BARF, Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding or Bones and Raw Food.

Hey, fellow pet lovers! 

Apologies if this post isn’t as good as usual, I’m not feeling too well at the minute and think I have a bit of a cold and need to rest up!! I was having a brainstorm on what to write about last week and realised I haven’t done a post about raw feeding in a little while so I thought I would do one

  • Explaining what BARF stands for?

  • How to feed a BARF diet to our canine and feline friends.

  • What the difference between a BARF and Prey Model Raw diet is?

  • And lastly, mention some of the many benefits of feeding our companion animals a raw food diet. 

A lot of you guys will already know that all my girls are fed a raw diet and I think that feeding our pets a species appropriate diet is the best way to ensure they live a happy and healthy life, with many years by our side.

Let’s jump straight in and understand everything we need to know about the BARF diet! 


The BARF Diet

What does BARF stand for?

BARF is an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding or Bones and Raw Food.

It is one of the two models of raw feeding and is the least strict out of the two. I would say it is the most commonly fed raw diet between Prey Model Raw and BARF. I and my partner feed the girls following both of these models and Pooss and Lily fall more on the BARF side, whereas Nia eats a lot more whole prey.

Even though this method is the least strict out of the two, I would say it is the slightly harder one to get right since it’s your responsibility to ensure your pet is getting the correct ratio of muscle meat, bone, and offal. BARF feeders make their pets meals by sourcing separate components of different animals and putting them together to mimic the correct ratio that their pet requires.

We started our raw feeding journey by feeding the BARF model for Nia and then solely started to introduce whole prey as the years went on. However, Lily and the Pooss are too fussy to even humour the idea of eating whole prey. Lily will occasionally eat a whole chick or the ears of a rabbit but that’s been it so far, and the cat just outright refuses!!

There is no doubt in my opinion that providing our companion animals with a diet that is easy for them to digest, is suited to their genetic makeup and is as close to what they would be eating in the wild is the smarter option, rather than feeding them an overly processed commercial diet filled with a myriad of nasty ingredients. Feeding a BARF or Prey Model Raw diet is the best approach for ensuring our beloved pets live a happy and healthy life.

Now we know a little bit about the BARF diet let’s learn how to feed our furry friends following this raw feeding model.


How to feed a BARF diet to our canine and feline friends?

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Feeding your pet a raw diet is so simple and the BARF model is really easy to get your head around, all you have to do is work out how much you need to feed your pet each day, source your pet’s raw food and then prepare it.

To start your pet on a BARF diet you first need to work out how much to feed them each day and this is super simple. In our raw feeding section, you can find everything you need to know about Raw Feeding Percentages but I have stuck the BARF percentages in this post just to make it easier.

So a lot of people worry and get really stressed out when they are first starting or even considering raw feeding because they aren’t sure how much they need to feed their pet.

The truth is it is so simple!

The basic percentages for feeding your pet is worked out in relation to their ideal expected body weight.

You should feed your pet 2-3% of their ideal expected body weight per day. 

My girl Nia’s ideal body weight is about 15/16 kilos.

1% of 15 kilos is 150 grams x 2 is a total of 300 grams a day.

1% of 16 kilos is 160 grams x 3 is a total of 480 grams a day. 

Therefore she gets between 300 and 480 grams a day, it all depends on how much exercise she has done and also how lean or plump she is looking.

For the BARF model of raw feeding, you will feed your pet,

  • 70% Muscle Meat.

  • 10% Raw Meaty Bones.

  • 10% Organ Meat (5% of this must consist of liver!)

  •  10% fruit, veg or dairy such as kefia, goats milk or other appropriate diary sources, not cows products. 

As you can see feeding the BARF method of raw feeding couldn’t be simpler and if you don’t want to constantly give your pet veg, fruit or dairy then simply follow the Prey Model Raw percentages and fluctuate between. You don’t have to get too caught up on the feeding percentages but do loosely follow these percentages when first starting out, if you need to increase or decrease your pet’s bone or do the same with any fruit, veg or dairy then that is fine.

Just ensure your pet is getting a mixture of everything they require such as raw edible meaty bones to provide them with all their calcium and phosphorus needs, enough organ meat and always feed them 5% liver. Organ meat is like multivitamins for our pets and is an essential part of any raw food diet. And lastly, watch your pets fat intake, never really feed more than 10% or more of their overall diet.

As long as you provide your pet with a varied diet of

  • Fresh Muscle Meat.

  • Edible Meaty Bones.

  • Organ Meat and 5% of this must be liver!!

  • Feed fish once a week.

  • Lastly, Adjust accordingly and keep a close eye on your pet’s stools.

Most people assume raw feeders know everything from the get go but the truth is you learn as you go, adjust accordingly and as odd as this sounds start looking at your pet’s stools to give you an indicator if your feeding too much or to little bone or if you need to increase or decrease your pet’s organ intake.

Now we know how much to feed our pets when following the BARF model, we can move on and find out what the differences between a PMR and BARF diet are?


The differences between the BARF and Prey Model Raw (PMR) methods of raw feeding?

There are two differences between the two main models of raw feeding and these are

  • PMR feeders don’t believe it is acceptable to feed their pets any dairy, vegetable or fruit matter and no supplementation.

A Prey Model Raw feeder believes that our pets are true carnivores and that they don’t require any fruit, veg or dairy matter in their diet.

Therefore they feed strictly whole prey or if they cannot get hold of enough whole prey then they still feed the Prey Model Raw method but piece together different proteins to mimic feeding whole prey, this is called Franken Prey feeding. 

An example of this is feeding a whole chicken from the supermarket with some rabbit pelt on the side and organ meat to mimic feeding a whole animal.

  • Feeding Percentages are slightly different.

Since PMR feeders don’t feed their pet’s any fruit, veg or dairy then the feeding percentages for this model differs slightly.

If you were going to feed your pet following the Prey Model Raw approach to raw feeding then you would give them

  • 80% Muscle Meat

  • 10% Raw meaty bones

  • 10% Organs & Offal (5% of this must consist of liver!)

I plan on doing a post that talks about the Prey Model Raw Diet in detail like this post has for the BARF model of raw feeding but for now, if you want to learn more about the PMR method then head over to epoch.pet’s raw feeding page, Prey Model Raw (PMR).

If you are interested in starting your pet on a raw diet then you should certainly get this great little book Honey’s Natural Feeding Handbook for Dogs. After reading this post you should check out my previous book review above, to learn more.

To order this informative little handbook which has been so useful over the course of my raw feeding adventure, simply follow the link below.

Honey’s Natural Feeding Handbook for Dogs

*By purchasing through this link you are supporting epoch.pet as we get a small amount of commission, with no extra cost to you. This money helps keep the blog up and running and allows us to purchase pet products to review on our site. I only ever review products that my girls have tried and tested and that I think are great!

The last thing to talk about is why should we feed our pets a raw diet and what are the benefits of doing so?


Why feed your pet the BARF model of raw feeding?

This is a great question to ask yourself and if you haven’t already then you should do so, some of you might be wondering what are the benefits of feeding a BARF diet?

There are so many benefits when it comes to feeding your furry friend a raw diet, one of my first ever posts on the blog was The Benefits of Feeding a BARF or PMR diet. If you haven’t checked that one out then head over there after reading this.

Let’s quickly recap on a few,

  • Raw feeding provides your pet with all their nutritional requirements.

variety of herbs and vegetables
Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

Raw feeding is one of the best feeding methods for ensuring that your pet is getting all of their nutritional requirements to stay strong and healthy.

By feeding a diet of fresh produce and a mixture of various meats, fruits, veg and dairy you are providing your pet with a diverse range of foods to support a varied and healthy gut microbiome.

  • Raw feeding gives your dog (Or cat) a diet that is suited to their genetic makeup.

If you haven’t read my post on Can dogs eat raw meat? then you might not be aware that your pooch is very similar genetically speaking to a Grey Wolf. In fact, they share 98.8%  of the same genetic makeup with their wild counterparts.

By feeding your pet a raw diet you are providing them with the best diet for their biology and are giving their body the best chance to be as healthy as possible.

  • Your pet will have more energy on a Raw diet.

My girls are so energetic and for the most part they always have been, literally Lily has a never-ending supply of energy and since getting the girls their Xdog Weight and Fitness Vests their energy levels and stamina seems to be increasing each week.

When you feed your pet a raw diet that is easy for them to digest and can help their body perform at it’s best, then your pet will have way more energy than if they were eating a normal commercial diet of canned wet food or dry kibble.

  • Eliminating health conditions that could arise from a food intolerance or Sensitivities.

Something that a lot of pet owners talk about and have issues with is their pets suffering from various skin conditions or ailments relating from food sensitivities. Commercial pet foods are filled with numerous fillers, grains and nasty ingredients which don’t do our innocent pets any good.

By feeding your pet an all natural diet you are eliminating negative health conditions that come with feeding an overly processed commercial diet and know everything that is going into your pet’s food.

  • Healthy teeth and gums.

When you raw feed your pet some of their diet consists of raw edible meaty bones and these are nature’s toothbrushes for our furry friends. My girl’s teeth are wonderfully clean and we have not had a dental problem with them at all, they are both still young dogs but with barely a mark on their pearly whites, we are expecting it to stay this way into their senior years.

Despite the clever marketing, dental sticks are not the best or the healthiest way to ensure your pooches teeth stay clean. Most are actually filled with some nasty fillers, preservatives and harmful ingredients, so sticking with natures ways are much better!

  • Strengthened immune system.

Your pet will have a strengthened immune system by feeding them an all natural diet and in turn be a healthier and happier pet. This will mean fewer vet trips and more money you can spend on making your pets life better.

  • By feeding the BARF method you have easy access to raw food.

The last thing to mention about feeding the BARF method is that you have very easy access to raw food, unlike when feeding the Prey Model Raw method where it can be a bit tricky to get hold of enough whole prey to solely feed your pet for the whole month.

When feeding the BARF model of raw feeding you can easily mix various proteins and not have to worry about not being able to source enough raw food for the month. To make matters even easier you can buy pre-made raw food which follows the BARF percentages. Which means all you have to do is lift your pet’s food out the freezer, defrost and then simply feed your furry friend with no fuss.

It literally couldn’t get any easier!!

There are so many places to get raw food for your pet and one of the places we order from is Durham Animal Feeds, they are a great company and are super cheap which is handy if you have a hungry pack to feed. Or you could go to your supermarket or local butchers to get your pet’s raw food and then prepare it yourself, which a lot of raw feeders do but I find it so much easier to just order from a raw feeding manufacturer.

Both options are great and even changing between the two is handy if you don’t always have the time to prepare your pet’s food.

To learn more about raw feeding check out my other posts


I hope you all liked learning about the BARF method of raw feeding and if anyone is interested in starting their pet on a raw diet do get in touch and I will happily help you start your raw feeding journey.

If you haven’t checked out last Saturday’s post then head over there now as it is a tasty treat recipe that your pooches will love, Homemade Dehydrated Turkey Jerky, treat recipe.

Thanks for checking in and be sure to follow/subscribe to the epoch.pet to never miss a post and follow us on social media, or get in touch with us on Facebook @epoch.pet

Weekly posts every Tuesday and Saturday!

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