Homemade diets

What is the BARF Diet for Dogs? Tips and Example Menu

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: April 16, 2019
What is the BARF Diet for Dogs? Tips and Example Menu

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Have you ever heard of the BARF diet for dogs?

The acronym stands for "Biologically Appropriate Raw Food". This term is used because not all food types are appropriate for a dog's health; you must always keep it in mind. Even though these types of diets have many detractors, there are more and more people jumping aboard the BARF bandwagon and offering their dogs the diet invented by Australian vet Ian Billinghurst.

If you're planning on giving raw meat to your dog, you should first do some research to ensure that you don't cause any dietary deficiencies or health disorders. Do you want to know more? Keep reading this AnimalWised article to find out all the details what is the BARF diet for dogs with the help of some tips and an example menu.

You may also be interested in: A Natural Diet for Dogs
  1. What is the BARF diet and what foods does it include?
  2. Advantages of BARF diet
  3. Disadvantages of BARF diet
  4. What food can be included in the BARF diet?
  5. An example menu of the BARF diet

What is the BARF diet and what foods does it include?

Many experts agree that dogs are not omnivorous animals, despite what many owners believe. Just like wolves, wild dogs exclusively feed on meat, providing them with a nutrition which is high in protein. However, this doesn't mean dogs can't eat other types of food and adapt to different diets.

With this in mind, the BARF diet for dogs consists of 60% bones with meat and muscles, 25% only meat and a final 15% of fruit, vegetables, eggs or viscera. This is all raw, that is, uncooked. This is a different diet that doesn't include any added conservatives, cereals or wheat, as dogs don't actually require these kinds of food.

However, giving your dog the BARF diet is not an easy task, since it takes time, effort and a conscious effort to do some research. The owner needs to evaluate and understand a dog's necessities to ensure that their pet doesn't suffer from any dietary deficiencies.

What is the BARF Diet for Dogs? Tips and Example Menu - What is the BARF diet and what foods does it include?

Advantages of BARF diet

The BARF diet for dogs makes their immune system stronger and healthier. Some followers of the diet say that all of this leads to other benefits for the animal, such as:

  • Decreased allergies and other diseases.
  • Increased physical activity.
  • Fresher breath and cleaner teeth.
  • Decreased body fat and improved strength.
  • Shinier fur.
  • The dog will love it, especially if you provide them with a variety of food - all of which must be natural and fresh.
What is the BARF Diet for Dogs? Tips and Example Menu - Advantages of BARF diet

Disadvantages of BARF diet

It goes without saying that some poorly informed owners can cause deficiencies when employing the BARF system. Here we'll show some of the problems that can arise if applied incorrectly:

  • If you don't know how to properly balance and vary the food you can cause nutritional deficiencies and thus harm the dog's organism.
  • Food that is not fresh can cause bacterial infections in the animal's intestines.
  • Your dog may suffer a broken tooth or an obstacle in the digestive system. In order to avoid this serious problem, which can be fatal for your dog, one option can be to chop up all of its food in a mincer.
What is the BARF Diet for Dogs? Tips and Example Menu - Disadvantages of BARF diet

What food can be included in the BARF diet?

When we talk about meat with bone, we're refering to bird wings and neck, pork carcasses, lamb chops, etc. The ratio should be 50% bone, 50% meat. You can also add fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and anchovies, all whole.

Raw viscera includes chicken, lamb or cow heart, chicken gizzards and poultry, cattle or veal liver. Kidneys are also admitted.

You should finally include a small amount of other foods such as oils and animal fats, some fruits and vegetables, raw eggs, yogurt, cheese, some rice, bread or wholegrain oats.

We remind you of some foods that you should never give your dog:

  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Avocado
  • Raw beans

Here you can learn more about the forbidden fruits and vegetables for dogs.

What is the BARF Diet for Dogs? Tips and Example Menu - What food can be included in the BARF diet?

An example menu of the BARF diet

Below we will provide you with an example menu for the BARF diet for dogs. Before you start giving your dog raw food you should first visit a vet and check that your pet is in perfect physical shape. You should also ask the vet or nutritionist for specific recommendations for your dog in particular.

The secret of the diet invented by the Australian Ian Billinghurst lies in the variety. Therefore, don't forget to combine different meats, fish and some fruits or vegetables.

What do you need for a daily ration for a 30 kg dog?

  • 300 grams of raw, meaty bones: You can use chicken necks, beef ribs or lamb chops.
  • 100 grams of minced meat: Chicken, turkey, lamb or fish.
  • 50 grams carcasses: Intestines, heart, kidney or chicken gizzards.
  • 50 grams of vegetables: Carrots, pumpkin, spinach or broccoli.
  • 1 raw egg with the shell or a natural yogurt without sweeteners.
  • 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil or salmon oil

As you can see, we've given you various options for developing the menu. Choose the ones which you think your pet will enjoy and mix it all up with lots of love - they will surely enjoy that!

You also need to know...

All this food combined makes up around 500 grams of raw food that you will need to divide into 2 or 3 portions per day. All of this will aid the dog's digestion.

If your dog isn't used to it, we suggest that you start introducing the BARF diet little by little, and not all in one go. Here you can find a guide on switching dog food step by step.

You should also take special care with the bones, either chopping them in the mincer or asking your local butcher for help. You can also slightly cook the meat in the frying pan as long as you don't use oil or salt, which will make your dog more likely to accept the food on the first attempts.

What is the BARF Diet for Dogs? Tips and Example Menu - An example menu of the BARF diet

If you want to read similar articles to What is the BARF Diet for Dogs? Tips and Example Menu, we recommend you visit our Homemade diets category.

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Thanks for this informative post. Do you have citations or references for the statements made about nutrition? I would like to follow the research myself where possible.
I started my dogs on the BARF diet about a year ago. I had made the switch from dry food after a friend had suggested that my dog could benefit from eating raw food. Since the switch I've seen an increase in energy as well as a shinier coat and healthier teeth. I highly recommend this diet to anyone who is considering it!
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What is the BARF Diet for Dogs? Tips and Example Menu