fat in raw diets.
  • Weight review (gained or lost) may be easier.
  • It is quite common for dogs with unexplained chronic diarrhea to improve with raw diets.
  • Some cases of skin also improve.

Dogs probably have intolerances to the ingredients in commercial diets that are not found in foods prepared in the home.

How to make the change to raw foods, for pets

In this article, we examine in detail the reality of feeding your beloved furry companions with raw foods.

A gradual change from commercial diets to raw foods is essential.

In cases where a food allergen is eliminated by feeding a diet of raw food, the inflammation of the intestine can take up to eight weeks and you can see the benefits in terms of feces and coat quality.

With respect to dental health, it takes weeks or months of chewing to remove existing calculus and expose clean teeth.

Some caution should be exercised if the dog has preexisting gum inflammation or periodontal disease.

Heavy chewing may further inflame the gums and provide a point of entry for bacteria from the dirty mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause sepsis.

Working hard with your pet involves much more than just going through the croquette of raw meat. The correct combination of meat, bones and organs should be used to ensure the optimal health of your pet and the general adjustment to the change.

In addition, the economy of feeding your pet with raw food is discussed. Is it really possible to do this on a tight budget? What quality of meat do you need to buy and where is the best place to get these items at an affordable price?

Putting together the diet of raw pet food

Gathering a raw pet food diet is neither difficult nor complicated, and is actually quite simple and straightforward.

All that is required is a practical understanding of the theory behind the prey model diet, a bit of pre-planning.

Also a little more time and effort than just opening a can or bag of processed and cooked pet food and putting it in a bowl and having ample space in the freezer makes all the effort infinitely more viable.

The easiest and most convenient way to combine these raw pet foods is by:

  • Relying on a freezer for the storage of raw food.
  • Variety of different types of boneless meat, bones and raw meaty organs.
  • Thaw enough food for the pet as needed before serving time.

Variety is key to pet foods, raw and healthy

Ideally, it is best to feed your pet with the greatest possible variety of different raw foods.

When choosing the ‘Frankenprey’ model, choose parts and pieces in the form of boneless meat and organs of beef, chicken, lamb, pork, rabbit, duck, game hen, goat, bison, deer, ostrich, kangaroo, etc.

Cut boneless meats into food-sized portions and choose the ones that are the right size for your pet and freeze them.

Although ground beef can be used occasionally, it is best to feed our pets mainly with whole unmilled raw food.

This is because they are only minimally processed raw foods, which require the animal to use its teeth and jaws to gnaw, tear and tear it, which provides the type of natural cleansing, flossing and stimulating actions essential for the promotion of optimal health

Raw diet for puppies

It has been shown that the more unadulterated raw foods we consume, the better our health will be as a result.

This is the same change in diet that is also suggested to promote optimal health for pets.

With the recent expansion of dietary concepts for pets that focus on an evolutionary feeding regimen, pet owners now have a way to give their pet animals the best chance to stop the deterioration of their pet’s overall health.

Why feed your puppy with a raw meat diet:

The main culprit of the decline in canine and feline health is the ingestion of an inadequate diet, caused by the inclusion of grain-based ingredients in pet food.

This has led to the development of unwanted degenerative diseases, obesity and skeletal developmental problems.

Skeletal problems are usually the result of rapid muscle and bone growth.

Feeding a puppy with a natural diet of raw foods that is biologically appropriate is the key to fostering gradual skeletal growth and promoting the healthier reproductive abilities of the adult dog.

Providing a well-balanced raw diet for puppies will help reverse existing conditions, as well as prevent future diseases and skeletal problems.

Transition from a puppy of breast milk to raw milk:

Converting the conversion to raw material becomes a matter of learning the right combination of ingredients to give your pet maximum nutrition.

Having a basic understanding of how heat processing (cooking) is detrimental to the final product is also important.

You must feed the mixture of ingredients naturally obtained from Mother Nature, in the right proportions, so that your pet really experiences the benefits of being fed with bones and raw foods (BARF).

The best time to convert your puppy to a raw and appropriate diet for the species is in the 4 to 5 week stage.

This is a critical moment in the development of the skeletal framework, so the importance of allowing gradual development is the critical factor.

To achieve the desired growth rate of your puppy, you should only feed enough food to maintain a moderate growth rate of approximately 75%.

Enter the mix of raw dog foods and eliminate processed grain-based diets; If the mother has also been given adequate nutrition from raw foods, there will be an adequate supply of nutrients from the milk.

How to make the change of meals for puppies:

We offer two suggestions for the presentation; quick change, or slow focus. Most puppies (which have not yet been influenced at this point with dry dog ​​foods with improved flavor) can be converted to a raw dog food diet with a rapid change approach without incident.

The young puppy often takes the new diet as a duck to the water. However, we offer suggestions for a slow conversion for any puppy that has developed gastrointestinal problems in the past, mainly due to inadequate intake of dry dog ​​food.

It is also important to note that feeding a diet of raw meat, which is rich in nutrients, eliminates the need to have separate formulas of “puppy”, “adult” and “older”; instead, the control of the portion is used throughout the different stages of the life of the animals.

This is totally different from the commercial pet food industry’s attempt to adjust the lower nature of its dry pet food ingredients to fit the various nutritional requirements for each stage of life.

Costs of feeding raw foods to your pet

It is important to remember that just as choosing better quality foods for ourselves and our families can cost us more day to day.

But it really is a long-term investment in our health that pays off, also feeding our pets a healthy diet of raw foods is also an investment in their long-term health.

Many people who are knowledgeable about health today understand that regular consumption of cheap, low-quality foods can cost us much later in life.

For those with vision in the future, it is easy to see how feeding our beloved furry companions with raw food, instead of relying on cheap and low-quality commercial pet food, can result in a significant reduction in the veterinarian’s accounts. throughout their lives.


There are arguments for and against feeding raw diets. Many people cite the high grain content in commercial dog foods and argue that dogs were never designed to eat grains.

While owners should be aware of the quality and quantity of grains in dog food, it is not true to say that dogs should not eat grains.

The digestion of a dog is more evolved than that of the first ancestors of the wolf. In addition, when a wolf killed, all parts of the carcass were eaten, including the intestinal content of herbivorous animals and shepherds, thus exposing them to grains.

Studies also show that 25% of raw food samples contained salmonella or listeria.

These are serious infections that are transmissible to people. The handling of raw meat or feces of dogs that eat raw diets exposes the owner to a risk of infection.

This is especially true for people with weaker immune systems, such as the young, the elderly or those receiving chemotherapy.

In fact, this is the reason why many important veterinary associations discourage the feeding of raw foods.

Prevention of BARF diet in dogs

While the claims about the benefits of feeding raw diets are persuasive, it is important to know that to date there is not a single scientific study that supports the claims made for the BARF diets.

In addition, raw foods pose a considerable risk of infection to both the dog and the owner.

It is also important to remember that although raw meats are said to be closer to the intended diet, wild dogs that consume that diet have a shorter life expectancy than domestic dogs fed a premium commercial feed.

Currently, many important US veterinary organizations. UU., The United Kingdom and Canada do not recommend the feeding of raw diets to dogs.

How to make raw diets safer

Here are some easy ways to reduce the possibility of damage:

Do not use poultry:

Meat testing at the retail level shows that lamb and meat have a Salmonella contamination rate of only 0.1 to 0.6%. That’s not zero, but it’s much better than 38%.

Our meat inspection and hygiene system generally works well, but not for chicken. Raw minced meat is also more likely to be dangerous and it is better to avoid it too.

It has been shown that raw commercial BARF diets using poultry are also contaminated by Salmonella.

Buy only human grade meats:

The entire human supply chain from the farm to your home is strictly regulated. The excellent manufacturers will clean their equipment meticulously, they will only use quality meats, they will comply with the best dates and they will practice a strict hygiene.

Wait until adulthood:

Growing animals have a much higher risk if the diet is not balanced. Adults can be much more flexible without harm.

Do not feed only the meat:

Too many raw diets are essentially just meat diets and treatment. That’s not good. Dogs are adapted to an omnivorous diet more varied than their wolf cousins.

Add rice, but if you do not want to use grains, try the pumpkin, carrot, peas or sweet potato. You can also add fruits with the exception of grapes. Also feeding raw bones to most dogs.