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Modern Dog Foods – a Recipe for Disaster!

Dr Ian Billinghurst is an expert in his field, you can learn how to feed your dog a natural, healthy, performance boosting diet that will ensure both physical and mental health.

Why is modern dog food a recipe for disaster?

The answer is simple: “Dogs are not designed to eat the junk food that masquerades as healthy food for our dogs“. And I am not only talking about the cheaper generic brands. I am talking about all the cooked and processed dog foods. I am most definitely talking about the high end products that far too many vets sell and recommend; the so-called premium brands. All this food is a disaster; it causes premature canine breakdown – also known as ‘poor health’ – just as the wrong fuel, wrong oil and non-genuine spare parts will cause mechanical breakdown if we use them to service our cars.

Unfortunately, most people today (and that includes most veterinarians) accept as absolutely normal, canine breakdown in the form of the most hideous canine diseases. We accept these diseases as normal, because they ARE normal (and abundant), when dogs are fed with artificial, chemical filled, cooked and processed pet foods. In contrast, I discovered in the mid 1980’s (as a relatively young veterinarian), that the vast majority of health problems we vets deal with on a day-to-day basis are in fact far from ‘Normal’. I found that they were virtually non-existent or rare, when dogs are fed (or serviced!) the way we like our cars to be serviced, with the correct ‘fuel’, ‘oil’ and ‘spare parts’.

For our dogs, the correct fuel, oil and spare parts are the foods their ancestors ate prior to the arrival of modern pet foods. The grain-based, cooked and processed artificial and chemical filled fare most dogs are forced to eat today are the equivalent of the poor quality oils, wrong fuels and incorrect spare parts we would never dream of putting into our cars. The problem we face is that most pet owners (AND most veterinarians), who would sack any mechanic for using inferior oil, and old spare parts and who very carefully choose the correct fuel for their car, have no idea of the harm that modern dog foods cause. Not that they are to blame. Nobody is telling them any different – and that includes the people who train our vets in nutrition!

Because dog owners are oblivious to the harm caused by modern artificial dog foods, they accept as inevitable, the terrible cost in terms of canine suffering. Furthermore, most pet owners (and their vets) are unaware that there is an alternative – a supremely healthy altrernative. As a consequence, our veterinary waiting rooms are filled with dogs suffering the most horrific problems from autoimmune diseases such as lupus through to allergies, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease kidney failure and on to the many other problems that plague the modern dog. These other problems include the more than 200 types of cancer. In the case of cancer, it should be noted that processed pet foods – with their high carbohydrate content – encourages cancer growth and cancer metastasis or spread throughout the body! This fact alone, which has been known since the 1950’s (but largely ignored), should be sufficient to ban these dreadful products.


All is not lost however. The arrival of the third millennium has brought with it a new breed of health conscious dog owner, seemingly fanatical about what a dog should eat. These ‘New Age’ dog owners, aware of the damage that the wrong food will cause, feed only those foods our dogs have evolved to require. They feed their dogs fresh whole foods including raw meaty bones. They do not feed any grain products. They do not feed dry food or canned food or semi-moist food. They do not buy cooked rolls for their dogs. The food they feed their dog is based on the dogs’ evolutionary requirements.

This food has become known as ‘BARF’, and many of these people refer to themselves ‘BARFers.’ BARF – apart from meaning ‘to vomit’ – stands for ‘Biologically Appropriate Raw Food’, or ‘Bones And Raw Food’.

‘BARF’ is a method of returning dogs to their evolutionary diet. The term ‘BARF’ is interchangeable with ‘Evolutionary Programme of Nutrition’.

As a veterinarian, I have had the privilege of witnessing the incredible change in the health of my patients switched from modern artificial processed pet foods to their Evolutionary programme of Nutrition or BARF. The changes I have witnessed include …

  • Every facet of reproductive health improving emphatically
  • Horrific skin and ear problems quietly disappearing
  • Mental health normalizing & behavioural problems disappearing
  • The disappearance of allergies
  • The disappearance of cancer
  • Massive improvements in dental health
  • The disappearance of diabetes, with established diabetics living longer & requiring less insulin
  • Enormous improvements in energy & stamina
  • Weight normalising
  • Immune health normalizing and strengthening
  • Intestinal, renal, pancreatic, cardiac, respiratory & hepatic health all showing enormous improvements
  • Healthy length of life increasing well beyond current norms
  • The return of mobility & activity with marked reduction in the incidence and severity of the whole range of degenerative disease states

Unfortunately, many modern pet owners have one enormous hurdle to jump as they consider the possibility of feeding a raw diet to their dogs. This obstacle is one that would never have occurred to previous generations.

Can our dogs safely eat raw food like their ancestors?

The answer is a resounding YES! Any dog, no matter the breed, is basically a wolf or even more appropriately, a dingo in disguise. Dogs, accompanying mankind have developed from the wolf over a period that may be as long as 400 000 years or as short as 15000 years. No matter the answer to this on-going debate, the change from wolf to dingo/dog has seen dramatic changes in both the appearance and the way dogs think. (Cavaliers bear little resemblance to a wolf in either of these departments for example.) However, what has remained constant, is their inner workings, they way they process and utilize food. Today’s dogs happily eat the raw foods of their ancestors and in the process live longer happier lives as they shed a myriad of health problems.

So what exactly is the Canine Evolutionary Diet?

The evolutionary diet we want to provide for our dogs is simply the broad range of fresh whole foods that a wolf or a dingo – in its natural setting – consumes over the course of its life. We can duplicate or mimic such a diet, with food that is easily obtained from our local supermarket.

This statement begs the obvious question – what can we find today at our supermarket – that would replace such a diet or programme of nutrition? The answer is simple and when you think about it, basic commonsense!

Firstly, the muscle and organ meats. Dogs, like their ancestor the wolf, as carnivores and hunters, require muscle and organ meats; all raw of course – from fish or fowl or mammal. These materials form a major component of the dogs’ Evolutionary Programme of Nutrition – otherwise known as the BARF

Programme of Nutrition.

Then there are the all-important bones. Being scavengers by inclination (genetic inheritance!), dogs are able and need to eat – lots and lots of bones. And the really exciting part of this story is that raw meaty bones are far more than pacifiers and teeth cleaners, although they excel in each of these roles. Raw meaty bones, by themselves contain very nearly the whole range of nutrients our dogs require, and in the form that evolution dictates as essential.

From a scientific or analytical perspective, bones contain practically all our dogs’ protein, fat and mineral requirements, together with a broad range of their vitamin requirements. In the not so distant past, many dogs lived their whole very long and healthy lives eating very little else, and they can still do this today!

Bones are the dog’s perfect, balanced source of calcium & phosphorus, which they require for optimum bone & joint health – which is one of the many reasons that puppies do best in life, when they are weaned with the Evolutionary Programme of Nutrition or BARF. Very clearly, the butcher is your dog’s friend!

Our dogs are vegetarians. As wolves, they ate the gut contents of prey animals such as deer and moose. As pets at home, most dogs love to raid the compost heap, indicating their evolutionary background and their basic requirement for vegetation as part of their diet. (Warning: do not put corncobs on the compost heap. They are a common cause of intestinal blockages!)

Vegetables must be properly prepared however, as they are totally indigestible unless completely crushed to release the juice. Once crushed, they are an incredible source of healthy fibre and a mass of ‘phytonutrients’, highly protective nutrients, totally missing in the food most people feed their dogs today. Very clearly, the greengrocer is your dog’s friend!

Dogs are ‘coprophagic’ or ‘faeces-eaing’ animals. This is why it is ‘normal’ for  our dogs to be attracted to faeces as a source of food. Faeces are composed largely of bacteria, making them rich in the B vitamins, high quality protein, digestive enzymes and essential fatty acids; all vital components of our dog’s Evolutionary Diet.

Because we do not want our dogs to eat feces, we replace the feces with other foods such as eggs, organ meat, kelp, probiotics such as yoghurt etc. Our dogs are NOT Grain eaters. Our dog’s ancestor, the wolf, did not in its entire evolutionary history eat a grain-based diet. That is why bread or rice or pasta or any other similar product is not part of the Evolutionary Programme of Nutrition for our dogs. And yes, this simple but devastating fact is part of the reason that modern grain-based pet foods wreak such havoc on the health of our dogs. Very clearly, the baker is NOT your dog’s friend!

In summary, the basic (and very simple) ingredients we need to produce the BARF or Evolutionary Programme of Nutrition include a supply of raw meaty bones, organ meat (such as liver, kidney and heart), raw and CRUSHED fruit and vegetable material, together with a small number of foods to ‘replace the faeces’ that dogs love to eat! These include common and easily available foods such as eggs, yogurt, garlic, kelp powder, crushed flax seeds, and fish oil.

What about puppies – can they be fed an Evolutionary Programme of Nutrition?

This is an important question and the answer is a resounding and emphatic YES! This question arises for the most part because most veterinarians, despite their rigorous training in all things biological, fail to understand that Evolutionary Nutrition is the only diet that absolutely normalizes growth, including skeletal growth! Without that basic understanding (mostly a legacy of their being trained in nutrition by the pet food companies), veterinarians are afraid to recommend it. Most actively discourage its use!

The truth is that the ‘BARF’, or Evolutionary Programme of Nutrition, when properly formulated (in terms of the components used and the required balance between those components), is the perfect diet for our pups. And not only for our pups. It is the perfect ‘whole-of-life’ programme of nutrition for ALL CANINE BREEDS AND ALL CANINE LIFE STAGES. When pet owners recognise this simple but basic truth and make the appropriate changes, they soon discover that Evolutionary Nutrition (BARF) will deliver on its promise to preserve our dogs’ health and promote healing, as no other food-type can.

The ‘take-home message is – for tip top canine health – stop feeding processed pet foods today – right now! – switch your dog to a diet that is equivalent to its Evolutionary Programme of Nutrition – a Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or BARF Programme of Nutrition.

Need more convincing? Consider the following …

Processed or Artificial Junk pet Food – a Recent Occurrence Prior to the 1960’s, most dogs in Australia were fed on home produced diets, including lots of raw meaty bones and family left-overs. However, their human mums and dads were not ‘fanatics’ and they weren’t called ‘BARFers’. In fact they weren’t called anything special, because feeding meat, bones and food scraps to dogs was normal. It was what everyone did. It was also normal to have dogs that lived long and healthy lives without any particular need for veterinary intervention.

Back then most dog food came from the butcher (off-cuts of meat and bone and offal), together with table-scraps. However, from the late 1960’s this method of feeding the Aussie dog was quietly and without any great fuss, replaced by food that came out of a tin or a bag.

Convenience – the cost is enormous!

Those (new at the time) processed pet foods made feeding dogs a very simple process, and dog owners felt secure as the veterinary profession endorsed such products. Unfortunately, the widespread adoption of processed pet food allowed
common knowledge – ‘how to feed dogs a fresh food diet’ – to become a lost art. And with the gradual loss of that art came a gradual increase in the multitude of canine ailments, accompanied by increasing human angst, together with the need for ongoing and costly veterinary intervention.

However – the good news is – these ailments, this heartbreak and the accompanying veterinary bills do not have to be. The knowledge of how to produce the BARF or Evolutionary Diet for our dogs is not lost. It was resurrected in 1993, with the publication of my first book ‘Give Your Dog a Bone’. In this book I outlined the basics of common-sense dog feeding. This book made it clear that to produce a healthy diet for our dogs at home is simple and anyone can do it, once the basic principles are understood. If you would like to produce this diet yourself or simply read more about feeding dogs their Evolutionary or BARF Programme of Nutrition, the logical place to begin is with my first book …“Give Your dog a Bone”. For more information & ‘recipes’, read also my second book “The BARF Diet.”

If you would like in depth information on feeding pups this way, particularly the large breed pups, you need my third book “Grow Your Pups With Bones.” On the other hand, if, as most people find in these days of 24/7 work and stress (a different scenario to the more leisurely life of the 50’s and 60’s), that preparing a properly balanced raw food diet for their dogs is too much of a chore, there is even better news.

If you would like the convenience of Processed pet food with the absolute assurance of a TOTALLY HEALTHY EVOLUTIONARY PROGRAMME OF NUTRITION – then you need … The “GOLD STANDARD” – Dr B’s BARF Dr B’s BARF is raw frozen pet Food that is developed specifically for dogs (and cats). It conforms to the most recent nutritional research, which confirms that Evolutionary Nutrition is the basis of canine (and feline) health.

Dr B’s BARF is a complex mix of fresh, raw, whole foods, derived from the healthiest of human grade sources and produced under the strictest manufacturing standards. Apart from being ground, mixed together and snap frozen, Dr B’s BARF remains raw and unprocessed. All this is your assurance of the most wholesome and healthy Pet Food on the market. Dr B’s BARF for dogs comes in seven ‘delicious’ varieties – Chicken, Combination, Beef, Lamb, Pork, ‘Roo & Rabbit plus a new variety – Dr B’s BARF Lite. For more information about these varieties please see Dr B’s BARF Product Guide available at

Dr B’s BARF is an exclusive and proprietary scientific formulation, known only to Dr Billinghurst & BARF Australia. This unique formulation, is not found in any other barf product. Dr B’s BARF formulations are based very specifically on the nutritional evolution of the dog & the cat, from back in the distant past through to the present time.

Dr B’s BARF contains no added sugar, salt, fillers, chemicals, colourings, preservatives, synthetic flavourings or grains & has not been heat processed. A one hundred percent healthy product, protecting pets from the allergic & other health problems, plaguing pets fed with today’s artificial chemical filled, processed pet foods. Dr. B’s BARF Provides your pet with optimum Nutrition, ensuring a long life with maximum freedom from disease. Dr Billinghurst’s clinical experience shows that pets fed with Dr B’s BARF exhibit exceptional resistance to allergies, diabetes, arthritis, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer & the many other problems that plague modern pets fed processed and artificial pet foods.

Dr. B’s BARF is formulated according to the Principles of Evolutionary Nutrition, making Dr Billinghurst’s products not only legally complete & balanced, but more importantly, they are Biologically Complete & Balanced; this is your absolute assurance that Dr B’s BARF Products are the healthiest pet foods possible. Dr B’s BARF products contain a wide variety of proteins from various sources. For example, Dr B’s Lamb BARF for dogs contains protein derived from lamb, chicken, egg, yoghurt, flax seed & alfalfa (lucerne). This helps ensure nutritional completeness & balance. Protein from many sources is a basic principle of Evolutionary Nutrition. Dr B’s BARF products are suitable for ALL BREEDS of dogs and cats; from small to big, from show winning champion, to mixed breed pet. This is because Dr Billinghurst’s products are formulated according to the principles of evolutionary nutrition, which shows that when a balanced programme of raw whole foods is fed, this fulfills perfectly, the nutritional requirements for EVERY breed & every genetic background.

Dr B’s BARF products are suitable for ALL LIFE-STAGES; from pregnancy, through growth to adulthood & healthy old age. This is because Dr B’s products, being formulated according to the principles of evolutionary nutrition, supply the same high quality standard of nutrition for EVERY stage of life, not just during growth, pregnancy and old age. (Modern junk foods for pets – designed for ‘maintenance’ are of such poor quality that even the manufacturers cannot trust them during critical life stages such as growth, pregnancy, lactation and old age.) The correct balance of the Essential Fatty Acids, the Omega 6’s and the Omega 3’s in Dr B’s BARF products ensures maximum protection against cancer & the many other inflammatory & degenerative diseases  that plague modern pets. Insist on Dr B’s BARF!

Dr B’s BARF includes whole Eggs; with their shells. Eggs are well known as a complete food, and they have additional benefits, including protecting your pet’s sight. Their powerful antioxidants protect the sensitive retina from free radical damage caused by light!

Dr B’s BARF pet foods conform strictly to Evolutionary Principles, giving them a unique power; they ‘instruct’ your pet’s genes to function ‘super-normally’. Super-normal gene function ensures maximum longevity with Health. Dr B’s is simply the best!

Dr B’s products contain no refined sugars or starches, making them enormously protective against inflammation and degeneration. Most particularly, Dr B’s products do not feed cancers, which thrive on sugars & other refined carbohydrates. Protect your pet with Dr B’s! The healthiest fats for our pets are sourced from raw, whole animal products – undamaged by heat & protected from rancidity by freezing.

Because Dr B’s BARF supplies fat this way – AND with fat being the healthiest energy source for our pets, why would you feed anything else?

Dr B’s BARF supplies all the minerals our pets require & does so in their organic form – as found only in raw whole foods. Because minerals play essential roles in EVERY bodily function & organic minerals optimise that function – Dr B’s is simply the healthiest! Dr B’s BARF has no added chemicals! Today’s artificial foods for pets contain synthetic colourings, flavourings, preservatives and a mass of other foreign chemicals, causing allergies, food intolerances, hormone disruption & so many other diseases – including cancer.

Dr B’s BARF Products contain no added salt or sodium. They maintain the correct balance of low Na & high K – as found in raw whole unprocessed foods; contributing to renal & heart health, essential for a long & disease free life. Dr B’s continues to be your pet’s protector! Dr B’s BARF pet foods are one hundred percent free of grains and gluten, two highly damaging attributes of modern synthetic pet foods. This ensures intestinal & immune function & strong protection against cancers & seizures. Feed Dr B’  for health & longevity!

Dr B’s BARF is totally RAW! Heat is a preservative, but it is one of the most damaging aspects of modern pet foods; heat destroys fragile & essential fatty acids, amino acids & vitamins; heat also creates carcinogenic molecules! Dr B’s remains the healthiest choice! The protein found in Dr B’s BARF is all high quality, including muscle & organ meat (from fish, fowl & mammal), hen eggs, healthy dairy & healthy vegetable sources such as kelp & alfalfa. This ensures tip-top immune health & maximises day to day bodily repair processes.

Crushed, RAW vegetable material is an essential component of Dr B’s BARF, making an irreplaceable contribution to pet health, supplying phytonutrients, vitamins & healthy fibre; all vital to your pet’s intestinal, immune, kidney & over-all health & longevity. Raw, parasite-free, unprocessed organ meats – including liver, heart & kidney provide minerals, EFA’s, amino acids, vitamins (including fat oluble vitamins), CoQ10, carnitine etc. Dr B’s BARF is uncompromising in supplying nutrient rich, highest quality ingredients.

Dr B’s BARF supplies crushed, raw, soft & healthy bones, ensuring not only balanced Ca & P for perfect bone growth, but also raw cartilage – the vital nutrient – protecting against arthritis & cancer – two diseases that plague modern pets. Feed only Dr B’s BARF!

To obtain copies of Dr. Billinghurst’s books, or to find your nearest stockist of ‘Dr. B’s BARF’ see below

Copyright © Ian Billinghurst, Veterinarian, Nutritional Consultant – BARF Australia


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  1. I’ve fed my last dog for the most part on BARF and it’s noticeably better for all the reasons you’ve listed. For my new puppy I’ve told the vet I will do BARF again and they’ve replied explaining that there’s a risk of bad bacteria accumulating in the gut that will eventually cause health issue for dogs. She still said to feed the dog up to once a day with BARF but never purely on BARF.

    Can you help me understand if this might be partly right or wrong and for what reason please?

  2. Many vets don’t understand RAW feeding and many also sell commercial dogs foods, these are common reasons that they advise against it.

    I have always fed my pas raw from 5 weeks on and never had a problem.

    I don’t feed Dr B’s barf recipes but his books have been one of the research areas I studied.

    I use a home made diet that we prepare here, other than supplements there really is nothing special about it, other than its absent anything harmful or commercial, all the ingredients are fresh and I balance out the meal in the rough correct proportions.

  3. Thanks for that. I did more research and spoke with the head vet the next time I took my pup in. It all seems to revolve around the fact that something raw might be contaminated or is off. So simply put, just like anything humans eat raw should be fresh and sanitary, so should your dog should receive the same attention to their food.
    The only other thing is that they receive a good balance of protein to carbs in the form of fruit and veges.

    My current recipe is tuna, been mince, sardines, finely chopped green leafy veges with carrots and capsicum etc, chicken off cuts, random fruit like apples, one egg.

    Any suggestions?

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