BARF Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The BARF1 Dog Food product line includes four frozen recipes.
However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the company’s website, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review:
- BARF Juicy Beef Recipe
- BARF Juicy Lamb Recipe
- BARF Juicy Chicken Recipe
- BARF Juicy Combination Recipe
BARF Juicy Chicken Recipe was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
BARF Juicy Chicken Recipe
Raw Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, finely ground bones, chicken liver, egg, broccoli, celery, spinach, carrot, ground flax seed, dehydrated alfalfa meal, apple, pear, grapefruit, orange, dried kelp, cod liver oil, garlic, cayenne pepper, vitamin E supplement, zinc oxide, manganous oxide
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 17.9%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||43%||36%||13%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||30%||61%||9%|
The first ingredient in this food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.2
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is finely ground bone, an excellent source of natural calcium and other healthy minerals.
The third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient includes egg, a desirable addition. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The fifth item is broccoli. Broccoli is a healthy green vegetable and a member of the kale family. It is especially rich in vitamin C and fiber and numerous other nutrients. Broccoli is known to provide potent anti-cancer benefits.
After the celery, spinach and carrots, we find flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With three notable exceptions…
First, we find the inclusion of cod liver oil, a type of fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins A and D.
Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.3
However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).
And lastly, the vitamins and minerals listed here are not detailed sufficiently to allow us to judge their quality or completeness.
BARF Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, BARF raw frozen patties appears to be an excellent dog food.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 43% and a mean fat level of 34%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 15% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 79%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a raw frozen product containing an abundance of meat.
BARF Dog Food is a grain-free raw frozen formulation using a generous amount of meats from named species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
For even more raw diet suggestions, be sure to visit the Advisor’s Recommended Raw Dog Foods summary page.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.
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Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.
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Notes and Updates
01/04/2010 Original review
02/24/2012 Lower rating due to new DFA analysis of fat content
10/14/2012 Last Update
- BARF: Biologically Appropriate Raw Food ↩
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005) ↩