What Is the BARF Diet?

The BARF diet is a natural diet composed of raw products that can be eaten by both humans and dogs. It does not require greater investment than high quality processed food and the dog will enjoy it much more.
What Is the BARF Diet?

Last update: 27 January, 2019

Have you ever heard of the BARF diet? It stands for the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food Diet, and is, as you might expect, a diet based around fresh, natural raw food for your pet.

What is the BARF diet?

BARF diets consist in giving your animal raw food that is suitable for both humans and dogs. Because they distrust the quality of the processed foods that are currently available, many pet owners are opting for this diet. As the food is natural and unprocessed, it means that they know exactly what their dog is getting.

A natural diet doesn’t necessarily have to cost more money than processed foods, although you do have to be careful to keep it balanced. If you follow it correctly, this diet will provide your furry friend’s palate with more variety than a bowl of processed food.

Broadly speaking, natural diets should be composed of between 60% and 80% of meaty bones and lean meat, and between 20% and 40% of fruit, vegetables, cereals, and offal.

Raw meat and vegetables in the BARF diet.

The percentages vary depending on the needs of each dog. Rather than being led by a strict guide, it is best to test what suits each individual pet.

1. BARF diet recipes: Chicken and rice

One of the simplest dishes that can be included in a natural diet is chicken and rice. Adapt the quantity of food to your dog’s weight and activity level, but the base of this recipe is:

  • A raw chicken carcass (75% of the weight of the portion)
  • Rice (25% of the weight of the portion)
  • Firstly, put a tablespoon of olive oil in a pot, and wait for it to heat up.
  • Pour in the rice, and wait for it to soak up the hot oil as you stir.
  • Pour in water until the volume of rice has doubled and bring it to a boil.
  • Cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes.
  • Mix the cooked rice with the raw chicken carcass, and serve it.

It’s important that the bones you give your dog are raw and are appropriate for the size of your dog’s mouth. If you cook the bones, they could splinter when chewed and cause him internal injuries in the digestive tract.

2. BARF diet recipes: Fish with vegetables

Raw fish is another good option on the BARF diet. If you’re worried about parasites or bacteria, you can freeze the fish first. Some owners also make BARF diet recipes using canned sardines, preferably without oil and with a low salt content.

An open tin of sardines.

Firstly, remove the skin and all the bones that you can from the fish. You don’t want him to swallow one and get it stuck in his throat. Large bones are safe for him to gnaw, but small, sharp bones can be dangerous.

To complement this recipe, you can use seasonal vegetables, whichever ones you have on hand. Unlike the meat, you need to cook the vegetables, as there are some that are difficult for your pet to digest raw.

The ingredients you need for this recipe are:

  • Hake or similar (50% of the weight of the portion)
  • A mixture of carrots, potatoes, red peppers and spinach (the other 50%)
  1. Firstly, clean the fish, removing the scales, skin, and bones. Cut it up and set it aside.
  2. Peel the vegetables and cut them into pieces.
  3. Add the potatoes and carrots to a pot with cold water. Bring them to a boil.
  4. After boiling for five minutes, add the peppers and spinach.
  5. Wait five minutes, turn off the heat, and drain the vegetables well.
  6. Mix them in a bowl with the raw fish, and serve it to your dog.

3. BARF diet recipes: A vegetarian dish

The proportions in BARF diet recipes of meat and vegetables refer to the whole daily portion. This is usually distributed in several smaller amounts throughout the day. So, if you make a dish with only vegetables first, you can compensate later with another made only from meat or bones.

A bowl of chickpeas.

There are several advantages to giving your dog a vegetarian dish two or three times a week. Firstly, it is easier to digest and can prevent any possible stomach problems. Secondly, there are several nutritional benefits in consuming carbohydrates without protein, and your dog will love them.

For this dish, you will need:

  • Potato (25% of the weight of the portion)
  • Chickpeas (25% of the weight of the portion)
  • A mixture of carrots, zucchini, broccoli and Swiss chard (50%)
  • Olive oil
  1. Cook the chickpeas separately.
  2. Peel and cut the potato and the other vegetables into pieces.
  3. Add the potato and carrots to a pot with cold water. Bring to the boil, and let it boil for five minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the vegetables, and boil them for five more minutes.
  5. Drain the vegetables and mix them in a bowl with the chickpeas.
  6. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the mixture and serve it to your dog.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.