Food scores are based on ingredient quality and safety. For more information, view our evaluation criteria.
BARF World’s freeze-dried nuggets are considered a low risk food with a score of 8.5. The company offers 3 recipes: beef, lamb and chicken. The overall average for protein is 42%, and 5% carbohydrates. However, the chicken has almost 4 times the amount of carbs as the other 2 recipes at 11%. It’s not outrageous but it’s worth noting.
The ingredient quality score loses a single point for the use of fish oil where its source is not named. You want to see beef, salmon or chicken, not animal, fish or poultry. Unnamed protein sources are of much lower quality, especially meals, which are typically from rendered waste. The type of fish oil used is not specified causing the loss of a point. However, the company notes on its website that it uses wild-caught Pacific salmon in its recipes. Wild-caught fish contains a healthier fatty acid balance than farmed fish to provide the omega-3 fatty acids your dog needs. That said, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids isn’t listed. It’s important to know since omega-6 fats are inflammatory and AAFCO allows a very high ratio of 30:1.
On the safety side, each of the recipes loses 2 points due to using high pesticide/herbicide foods like celery and apples, and the use of GMO foods like alfalfa. Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers pose a significant health risk to plants, animals and soils. Regarding GMOs, there are limited safety studies on genetically modified and Roundup Ready crops. They’re also lacking in nutrients compared to non-GMO foods. GMO crops also strip nutrients from soils, require increased pesticide risk and may be involved in bee die-off.
It should be noted that this food includes a few glam ingredients. These are expensive or desirable ingredients like blueberries or kale that are often added to appeal to consumers but may be in minuscule amounts. If these foods are below salt or other low concentration ingredients, they contribute little or no nutritional value to your dog. In this case, only fish oil, garlic and kelp are listed but it’s preferred they be in higher amounts to benefit your dog.