Raw Meat and Bone Diets for Dogs: It’s Enough to Make You BARF

From the website Science-Based Medicine: Raw Meat and Bone Diets for Dogs: It’s Enough to Make You BARF. It is dated 2010 and from the USA but has content about raw feeding of dogs that is relevant today and which people might find of interest.

There is a paragraph about captive wolves that I found intriguing:

The average life expectancy of wolves in the wild is considerably lower than that of captive wolves, and disease, parasitism, and malnutrition are important factors in the mortality of wild populations.7-9 Captive wolves live longest and are healthiest when fed — guess what? — commercial dog food! This is the recommendation of the leading specialists in captive wolf husbandry and medicine, and it is largely the result of evidence that the previous practice of feeding raw meat based diets to captive wolves led to poorer quality nutrition and health than the current practices. Certainly, raw meat and bones are often used as enrichment items or bait for husbandry purposes, but always with an awareness of the risks they pose, and never as the primary diet.

The article is referenced.


Well that has literally given me food for thought.

I agree Coaster. I found the article some time ago and was initially quite surprised by the paragraph on wolves. The reality of the life of the wild wolf did not cross my mind. It has made me think carefully about advertising because some companies are using beautiful pictures of wolves and producing literature about the ‘ ancestral diet’. The wolf is set up as some kind of ideal model when in fact the reality is not quite as glamorous.

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I have read the linked article.

I accept I the article is referenced, however, I couldn’t see details of a controlled whole life experiments conducted whereby feeding commercially available BARF was fed and the wolves lived shorter lives than others fed commercial dry extruded kibble.

I felt the article clearly had a bias against BARF.


Dottie, may I add the following, the author of the article has the SkepVet website. http://skeptvet.com/Blog/


Lots of things to ponder over. Some interesting reads. Thanks to all who posted links.

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I have now looked at lots of the linked content…

I agree feeding the wrong bones can present dental injury choking or other risks.

I agree that bacteria in raw food can be an issue

I try to feed bones that are appropriate to the dogs not too big or small.

I buy barf (minced) complete with veg made by suppliers I trust (rather than bulk orders of roadkill delivered in a warm van). The factory that makes mine is close to me.

If I was to change from barf complete it would be air-dried, freeze-dried, (both tend to be cost prohibitive), cold pressed or home cooked.


I think that’s a really good point - Similarly our ancestors did not lead healthier, longer lives. I think the problem with the industry is that there’s a lot of distrust in what actually goes into a lot of cat or dog foods, lots of conflicting and confusing material and sadly and unfairly that has meant that all commercial foods are tarnished with the same brush.

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Wolves are not dinosaurs…thy still exist today.

Parvo, Mange wolf on wolf fighting and eating rancid meat probably cause wild wolves to live shorter lives than captive wolves fed kibble.

I agree marketing can influence food buying choices…personally I look at composition over packaging/marketing.

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A couple of useful links.

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