Unlike other kinds of dog food, raw dog food is relatively new. There are many advantages of this feeding, as well as difficulties.
It is based on dog ancestors’ and wolves’ menu. Originally, dogs were predatory, ate raw flash as well as their wild forebears. Thus, raw feeding is similar to the historical diet of wild animals, which is raw meat, fish, vegetables, berries and fruits.
Carnivorous wolves consume a whole animal, with bones, offal and stomach with its contents. Due to unprocessed ingredients, various products, this type of feeding is obviously more wholesome, well-balanced and results in a shiny coat, healthy skin and animal good physical condition.
After the vets’ recognition, some manufacturers offer ready-made raw foods, or kibble and raw food mixes. The issues of such catering and the best raw dog food products analysis find below in our review.
Top 5 Raw Dog Food
Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixer Lil’ SuperBlends Small Breed, Chicken Recipe
Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixer Small Breeds is in the top of our Best Raw Dog Food rating. A dish is well-balanced, comprises all nutrients necessary for raw dog food with minimal processing by freezing.
95% of proteins are sourced from cage-free organic chicken and its wholesome meat, bones, liver and chicken gizzard. Supplements are fresh green veggies (spinach, broccoli), fruits and berries (apple, blueberries, strawberries, banana).
Together with other essential elements (lactobacteria, minerals, probiotics, vitamins B12, E, D3) the raw food works perfectly for healthy digestion, bad smell absence, shiny coat, vigor and stamina of your four-legged friend.
The product is supplied in small batches of 3.5, 8, 16 oz. with a scoop for exact serving in each bag with chicken, beef, duck flavors.
Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food, Turkey
Our runner-up in Best Raw Dog Food rating is Open Farm Raw Dog Food. We value this brand as it is a reliable supplier of the quality meat and plant food free of grain, antibiotics or hormones.
Open Farm reveals its sources of food ingredients, which is important for raw food. The content of raw food pack comprises up to 80% of animal proteins (meat, bones, offal) and is clearly indicated on the label.
Nutrients, vitamins and minerals (turmeric, organic pumpkin) provide valuable substances for healthy dog growth and development.
The packing 13.5 oz. may be offered with other flavors: beef, lamb, chicken, port, seafood.
Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Dog Food Nuggets, Beef Recipe
Northwest Naturals Raw Dog Nuggets is Best affordable raw pet food in our review. This cost-saving offer includes all essential nutrient elements needed for comprehensive dog feeding.
The components are thoroughly selected form the USA suppliers, thus animal meat and veggies are safe and free of artificial elements, antibiotics, growth modifiers.
Freeze-dried technology provides preservation of all nutritional and wholesome elements in meat, offal and bones. Grain-free formula implies gluten-free veggies and the best fruit diet. The main meal may be supplemented by this treat, or it may be used as a separate dish, conveniently served for four treats in one packing.
12 oz. bag is resealable and may be supplied in other tastes (chicken, lamb, salmon).
Sojos Complete Natural Raw & Dehydrated Dog Food, Turkey Recipe
Best frozen raw dog food
We value Sojos Complete Natural Dehydrated Food for its best frozen raw dog food recipe.
Only the best farm-risen products are used in this wholesome treat. With freeze-dried method, all nutritional elements are preserved, just add some water. Start treating your canine friend with this palatable food avoiding any mess on your kitchen.
All meat elements are from whole turkey (meat, organs and bones). Sweet potatoes, flax seeds, whole eggs, and essential nutrients are included. The food is balanced and is designed for adult dogs.
There is an option for a trial 4 oz. portion. Other offers are varied from 1.75 lb. to cost-saving 7 lb. bags, and tastes of beef, lamb, goat, pork.
Instinct Puppy Dry Dog Food, Large Breed Puppy, Chicken
Best raw food for puppies
Our choice for best raw food for puppies is Instinct Puppy Natural Chicken Raw Food.
This grain-free natural dog food combines the finest kibble with pieces of freeze-dried chicken, a whole poultry product including internal organs. A mix contains perfect small bites for large breed puppies. Its nutrition formula is designed for a growing bud: pure proteins from an animal source, fats, carbohydrates, amino acids and other necessary elements.
Artificial fillers, meat by-products are excluded. Low grade of meat processing allows keeping essential nutrients, thus contributing to pup’s health development.
It is supplied in bags of 4, 10, 20 lb., and has varieties of different tastes for other life stages.
Best raw dog food brands
Stella & Chewy’s
Stella & Chewy’s is the USA brand offering simple and natural pet feeding.
95% of its protein components of meat, offal and ground bones are cage-free grown. A perfect source of vitamins is berry supplements. A scoop of raw meals mixed with any other food is convenient for dog catering.
Open Farm is a premium dog food producer, open to every dog owner, revealing components origin and recipes of its dishes.
Responsible farming of ducks, turkeys, cows, pigs is the source for the best ingredients. Poultry and cattle are kept in free spaces and fed with natural forage. Fishes are caught in wild.
No antibiotics, GMO, growth enhancers for plant ingredients are used, thus making Open Farm the premium supplier of organic wholesome dog food.
Northwest Naturals is a family business for pet food production, started its history more than 50 years ago.
Its recipes have a trusted formula and reliable ingredients. The component suppliers are local farmers who apply only safe methods of veggies growth and animal breeding.
Dog food is offered in a convenient packing ready to be used. All nutrition elements are preserved with freeze-dried method, to ensure the best quality and essential elements for dogs’ heath.
Instinct brand is 15 years old company, which offers the best nutrition formula for pups and senior dogs, each by its unique recipe.
Tasty kibble is mixed with wholesome meat sourced from the cage free poultry, or caught in wild animals or fishes and freeze-dried to retain its nutritive elements. The variety of tastes includes venison, chicken, beef, lamb, duck.
Sojos is the USA manufacturer offering the most palatable dishes for pets among raw dog food brands.
Their dehydration production method keeps the wholesome food elements for healthy dog’s development. Add some water and a fresh and aromatic treat is ready without dirt splattered around.
Merrick company delivers nutrition for pets for more than 30 years.
Its dishes are wholesome, ingredients sourced from natural animals bred in wild or cage free conditions without growth inhibitors.
Low processing grade of raw food (freeze-drying) helps retain essential elements, thus enhancing immunity system work, joints, coat of canine eaters.
Features to consider when buying raw dog food
Feeding a dog with raw food may become a tiresome and messy process. Commercially prepared dishes may be a good option. They are safe and well-balanced, as a rule.
Meanwhile, four essential features must be carefully watched.
1. Ingredients quality. Meat is the main ingredient of raw food. Its quantity should be the largest in the content.
Buy only fresh specimens with short expiration date from a reliable supplier or a brand. Use lean muscles or heart meat. These organs provide proteins, which influence all dogs’ systems work.
2. Nutrients balance. Meat proteins should be 14-19% in the dish. Provided by small part of veggies and fruits, carbohydrates are responsible for energy, digestion fibers, blood sugar decrease. Grains are avoided in raw food, being substituted by raw root and green plants cut in small pieces.
Saturated fats, sourced from white fat in meat or trims, are less wholesome than unsaturated, obtained from fish, flex oils. Up to 15% of fats are allowed in the raw food, their exceeding may result in diarrhea, pancreatitis, liver problems.
Enzymes, 22 amino acids (e.g. arginine, leucine, fatty acids) from natural sources (spirulina, apple cider vinegar) are better than their synthetic supplements.
3. Bones and offal inclusion. The main value of raw food is its balance. Dogs’ ancestors ate raw victim animals as whole, with internal organs and bones, thus obtaining complex nutrition at a time.
Kidneys, liver, stomach and other internal organs are the source of vitamins and minerals, which are natural and easy digestible.
Bones are a valuable source of calcium. Their hard consistency train oral cavity, providing gums and teeth massage. In case your manufacturer of raw dog food does not provide bones in the food, feed your dog hard parts (poultry necks) additionally. The content of calcium should be between 0.75%-1.5%.
4. Cost. Feeding your dog with raw food is not cheap.
What is expensive?
- high quality ingredients;
- fresh lean meat;
- short expiration dates; few options of buying raw food in bulks and storing it.
Tempting offers of cheap food may result in bad quality food purchase (trims, offal).
Guide (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is raw dog food?
Raw dog food is a special feeding method, implying fresh and raw ingredients. Commercial raw dog food is usually made of cut products, processed with deep-freezing, or dried by freezing and conveniently packed.
To provide balanced meals for your pup, make sure his weekly ration consists of:
- lean muscle/heart meat;
- offal meat;
- animal or poultry bones;
- vegetables (root and green, such as celery, carrots);
- fruits or berries;
- eggs and yogurt.
Grains are not desirable by raw feeding method, as they should be accordingly cooked.
Is raw dog food safe?
As the ingredients are not thermally processes (boiled, stewed), they may subject to different infections. People are more sensitive to them, than their canine companions are.
Precautions are needed for pet parents, when preparing dishes for pups sharing the same kitchen. Exclude raw diet in case you have other pets or small children to avoid their food contamination.
The digestion system of dogs differs from human, so they may consume some pathogenic bacteria, such as salmonella, and may not get sick.
However, the benefits of raw dog food are numerous:
- shiny coat;
- better metabolism and weight control;
- regular and firmer poo;
- energy increase;
- better immunity.
Can a dog get sick from eating raw meat?
Consuming raw meat is much safer for a dog, than for its human parents. This is due to the differences in internal organs structure, preventing pooches from parasites and bacteria diseases:
- Shorter dogs’ digestive tract make quicker digestion and food residuals withdrawal, thus making impossible for pathogens to colonize in the guts.
- Very acidic stomach especially during digestion (pH approximately 1 or lower) contributes quicker processing of hard food leaving low chances for pathogens to reproduce.
- Dog’s saliva is rich in special enzymes with antibacterial effect. This feature helps avoid microbes entering the digestive tract.
Other threats of raw food may be connected with hard and sharp bones: they may be stuck and damage stomach or throat tissues, break a tooth or cause a choke.
Are raw fed dogs more likely to get worms?
The basic statement is that a dog may get worms everywhere. For example, fleas are the main source of tapeworm infection. Besides, a dog may swallow some unattended food outside, spoiled by worms.
Chances to buy contaminated commercial raw dog food or bad meat in a grocery store are very low. Buying from reliable suppliers reduces the possibilities of pathogen bacteria and worms infection.
How do I prepare raw meat for my dog?
A healthy dog does not require any special raw food processing except cutting it to pieces. Sometimes pet parents chip bones prior to feeding. However, a need to do this appears only in case of any health concerns.
Make sure a dog obtains a variety of meats (form different animals), bones and veggies, eggs and yogurt. Dishes should be altered at least once a week for a better balance.
Stock necessary products in advance, keep them in the fridge and mix ingredients by each serving.
How much raw food should I feed my dog?
Different dogs require different feeding rules.
Consult your vet; calculate the calories quantity and balance of elements necessary for your four-legged companion depending on:
- your pet life stage,
Adult and senior dogs’ ration should comprise 2% of their body weight. That is 25 lb. pooch requires 0.5 lb. of meals divided between the morning and evening meals.
A puppy should be fed with 10% of its weight feed quantity, split into three meals during a day.
Is it OK to mix kibble with raw meat?
It is possible to mix dry and raw food during one meal. However, feed your dog small portions during transition period and try not to exceed 25% of kibble in one meal.
A pet, consuming only raw food, has more acidic stomach comparing to a pooch fed by the kibble (1.0 pH and 2.5 pH accordingly). Acidic stomach is ready to hard products and bones, while the one fed dry food is accustomed to cooked grains, meats and veggies.
In case you need to change a diet, keep to some trial period to avoid vomiting and diarrhea.
Does raw meat give dogs diarrhea and why?
Feeding your dog raw food should be healthy, safe and result in firm stool.
In case the poo is loose, there are may be the following problems.
- Too quick switching to raw dishes from kibble or wet food. The necessary enzymes haven’t been produced yet. Prolong previous feeding with a smaller portion of raw food. Add probiotics to the main dish.
- Too much fat in the diet. Check the content of fat in raw dishes and switch to wild animals or turkey meat, which is dietary.
- Wrong proportion of meat, offal and bones. Dishonest suppliers may offer food with exceeding quantity of cheaper organs and bones. Remember the rule of 80:10:10 (meat: organs: bones).
- Some proteins disagree when mixing (milk and eggs, offal and sardines). Use one main protein source at a time instead.
- Spoiled meat may cause poisoning. Avoid storing meat leftovers in the fridge, use freezer instead. Dispose the meat in case you notice smell or texture changes, otherwise bad meat may cause salmonella or E. Coli infection.
Other wet food for dogs
Instinct Raw Boost Natural Dry Dog Food, Chicken
Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food is offered for all life stages.
The unique recipe is combination of the healthy kibble and freeze-dried raw food.
Chicken is the number one ingredient. Being frozen and dehydrated, the whole chicken is the perfect source of proteins, essential elements, preserved without thermal processing.
Other combinations of elements, veggies, fruits, amino acids, probiotics are well-balanced and work for smooth functioning of all dog organs, from the digestive system to joints and eyes.
The food bags are offered in 4, 10, 20, 21 lb. sizes with different flavors.
Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food Made with Functional Ingredients, Skin & Coat Health
We would recommend Instinct Raw Boost Dry Dog Food for dogs with functional concerns of skin and coat. Alternatively, use it with the aim of diseases prevention.
A mix of raw meat pieces with wholesome grain-free, free of poultry by-products kibble is a perfect dog dish. Minimal processing of chicken allows all essential elements remain preserved.
Omegas from fish meal, salmon oil, chia seeds work for immunity enhancing, skin health.
The product is offered in 4 lb. and 18 lb. bags, does not require fridge storing, and may be supplied in different tastes.
Merrick Backcountry Raw Pacific Catch Recipe
Raw Pacific Catch Recipe of Merrick offers a unique dish, combining the kibble and raw food.
All essential elements are preserved due to low processing of ingredients. Salmon is a component # 1, which ensures the source of pure proteins.
Due to grain-free formula, as well as absence of artificial preservatives and fillers, dog’s digestive sensitivities, allergies are reduced.
Glucosamine, chondroitin improve joints and muscles, making this food desirable for bigger breeds or those pets with relevant organs issues.
The product is supplied in 4, 12, 22 lb. bags with grain free or whole grain formula. A variety of other flavors is also available.
Merrick Backcountry Dried Raw Meal Mixer, Beef
Merrick Dried Raw Dog Food, Beef may be served in two options.
One option is a separate dish prepared by pouring some water in the bowl for 3 minutes. Thus, it provides raw food nutrition and hydration. Another variant is mixing raw food with the kibble, thus additional carbs and fats will be obtained for energy supply.
This product is offered as grain-free and poultry-free food for pooches with digestion sensitivities. Its main ingredient is freeze-dried beef providing proteins. Veggies and fruits add carbohydrates and other essential elements.
12.5 oz. pack is resealable for easy storing of leftovers. It also may be offered with chicken flavor.
ORIJEN Puppy High-Protein, Premium Quality Meat, Dry Dog Food
ORIJEN Puppy Dry Dog Food combines the best ingredients of fresh or raw products (2/3 of a pack) and the kibble.
Puppies get a well-balanced diet, full of pure proteins, fats and carbohydrates for healthy growth. The sources of proteins are chicken, turkey, and mackerel, herring, flounder meat, fresh or freeze-dried. Lean meat, offal, cartilage and bones resemble wild prey menu, which dogs’ ancestors consumed long ago.
Fruits and vegetables contribute up to 15% of the nourishing elements. Grains are avoided.
4, 12, 13, 25 lb. are the variety of bags supplied.
Wellness Natural Dry Pet Food
Wellness Natural Pet Food, Raw Turkey and Chicken is a source of nutrients for adult dogs.
Whole meat with bones and organs is freeze-dried. These pieces are high-quality proteins, and support pets’ stamina and development.
Combination with kibble ensures wholesome carbohydrates, antioxidants, vitamins avoiding grains. Pea, potatoes, lentils, parsley, flax seeds are included for guts and other organs health, such as teeth, coat.
Bags of dog food may be in different sizes: 4, 10, 20 lb.
Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Dog Food Toppers, Chicken
Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food may be used as a separate treat and a delicious additive to dry dog food. A natural food topper is a nutritional source of proteins and essential elements.
Chicken, the main ingredient, is bred without growth enhancers cage-free. Plants are organic non-GMO. A grain-free recipe means absence of allergy-provoking products: wheat, corn, soy. No artificial colors and fillers are used.
Altogether, this diet is directed for correct body development, healthy digestion and shiny coat of a pooch.
The food is supplied in packing of 6 and 14 oz., and a variety of other tastes: lamb, beef.
Steve’s Real Food Raw Nuggets, Turkey
Steve’s Real Food Nuggets are freeze-dried raw dog food with the lean meat as the main ingredient.
This organic raw dog food is free of hormones and antibiotics. Essential elements, antioxidants, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are supplied with flax seeds, coconut oil. Raw goat milk is used for additional calcium for teeth and bones.
It is served in convenient nuggets, which may be served as it is, or with some water for additional hydration. The complex of nutrients help enforce internal system functioning.
It is offered in 1.25 lb. bags and with turducken, lamb, chicken, beef, pork taste.
Fresh Is Best Raw Duck Treats
These Fresh Is Best Freeze Dried Raw Duck Treats are easy to serve when traveling, walking, as a snack between the main meals and for training incentive.
Proteins of animal origin are supplied in freeze-dried pieces. Some water may be added for better hydration.
No hormones are used, as well as artificial preservatives, gluten or growth modifiers. Carbohydrates derived from organic veggies and fruits, enhance essential elements supply.
3 oz. pack with a fresh meal also may include delicious and wholesome necks, liver, giblets, breasts.
Canidae Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Quail, Chicken, & Turkey
Canidae Pure Ancestral Dog Food, Poultry is the mix of the kibble and fresh raw meat. The dish combines the best feeding formulas to provide essential elements for healthy adult dog’s development.
Lean meats of turkey, chicken, quail provide pure proteins. Poultry is farm-risen, fed with organic clean food.
Carbs are provided with variety of wholesome ingredients (parsley, squash, sage), supply enough vitamins, amino acids, mineral necessary for a dog.
4, 9, 20 oz. bags ensure different options fog dog food stocking. Various tastes (salmon, mackerel) offer a palatable treat for every four-legged picky-eater.