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A guide to BARF – Raw Food Diet for Dogs

BARF – Raw Food Diet for Dogs (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) is a feeding method that gives your dog all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids and enzymes they need – not only to survive – but to thrive! To get a balanced ratio feeding the raw food diet for dogs, the main bulk of the diet needs to be muscle meat – either chicken, lamb or beef are the usual types available, although many more can be obtained. This meat is usually available in mince or chunks, both are ideal.

Another essential inclusion in any raw food diet is organ meat. Liver, Kidneys and Heart are the most easily obtained and around 10% of the diet should be made up of this, of which around only 5% should be Liver. Although Liver is an essential part of the diet, it should only be fed in small quantities due to it’s very high Vitamin A content. An ideal way to feed Liver, is to cut up small amounts and mix into the mince. Alternatively, lightly cook the Liver, cut into small treat size pieces and use as training treats.

Feeding bones is a very worrying topic for a lot of dog owners, and is probably the main reason why we do not feed raw diets. But it is essential to include a small amount of bones in the diet. These can be chicken or duck wings, the necks or whole carcasses, or chicken thighs, lamb ribs, turkey necks, duck necks or beef meaty bones.

Fed raw (never cooked), meaty bones are a fantastic food for your dog, providing a range of vital and natural ingredients, such as calcium and phosphorus, especially if fed as bones with plenty of meat on! The bones will be crunched up by your dog along with the meat, providing a workout for your dogs mouth and resulting in healthy gums and fantastic teeth that are free from plaque.

Try and match the meaty bone to the size of your dog – don’t give a small chicken wing to your Great Dane – or a large chicken carcass to your Cockapoo! Large bones which can be obtained such as marrowbones, are purely recreational to provide stimulation and help boredom. These are not the same as the meaty bones which are a food source.

TRIPE – dogs absolutely love! It is the stomach of a grazing animals such as cows or sheep, and is usually available in minced form. This should be green tripe not bleached, however the downside of tripe – is the smell – which does take some getting used to. But dogs love it, and it provides so many benefits to the diet, that it should outweigh the smell! The same digestive enzymes used by the cow or sheep to digest food are present in the tripe, and these enzymes do more than just aid digestion, they improve metabolism, purify the blood, remove toxins, and naturally boosts the dogs immune system.


Your dog can also obtain good nutrition from including vegetables in the diet. Broccoli, Spinach, Carrot or Kale can all be included, but the best way to include these is to pulp them raw in a juicer, and add to the tripe or meat mince 3 to 4 times a week. Or slightly cook and mash to a pulp then freeze and defrost as required.

As you can see this diet revolves around meat, animal proteins and animal fat – this is what nature has designed your dog to eat – not grains, rice or potato or other carbohydrates.

However, dogs are natural opportunists and never turn down free food, so if you supplement this diet with occasional table scraps or they steal your toast, this should not harm their digestive system.

Also your dog will happily eat the occasional egg, or small amount of fruit, along with fish such as sardines or mackerel.

Feeding this diet to your dog will result in a healthy dog with all the following benefits.

  • Fantastic Coat
  • Healthy Skin
  • White Teeth with Healthy Gums
  • Strong Boosted Immune System
  • No Weight Problems
  • No Stinky Poo’s!
  • No Anal Gland Issues
  • No Allergy Problems


Feeding your dog a raw diet does not require exact measuring or weighing, it is actually very simple and you will feed as if feeding yourself. However, as a guideline we suggest the following daily menu based on a medium sized 20kg dog….

MORNING: Feed 2 meat bones such as chicken wings or duck wings.
EVENING: Feed 400gms meat mince* including 2 tablespoons of pulped vegetables.
FOUR TIMES A WEEK: Add a small amount of Liver or Kidney (approx 50gms) to each meat mince meal.
TWICE A WEEK: Add 1 raw egg to the meat mince (or give separately).
ONCE A WEEK: Replace a meat mince meal with approximately 400gms of fish (Sardines or Mackerel).
OCCASIONALLY: Give some chopped fruit as a treat.

* Meat minces can be varied to include beef, tripe or lamb – as can the morning bones to include lamb necks or duck necks.

It is always best to visually look at your dog and increase or decrease the amounts accordingly. Your dog should have a clear waistline that can easily be seen. You should easily be able to feel their ribs, with just a minimal layer of fat over them. There should be a noticeable tummy tuck and the waistline should be visible when viewed from above. See left diagram

We will gladly help you get started on a raw diet for your dog with all the advice and help we can give, just visit us instore 7 days a week, or call us on 01270 586250 or message us via our Facebook page.