By:  Dr. Richard Patton

Bacteria must be measured on a qualitative and quantitative level.

People charged with overseeing the safety of our food supply have a crucial role in society that is not properly appreciated.  In a westernized community, food borne illness is so rare that citizens take food safety for granted.  In the United States, the probability of a lethal food poisoning from any one meal is one in 73 million1.  Such stellar success actually makes it difficult for authorities to get anyone to listen to them, except in moments of high drama or sudden fear.

So maybe we should be more attentive when they sternly rap the desk with a hickory rod and promise dire things.  Perhaps it is understandable when authorities get a bit over-reaching when nobody will listen to them.  Understandable, but not acceptable.

After a long career in science, the last person I will listen to is the one telling me they know what’s good for me or that they know the answer to my question.  The person I want to listen to, intently, is the one who says, “I don’t know the answer.  But, I can tell you this…” The person willing to admit ignorance on a subject indeed compelled to, is the one who has studied it carefully and deeply, and the one best able to inform others.  Sadly, we are surrounded by evidence of the myopia of establishment thinking and dogma. You don’t have to cite the world-is-flat doctrine or the Spanish Inquisition for proof.  For example, according to the all-knowing authorities in the 1960s, butter would kill you and margarine would prevent death by butter.  Today, exactly the opposite is known to be true. Butter is a rich source of anti-cancer nutrients, while margarine is proven to be full of carcinogens.  Simple total blood cholesterol is now understood to predict nothing, but for decades entire societies remade themselves at the altar of cholesterol.

Levelheaded professionals do not attack raw pet food with fear mongering.  Raw food, human or pet, may be a vector for pathogens, but it can also be a source of beneficial bacteria, undamaged vitamins and enzymes, higher palatability and greater digestibility. There are people who have been selling raw pet food for decades and never had a single problem with salmonella or listeria. Everybody counsels that proper food handling is imperative, just as for any raw meat.  What I’m saying:  In considering the place of raw pet food in the larger picture, I do not blindly accept the perceived wisdom of its market competitors or its market policemen.  The perspective from these sectors is part of the fact gathering and due diligence, but so too is the point of view and insights of raw food proponents.

“dry pet food is too high in soluble carbohydrates and not the best diet”
– Dr. Patton

In the US, there is a pet for every other person.  They are everywhere.  From this we can conclude pets must be of import and value to people, bringing something worthwhile to their lives.  It follows that there would exist an industry catering to pet owners. This is what happens in a free market society; entrepreneurs are rewarded for filling needs.  Pet foods are a major portion of this support industry, with dry pet food the leading type.  Dry pet food predominates because it is acceptable nutrition, economic and convenient.  No argument here.  Dry pet food is the cheapest and needs no refrigeration.

Dry pet food is acceptable nutrition but it is not the best nutrition.  This should be another “no argument here,” but instead we run headlong into the entrenched thinking of the establishment.  At this point, I consider any observation from the dry pet food industry as inadmissible; these people have an ax to grind and should recuse themselves from the debate about acceptable vs best pet nutrition.  It is allowed, without hesitation, they have a sound argument for convenience and economy, but dry pet food is too high in soluble carbohydrates and not the best diet.  Some people want the best nutrition for their pet and are willing to work harder and pay more to have it.

Keeping the home environment free of food danger is central to the mandate of regulatory agencies, and they see raw pet food as a vector for pathogenic bacteria getting into the home kitchen.  Evidence they generated supporting their case: 7.6% of raw pet foods bought by the Center for Veterinary Medicine from on-line suppliers tested positive for salmonella (and 16% for listeria) compared to 0% of dry foods2.  In the US each year, salmonella causes 1.2 million illnesses in people, 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths.  Chickens are the source of the vast majority of these cases.  Over 92% of non-human, non-clinical positive lab reports for salmonella are from chickens.  According to Dan Engeljohn, Assistant Administrator of USDA/FSIS field operations: “Salmonella will never be eliminated.  Salmonella is so ubiquitous in the market that you wouldn’t have any raw poultry unless it was all irradiated” (sterilized with radiation).  As a matter of fact, the agency has a “performance standard” for rates of Salmonella contamination on whole, raw chicken, allowing a prevalence of 7.5 percent. In practice, however, inspectors consider poultry plants to be in compliance when five in 51 tests, or nearly 10 percent, are positive for Salmonella3.

Dog food regulations for salmonella are more strict than those for human foods.

Oh. So the federal regulatory agency considers 10% salmonella occurrence in grocery store poultry as “background noise” but 7.6% in pet food as cause for alarm?  That’s hardly an even-handed approach to consumer protection.  The thing that is most irritating about this report from a federal agency is it is biased and out of context in its focus on raw pet food.  Granted, salmonella is bad, regardless what vector it rides into people’s kitchen, but the real issue here is chicken, from any source, from raw pet food or from the grocery store.  A more useful trial from the consumer’s perspective would be to sample grocery store chicken and raw pet food with chicken as an ingredient, and contrast the percent salmonella positives.  We already know what each assays independently—they are identical. For proper scientific validation, all that is lacking is to have the two together in the same trial.  An additional trial, incumbent upon the agency to run, is to look at salmonella in raw pet food with and without chicken as an ingredient.  Without chicken, it may be devoid of salmonella, which we are entitled to know.

If raw pet food with chicken as an ingredient and grocery store chicken are identical in percent salmonella positives, then the logical nature of this discussion should be to alert the consumer (and cook) of the hazard of raw chicken and to provide education and guidance on how to properly handle and prepare chicken.  Of course included in this discussion should be raw pet food that contains chicken as an ingredient.  The point: It is behavior unbecoming a federal agency to make recommendations against raw pet food yet say nothing against grocery store chicken when both are identical in their failings and chicken is many times more commonplace in the American kitchen than frozen pet food in the freezer.


Here is an additional reference stating the 7.5% permissible level of salmonella in whole chicken.

ggggDr Richard Patton has been an animal nutritionist for over three decades. “Most everything I have learned has been from my clients.” admits Patton.

His book, Ruined By Excess, Perfected By Lack, discusses the worldwide problem of overweight behavior—both of pets and people—is a critical aspect of any proper diet.

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Different Diets Mean Different Values For Your Pet!

By:  Robert Mueller

Blood analysis is an in-depth snapshot of everything that is going on inside your pet.

Here’s something all raw feeders should be aware of as well as those of you who are new to raw feeding.

“Blood testing results from raw fed dogs will often differ from those of their kibble fed counterparts and this is something you should be prepared for if you ever need blood work done on your dog. Below is a quick summary of what blood values are typically different.

The results below are taken from a study by Dr. Jean Dodds’ Hemopet, Petlifeline, Hemolife & Nutriscan that involved over 200 dogs of various breeds fed a raw diet for a minimum of 9 months prior to collection of the blood samples. The results of the laboratory tests were compared to healthy dogs fed dry kibble diet. Most of the blood values were comparable with certain exceptions.



Hematocrit: 37 – 55%

BUN: 6 – 24mg/dL

Creatinine: 0.4 – 1.4mg/dL


Hematocrit: 51.0 ± 6.6 – 53.5 ± 5.6%

BUN: 18.8 ± 6.9 – 22.0 ± 8.7mg/dL

Creatinine: 1.20 ± 0.34mg/dL*


Hematocrit: 47.6 ± 6.1%

BUN: 15.5 ± 4.7mg/dL

Creatinine: 1.07 ± 0.28mg/dL

* Results found only in dogs fed a Volhard diet

Hematocrit: is the measurement of the percentage of red blood cells in whole blood. Decreased Hematocrit (anemia) can be caused by poor nutrition, parasites or chronic disease including cancer and liver disease. Increased values (dehydration) are more of a concern with the dry kibbled fed dog than the raw fed dog because of the lack of moisture of the diet. Raw fed dogs are also more likely to get adequate iron and vitamin B from their higher quality protein diets.

BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen): is a waste product derived from protein breakdown in the liver. Low levels are most commonly due to inadequate protein intake, malabsorption, or liver damage. Increased levels can be caused by kidney damage, certain drugs, low fluid intake, intestinal bleeding, exercise, heart failure or decreased digestive enzyme production by the pancreas. Raw fed dogs typically have higher BUN levels because they consume more protein.

Creatinine: is also a protein breakdown product. Its level is a reflection of the body’s muscle mass. Low levels are commonly seen with inadequate protein intake, liver disease, kidney damage or pregnancy. Elevated levels are generally reflective of kidney damage and need to be monitored carefully.” – Dogs Naturally Magazine (

Vets with an understanding of raw feeding know what values to look for in the blood.

We bring this to your attention because of the response we get from many of our customers when they take their pets to the vet to have routine blood work done. A vet that is not experienced with pets that are fed a raw meaty diet may be alarmed with escalated blood values over normal. You will notice that raw diet fed dogs have levels that are higher than those of kibble fed dogs and the normal levels established for the species.  The dog’s ability to utilize the higher protein level in a raw fed diet is the reason for this.

Blood work is a critical indicator of a potential medical problem but knowing the normal levels based on the diet being fed will eliminate a lot of concern and misdiagnosis.

Remember, you and your vet are a team in the overall well being of your pet, so it is always awesome when you are all on the same page!  Being knowledgeable about blood work is extremely important because vets as well as human physicians rely on the information that the blood work reveals and treat accordingly.

According to Packaged Facts, the leading publisher of market research in the food division, the raw pet food market is growing so fast that it will double the growth of the “natural” pet food division (i.e. natural kibble, canned and dehydrated) in the next five years!

ggggRobert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s&#174 BARF Diets&#174 patties, nuggets and supplements – the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF&#174) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere.  To receive more articles like these in your email inbox, click here to sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” weekly e-zine absolutely FREE!

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No Bones About It!

By:  Robert Mueller

Feeding our companions the table scraps could ruin their holidays.

Thanksgiving is just about a week away and during the entire holiday period statistics show that most people will gain an additional five to ten pounds!  It’s not difficult when you think about it… with all the parties to attend, the delicious foods and freshly baked pumpkin pies with homemade whipped cream! This is the hardest time of the year to control our diets and it presents another dilemma for our pets as well. Often they get to sample different foods and are diverted from their regular diet choices.

It is at this time of year that we find ourselves with left over turkey carcasses that often get added to the dog bowl. This is probably the biggest danger the dog gets exposed to all year – cooked bones.

Unfortunately most people are unaware of the potential damage that can result from feeding cooked turkey, beef or ham bones to their dogs. Off the plate and into the mouth of the one looking up at you with those hard to resist begging eyes! It makes us feel good to include our best buddy as we celebrate the holiday spirit and to watch them savor the taste of that holiday bone treat.

Don’t Share!

However, no matter how much you’re inclined to share, I urge you not to feed cooked bones to your pet.  The problem with cooked bones is that they are harder, more brittle, and will splinter, whereas raw bones will not. Cooked bones are the ones most likely to be caught in the throat, to pierce the intestines, to set like concrete in the large bowel, or to potentially crack or break permanent teeth.

As much as bones are nature’s most perfect balanced blend of Calcium and Phosphorus when consumed raw, they become a potential health hazard when consumed cooked. Cooked bones are unnatural and a danger to your pet.

No Bones About It!

There are just no bones about the fact that a good raw meaty bone is natures tooth brush and provides a world of nutritious advantages compared to a cooked variety.  I have advocated the use of raw meaty bones for almost forty years and during this time I have also witnessed the damage caused by dogs eating cooked bones. Cooked bones are potentially fatal for dogs, but raw bones provide a formula for excellent health.

Benefits of Raw Meaty Bones

For this reason, I advocate that a dog’s diet should definitely contain raw bone to provide the needed blend of Calcium/Phosphorus in the perfect ratio. Using a raw natural uncooked bone source to supply the critical calcium/phosphorus ratio for your dog’s diet far exceeds the value of using artificial calcium supplementation. I suggest that the bone should be reduced in size to eliminate the damage to dogs with a smaller digestive capacity.

For Fun Too!

There are few that would argue the advantages of supplying a raw meaty bone for recreational purposes as well. Remember – not cooked, it must be RAW!  It is best to try and gauge the size of the bone to the size of the dog. A once a week treat of this nature is much better than the average allergy generating cooked biscuit treat on the market.

Let me leave you with something to think about today: When a dog receives fresh or frozen raw meaty bones in his diet (once a week is good) it’s like us eating an apple a day to keep the doctor away.  Your pet will definitely have fewer visits to the vet for health concerns.  The kindest thing you can do over the holidays for your pet is to continue to feed the BARF diet, avoid the temptation to let them sample rich holiday foods and definitely NO COOKED BONES please of any kind.

From all of the BARF World team,

ggggRobert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s&#174 BARF Diets&#174 patties, nuggets and supplements – the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF&#174) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere.  To receive more articles like these in your email inbox, click here to sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” weekly e-zine absolutely FREE!

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The Soldier You Don’t Know

By:  Robert Mueller

It is estimated that since the beginning of their service, dogs have saved 10,000 American lives.

Did you know that the United States has been using military working dogs since the Revolutionary War? They were first used as equipment pack animals but throughout the years have offered their services as drug and explosives detectors, messengers, sentries, and scouts.

During the time of World War II thousands of families in America offered their dogs for enlistment in the US military – the K-9 Corps – once it became known that the armed forces of the United States needed dogs.

Service dogs are used today in Iraq, Afghanistan and in any area of the US military where needed. The breeds most commonly used are Shepherds and Labradors although Dobermans were also once a preferred breed trained for war. Unfortunately, these wonderful service dogs are not treated as well as we might expect.

When the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, the serving military dogs, now classified as “equipment,” were simply left behind! It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Over 4,000 service dogs were left in Vietnam. Many handlers tried their best to bring them back home but the military orders were firm – a big “NO”. Only about 200 made it back- and no one really knows what happened to the 4000 that were left there. Many were euthanized or handed over to the South Vietnamese Army. Many of these wonderful, loyal, dedicated animals that risked their lives for our country and our service men did not get to come home. But there is a great organization today working on behalf of these animals.

The United States War Dogs Association

In our research we found that the main organization working on behalf of service dogs is the United States War Dogs Association. A description of our canine heroes from their website: “It has been estimated that these courageous canine heroes saved over 10,000 lives during the conflict in Vietnam.

Today all branches of our Armed Forces are utilizing Military Patrol Dogs specializing in Drug and Bomb/Explosive detection. There are approximately 600-700 of these canines in the Middle East in such places as Kuwait, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. They are being used to patrol Air Bases, Military Compounds, Ammunition Depots and Military Check Points. They are guarding and protecting our Military Personnel as they were trained to do, with Courage, Loyalty and Honor.” Many call them the “Soldier you don’t know.”

This year, in honor of Veteran’s Day, BARF World will make a charitable donation to the United States War Dogs Association. Let’s be clear – while we don’t support war, we believe in the humane work that this organization does for these animals and their handlers and the necessity to recognize their heroism. If you’re interested in learning more about their activities, please visit Operation Military Care K-9 at:

From all of the BARF World team,

ggggRobert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s&#174 BARF Diets&#174 patties, nuggets and supplements – the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF&#174) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere.  To receive more articles like these in your email inbox, click here to sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” weekly e-zine absolutely FREE!

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