The movement towards MRI at higher field strengths (>7T) has enhanced the appeal of arterial spin labeling (ASL) for many applications due to improved SNR of the measurements. Greater field strength also introduces increased magnetic susceptibility effects resulting in marked B0 field inhomogeneity. Although B0 field perturbations can be minimised by shimming over the imaging volume, marked field inhomogeneity is likely to remain within the labeling region for pulsed ASL (PASL). This study highlights a potential source of error in cerebral blood flow quantification using PASL at high field. We show that labeling efficiency in flow-sensitive alternating inversion recovery (FAIR) displayed marked sensitivity to the RF bandwidth of the inversion pulse in a rat model at 9.4T. The majority of preclinical PASL studies have not reported the bandwidth of the inversion pulse. We show that a high bandwidth pulse of > = 15 kHz was required to robustly overcome the field inhomogeneity in the labeling region at high field strength, which is significantly greater than the inversion bandwidth ~2–3 kHz used in previous studies. Unless SAR levels are at their limit, we suggest the use of a high bandwidth labeling pulse for most PASL studies. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.