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The B.A.R.F. diet. You’ve probably heard of it (and maybe even chuckled a bit at the name). This raw diet was introduced by Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst in 1993. As with other raw diets, the goal of B.A.R.F. is to maximize your pet’s health and longevity and minimize health concerns.

What Is the B.A.R.F. diet?

B.A.R.F. is an acronym attributed to “Bones And Raw Food” or “Biologically Appropriate Raw Food”. Specifically, this type of raw food diet focuses on raw meat and bones, as well as fruits, vegetables, and possibly dairy. The typical breakdown:

  • 60% to 80% raw meaty bones
  • 20% to 40% fruits, vegetables, organ meat, eggs, and occasional dairy
  • Possibly supplements

Most of us can agree that an all-natural raw diet free of fillers, antibiotics, and hormones is the best choice. However, not all raw diets are created equal. For animals, consuming a balanced diet is key to good health.
B.A.R.F. diet for dogs

Possible Drawbacks of B.A.R.F.

Feeding your dog, a balanced diet from scratch can be a complex and time-consuming task. And unfortunately, if you skimp on certain vitamins and minerals, the health issues can take months or even years to surface, making the issue even more complex. There are a number of vital nutrients that your dog requires to thrive and even survive. B.A.R.F. diets risk being unbalanced and that can lead to serious health issues.

The B.A.R.F. diet also has other challenges:

  • Very bony body parts (including necks, wings, and backs) have a high bone-to-meat ratio
  • Supplements may be necessary to achieve balance, which is not the case in other raw diet models

The Ancestral Diet: The Best B.A.R.F. Option

The Ancestral Diet was developed by canine nutrition expert Steve Brown, author of “See Spot Live Longer” and “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet: Healthier Dog Food the ABC Way.” This model emulates the foods that dogs in the wild would hunt and scavenge.

Through in-depth research, Brown has determined that a canine in the wild would typically consume the following:

  • 85% to 90% meat, primarily from whole prey
  • 10% to 15% scavenged grasses, berries, nuts, and vegetation
  • Small amounts of fish and eggs

This model does share some common ground with the B.A.R.F. diet. Both diets are species appropriate. Both feature food that is fresh, raw, unprocessed, and free of preservatives. And both the Ancestral and B.A.R.F. models focus on grain-free food that is high protein.

However, key differences do exist – Rather than focusing on minimums and maximums, Brown believes pet diets should contain optimal levels of nutrients. His research led him to focus on a diet extremely high in protein. “The protein level exceeds all but a few dry and raw foods and all of the homemade raw foods that I’ve analyzed unless the recipes specify very lean meats,” Brown says. “There are few fat animals in the wild.”

Nutritional breakdown of the Ancestral Diet:

  • Almost 50% of calories derive from protein
  • 44% of calories from balanced fats and minerals
  • 6% of calories are from carbohydrates

Ancestral Diet Advantages

Darwin’s, through years of research, has carefully formulated a diet that ensures your pet is getting all the necessary nutrients. These formulas are based on a 6,000-page database and decades of research completed by Brown who used information from the USDA food database, AAFCO standards, European pet food standards, and more to create the optimal raw diet for your pets:

  • Providing your pet with a balanced diet that contains all the necessary nutrients can greatly enhance health and longevity. Dogs who consume a Darwin’s diet (based on the Ancestral Diet) will enjoy numerous benefits: healthier skin, a shinier coat, higher energy levels, healthy teeth and gums, and better digestion, among others.
  • We all want the best for our pets. The fact that you’re taking the time to research raw diet options for your dog speaks volumes! If you have questions about the Ancestral Diet or Darwin’s formulas, feel free to contact us. As always, we’re here to help you choose the best diet for your dog.