Information copied from an article written by Staff Vet for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Keep in mind that Best Friends is 100% into the best health care for their rescue animals. The information she cites is from REAL medical research, not "he said, she said, heard it from a friend..."
The BARF basically haven no clue about correct and scientifically sound canine nutrition. They just came up with a fad diet catering to the growing mania for things "natural" that's all. The BARF diet has not undergone exhaustive feeding trials like the name brand commercial foods have. I doubt if they even bothered to analyze it to see if it meets the NRC and AFFCO Nutrient Requirements of Dogs. That requires a lot of hard science and that's something they don't believe in.
There are a lot of legitimate concerns over the feeding of Raw diets to dogs.
First there's the Public Health Concern as raw meats and foods carry the risk of disease..
Public Health Concerns Associated With Feeding Raw Meat Diets To Dogs
J Am Vet Med Assoc 219:1222-1225 Nov 1'01 Public Veterinary Medicine 56 Refs
* Jeffrey T. Lejeune, DVM, PhD, and Dale D. Hancock, DVM, PhD
* Food Animal Health Research Program, Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University, Wooster, OH 44691-4096
A large number of commercial pet foods are available to provide excellent nutrition for dogs. Clients who wish to supplement their animal's diets with additional meat-based protein should be advised to adequately cook it before incorporating it into the feed. Because of the numerous risks outlined previously, veterinarians should not recommend the feeding of raw meat to dogs. Personal hygiene of pet owners is critical in preventing transfer of pathogens from pets to humans. Unfortunately, it is often the individuals with the lowest level of personal hygiene (e.g., young children) who are most susceptible to these infectious agents. Supervising children during pet feeding and subsequent hand washing may be beneficial. Veterinary recommendation of raw meat feeding may result in serious legal ramifications. On the other hand, recommending good hygienic food safety practices for pets and educating clients can advance the veterinary profession by benefiting pets, agriculture, and people.
The VIN message Boards are FULL of incidents of anemia, puppy deaths, spontaneous bone fractures, thyroid disease and pancreatitis in dogs fed BARF diets. Specialists in Internal Medicine and Nutrition on VIN agree unanimously that the diets are dangerous. They are unbalanced, plus the bones create a real risk of GI obstruction. The raw diets carry the risk of Salmonella and E. Coli infection, both of which are transmissible to man and potentially fatal. As stated in one reference:
Preliminary assessment of the risk of Salmonella infection in dogs fed raw chicken diets.
Can Vet J 43:441-2 2002 Jun
Joffe DJ, Schlesinger DP
This preliminary study assessed the presence of Salmonella spp. in a bones and raw food (BARF) diet and in the stools of dogs consuming it. Salmonella was isolated from 80% of the BARF diet samples (P < 0.001) and from 30% of the stool samples from dogs fed the diet (P = 0.105). Dogs fed raw chicken may therefore be a source of environmental contamination.
Things like tapeworms, and toxoplasmosis can be transmitted in raw foods. Toxo is particularly risky because of what can happen to unborn human fetuses if the mother is exposed.
There is also NO credible information to support the idea that any breed of dog does better on any particular ingredient. As Dr. Rebecca Remillard ( prominent veterinary nutritionist) posted: "Simply put, the liver of any dog cannot differentiate the source (ingredient) of any nutrient presented to it from the small intestine. The liver simply requires that all the essential nutrients are present in some optimal balance/ratio to function properly."
The BARF diet is SO bad.. Yet it's supporters are FANATICAL about it. Why? Because quackery sells! ( to read more see the qwackwatch website) So much so that even some veterinarians get involved. One of the biggest BARF proponents is a Dr.Billinghurst. A veterinarian. He runs a big BARF site ( barfworld).Never mimd that it could be considered to be malpractice to recommend such a terrible and potentially dangerous diet.. It SELLS and people believe it as if it were Gospel.
Margaret Muns DVM