BARF Dog Food

Are BARF Dog Food Diets Safe?

BARF dog food seems to be all the rage these days. Essentially it's feeding your dog a raw food diet. This is supposed to be closer to what wild dogs eat, and hence healthier because it does not contain any processed ingredients.

What Does BARF Stand for?

BARF stands for "biologically appropriate raw food." This acronym was first created by Ian Billingshurst, an Australian veterinarian. This acronym could also stand again for "born again raw feeders", or "bones and raw food."

Typical Diet

When feeding this diet, it's typically made up of 60-80% raw meaty bones, and 20-40% of fruits and vegetables. Also normally eggs and other dairy foods are also included.

BARF History

Barf diets go back to the 1930s, when a holistic approach in pets was started by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. Other people who had a hand in the creation of this movement includes Ian Billingshurst and Debra Tripp.

The Benefits Of BARF

People who push barf dog food diets claim that it is healthier for the dogs because it's closer to a natural diet, there are no preservatives, artificial preservatives or colors.

Although few scientific studies have been done, some people claim that dogs on this diet are healthier.

Dangers of BARF

In one study it was found that 80% of raw diets tested were positive for Salmonella. Also raw diets can contain other parasites as well that are normally killed during heat processing like tapeworms.

Should I Feed BARF Dog Food?

Because of the risk of contamination, and dubious claims on its health benefits, feeding this diet is not recommended. Remember, just because big pet food manufacturers are vilified by raw diet enthusiasts, doesn't make BARF diets a best alternative.


It's very easy for people to point to one or two non-scientific studies done in order to support their positions. Remember due to the anonymity of the Internet, people can post almost anything they want to about raw dog diets.

This does not make them true, and making these false statements is often dangerous. The most dangerous aspects of feeding a BARF diet is zoonosis.

Zoonosis is where humans contract disease from an animal. And in this case humans can contract Salmonella and other parasites from dogs eating a raw food diet.

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