The BARF model diet is the most common and popular raw diet for dogs. A BARF diet can be home prepared with multiple ingredients to provide recommended allowances for essential nutrients.
BARF diet feeding ratios are slightly different from PMR diet ratios to include vegetables, seeds, and fruit. Adding vegetables, seeds and nuts, and fruits to a dog’s diet provides many benefits, but prove useful when formulating a complete and balanced raw diet.
BARF Model Ratio Guidelines
It is important to note the muscle meat ratio does not mean to feed muscle meat exclusively. This ratio is a large category containing multiple ingredients such as saturated fat for energy and muscular organs such as heart muscle meat.
Raw Edible Bone
Soft, raw edible bones are an important component to BARF diets to provide essential calcium, phosphorous, and other essential nutrients. The raw edible bone ratio guideline starts at 10% of the overall daily intake.
The amount of raw meaty bones a dog may need to maintain firm and consistent stool will vary. The 10% ratio is a starting guideline. However, many dogs do well on 12% to 15% raw edible bone content. Always adjust according to the dog’s individual needs.
The 5% liver ratio is a starting guideline and this amount of liver provides more than recommended allowances for vitamin A. For dogs who are sensitive to organs, feeding as low as 2% liver will still provide essential vitamin A.
Other secreting organs, such as kidney, are beneficial ingredients in BARF diets to provide essential minerals and water-soluble vitamins. The other organ ratio guideline starts at 5% of the overall daily intake.
Other secreting organs are beneficial in completing essential NRC nutritional requirements for dogs. The 5% ratio guideline is a starting recommendation, and more or less secreting organs can be fed to complete nutritional requirements.
Vegetables are beneficial in completing essential nutrient requirements for dogs. The 7% ratio guideline is a starting recommendation, and more or less vegetables can be fed to complete nutritional requirements.
Seeds & Nuts
Raw seeds and nuts are beneficial ingredients in BARF diets to provide essential minerals, fatty acids, and fat-soluble vitamins. The raw seed and nut ratio guideline starts at 2% of the overall daily intake.
Seeds and nuts are beneficial for completing essential nutrient requirements for dogs, but they must be pre-soaked and ground for feeding. Raw nuts and seeds contain phytates which are anti-nutrients that can negatively affect nutritional balance. Soaking raw seeds and nuts reduce phytates and grinding promotes optimal digestion. The 2% ratio guideline is a starting recommendation, and more or less can be fed to complete nutritional requirements.
Fruit includes beneficial ingredients in BARF diets to provide antioxidants, but they are fed in small amounts due to their sugar levels. The fruit ratio guideline starts at 1% of the overall daily intake.
Debunking Myths about Plant Ingredients
The inclusion of plant ingredients in raw diets for dogs can create a debate among many. There are many myths associated with feeding plant ingredients to dogs: