The Only Way is BARF

I believe the best way to start this post is by answering one essential question: “What is BARF?”. This is what I typed in the Google search engine when we first got George and were looking for advice on the best things to feed him, so it is the obvious starting point for a discussion about dog nutrition.

First of all, BARF is not a word, but an acronym. It is essential to remember this when you search the term on the Internet, otherwise you may come to the wrong conclusion that I’m urging you to feed your beloved pets “vomited food”. In actual fact, BARF stands for “biologically appropriate raw food” or, in simpler, less fancy words, “bones and raw food”. Hopefully, the vail is now lifted and you get a hint of what this BARF thing is all about: feeding your dog (or cat) a raw diet in accordance with their physical needs, the way nature intended it.

This is the core concept on which the entire BARF diet is based: give dogs raw food instead of the processed alternatives that are commercially available on supermarket and pet shop shelves. Raw food includes – as you’ve most likely guessed – fresh meat (either minced or in chunks), offal, bones (either whole or ground with the meat) and an array of fresh fruit and vegetables. The idea is to feed your dog a healthy diet which will not only tickle their taste buds but will also improve their health, condition their coat, put a sparkle in their eyes and generally increase their alertness and zest for life.

There is extensive evidence on the Internet regarding the benefits of a natural raw diet. There are people who have dedicated a lot of their time to researching this subject, conducting studies and quantifying the benefits that this diet has had on tens of thousands of pets, and the results of their research are easy to find at a click of a button. Here are two of my favourite online resources on the subject: Barf World and the UK Barf Club , both brimming with information that will quickly set you on the right track. If you prefer the smell of fresh print and the feel of a page, then the two books any raw feeder would recommend are Give Your Dog a Bone and The Barf Diet  by Dr. Ian Billinghurst, who is the promoter of the concept and the owner of the ‘Barf diet’ trademark.

Over the next few weeks, my Friday posts will focus on presenting they way in which we have adapted and use the principles of raw feeding to suit our dog’s needs and tastes and, very importantly, to suit our family. I will provide a detailed guide to George’s diet, in the hope that it will help other dog owners decide that this is the right choice for them.



Filed under Health, Nutrition

11 responses to “The Only Way is BARF

  1. I love the way you have undertaken to do what you think is best for your dog.
    Having a healthy pet animal, in my view, is also the ingredient to having a happy dog and a happy dog, I believe, is the most wonderful of things.

    Good luck with your dog and may you have many wonderful adventures together.

    At some point, I will write one or two blogs about my, sadly no longer with me, pet and friend Ben.

    By for now,


    • Hello, John, and thank you for the comment. I completely agree with you about a healthy dog being a happy dog. And yes, when George’s happy, we’re all happy 🙂
      Thanks for the nice wishes, too. George is still a young boy (not 3 yet), so we’re looking forward to many years of fun and adventures with him. You mention your friend Ben whom you’ve sadly lost. I really feel for you, I don’t even dare to think about losing George. He’s my first ever dog, so I can only imagine how devastating this experience can be. On a more positive note, I think you writing a few posts about Ben would be one of the nicest tributes you could bring him, and I would definitely be interesting in reading them.
      Thanks for stopping by, John.

      • Thank you for your kind comments. I also look forward to hearing more of your wonderful stories about your pet.

        I have received and e-mail, from one of my friends, about a pet that was treat very badly and the animal went to an animal rescue centre in the hope of re homing the poor thing but the dog had other ideas and now looks after every animal that is brought into the centre. At the moment, it is looking after a Roe Deer.
        Isnt that wonderful?
        By for now.

      • Yes, I do think that’s wonderful. I’ve always admired the ability that abused dogs have to still trust and love people and, occasionally (like the dog you’ve mentioned), look after and nurture other creatures. Not long ago I heard of a bitch whose pups had died and she was nursing a little kitten she had adopted. I find these stories moving and a good lesson for us, the ‘superior race’.

  2. lifewith4cats

    I love the way you introduce this. I’m gonna follow along. I am sure there is a dog in my future that will be glad I did. I am looking forward to pictures to.

    • Hi, Sara, I was hoping you’d see this, I did think of you when I wrote it because I knew you were interested in BARF. You know that I’m writing these posts about nutrition from a dog’s perspective, since I don’t know much about cats. However, I know this diet can be adapted to cats, you just have to research it a bit more.
      I think what you said: “I am sure there is a dog in my future that will be glad I did” is so, so sweet. That dog will definitely be a lucky one to live with you. I intend to put some photos on the next posts, don’t worry. They may not all be what you’d expect (taadaa – suspense ;)), but they’ll be there.

  3. I love reading food tips because I’m in the process of experimenting and moving away from commercial pre-packed food and treats myself.

    I tried feeding Rufus and Jordan [dog before Georgia] BARF and they literally barfed. For them, raw meat and bones now and then was all good. but as an everyday diet, their tummies did not do well. I wonder what that was all about, but am too nervous to try it again with Rufus’s many digestive issues!

    • That’s great news, good luck with the change, I’d be interested to know if you find it liberating like I did.
      I’m no expert, but I wonder if what made Rufus and Jordan react badly to the raw food was that they switched too quickly? Especially if they were fine with it once in a while. I remember that it took weeks to move George from feeding both commercial and raw food to raw only, not because he didn’t like it, but because he got an upset tummy if he had too much of the new stuff in one go. However, I know people who stick to the best complete they can get for their dogs’ main meal and only supplement it with raw for the other meal(s). That’s fine, too, everybody is free to choose what they think it’s best for their dog. Since Rufus has digestive problems, I understand your cautiousness. If he’s got a diet that suits him, it makes you wonder if it’s worth trying to change it and mess up his system. I would most likely be equally worried if George had any issues like that. I wouldn’t know what to advice on this, but you may find some useful information on this site: They specialise in herbal supplements and homeopathic medicine for pets, for a wide range of problems. Even if you’re not interested in buying, they give a good description of each of their products and what they’re good for, with ingredients, etc. so just reading them could give you a hint of how you could help ease Rufus’ digestive problems.

      • It’s past 1am. Rufus is not doing well, his tummy has gone bad again. We have an appointment with the vet tomorrow. Am keeping him company tonight so thought I’d finally read your BARF series! Have been keeping them aside to read in a bunch.

        I’ve added the dorwest link to my favourites to read another day. THANK YOU! I AM interested in natural supplements and our dogs get a few of them as well.

        Onward to the next post.

      • Oh, God, I’m glad you’re catching up on my Barf posts, but I’m really, really sorry that poor Rufus is not well. I’m hoping that by the time I’m replying to your comment you’ve both been able to go to bed 😦
        It’s worth reading the Dorwest website, as you may be able to find a few ideas of how you could help Rufus with his pancreatitis. They’re really friendly people, I’m sure they’d reply to an email if you asked for their advice or more information about their products.

  4. Pingback: Guide to My Little Dog’s Barf Diet: Offal | my little dog

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