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BARF: Bones And Raw Food Diet

Updated on May 13, 2011

BARF Dog Diet

Although, "BARF" sounds rather disgusting for a diet for your dog, it actually stands for "Bones And Raw Food." Essentially, this is the new controversial dog diet that suggest that feeding raw meaty bones, some vegetables, and a nutritional supplement is the ideal diet. Basically, the BARF diet is supposed to stimulate what a dog would eat in the wild.

The typical BARF diet may include:

  • Raw Meaty Bones: Chicken necks, backs, thighs and rib cage. Ox tail, pigs feet, and other pieces.
  • Raw Mixed Veggies: Broccoli, carrots, peas, and other raw vegetables.
  • Nutritional Supplement: Such as Dinovite Dog Supplement which supplies the dog with trace minerals and nutrients.
  • Other: You may find that some BARF diets may contain a starch, such as brown rice or oatmeal. Although, some believe that excess starches can cause allergies and yeast infections, so many just avoid starches altogether.

Flickr Image by rottnbully
Flickr Image by rottnbully

Benefits of the BARF Diet

Teeth & Breath- Your dog will have improved breath and cleaner teeth without having to brush them or visit the vet as often to have them cleaned.

Skin & Coat- Skin problems will improve, if not disappear altogether. You'll notice your dog will have a more thick, shiney, and overall healthy coat,

Immune System- Because your dog will get a good balance of essential fatty acids and nutrients, the risk inflammatory conditions and other infections will greatly reduce as your dog's immune system will strengthen.

Degenerative Disease- Your older dog will have fewer problems with any degenerative disease.

Stool Volume & Odor- You'll notice firmer stool and normal anal sac emptying because of a better immune system. You will also notice that your dog will "go" less.

Arthritis- Dogs with arthritis experience fewer systems and better mobility.

Lean Body Mass- Your dog will lose excess weight by increaseing his muscle mass becasue his metabolism will increase on the BARF diet.

Other benefits can include:

  • Cheaper dog food- commercial diets can be costly.
  • Better growth rate for puppies.
  • Better development of the jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles.

Disadvantages of the BARF Diet

With any diet, there are going to be disadvantages along with advantages. The following are common problems with the Bone and Raw Food Diet.

Convenience/Time- Because the BARF diet is much more involved, you will have to research proper food and nutritional values, which can be time consuming on its own. But, you'll also have to prepare these meals, which means chopping meat and grinding vegetables. It's just not going to be nearly as simple as commercial dog food.

Mess- There is going to be mess. You'll have more pots, pans, and accessories to wash, not to mention your hands and work space.

Travel- It's going to be hard to go on vacation with a dog on the Bones and Raw Food diet. You won't find a kennel who will be able to provide special treatment to your dog, and it'll be pain to carry the diet with you, although ziplocking the food before hand can help a little. For the most part, the main option is a pet sitter, but then you have to wonder will the sitter give your dog the same care as you do in terms of his diet?

Costly- Because you have to purchase more foods to go into the dog's diet, you're goign to be spending more than you ever will on one bag of dog food or a case of canned food.

Flickr Image by kristenwtrs
Flickr Image by kristenwtrs

Feeding Your Dog Chicken Bones

Dog owners hear all the time how bad chicken bones are for dogs to eat. Well, the truth is that raw chicken bones are fine for your dog to knaw on because they are soft enough so that they bend and break down easier for the dog. Whereas, cooked chicken bones can become very hard and brittle, splintering off as the dog chews the bone. NEVER give yoru dog a cooked chicken bone!

Technically, raw chicken bones can kill your dog, but your dog can also die from choking and sufocatin on dry dog kibble.

There is always a risk, so before you decide what diet to feed your dog, do your research and weigh the pros and cons.

Bacteria Concerns of Feeding Raw Meat

You will find that there is bacteria everywhere, but because your dog has a great immune system, he can manage the bacteria on raw meats without a problem. In history, a dog's immune system was designed to eat bacteria, so even though you can find E-coli, salmonella, and other bacteria on raw meats, especially chicken, your dog can safely eat it.

If you think about it, those same bacteria are on your kitchen counters, sinks, floor, and everywhere else.

Just make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly before and after feeding yoru dog the raw meats because the human digestive system isn't as robust and healthy as a dog's.

Jerry Eats Raw Chicken

Jerry Eats Chicken Wings


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    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      12 years ago from Georgia

      ShibaShake, you're right that by making your own diet, you know what your dog is eating. The only concern is if you purchase bad or tainted meat. This is a diet That I'll definitely be considering for my next pup. I just can't swing my parents to let me try it on MIA.

    • shibashake profile image


      12 years ago

      Hi Whitney, there is some great information here.

      Another benefit of the raw diet is that commercial pet food may sometimes be tainted because their ingredients may not be properly inspected. With the raw diet you are using human grade food, so there are actually much better controls.

      You make a very good case for switching to a raw diet. Now you got me thinking about it :)


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