Best Raw Dog Food

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Have you ever wondered how many pets are there in Australia? 

Interested in the answer?! We have done the research and here are the results. 

Over 24 million pets out of which around 4.8 million are pet dogs. What this means is that 38% of the households in Australia own a dog. 

Want to learn some more surprising facts?

In accordance with the Animal Medicines Australia statistical data, a sum reaching up to $12.2 billion annually is spent on the furry friends. 

If we take into account the different types of costs such as vet services, food and related the average household owning a dog spend more than 1,500 $ per year, out of which 622 dollars on food. 

We know how much you love your furry family members and we are certain that you want only the best for them. 

This is why today we are going to discuss the best dog food options or to be more specific by the end of this article you will learn all there is to know about the best raw dog food. 

What do we understand under raw dog food?

A raw diet is made of raw meat that might consist of raw bones  (whole, ground or crushed) and mixed-in organs. The raw dog food besides raw meat, in addition, can have some raw eggs, fruits, and vegetables.

This type of food is followed by controversy – some claim that this is the closest to what’s natural for the dogs while others claim that we should be extremely careful with raw food.  

According to what we have researched so far we would strongly advise before you transition or introduce the raw food to your dog’s diet to talk to your vet. 

What are the Proven Benefits and the Potential Risks of Raw Dog Food?

Pet owners are curious about what good will the raw food bring to their dogs and why should they introduce it as part of the dog’s diet?

  • Some reports claim that raw food contributes to shinier coats of the dogs.
  • The consumption of raw dog food develops stronger muscles and bones.
  • The raw food diet makes the puppies have a firm and smaller stools.
  • There are reports that claim that this type of food significantly contributes to the healing and the fights against diseases such as cancer.
  • Feeding dogs in this way assists in their weight balance.
  • It makes the teeth cleaner and rises the level of energy 

Besides the many benefits of a raw dog diet (BARF), it is important to mention the potential risks or cons so that you are aware of them.

  • The raw dog food is usually made of bigger parts of bones that sometimes may be troublesome for some dogs to chew and has a greater possibility for risk for intestinal obstructions or choking.
  • The raw diet might be nutrient deficient and may be more difficult to reach the balance in the ingredients in order to keep health problems away.
  • The raw bones and raw meat may contain parasites and bacteria, which may cause infections or lead to diarrhea and gastrointestinal inflammation.
  • The price tag is more expensive than the other types of dog food 
  • As this is a raw food in order to stay in proper state you will have to freeze or refrigerate it. 
  • Many experts do not recommend the raw diet for dogs that suffer from some diseases which are bacteria-susceptible or cancer for example.

So, let’s get down to business and see which products made to our list of top picks of raw dog food products.

10 Best Raw Dog Food 

1. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Chicken Dinner Patties  

It is definitely one of the most popular choices when it comes to raw food. Under the brand name of Stella & Chewy, there is a whole range of different products. 

What makes it such a popular choice? First of all, it is suitable for small, large and medium breeds of all-life stages. It comes in a freeze-dried form, which is convenient for many pet owners as it is crafted in small batches of patties. It contains 95% of meat, bone, and organs in this dog food option this means chicken with ground bone, chicken liver and gizzard, pumpkin seed and some organic cranberries. It is grain-free and it is stated that all the animals are grass-fed, wild-caught, and cage-free. It is a recipe that is rich in proteins. This particular Chicken Dinner Patties package is 25 Ounce. 

Key features: 

  • No need of preparation time -just scoop, mix, and then ready to serve
  • Free from preservatives, grains, fillers, antibiotics 
  • Certified veggies and fruits used 
  • The packaging is zipped well so it keeps the contents fresh
  • Superb taste, high-quality accepted by the majority of the dogs

2. Primal Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food Chicken Formula 

This can be an ideal choice as it covers all life stages and brings a well-balanced and complete diet in your puppies’ life. The company states, in the case of this chicken formula it is made of chickens, which have been raised with no added hormones and without antibiotics. It is free of soy, grain, wheat, gluten, and corn. In addition, this meal is made of chicken, chicken necks, chicken gizzard, organic kale, organic carrots. According to many customers, this might be a great choice for picky eaters and there are numerous statements confirming that dogs love this food and in just a short period it influenced well on the shiny coat and hair. It comes in a freeze-dried form and there is no need for extra preparation time for the meal.   

Key Features:

  • A full well-balanced freeze-dried meal that you can mix with the standard dog food 
  • Small  nuggets fragments that you can use as treats
  • Perfect for fussy eaters and puppies with allergies and the ones which get sick easily
  • Minimum protein -37% 
  • A variety of all kinds of flavors available from the same brand

3. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe Natural Dry Dog Food

The Instinct Raw Boost Recipe belongs to one of the most popular brands of Nature’s Variety that has become known for producing high-quality dog food. The high-protein kibble consists of raw chunks so your dog can really enjoy the meal. This particular meal is often suggested as a great choice for the beginning steps of the introduction of raw food in the dog raw diet. Just like the other two on our list, this raw formula is a grain-free mixture of real chicken, kibble, chicken fat, peas, tapioca among the top five ingredients. Our furry family members find the recipe delicious and perfect for healthy weight and growth. In addition, if you decide to feed raw this mixture due to the probiotics will guarantee healthy digestion and represents balanced nutrition for the life stages of all breeds. 

Key Features:

  • Grain-free and High-protein kibble
  • Freeze-dried raw pieces are part of the food combination 
  • First kibble with raw boost
  • Highly digestible with added probiotics
  • It contains omegas for shiner and healthier coat and skin.

4. Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Great Plains Red Recipe Grain-Free Dry Food

This raw infused dry food advertises as the ultimate ancestral diet. It is an ideal combo of grain-free, protein-rich kibble infused with real beef that has been freeze-dried. In addition, the meal contains proteins from lamb, rabbit, salmon, and pork. Thе formula contains digestible carbohydrates such as potatoes, peas, and sweet potatoes. There are also beneficial supplements or in other words chelated minerals and vitamins. This recipe ensures a balanced diet and a complete meal. In general, it contains 38% of the protein that raises the energy levels of dogs. 

Key features:

  • It is great for dogs with a sensitive stomach
  • Rich with proteins and omega acids 
  • Raw-infused dry food 
  • It has added minerals and essential vitamins 
  • Gluten-free 
  • Primary ingredient – real beef 

5. Sojos Complete Turkey Recipe Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food 

 This meal is great for puppies with sensitive stomachs and issues in digestability. If you are one of the dog owners who keep such a puppy you certainly have understood by now, how important the diet is. This turkey recipe is a great option as it contains whole pieces of real turkey which have been proven effective for digestion as well as nutrition because it is a great protein source. In addition, the meal has a mixture of raw superfoods such as broccoli, cranberries, sweet potatoes and apples. They add value to the minerals and vitamins that are boosted with omega fatty acids which on the other side contribute to the healthier skin and softer coat. In general, it ensures optimal nutrition based on healthy fats, proteins and meaty pieces from turkey, which is great for the digestive system. However what you need to be aware of that this recipe is only for adult dogs.

Key Features:

  • You can prepare it for 15 minutes by adding water 
  • Contains veggies and fruits 
  • Free from grains and gluten (100%)
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • This recipe is only for adult dogs 

6. Darwin‘s Natural Selection Raw Dog Food 

Many users who have tried this pet food have only positive comments about it. This particular brand of raw dog food & diet offers a convenient way for dog owners to feed their puppies with high-quality raw pet food. It contains 72-74% of muscle meat and organ meat, special nutrient mix, and organic veggies, which are certified by USDA. It comes ready as a ready balanced meal just right out of the package. The manufacturer ensures that your dog will get the needed nutrition just with the convenience of a commercial ready-made meal. Darwin’s raw food has two lines, the first one being Natural Selection and the second one is called ZooLogics. Both are similar but the latter uses human-grade ingredients. 

Key features:

  • Organic and Grain-free
  • No pesticides or hormones 
  • Choose from a variety of tastes 
  • Organic veggies certified by USDA
  • 72-74% of meat and organ meat
  • Low in carbs 

7. Stewart Raw Naturals 

Steward Raw Naturals is a company that has been providing pet parents with high-quality biologically appropriate raw food for more than 44 years. This company innovated the free-dried which succeeds to preserve the freshness. Beef is the primary ingredient and does not contain many other ingredients. 80% is the protein that comes from a single source, 18% belong to veggies and fruits and the other 2% to supplements and vitamins.  There is an addition of calcium that comes from the ground bone and there are human-grade ingredients as well. It is a great choice for dogs that are sensitive to food, suffer from allergies or the ones that are on rotation diet or have to eat a diet with a limited-ingredient. 

Key Features:

  • The main ingredient is beef. 
  • USDA-certified ingredients
  • Food processed in a way that retains nutritive elements 
  • There are many flavors
  • Ideal for picky dogs and those which suffer from food allergies

8. Nature’s Logic Chicken Feast Patties Raw Frozen Dog Food

This belongs to the frozen food category of dog raw food. It is an excellent choice due to the premium ingredients and the formula that is nutritionally balanced. It is digestive and highly palatable as it contains muscle meat and organ meat with carefully selected fresh vegetables and fruits. Its content is 90% of poultry meat which makes it very similar if not the same to the natural diet of the dogs. The whole food is the main source of nutrients and the addition of supplemental fats. It has a pleasant flavor and dogs love it. 

Key features:

  • Natural sources of nutrients
  • Highly digestible
  • Flavorful option  
  • Premium ingredients 
  • 90% polutry 

9.  Vital Essentials Beef Entrée Mini Nibs Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Dog Food

What you get with Vital Essentials Beef Meal is real beef and organ meats that are basic ingredients and the source of nutritious diet for your puppies. There are no antibiotics, artificial ingredients or hormones. What is unique for the product is the supplement with herring oil which gives the required fatty acids. The meal although has a short list when it comes to ingredients provides a nutritionally balanced meal that is easily digestible by the puppies.

Key Features:

  • Convenient and easy to seal packaging 
  • 5 kinds of meat-based meal available 
  • Gluten-free and grain-free
  • Omega 3 fatty acids content
  • Complete meal but also a treat

10. TruDog: Feed Me: Freeze-Dried Raw Superfood – Real Meat Dog Food

The brand advertises itself that it contains 99% of real meat, in this case, it is beef, beef tripe, meaty bones, and other high-quality organ meat. Just like the other similar freeze-dried raw food for dogs, it is extremely easy for preparing as you can just add water and you are ready to go.  

Key Features:

  • Contains UDSA grass-fed beef
  • No fillers, sugar, grain or artificial preservatives 
  • Accepted by all breed of dogs and covers all ages 
  • You can use it as a treat or ready-made meal
  • Supplemented with Hering oil 

What to look for when buying a raw dog food

We are sure that you have learned by now and you are aware that the raw dog food has a higher price tag compared to the other types such as canned or dry food. However, we are certain that you are also aware of all the benefits and long-lasting results that your puppies can enjoy as a result of this healthy diet. 

What is important to look for when going to the pet store or shopping on Amazon, Chewy or any other local retail site for raw dog food

1. High-quality protein. 

When talking about ingredients the first and most important one for the puppies diet is Protein. The least protein percentage that is required for a balanced and healthy diet is somewhere at 18%. What this means is that when buying raw food you should check if the protein comes from real meat is the foundation of a healthy diet for any dog and the primary component of a raw food diet. Your dog needs a minimum of 18% protein in its diet, though much higher percentages are recommended. Just make sure the first ingredient in your dog’s raw diet is a real meat and you can experiment with the flavors and types of meat (beef, chicken, venison, salmon, rabbit as most common).

2. Calcium, protein and other required nutrients 

Check whether the ingredients contain raw bones because they are the primary source of phosphorus and calcium which make the bones and teeth stronger. You should be careful the fat content is not more than 15%. The carbs should come from organic veggies and fruits which are often part of the ingredients. The fruits provide the much-needed omega and amino acids. The best combination to look for is the blend of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. 

3. The way it is kept and stored 

This type of food can be packed in different forms such as patties, rolls, and tubs if it comes as raw food. This can be frozen and refrigerated to stay fresh. Other popular options are dry raw food and freeze-dried. The process of freeze-drying extracts the moisture and preserves only the raw ingredients and their nutritional value that can be lost for example if you cook the meal by yourself. On the market, there is also a dehydrated type of raw food.  

When you are handling raw food especially if you decide to buy frozen raw food you should be really careful and make sure you sterilize the utensils as fresh raw food is the source of many bacteria such as e.coli that can be critical for the safety of your dog. In this context, freeze-dried is more convenient for storage, keeping (they have a longer shelf life) as well as preparation. For most of the products on our list, it takes around 15 minutes to ready serve by just adding an appropriate amount of water.   

It is up to you to decide what suits you best. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How much raw food can I feed my dog? 

When you feed a raw diet, overall you should feed in between 2%-3% of your dog’s body weight, talking about a day. Of course, you should determine the exact amount in reference to the specific needs of the dog for protein and calories and its age, level of activity and body weight. You can start with ½ pound (food) per 25 pounds (bodyweight) per day. See how it goes and if there is a need for any adjustments. 

2. Do I need to introduce the raw diet gradually? 

It is always advisable to start things slowly. There are many articles on the web that can help you prepare and start your own starter plan for a balanced raw diet. It is a good idea to start with chicken as the main ingredient as it is easily digestible and then the next week you can introduce another source of protein such as beef. If the dogs would not accept the raw food you might try mixing it with kibble. 

3. There are claims that raw dog food is not safe. What are the dangers? 

Raw dog food can be quite controversial as many topics that are recent and have not been researched enough simply because they are new. However, the popularity and demand for this food are rising. The commercial raw dog food removed most of the obstacles and dangers that are commonly related to the raw diet. The biggest danger is one of the fresh raw food because of the bacteria in the meat that can cause Salmonella and E.Coli. Another danger comes from the bones – if they are bigger that might be a risk for choking and teeth breaking. The commercially raw food has a complete and balanced diet, unlike the raw food that you prepare by yourself where the balance in nutrition is harder to achieve. 

4. How does a raw diet affect on the dogs’ behavior? Doesn’t it make them aggressive?

No, raw dog food and eating real meat would not make your dog aggressive and hyperactive. This type of diet has a positive effect on the dog as it raises the level of energy but does not make them hyperactive, but happier. It influences the health of the skin and teeth so the healthy dog is a happy dog as the chemical balance of the raw food is great and positively affects the mood. This is supported by recent studies that have done research by comparing two types of dogs – raw fed and dry-fed. The studies show that raw-fed are calmer and happier. 

Shopping for raw dog food especially if you are a beginner can be quite a challenge. In this article, we have reviewed the best options that you can find on the market these days. It is up to you to pick one and try to feed your dog with it today!

About the author

Jade Anderson

Author and pet lover at Cleaner Paws. Jade has over 14 years experience working with pets and has a interest in pet grooming. Jade is a pet lover and has a jack Russell terrier name Teddy and a Persian cat named Lulu. On weekends she can be found reading at home and looking after Teddy and Lulu.

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