June 18, 2009

The BARF Bennies

Part three in a series on the BARF diet
Let your food be medicine and your medicine be food. - Hippocrates

Rich: So, let's get right to it. What are the health benefits of feeding your dog the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) way? First, I'll list the most commonly cited benefits, then share some observations from actual WoofGang experience.

BARF Bennies

Reduced body odor
No bad breath
Clean, white teeth - no tartar
Clean ears
Shiny, glossy coat
Lower incidence of obesity
Healthier digestion
Improved immune support
Reduced shedding
Reduction or elimination of hot spots
Resistance to flea infestations
Fewer allergies, especially skin allergies
Reduced teeth and gum problems
Slower growth - allows joints to fully develop before bearing adult weight
Happy dogs, happy owners (I just made this one up)

The WoofGang Experience

We can't testify to all the listed benefits but we can speak to these:

Better digestion. Boomer is the WoofGang's first dog to partake of raw food. When we picked him up as a ten week old, he'd survived parvovirus (a dangerous puppy killer that attacks the digestive system) in the litter, but was undersized for his age with a sensitive digestive system. It was touch and go on commercial kibble for a few months. Once on a raw diet, his stomach settled; today he's full sized, healthy and strong.

Cleaner ears. Saturday is grooming day at the WoofGang house: nail clipping, furminating (aka brushing with a Furminator), and ear cleaning. Prior to the raw food diet, Boomer's ears yielded gobs of ear junk requiring two or three cotton swabs per ear to extract. On raw food, however, ear cleaning is now optional. It is rare to get any ear junk whatsoever. This alone indicates to me improved response to his diet.

Clean white teeth. They say that good health begins in the mouth. The way Boomer and Daisy rip, tear and chew their food helps keep their teeth and gums healthy. How great to see their beautiful smiles.

Shiny, glossy coat. Boomer, our black Lab, absolutely gleams in sunlight. We add a fish oil capsule to his daily diet (more on that in the next post) to keep it shining. Daisy's yellow fur doesn't have the same shine, but at six months of age, it retains the luxurious sensual feel of her early puppy coat.

No bad body odors. 'Nuff said.

No flea problems. Most of the credit goes to the monthly flea and tick topical applications we use.

No illnesses. Knock on wood, to date neither Daisy nor Boomer has needed to visit the vet for any illnesses. We'll continue to monitor this as they have a combined age of only three years.

Happy dogs, happy owners. This diet delights the dogs and us. In fact, watching Boomer and Daisy enjoy their meals and knowing they're eating fresh, real food may be the greatest reward.

In my next post, I'll discuss the basics on what and how to feed your dog(s) a raw diet.


  1. Okay, I'll admit it, I haven't tried the raw diet because of the gross out factor. I know that raw is the origin of dog food as you discuss, but there is just something about the idea of always having to have raw meat on hand that eeks me out. I know, I know, I should put my dogs' health over my own gross-out factor, but I just haven't gotten that mature yet. I do feed Wellness which is a really high-quality kibble, and I've had luck with healthy dogs, but I've often felt that I should try this movement. Any suggestions on overcoming this?

  2. Lauren, we'll try to cover this in our next post. We fed Boomer a high quality kibble too but found it wanting (ear junk came roaring back when we cut out raw foods). There are frozen raw foods that come packaged like hamburger patties. Pricey...that's the way we started.

  3. my kids are raw fed and it is wonderful - i agree totally with your happy dogs happy owners

    woodrow sweetie mj



"Daisy, are they clean yet?"

Happiness Is . . .

Happiness Is . . .
a warm puppy named Daisy!