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A.C.B.A. (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food)

A.C.B.A. (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food)

A.C.B.A. (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food)

In the constant search for better and cheaper diets for dogs, breeders and exhibitors of pets and show dogs are pointed in two directions.  Most dog owners applaud the developments of the manufacturers of increasingly specialized Premium food diets.

However, a growing segment of dog owners are turning to ACBA, biologically appropriate raw food.

Developed by Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst, the ACBA diet is based on raw bones with meat, viscera, raw vegetables and supplements, rather than commercial food or home cooked meals.

Billinghurst has published two books about ACBA: "Give your dog a bone" in 1993, and "Grow your pups with bones.”

Dr.  Billinghurst describes ACBA as follows:

"ACBA is feeding dogs properly.  Its objective is to maximize the health, longevity and reproductive capacity of dogs and, in so doing, minimize the need for veterinary intervention.  How do you feed a dog appropriately? Giving them the diet they evolved for and are designed to eat.  Artificial diets based on cereals cause countless health problems.  They are not what your dog was programmed to eat during its long evolutionary process.  A biologically appropriate diet for a dog is one that consists in raw foods similar to those ate by wild ancestors of dogs.  The food must contain the same balance and type of ingredients that the ones consumed by those wild ancestors.  This food should include such things as muscle meat, bone, fat, viscera and vegetable materials and any other food that is similar to what their wild ancestors ate."

Those who feed ACBA say that food in kibbles (pellets, balanced food) has been around for the last sixty years, but the dogs have eaten human food for millennia before processed foods went into the market.  However, the debate is hot.

Raw vs cooked.

The ACBA philosophy is that dogs should be fed foods that are evolutionarily fit to eat.  ACBA principles say that commercially prepared cooked foods do not contain enzymes and other essential components of the diet, and contain some ingredients that promote different types of allergies or which are dangerous for dogs.

Some veterinarians have expressed doubts about feeding bones to dogs, but those who support ACBA answer to the fears with the statement that cooked bones tend to splinter and cause damage, but raw bones are safe.

The best judgment for the diet is the condition of your dog.  Some dogs suffering from low energy, allergies, skin problems, and other symptoms, increased their energy and endurance, the gloss of their coats, and have experienced an increase in their wellbeing by switching to a ACBA diet.  But many dogs shall be fine with premium commercial diets, especially those that are highly digestible, including fatty acid supplements.  Dog owners need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both.


Calculate 2% or 3 % of body weight of the dog.  A dog weighing 25 kilos should eat 500 grams to 750 grams per day split into 2 doses preferably.  Note that, with these percentages, a dog eats about the same amounts when being a puppy and as an adult.

The basis of the ACBA diet are:

• 60-70% of the daily total should be made up of raw meaty bones.  They must make up a single meal by themselves.  They should not be mixed with other foods.

• The daily 40-30% remaining will consist of:

1.  Vegetables and/or fruit: daily (about the daily total 10%).

2.  Meat (any kind): 2-4 times a week.

3.  Fish (any kind): 1-2 times a week.

4.  Viscera: once a week (do not mix with eggs).

5.  Eggs: 3-5 units per week.

Source: ACBA: Bones And Raw Food, The search for a better dog diet marches on. (translation: Fernando Borcel).  (

Original text: Miriam Díaz and Dolores Sánchez-Peñalver 

ACBA pages.