Dr Ian Billinghurst is a big name on the raw food for dogs scene with a number of revered books on the subject. “Dr B’s” is short for Dr Billinghurst, so you would expect this BARF food to be good. Right?
Is your cup of tea ready? Let’s delve into our review of the original Australian BARF dog food and key rival to Big Dog.
Dr B’s Barf review
What the marketing says
It’s a no-brainer to heavily rely on Dr Ian Billinghurst’s name to push this product. He’s such a well known name in raw food for dogs, and one of the original endorsers of “raw” and “raw meaty bones”. Many have read his books, and trust his knowledge.
But there’s something a little off.
Let me explain…
Another Australian vet has been very vocal for a number of decades on raw feeding for dogs, and that’s Dr Tom Lonsdale, author of another significant book on pet nutrition – Raw Meaty Bones.
Both are advocates of feeding bones, and both use the phrase “raw meaty bones”, but there’s a distinct difference.
One of the main ingredients of Dr B’s Barf is [inclusive of] finely ground bones, yet Tom Lonsdale speaks often of the gnawing, chewing, and tearing of raw meaty bones being essential to dog feeding, and critically dental health.
Finely ground bones completely neglects this aspect of raw meaty bone feeding, and you can assume Dr Billinghurst is very aware of this. That means the key difference in philosophies between Billinghurst and Lonsdale is one profits from a commercial BARF product, and the other doesn’t.
Dr B’s Barf is marketed as the original range of BARF pet food. But how does it compare versus similar raw foods like Big Dog and Proudi?
What the ingredients really say
The main ingredients in Dr B’s Barf dog food are animal, which is what you would expect from a raw food for dogs patty. I find one of the best ways to gauge the quality of meat in an Australian dog food is whether they state “human grade ingredients” or not.
Dr B’s Barf doesn’t.
We can only assume the meat they use is pet grade. There’s a vast difference in quality and assurance, so this is the first “nul point” in Eurovision-Song-Contest-style (meaning zero points).
Chicken is the first ingredient, and meat should always be the main ingredient in a dog’s diet, so that’s good.
The other main animal ingredient is somewhat ambiguous. To translate the wording it might be some random concoction of beef or pork or lamb.
Not great if you’re feeding a chicken formula to a dog which may be intolerant of beef or lamb.
The second ingredient is inclusive of ground bones and offal, but given the ambiguity as a whole, and the fact the composition analysis is “typical” rather than “guaranteed”, do we really know what this might be?
What offal? Are they including liver as a fundamental nutritional requirement? Heart? Kidney?
Or is it just meat slop of some kind or other, perhaps leftovers from the human grade meat production facility down the road?
Carrots and apples feature as the 3rd and 4th ingredients. In what quantity or quality we don’t know.
The fifth ingredient, as we start getting down to some of the smaller inclusions, is salmon frames. Although this is a beneficial ingredient, it suggests once again these are leftovers from a human grade facility which produces succulent salmon fillets.
Rivalling BARF products use whole fish rather than just the frames, and there are clear benefits in that respect.
There’s some nice inclusions at the bottom of the list, such as yoghurt (of some sort) and whole eggs, plus a range of fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading our Dr B’s Barf dog food review, but truth be told I find this product somewhat disappointing compared to rivalling brands which don’t have the backing of a big name vet.
So, should you feed Dr B’s Barf to your dog?
Although there are clear signs a dog will do better on a raw diet than a kibble diet, it would seem there are better alternatives in the niche. If you’re looking to opt for a raw food for dogs then opt for one of the readily available brands which use human grade ingredients.
Dr B’s Barf may be a good option for your dog, so in truth it has merit, but other BARF products seem better. BARF patties are in general a good addition to a dog’s diet, even combined with one of the many other dog foods available in Australia.
Just don’t overlook dental health.
In the fight of Dr B’s Barf vs Big Dog (i.e. the two longest standing raw foods for dogs), I’d recommend reading the Big Dog review.
Where to buy Dr B’s Barf
Dr B’s Barf for dogs and cats can be found in the freezer section of most pet stores. It is available to purchase online at and Petbarn (who also do click and collect).
Common questions about Dr B’s Barf raw food for dogs
Is Dr B’s Barf AAFCO compliant?
Yes, Dr B’s Barf products are specified as meeting AAFCO requirements for being complete and balanced. For further information on individual products please refer to the Dr B’s Barf website.
Is Dr B’s Barf suitable for puppies?
Yes, Dr B’s Barf raw food for dogs products state they are suitable for “all life stages”, which is inclusive of puppy growth phase and adult maintenance.
Dr B’s Barf raw food ingredients (Chicken Raw Dog Food patties):
Chicken, Beef and/or Pork and/or Lamb (includes meat, finely ground bones and offal), Carrots, Apples, Salmon Frames, Yoghurt, Whole Eggs, Spinach and/or Silverbeet, Oranges, Cabbage, Alfalfa, Dehydrated Kelp, Flaxseed, Celery, Garlic, plus other assorted seasonal vegetables and /or fruits
Dr B’s Barf states a typical analysis which means the following composition may vary. Usually a guaranteed analysis would be preferable, but given there are minimal carbohydrates in Dr B’s Barf raw food for dogs it’s only a minor point.
Dr B’s Barf raw food typical analysis (Chicken Raw Dog Food patties):
|Carbohydrates *||Should be minimal, but unable to calculate as moisture % not listed.|
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Raw food for dogs in convenient frozen packets may sound like a good idea, but the quality of ingredients may range greatly between brands. Dr B's Barf raw food for dogs isn't quite as reassuring as similar brands.
- A raw diet with the convenience of being formulated and frozen
- Little assurance of quality.