Dr.’s blog Vet. Géraldine Blanchard

Not a week without asking what I think about BARF for dogs … Worth an article!

What is this; What is B A R F?

It is not very clear and you can find various explanations for the letters B A R F. One of them is Bone and Raw Food (created by Billinghurt and whose acronym is attributed to Debra Tripp). This is the beginning of a “natural” diet based on raw meat, offal (we assimilate the heart, kidneys, liver … sometimes stomach and spleen), eggs, dairy products, vegetables (often raw) and fruits, and the so-called fleshy bones (hear that we left some meat in the bone)… And often but not always the absence of cereals.

It is about 60% of animal products (50% muscle meat and instrument meat and 50% the so-called fleshy bones) and 40% vegetables, fruits, dairy products, eggs, cereals.

This generally starts from a good feeling of the owner who wants to give his dog a food closer to his carnivorous character …

So where is the problem?

It is healthy and nutritious.


Raw meat or fish pose a higher risk of infection than bacteria more or less pathogenic (eg salmonella, E. coli, clostridia or lyster that can result from handling meat between slaughter and refrigeration or from more household contamination in the refrigerator) killed by cooking. In France, human eating habits still consume raw meat, and health checks allow it. This is especially true for beef. If raw distributed meat is suitable for human consumption, this is not a problem. But when in doubt or when you have frozen or thawed meat, it is best to cook lightly. Cooking at the core at 60 ° C for 2 minutes reduces this risk to health.

Raw meat, even if consumed by humans, may contain eggs pests (Taenia for example, but not only). In this, the risk 0 does not exist except for cooking meat. That’s why we cooked pork. But this is true for all meats. We kill some pests by freezing the meat, but definitely by cooking it (60 ° C in the heart for a few minutes). Maybe we want to make our dog take this risk. But be aware that there is this risk.

Why not cereal on BARF diets? Is the dog a wolf?


In a 2011 study, the Munich Nutrition Group (see Report at the bottom of the page) studied the dietary composition of 95 BARF servings, as given by dog ​​owners.

Pros: There is more often a proper calorie intake that allows optimal weight maintenance of the animal and adequate protein intake (provided by muscle meat, and generally high in the case of dietary BARF) allows maintenance of the muscular system, the coat in any case for the structural part. The contribution of fruit and vegetables (which, however, you should recommend to cook to avoid crossing the digestive tract intact until its exit) makes it possible to transport fiber and water and contributes to passage and digestive comfort.

The least positive points: the devil is always in the details! They are probably essential fatty acids and minerals, vitamins and minerals (what some call micronutrients) … It is the part of the diet that takes up little space, but is essential for good health. long term.

About 60% of the portions studied have at least one deficiency or excess or an imbalance in calcium, vitamin D, zinc, copper, vitamin A…
In the end, only 24% of these BARF portions met nutritional needs.

What are the risks? the most common problems?

– Too many bones : a bone, beef tibia type, per week for a dog, as long as we adjust the size of the bone that is allowed to be eaten by the dog, is not a problem. But beware, if the dog consumes too much bone, what is the risk?

* consumes too many metals and the risk of constipation or intestinal obstruction (this may reach the level required for surgery).

* consumes too much calcium, which reduces the absorption of trace elements (zinc and copper) in the digestive tract and creates secondary deficiencies in the event of data. Zinc is used for many protein compositions. The visible visible part of zinc deficiency is hyperkeratosis, hair loss around the eyes and damage to the connection areas between the mucous membranes and the skin (mouth, corner of the mouth, nose, anus, etc.). Copper is used to make black coat dyes and to make collagen, among other things. A lack of copper is more easily observed in a black coat dog, the color of the coat becomes red.

Chicken-meat-carcasses– Meat and concert carcass... when buying meat, you should not buy a mixture of meat and carcass, because these mixtures contain too many minerals and cannot be balanced.

– Believe that the organs of the organs are all the same or just bring it once a week. The heart is a muscle παρ the liver is a very rich metabolic crossroads (but in variable amounts depending on the diet of the animal to which it belonged) in vitamin A, copper, quite rich in vitamin D and other oligo-elements, rich in calories , protein and iron in an extremely digestible form (also red muscle). The kidneys are rich in trace elements in variable amounts and in purines. The stomach is rich in muscle protein but also in collagen – it is not digestible when it is raw
– Believe that it is necessary to give a raw egg and yolk yes, but white contains anti-nutritional factors, especially that reduce the digestibility of proteins: to avoid, prefer to give a whole egg whose white is cooked… or only two eggs replace 100 g of meat τροφ nutritionally wrong!

– Believe that fruits and vegetables antipasti-mozzawill be enough to provide the missing vitamins … wrong! The needs of dogs and humans are different. Both fruits and vegetables, if selected for several days, quickly lose this benefit. It is therefore necessary to consider adding a supplement of vitamins and minerals, in form and in quantities adapted to the dog!

– Forget the contribution of essential fatty acids: Olive oil has a very good pressure, because if it replaces saturated fats in people, it reduces the cardiovascular risk … in humans! but olive oil does not provide more essential fatty acids than animal fat! And dogs are not at the same risk as humans when they consume fat, on the contrary … apart from certain pathological conditions, they tolerate saturated fat very well! He comes from his ancestors, wolves.
To provide essential fatty acids (linoleic acid = omega 6 AND alpha-linolenic acid = omega 3), it is best to bet on COLZA oil, raw and good quality (if it smells like fish or dogs do not want to consume it, it is that it is oxidized! you prefer to buy small bottles hidden from light, so that they are probably kept in the refrigerator).
or bet everything on cod liver oil … It is very rich in omega 3 long chain (EPA + DHA), but also in vitamins A and D. The exception of these vitamins, if necessary, is also toxic in excess… and excess liver oil from the cat is quite easy to reach a dog. In addition, even fish oil does not provide all the essential fatty acids (not only omega 3 is a very long chain that is useful) … So avoid it.
For EPA and DHA contributions, opt for a wild fish oil from the cold sea (salmon oil, sardines, herring, mackerel …) in a capsule or in a small bottle without air, and not in pump bottles: EPA and DHA are so sensitive to oxidation that by the time you give a quarter of your bottle they are pumped, they will be oxidized and at best useless the worst toxic.

– Believe that the balance of the dividend is balanced for a week is better than balancing every day! Of course, this won’t kill your dog who eats unbalanced food every day (see below), but balancing during the week means giving an unbalanced diet every day δια meditating…

– Do you think that a dog should fast once a week …? It is useful; Where did this idea come from? In 1912, a very scientific study was published, which showed that a dog that had only received water for 117 days had survived. What do we conclude from this? Is the dog tolerant of fasting? For sure! What can be considered an adaptation to survival in times of famine? Rather! What is necessity? If we go back to the wolf’s dietary behavior… The wolf hunts large prey in packages, consumes them as much as possible on the spot and bury the remains, usually the bones with meat scraps on them or zucchini inside, to dig them a few days or weeks later, when there is nothing to eat … This behavior, the dog kept it. Similarly, when there is nothing to eat (there is no big prey for days or weeks), even with the ruins that are buried, fasting resistance becomes beneficial.
A dog is rather a natural neck: “I eat what I can, sometimes tomorrow there would be nothing to eat” … but the companion dog does not have the lifestyle of a wolf! He usually ate the next day … That’s why he doesn’t have to give more than one day, because there will be more the next day!

Why can’t we see much?

A dietary error does not kill quickly! Fortunately, because individuals are adaptable and tolerant. But in the long run, the onset of disease is less common and life expectancy is higher when the diet meets the nutritional needs optimally every day and in good quantity (avoiding being overweight) – there, there are indications! -.

WSAVA (World Association of Small Animal Veterinarians) has published an explanation for veterinarians and pet owners (see here)

How to make BARF without risk?

A portion of BARF without risk for a dog is equivalent to a balanced household diet (meat / fish / replaced by instrument meats from time to time + Vit’i5 + rapeseed oil +/- fish oil + cooked vegetables + starchy foods), with a reasonable amount which means more meat, so it’s a little more expensive), you can add a dairy product (but that doesn’t mean you have to bring a metal and food vitamin, because the need for minerals and vitamins will be better met, a dairy will not meet it it can never be added), a fruit-type delicacy can also be added and a bone is given once a week if the amount consumed is related to the size of the dog.

At cuisine-a-crocs.com, you can find portions of this type for an adult dog, determining that you want as little starch as possible, choose meat / fish, vegetables, starchy foods, add a dairy product of your choice. , and 1 or 2 delicacies, including fruit, for example…

Axelsson E, Ratnakumar A, Arendt ML, Maqbool K, Webster MT, Perloski M, Liberg O, Arnemo JM, Hedhammar A, Lindblad-Toh K. The genomic signature of dog domestication reveals an adaptation to a diet rich in starch. Nature 2013? 495 (7441): 360-364.
Dillitzer N, Becker N, Kienzle E. Uptake of minerals, trace elements and vitamins in bones and raw foods in adult dogs. Br J Nutr. 2011; 106 Supplement 1: S53-S56.
Ovodov ND, Crockford SJ, Kuzmin YV, Higham TF, Hodgins GW, van der Plicht J. An original 33,000-year-old dog from the Altai Mountains of Siberia: proof of the first domestication disturbed by the Last Glacial Maximum. PLoS One. 2011; 6 (7): e22821]

Dr.’s blog Vet. Géraldine Blanchard
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