View Full Version : Barf

Andrea&Diva´s mom
22nd April 2007, 04:08 PM
Hi hi everyone
Does anyone here feed there dogs BARF ?
I have been reading alot about the BARF and it seem to be a good option for Diva because of her allergy.

I would like to know what you think about it...

And if there is someone there who is feeding BARF please let me know what you are feeding.. do you often give raw meet bones ? what kind of vegetable do you feed ? And what kind of experiance do you have, only good or some bad too ?

For you who wants to read more about BARF :





22nd April 2007, 11:50 PM
Hi Grima

I am not feeding BARF but I do give my dogs some raw meat & some raw meaty bones. At the moment the only bones my little dogs get are raw chicken necks. They also get beef & chicken minced up. They don't seem to like lamb, and here in Australia game (venison, rabbit etc) isn't a popular meat, so they don't get that. For raw fruit & veg, my dogs favourites have been grated carrot & apples. They will tolerate most greens (with the exception of peas) provided I grate it up and mix it through the meats.

23rd April 2007, 12:08 AM
It is a diet that is somewhat involved to feed and does have risks. Raw feeders will feel -- sometimes very strongly! -- that the benefits outweigh the risks. But some -- especially many vets -- feel otherwise. You also need to be very careful in handling the raw food yourself and washing hands and all materials (counters, dishes etc) that touch the raw food, as there are risks to humans of salmonella and other microbes that can cause serious illness.

I fed mostly barf for a good while and didn't see any difference one way or another to anything else I have fed, nor any big teeth-cleaning benefit, but people with allergy-prone dogs do say they find it can be a good diet for those dogs (it isn't the only choice though). My own experience is: I nearly ended up at the emergency vets at 3 am wth Jaspar when he got increasingly sick many hours after having a chicken wing. Just as I was ready to take him he vomited up a barely digested piece of chicken wing with two very sharp bones sticking out of it. Since then, I have been very unsure about the risks as he could easily have punctured his stomach or intestine on those bones and I consider it a small miracle that he didn't. Also this was 10-12 HOURS after he ate the wing and supposedly this is supposed to be all digested in that time. Since then I have fed chopped up wings, or raw necks, from time to time, but I have still found sharp bones in their stools from these (neck bones have caused some rectal bleeding for Jaspar for example) so at the moment, weighing up the risks, I feel I do not trust raw bones that are easily chewed like this. I would give raw marrow bones if I could get them... but no one has them!

If you are considering BARF be sure to read both pros and cons and decide if this is the right diet for you.

I suggest going here:


And scroll about 3/4ths of the way down and there's a section on barf that includes links to pros and cons.

I'd also recommend getting some proper nutrition books on this topic and not rely only on websites or links. There's no ability to tell how much people actually know that post to some of the boards and sites -- it is good to learn as much as you can from the people who know this topic and THEN use the boards etc for additonal ideas, help and so forth. Most of the barf sites will have a list of recommended reading, such as the Lonsdale, Billinghust, Schulze, Pitcairn books.

23rd April 2007, 01:56 AM
I feed raw, but I don't feed raw meaty bones. I feed my two NV Medallions, frozen green beans and pumpkin along with their supplements. I was feeding a Chicken Soup kibble/wet mixture and switched to raw to see if it would help with Katie's frequent ear problems. I have seen a difference in her ears. She does not scratch nearly as much as she used to. And, they both love their food. They also get EVO grain free treats from time to time.

This is kind of gross, but one other thing to keep in mind (in addition to everyone else's advice) is that you also have to be careful picking up their poop due to the presence of bacteria. :grnyuk:

23rd April 2007, 03:50 AM
You also need to be very careful in handling the raw food yourself and washing hands and all materials (counters, dishes etc) that touch the raw food, as there are risks to humans of salmonella and other microbes that can cause serious illness.

Is this the case with human foods in your country or just pet quality foods? Here in Australia we are very careful handling pet quality raw meats (i wont use it), but due to our extremely high laws regarding food handling, human grade raw meats are very safe. In fact it is not uncommon for my husband to come along and steal some raw meat that I am chopping for dinner & scarf it as is. :yuk: So far his only risk to life & limb have been from me chasing him out of the kitchen with my very sharp chopper. :D

23rd April 2007, 10:15 AM
I posted somewhere else about the high levels of salmonella in commercial raw chicken in the EU and US and beef is also considered at risk. It is very hard to avoid contamination in mass production abbatoirs.

There is a known illness that passes between dogs and cattle that can kill dogs who ingest it throough raw beef -- I know one of thr studies showing high levels for this in dogs was from Australia, and there was a well known study on greyhound deaths from being fed raw. Raw advocates will disagree with those types of studies (also the one that shows dogs eating raw diets pass large amounts of salmonella in their feces -- which is a public health concern). But I have yet to see anything more than an amateurish 'that just isn't true because the study is flawed' response come from the NON-scientists feeding raw as opposed to the sceitific analysis in such studies done by people who actually are experts in the field. That is what makes me uneasy.

For all those reasons I just felt that for *me* (and again, this is a personal perspective), there isn't a clear enough indication of lack of risk; and I know of vets -- including holistic vets -- who do not feel a raw diet, with or without bones, is safe. I'd rather brush my dogs' teeth myself than risk a punctured intestine and death from a sharp bone fragment, and I do know of examples of the latter.

Everyone's comfort levels and assessment of risk varies, but I do think people need to investigate raw very carefully, both to be sure to work out a balanced diet and to be aware of the known potential risks.

23rd April 2007, 10:32 AM
I'll have to dig around & see if I can find some information, because the topic is very interesting. I know that the hydatid worm is a horrible thing that dogs can get from the offal of beef & pigs. Typically the farmer would butcher his beast & throw the innards to the dogs, that would eat the worm infested offal, do his droppings, which vanished into the soil & then the children would play in the area and get the worm. It is a particularly horrible worm.... not just your itchy bum kind. Kind of an Alien horror story.

23rd April 2007, 10:34 AM
BTW here is an excellent piece that ran last year in Salon.com: really looks at both sides of the raw argument in great detail:


Here is one study that shows that bacteria and viruses were present in 25 commercially-available (in N. America) raw diets analysed by this team of researchers and some were then excreted by dogs in their stools.


Twenty-five commercial raw diets for dogs and cats were evaluated bacteriologically. Coliforms were present in all diets, ranging from 3.5 × 103 to 9.4 × 106 CFU/g (mean 8.9 × 105; standard deviation 1.9 × 106). Escherichia coli was identified in 15/25 (64%) diets; however, E. coli O157 was not detected. Salmonella spp. were detected in 5/25 (20%) diets; 1 each of beef-, lamb-, quail-, chicken-, and ostrich-based diets. Sporeforming bacteria were identified from 4/25 (16%) samples on direct culture and 25/25 (100%) samples using enrichment culture. Clostridium perfringens was identified in 5/25 (20%) samples. A toxigenic strain of C. difficile was isolated from one turkeybased food. Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from 1/25 (4%) diets. Campylobacter spp. were not isolated from any of the diets.

From the conclusions:

A variety of potential enteropathogens of both animals and humans were identified in the commercially available raw diets evaluated in this study. While adequate information regarding the health risks associated with feeding raw diets is currently lacking, scientific and anecdotal reports suggesting a risk are on the increase (12). Concerns regarding infectious disease associated with raw diets involve both animals and humans. For animals, the issue is exposure to enteropathogens with the possible development of disease, particularly salmonellosis and clostridial diarrhea. For humans, the risk of exposure to pathogens via direct or indirect contact with animal feces, or via contact with raw diets, must be considered, particularly with Salmonella spp., as fecal shedding of Salmonella spp. present in diets has been identified in dogs (6,11).


Coliform numbers in food samples are used as an index of sanitation (16). The coliform level in all diets was in excess of the maximum allowable level of 1000 CFU/g for raw meat set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (17). The presence of E. coli and other coliforms in food samples most likely indicates fecal contamination (18,19); however, contaminated equipment or incorporation of meat from animals with E. coli bacteremia or septicemia could also be a cause. Enterohemorrhagic E. coli O157 is a cause of serious illness in humans, who can be infected with a dose of as few as 10 organisms (20). Specific culture for E. coli O157 was not performed in this study; however, the high E. coli levels identified here and identification of this organism in a homemade raw diet in a previous study (9) suggest that raw pet foods may present a risk to humans. The risk of disease in dogs and cats from exposure to E. coli in food is unclear; however certain strains of E. coli are recognized enteropathogens in these species (21).

Isolation of Salmonella spp. from 20% of raw diets was of concern, but it was not surprising, based on earlier reports. Salmonella sp. is a recognized pathogen of a variety of species, and salmonellosis has been reported in dogs and cats fed raw food contaminated with Salmonella spp. (7,11,12). Subclinical fecal shedding of Salmonella spp. by dogs fed raw diets has also been reported (6,11), creating the possibility of zoonotic transmission of disease via direct contact or through environmental contamination within households. Salmonella spp. can also be isolated from certain raw meat products intended for human consumption. In one study, Salmonella spp. were identified from 7.5% of ground beef, 44.6% of ground chicken, and 49.9% of ground turkey samples (4). The high prevalence of Salmonella spp.contamination of meat intended for human consumption should not be used as a reason to dismiss the significance of its prevalence in raw pet diets, because meat for humans is cooked prior to feeding.


There is currently inadequate information regarding the safety of raw diets in terms of both animal and human disease. However, considering the variety of infectious and potentially zoonotic pathogens identified here and in other studies, the potential risks must be taken seriously. Given these safety concerns, the absence of any scientific data indicating beneficial health effects of raw diets, and nutritional deficiencies that have been reported with such diets, it is difficult to recommend their use at this point.

For those feeding raw, they suggest using a 10% bleach solution on anything comes in contact with raw -- immediate cleaning of all prep bowls, hands, utensils, dog bowls after each feeding, counters etc. For me, these kinds of statistics make *me* feel raw is not worth the risk, given that so little except anecdotal information shows dogs do well, much less better, on it.

23rd April 2007, 11:02 AM
BTW here is an excellent piece that ran last year in Salon.com: really looks at both sides of the raw argument in great detail:


Very interesting & thought provoking article.

Here is one study that shows that bacteria and viruses were present in 25 commercially-available (in N. America) raw diets analysed by this team of researchers and some were then excreted by dogs in their stools.


Yep, this one, I am thinking if one goes from dry kibble to commerically prepared raw (or cooked for that matter) food, then they just run the risk of transfering the problem. I just happen to be particularly suspicious of anybody handling my food. People screw up! I know we can't avoid some handling. Even a fresh apple got picked, cleaned, packaged, shipped, unpackaged & shelved, so it got handled by god knows how many people. But my philosophy is that I want the least amount of people handling my food as possible. I am starting to feel that way about my dogs food too.

23rd April 2007, 02:52 PM
I think from the article that the context in which the meat gets contaminated is actually in between the facility where the animals live -- often there's a very high rate of things like salmonella in the environment, the animals excrete it because they are in contact with it, etc; and then that is trnasferred to the processing environment in abbatoirs. So the meat itself already has all the microbes when it is then prepared into commercial raw food, but would also be in the meat when it is bought fresh from a supermarket. Feces being a source of contamination would come from a slaughterhouse environment where feces would be transferred around -- remember the animals are being gutted and so on and some of the offal would have feces on/in it. It is well known that some of thise are in food intended for human consumption as well but as the article notes, people cook the meat first which kills the microbes.

Small organic farms where animals have access to the out of doors and are then slaughtered locally should have a lower level if any level of contamination I should think. Don't have time to look for comparison studies as this and tomorrow are my work deadline days but might go back and look at this.

If people are (rightly) concerned about rice gluten and so forth I think people also should be aware of studies like this that show every raw commercial diet tested contained e.coli, salmonella and other microbes. That means these things are also being excreted into people's back gardens and on the street. I have no doubt that these cause gastric problems in some dogs and that immuno-compromised dogs could be at risk on an all-raw diet. At all times, they are a serious human risk especially to anyone immuno-compromised, small children and the elderly. So handling at home needs to be very meticulous.

24th April 2007, 05:19 AM
Hi Andrea and Diva's mom.

My Charlie is on Raw. He has been on it for about 2 months now after suffering from allergies. I did a lot of reading on it, and talked to others that feed BARF, and decided to try it. Charlie loves it!

Right now I buy my raw food in prepared packages, typically Arusha and Urban Carnivore. I just tried the lamb and tripe by Red Dog Blue Cat, which Charlie also enjoyed. Charlie is currently on Chicken, Lamb, and Rabbit. I usually feed chicken one day, Lamb the next, Rabbit the next... With each meal, I also add in home prepared juiced veggies and fruit. I just add raw carrots, celery, bok choy, romaine lettuce, blueberries and apples into the juicer, then freeze them in ice cube trays. I then pull one out per day, and add it to his meal. Dogs can't properly digest vegetables and fruit, which is why it is best to process them in a blender or juicer so they can pull all the nutrients. I also feed him chicken meaty bones which are completely ground up chicken and bones, so he can get that calcium without fearing choking on a bone.

I gave Charlie his first recreational raw bone...a smaller sized lamb shank from Urban Carnivore. After barking at it for a few minutes, he finally realized he could chew on it. He loved it. I was told never to give him cooked bones, nor anything smaller that he could possibly choke on. I was recommended to give him chicken necks, which apparently is soft and easily consumed. I'm always worried about Charlie choking on something, but it isn't the bones...its everything outside that he finds that I'm worry about.

Charlie goes to the bathroom less now, with nice firm poos, since he is digesting most of the food he eats. He is scratching a lot less and is quite frankly, very healthy. People can't get over how silky his coat is, but I can't attribute that necessarily to his new diet since he is still fairly young. He also had this eye issue, where it would swell up, like he was bitten by bee, and that has since completely disappeared.

I am very careful about washing his dishes and preparing his food, just like I am when I prepare our meat. I feel much better about feeding him raw, especially after all the recalls lately. I also feel that he is getting better quality digestible nutrients then what it is in the dry dog food. It is definitely not as easy as feeding dry, but this works for us.

What ever you decide, just be sure you are comfortable with it and that it works for your family.