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Barf Diet for Puppies: Everything You Need to Know

BARF stands for "biologically appropriate raw food" or "bones and raw food." It is a diet that consists of raw meat, bones, vegetables, and fruits. The BARF diet is becoming increasingly popular for puppies, as it is believed to be more natural and nutritious than traditional commercial dog food.

Is a raw diet OK for puppies?

Yes, a raw diet can be perfectly healthy for puppies. Puppies have a high metabolism and need a lot of nutrients to support their rapid growth. The BARF diet can provide puppies with all the nutrients they need in a way that is easy for them to digest.


Is a raw diet OK for puppies?

What should be taken into account?

There are a few things to keep in mind when feeding your puppy a BARF diet:

  • Make sure the food is balanced. Puppies need a certain balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. You can work with a canine nutritionist to create a balanced BARF diet for your puppy.
  • Start slowly. If you are switching your puppy from a commercial diet to a BARF diet, do so gradually over a period of 1-2 weeks. This will give their digestive system time to adjust.
  • Be careful with bones. Bones can be a choking hazard and can also cause digestive problems if they are not broken down properly. Puppies should only be given raw, meaty bones that are small enough for them to chew safely.

From when can you start?

You can start feeding your puppy a BARF diet as early as 5 weeks old. However, it is important to start with small amounts and gradually increase the amount you feed them.

How do I start?

The best way to start feeding your puppy a BARF diet is to consult with a canine nutritionist. They can help you create a balanced meal plan and provide guidance on how to transition your puppy to the new diet safely.

Switching to barf diet

To switch your puppy from a commercial diet to a BARF diet, start by replacing 1/4 of their commercial food with raw food. After a few days, replace 1/2 of their commercial food with raw food. Continue this process until they are eating a completely raw diet.

How much barf should I feed my puppy?

Regardless of whether it is conventional or barf food, puppies eat three to four times a day. In terms of quantity, they need four to six percent of their body weight per day.

In very small or large breeds, the percentage should be adjusted upwards (very small) or downwards (very large). In addition, the needs of the individual dog should be taken into account and the caloric intake calculated accordingly.

A normal ration is 80% of animal origin and 20% of vegetable origin. If cereals are added, these proportions should be adjusted. A dog without health problems usually tolerates processed cereals and other carbohydrates very well.

For a barf diet for puppies to be balanced and include all the necessary nutrients, it should contain the following:

Meat and animal products

Meat and other animal products provide energy and are a source of protein and amino acids. Your puppy needs all of these to grow properly.

Fruit and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are important sources of fiber for the intestine. You can use them fresh or in the form of dehydrated flakes. Only foods suitable for dogs should be used.

Read also: Can dogs eat pineapple?


Carbohydrates do not necessarily figure in a classic barf ration for dogs. However, they provide immediate energy for almost all metabolic processes in the body.

You can use various processed cereals, potatoes or rice. In order for the dog to assimilate them well, the carbohydrate sources must be cooked.


Oils contain important fatty acids. As the omega 3 and 6 fatty acid and vitamin D content of oils varies, you should add a mixture of different oils.


No artificial additives are used in a strict barf diet for puppies. In fact, the rations contain natural ingredients that provide all the minerals, trace elements and vitamins.

However, additives adapted to the needs of the puppy and its ration are easier to dose.

Help from barf store

If you do not want to complicate your life, you can resort to the complete barf menus in specialized stores. These consist of fresh meat and a perfectly adjusted proportion of fruit and vegetables. However, these menus are not perfect either.

Indeed, not all of them contain all the necessary nutrients. So make sure that the menu is suitable for puppies and that it includes all the essential nutrients in the list of components.

If you want to be sure, ask a canine nutritionist to examine the menu.

What does a typical BARF diet for puppies look like?

A typical BARF diet for puppies might consist of the following:

  • 70% muscle meat (such as chicken, turkey, beef, or lamb)
  • 10% raw, meaty bones
  • 10% vegetables (such as carrots, broccoli, or sweet potatoes)
  • 10% fruits (such as apples, bananas, or blueberries)

Intermediate and alternative solutions

BARF feeding for puppies also has its risks. Raw meat can carry harmful bacteria, which can infect both puppies and humans. Young children and immunocompromised people are at the highest risk.

Home-cooked meals

An intermediate solution is the feeding of home-cooked food. The loss of nutrients from the meat is very low and the transmission of germs is ruled out. The cooked rations have the same composition as the barf diet for puppies.

Read also: How to Cook Chicken Livers for Dogs

Partial barf

Another option is to combine an occasional or partial barf diet with conventional feeding. However, make sure that the puppy does not receive too little or too much of essential nutrients.

With any type of diet, the most important thing is that the puppy digests it well and grows up healthy. If so, you're doing it right.

The BARF diet can be a healthy and nutritious option for puppies. However, it is important to do your research and consult with a canine nutritionist before starting your puppy on this diet.