Building Blocks of BARF

The dog is an omnivore with a carnivorous background and it’s also a hunter and a scavenger. Therefore, its diet should consist about 60 – 65% raw meaty bones and the rest should be made up of offal, mineral supplements, crushed raw vegetables and fruit. In the case of the cat, it is an obligate carnivore and hunter. The bulk of its food should be from animal sources i.e. about 75% of raw meaty bones and 15% of offal. Crushed vegetable material and mineral supplements should form the balance. 


Because there is no practical way we can exactly duplicate a dog or cat’s Evolutionary Diet, the solution is to mimic that diet – as closely as possible – with substitute foods. The Evolutionary Diet relies on raw foods because it delivers nutrients in a unique and essential way.


Note : Dogs and cats are physiologically different from us humans. It is actually health-promoting for them when they derive their energy requirements from proteins and fats – NOT carbohydrates.



Ingredient # 1 – Water


Dogs and cats (especially) are designed by evolutionary pressures to find the bulk of their water from food. However, most modern pets eat a dehydrated (dry) food product. This is another biologically inappropriate feature of processed pet food and is the cause of much ill-health in our pets, including kidney disease and/or ‘stones’ in their urinary tract.


Ideally, water should be from a healthy source, such as spring water. Our tap water contains chemicals which may harm our dogs in the long term.


Ingredient # 2 - - Raw Meaty Bones




Raw meaty bones form the central and major food source in the Evolutionary Diet of our pet animals. It is the failure to feed raw meaty bones as the bulk of their diet that to a large degree, compromises the health of modern pets.


Raw meaty bones are the one single food item that could be considered an almost nutritionally adequate (complete & balanced - to most people) diet for our pets.


A diet containing raw meaty bones from a reputable source, even if it is not organic, will always produce far superior results to a diet based on cooked grain. They also play a major role in maintaining the health of our pets’ immune system, mouth, teeth and gums. 


To maximise our pets’ health, we should supply our pets with proteins that mimic the protein eaten by their wild ancestors and cousins. From a modern nutrition standpoint when assessing a food as a protein source, the food has to supply adequate levels of protein, the correct balance of essential amino acids and allow optimum digestibility/availability of the protein.


The proteins from raw meaty bones are superior to that of modern processed pet food in every way. It is not heat damaged, it is easily digested and assimilated, it is NOT derived from rendered animal products, grains or legumes and most importantly, it is high in balanced levels of essential amino acids. Basically, protein from raw meaty bones is of a high biological value.


Our pets’ bodies are designed to use bones as their main source of minerals. They’ve been doing this for thousands of years. This is another reason raw meaty bones are the perfect staple for our modern pets’ diet. 


Raw meaty bones deliver a balanced supply of minerals, including calcium and phosphorus, in a unique and irreplaceable way. The 2 minerals needed by our pets in greatest abundance are calcium and phosphorus (in the correct ratios) and raw meaty bones will provide you with that. For optimum health, there are other minerals like zinc, magnesium, iodine, manganese, selenium, iron, chromium, etc., which your dogs and cats require.


Fats are an essential and biologically appropriate part of our pets’ healthy diet. Fat is a major source of energy in the Evolutionary or BARF diet and fatty acids take part in major bodily processes. Raw bones, especially from chicken and pork, will supply the bulk of our pets’ fat requirements. However, with farm animals that have been fattened on grain, their fatty acid profiles may not have the optimal profile for our pets’ health. Therefore, it may sometimes be necessary to supplement the BARF diet with fats or oils (see Ingredient # 5 below).


Beware of fats found in processed pet food or the oils on supermarket shelves. The both supply heat-damaged fat of poor biological value. This type of denatured fat causes massive biological damage, which actively promotes degenerative diseases in our pets.


Ingredient # 3 – Raw fruit and Vegetables


Domestic pets require carbohydrates to be supplied in a similar manner and balance as their wild ancestors and cousins. Please note that from an Evolutionary Diet’s perspective, it is health-promoting that dogs and cats derive their energy requirements from proteins and fats, NOT from carbohydrates. 


For dogs, that means feeding approximately 15% and cats around 5% of their diets as fresh, raw and (mostly) non-starchy vegetables and fruit. This is to mimic the long-term intake of vegetable material derived mostly from the gut contents of wild herbivores, small mammals, birds or insects. 


Raw vegetables and fruits play a vital role in the good health of dogs and to a lesser extent, cats. They contain health promoting soluble and insoluble fibres, only small amounts of starch and some simple sugars. More importantly, they are full of essential (to health) nutrients like enzymes, nutraceuticals, phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and even essential fatty acids. 


Please note that raw vegetables must be TOTALLY crushed before they become available for digestion and assimilation and therefore, nutritionally useful and health promoting. 


Ingredient # 4 – Offal


This is very important food for your dogs and cats. Raw offal is a valuable source of nutrients including water, protein, essential fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, together with valuable nutraceuticals/anti-ageing and anti-degeneration factors.


The offal fed should be fresh and raw. It should come from a reputable source and be free of parasites. 


Ingredient # 5 – Supplements


It sometimes becomes necessary to supplement additional ingredients to the four basic BARF ingredients listed above. There are a number of valid reasons why you would choose to supplement. These include the polluted nature of today’s world, the low mineral content of the soils on which certain foods have grown, and variability in the needs of individual pet animals. This variability can have many causes including inherited factors, particular life stages and the presence of a disease state.


Supplements commonly used include healthy oils, probiotics, minerals, vitamins, proteins, enzymes, nutraceuticals, phytochemicals, anti-oxidants and anti-ageing factors.


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