The BARF Diet by Ian Billinghurst

Dear Pet Lovers,

I recently studied the BARF Diet - biologically appropriate raw food - for cats & dogs.
I am always on a mission to discover the best way to care for our pets, and appropriate nutrition is of the utmost importance when it comes to health and longevity.
Below is a breakdown of the most important information we need, to understand raw feeding and the BARF diet.
Since the 60's when kibble was designed, cancer, obesity, kidney disease, skin problems etc, started showing up in dogs and cats. As humans we are told to eat fresh, not processed food, to avoid common diseases such as cancer, this applies to all animals.

Benefits of a Raw Food Diet

Cleaner teeth & fresh breath
Improved liver, pancreatic and bowel health
Shinier, heathier skin and coat
Better weight control
Improved digestion
Reduction of allergy symptoms
Harder, smaller, less smelly stools
Increased mobility in older animals
More energy and stamina
Strengthened immune system


BARF stands for “Biologically Appropriate Raw Food“.

The BARF (Biologically Appropriate RAW Food) diet or BARF feeding program is about feeding dogs and cats the diet they evolved to eat over millions of years of genetic adaptation. BARF also stands for “The Bones And Raw Food”… diet. Species appropriate diet; evolutionary diet; natural diet… all mean the same thing.  Because our pets’ bodies evolved eating this diet, that is exactly what we should feed them. Anything less will fall short of what their bodies require for best health, longevity and freedom from disease. And this is the basic philosophy of this way of feeding. In other words, if our pets are to reach their genetic potential in terms of health, longevity, physical activity and reproduction, their diet must match or mimic as closely as possible their evolutionary diet. The further an animal’s diet departs from its evolutionary diet, the more health problems that animal is likely to develop. Having understood this profound nutritional truth, it becomes very easy for pet owners to want to feed, and for health professionals to want to recommend, an evolutionary diet for pet animals.

By feeding BARF to our stay-at-home-desexed-companion dog or cat we find they simply have BRILLIANT health. They are more likely to be happy, active, bright, alert, well adjusted family members – free of any problems – and they tend to stay that way for all their VERY LONG lives. The BARF diet is the only diet that has maximum chance of fulfilling those aims.

Dr Ian Billinghurst

Veterinary Surgeon B.V.Sc.(Hons), B.Sc.Agr., Dip. Ed.

Nutritionist, Acupuncturist, Agricultural Scientist, Author, Lecturer, Nutritional consultant and RAW Pet Food Producer.


Dr Ian Billinghurst has worked in companion animal practice since 1975. In the mid 1980’s, following years of clinical research, he was shocked to realize the devastating effect that commercial foods had on dog and cat health and amazed at the dramatic healing power of RAW. From this clinical research came Dr Ian’s first book, “Give Your Dog a Bone”, which was the original RAW food book for dogs. This book, together with his lecture tours to the UK, US, Canada, Japan (and further books), became the spark, which ignited the worldwide RAW pet food movement. Dr Ian Billinghurst is recognized as the “Father” of “RAW” and the founder of the BARF (Biologically appropriate Raw Food) Diet. Dr Billinghurst remains as passionate as ever about Health—through Evolutionary Nutrition—with his current lectures and writings emphasizing the basic truth…  “Nutrition… it’s absurdly simple.”

Where To Buy Raw Dog Food In NZ

Raw food is commonly served as 100gm paddies. These are either homemade with meat, organs & bones from the local butcher, or locally brought already made. They will consist of meat, organs and bones.
You just need to add a bit of vegie & fruit to the mix.

Local Suppliers

Brodies Raw Pet Food Delivery
Dave's Raw Dog Food
K9 Cuisine
Raw Essentials
Raw Pet Food Express
The Raw Dog Food Company

What to look for in treats

Here are a few elements that make up a healthy treat for your dog:

Natural is always best. Homemade and store bought raw food treats are the best way to avoid processing, fillers, and preservatives

Air dried treats are preserved naturally, which means they won’t have all the nutrition cooked out of them

Single protein treats are helpful for dogs with allergies, sensitive stomachs, or those on elimination diets

Easily digestible options, leaner proteins like turkey and fish have less fat, less calories, and are easier to digest for dogs with sensitive stomachs

Ultimately, treats should be contributing to your dog’s nutrition in some way. If it’s good for them, and they enjoy it, then it’s potentially a perfect treat – something you won’t feel as guilty for giving!

What to avoid in treats

With so many commercial treats on the market, it’s hard to know which ones are safe and which should be avoided at all costs. While many treat manufacturers are becoming more aware and using healthier ingredients, you should still be on the lookout for certain threats to your dog’s health. Likewise, some homemade options aren’t safe, either. Here are some treats your dog should not be getting:

Rawhide is a long-lasting chew that is a dangerous choking hazard and created with toxic chemicals. These should be avoided at all costs!

Cooked or roasted bones. The cooking process causes bones to splinter and break, making them a very dangerous choking/obstruction hazard

Grains in general are a very common allergen for dogs, and can upset their stomachs, cause skin issues, etc.

Peanut butter is high in fat and sugar, and could be an allergen for some dogs. It can also contain aflatoxin, a type of mould which can be toxic

Sugar and artificial sweeteners cause multiple health problems in dogs, including diabetes

Preservatives and food colouring can cause digestion problems among other health issues, and they provide no nutritional value

Chemically processed foods contribute to a host of health conditions due to the ingestion of unnatural substances

Too many treats adds excessive calories to your dog’s diet, contributing to weight gain and picky appetites.


Which treats can be used in a raw food diet?

There are a tonne of possibilities for treats to use when raw feeding. You can play around with what works best for your dog’s nutritional needs, as well as their likes/dislikes.

Homemade treats

This is the fun option. You can create all sorts of things your dog will love, and you’ll know exactly what’s in them! Some examples of homemade treats could be grain-free pumpkin or liver biscuits, or even frozen apple/yoghurt treats. The possibilities are endless!

Raw meaty bones

Raw meaty bones provide great nutritional value for your dog, as well as a source of mental stimulation. You can buy them fresh from the butcher or raw food pet outlet and your canine pal will also get a good teeth clean. Raw meaty bones should never be cooked. Turkey or duck necks, lamb or beef ribs, ostrich bones and duck feet are all great options.

Natural chews

When providing long-lasting chews, natural is the way to go. Chemically processed options have no place here! Another great source of mental stimulation, natural chews are also great for dental health (and that bad breath we talked about earlier).

Some natural chews are very easily chopped into small pieces to be used as training treats, or everyday treats.  Some healthy options for natural chews might be:

Dehydrated cow ears
Rabbit ears (with or without fur)
Dried hooves
Venison meaty strips and even
Pig’s pizzle (which is exactly what you’re thinking it is!).

Fruits and vegetables

While raw meat is the number one nutritional need for dogs they do benefit from fruits and vegetables as well. These can be great healthy treats for dogs on diets, as they add a very small number of calories and a ton of nutrition. It’s important to avoid toxic fruits/veggies like grapes, onions, and certain mushrooms. Small chunks of carrot, banana, green bean, or a few blueberries are all safe options for your dog to enjoy, but the sky really is the limit here, too.


As dog guardians, we’re responsible for the health and wellbeing of our beloved canine family members. Feeding them a raw food diet is already contributing to this positively, but it’s important to know what treats to give when raw feeding, too.


Important books to read written by Dr Ian Billinghurst

Pointing the Bone at Cancer

“Pointing The Bone At Cancer” is vital reading for anyone concerned about cancer. It explains the science behind a solution to this terrible disease, a solution we have known about since the 1950’s, a solution that has been ignored. Read how our research has been chasing a red herring, and why our treatments, based on this red herring—MOSTLY—do more harm than good. Learn about our enormous misconception concerning the actual cause of cancer, and the science that shows this understanding is… “fatally flawed” (pun intended!). Learn about the science that shows how cancer arises from a “pre-existing” genetic program of growth and reproduction, already present in our cells.

How this ancient genetic program is turned on… why it exists… why it allows… or causes cancer is the central theme of this book. Read and discover, how a combination of carcinogens and lifestyle can damage organelles in cells called mitochondria, and how, under certain conditions, this will cause the resurrection of this program of constant cellular reproduction… the disease we call cancer.

Most importantly, learn how knowing the actual cause of cancer, points directly to its major weakness, and therefore the simple nutritional tools available to us—right now—with which we can defeat cancer. These Targeted Nutritional Therapies work quietly… inexpensively and without fuss and without traumatizing the patient. All we need is an educated set of health professionals who are willing to adopt these tools as their (our!) chief weapon in the fight to defeat cancer. This knowledge is available now. The science exists and it is all fully documented in “Pointing the Bone at Cancer.
Get hold of your copy of “Pointing the Bone at Cancer… to find out how you can become part of the revolution that will quietly and without fuss… defeat cancer.

Nutrition… it’s absurdly simple.

“Pointing the Bone at Cancer” is available in hard copy.

Give Your Dog a Bone

“Give Your Dog a Bone” is the book, which ignited the—RAW—nutritional revolution in pet health, that began in 1993 and continues today.

This revolution involved the return of dogs (and cats) to their evolutionary RAW diet. “Give Your Dog a Bone” outlines the simple steps any pet parent can take to set their dog(s) on the path to health. All you need do is follow the very simple nutritional guidelines outlined in this book. This is the basic RAW handbook that any potential RAW feeder requires. It ignores the complications that so many modern raw feeding gurus use to confuse the novice raw feeder. To feed a dog for health, all you need to know is…”What RAW… and WHOLE… and ACTUAL FOODS… need to be fed and HOW MUCH. None of this constitutes the proverbial… “Rocket Science”… it is just good old fashioned… COMMON-SENSE. What worked in 1993 works today (and tomorrow!).

Nutrition… it’s absurdly simple…

“Give Your Dog a Bone” is available in hard copy, as a PDF (requiring a PDF reader) or as an eBook (.epub format requiring an eBook reader).

The BARF Diet

The BARF Diet has been written for vets, breeders, trainers, pet owners or any other person seeking to understand the basic principles of evolutionary nutrition.

The word BARF Stands for ‘Biologically Appropriate Raw Food’, or ‘Bones And Raw Food’. The BARF diet— as presented in this book—is very simply the evolutionary program of nutrition. It is the simple, practical, commonsense and only genuine alternative to the health destroying processed—or fake industrial—pet foods. Being the genome-based diet for dogs and cats, it is the ONLY way to feed these important family members for genuine health.

This book provides the reader with the sound scientific principles on which the evolutionary diet—the BARF diet—is based and outlines the enormous health benefits available for any animal fortunate enough to be fed that way. At the same time, readers will quickly appreciate why feeding grain based pet foods is so dangerous to the long-term health of modern pets. You will find recipes and other highly relevant and practical information to assist in the home production of BARF diets for both dogs and cats. Once again, the basic inescapable theme of this book is that animals achieve maximum health… when fed their evolutionary (or BARF aka RAW) diet… a diet based on RAW Whole foods. The diet they are designed to eat and require… by a long process of evolution.

Nutrition… it’s absurdly simple…

“THE BARF DIET” is available in hard copy, including a Japanese translation version, and as an eBook (.epub format – requiring an eBook reader).

Grow Your Pups with Bones

“Grow Your Pups With Bones” is, in part, the breeder’s supplement “Give Your Dog a Bone”. However, it is much more than that. It is written to show vets, breeders and the dog owning fraternity generally, how easy it is to produce healthy pups without the losses, headaches and heartaches so many breeders experience, and secondly, how easy it is to grow those pups into healthy adults with a sound skeletal system.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part introduces the Bones and Raw Food [BARF] diet for feeding dogs.

The second part is about breeding… feeding for breeding. It details the practical common sense approach to producing an optimum number of healthy pups with a minimum of fuss. The BARF diet is central to this pup-producing program.

The third part is about growing pups into healthy adults, that do not develop Hip or Elbow Dysplasia, or any of the other skeletal diseases which are so common in modern dogs. Central to this third part of the book is the BARF program of diet and exercise.

Nutrition… it’s absurdly simple…

“Grow Your Pups with Bones” is available in hard copy