Raw feeding has become increasingly popular amongst pet owners in recent years.
Disclaimer: We must stress that we’re not experts on dog nutrition. You should speak to your local vet or a qualified pet nutritionist before making the switch to a raw diet. This article doesn’t constitute expert, veterinary or medical advice.
It’s something that you’ll regularly see on social media and pet websites as dog owners make the transition to a completely raw diet.
You’ll see many pet parents on Instagram referencing the fact that their canine companion is “raw fed” or “fuelled by raw food”.
Naturally, if you’re a dog owner who is unfamiliar with raw dog food, you’ll have many questions about this type of nutrition.
In this article, we’re taking a look at some of the Best Raw Dog Food options by highlighting a number of companies who are offering the opportunity for pet owners to make the switch to “raw fed”.
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Current Top Rated Raw Dog Food 2021
|Instinct||• Two lines • Made in USA • No Fillers||Buy Now|
|Stella and Chewy's||• Grass Fed • Vet Approved • Organic Fruit or Veg||Buy Now|
|Raw Wild||• Elk and Deer • 99.4% meat • Made in USA||Buy Now|
|Tru Dog||• Meal Plan • Club Discount • Auto Delivery||Buy Now|
|Darwin's||• Crafted • Customised • Fresh||Buy Now|
What Is Raw Dog Food?
A raw dog food diet involves feeding your canine companion raw meat, possibly along with a small amount of fruit and vegetables. The idea behind this is to give your dog a diet that their wolf-like ancestors would have eaten centuries ago.
The types of raw food that you can feed your dog include organ meat, muscle meat, whole or ground bone, raw eggs, dog-safe vegetables, certain dog-safe fruits and berries as well as healthy fats.
Advocates of raw dog food claim that this diet can bring a number of benefits to your pet’s health and wellness.
However, many vets warn against the potential risks involved with feeding your dog a raw diet, such as threats from bacteria and potential bones.
You’ll find that most raw dog food companies follow a 80:10:10 model, which is 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% offal as well as some added fruit or vegetables. This is often referred to as a BARF dog food diet, aka Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding or Bones and Raw Food.
The idea behind these ratios is that it represents what is called a “whole prey item”, such as a rabbit. However, the modern dog has evolved since their wolf-like ancestors. Therefore, most raw dog food companies will include fruit and vegetables.
There are number of things that dog-safe vegetables can bring to your pet’s diet, such as antioxidants, active bacteria and soluble fibre.
Feeding your dog a raw diet seems to have become a growing trend over the past few years. It’s often viewed as a “natural” option as opposed to kibble. However, there’s no real proof that a raw food diet is better than a dry food.
Potential Risks Of Raw Dog Food
While you’ll find many dog owners who wholeheartedly believe in raw dog food, there are lots of pet parents who prefer to steer clear of this type of nutrition.
The concerns generally stem from number of potential risks associated with raw dog food. As we’ve already mentioned in this article, we recommend contacting your local vet to learn more about the pros and cons of a raw diet so you can make an informed decision. The contents of this article doesn’t constitute medical or veterinary advice.
There are some potential problems and risks that raw dog food can pose, including, but not limited to:
• The bacteria in raw meat can pose a threat to human and dog health. Most raw dog food companies will do a bacteria test on their products, which is preferred to buying meat from your local supermarket or butchers.
• Raw food diets are not recommended in homes with small children or immunocompromised individuals due to the health risk that raw foods can present to members of the household.
It’s important that you are fully aware of the potential risks associated with raw dog food before making a purchase. You can find out more about this by viewing the FDA’s tips and information page about raw pet food.
Best Raw Dog Food 2021
Let’s now take a look at our pick some of the best raw dog food options available at the moment.
1) Instinct by Nature’s Variety
Where to buy: chewy.com
Who are Nature’s Variety?
Nature’s Variety’s write on their website that they’re on a mission to transform the lives of pets.
They’ve got a lot of experience within the dog food market, having proudly made their food in Lincoln, Nebraska since 2002.
They believe that all pets deserve the best life possible, adding that it starts with food.
Nature’s Variety believe in providing pet parents with the chance to feed their dogs with real food.
They want to stick with what’s natural, simple and pure.
Nature’s Variety add that their food is raw and free from filler, by-product and artificial preservatives.
How does Instinct by Nature’s Variety work?
Unlike Darwin’s Natural Pet Foods, you can’t buy Instinct by Nature’s Variety directly on their website.
Instead, you’ll have to purchase Instinct at an online pet store or at a physical pet store, such as Chewy.com.
Nature’s Variety offer a number of different options within the Raw line. These include Raw Signature, Raw, Raw Meals, Raw Boost, Original, Be Natural, Limited and Wet.
Raw Signature and Raw have been minimally processed using real meat, organs and bones, as well as vegetables, fruits and other wholesome ingredients.
Freeze-Dried and Raw Boost provide alternatives for pet parents who want to make a gradual switch to a raw food diet.
Like we mentioned above, you can order Instinct by Nature’s Variety on an online pet store such as Chewy.com.
What recipes do Instinct by Nature’s Variety offer?
We’ll dive into some of the options within the Instinct line.
Instinct Raw Signature – Their most distinct recipes that inspire everything they make. Minimally processed, all natural, raw frozen dog food. Made with 95% real meat, organs and bone, 5% vegetables, fruits and other wholesome ingredients.
Instinct Raw – A great introduction to raw frozen dog food. Minimally processed, never cooked, pure, real nutrition – made with 85% meat and organs, 15% vegetables & fruits, vitamins & minerals.
Instinct Raw Freeze-Dried – Upgrade from kibble to freeze-dried raw. Minimally processed, pure, complete nutrition of raw in a convenient freeze-dried form that’s ready to scoop and serve.
Raw Boost – A better way to feed kibble – nutrient-rich food that puts more of the pure, real nutrition of raw in every bowl. Raw Boost kibble puts high protein kibble and freeze-dried raw all in the same bag and Raw Boost Mixers make it easy to add raw to any meal.
Original – Dog food that follows nature’s lead – high protein, grain-free recipes guided by our belief in raw. Made with 70%+ real animal ingredients and nutritious oils, with the pure, real nutrition of raw on every piece.
Be Natural – Where natural dog food nutrition begins: wholesome kibble with freeze-dried raw coating on every piece.
What are customers saying about Instinct by Nature’s Variety?
Instinct by Nature’s Variety get an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on independent website Consumer Affairs.
Louis gave Instinct a glowing five-star review.
Nature’s Variety Dog Food has real meat & fish. It is grain free, inexpensive and great taste & great nutrition. It’s all natural and fortified with vitamins & minerals to support dog’s mental & physical health. It prevents taste fatigue and smells good. It has a good texture. My dog loves it. The only thing I would improve is greater variety & add different sizes of dry food to cover small dogs.
Sharmila shed light on her dog’s passion for this raw food.
I like that it is grain free, all natural and minimally processed. I also like that my dog loves it and feels better because I feed her this food. It is dog food that is meant for dogs and the way dogs are suppose to eat. My dog eats this stuff up.
You can’t buy Instinct by Nature’s Variety on their website, so you’ll have to visit an online pet store or physical pet store. This may be a slight inconvenience but you can use a website such as Chewy.com.
Instinct by Nature’s Variety is a good option for pet parents who are looking to make the switch to a raw food diet.
They use only the best and natural ingredients in their products so you can have peace of mind knowing that your dog is getting minerals and nutrients in their diet.
Like Darwin’s, Nature’s Variety have a wealth of experience in the dog food market, having started in 2004.
Just remember, you can’t order Instinct by Nature’s Variety on their website, but you can purchase any of their Instinct line on Chewy.com.
For more information and to buy: chewy.com
2) Stella & Chewy’s
Where to buy: chewy.com
Who are Stella & Chewy’s?
Stella & Chewy’s was founded 17 years ago by Marie Moody.
She launched Stella & Chewy’s after being inspired by her dog’s speedy recovery on a new diet.
Starting from a kitchen in a tiny apartment in Manhattan, Stella & Chewy’s has since moved to Wisconsin in order to meet the needs of pet parents around the USA.
Their website explains that they’re committed to making the highest quality and safest food for your pet.
Stella & Chewy’s believe raw is the pinnacle of animal nutrition and that any amount of raw in a dog’s diet will have a meaningful and positive impact.
They offer a unique range of raw products that use pristine ingredients that are thoughtfully and responsibly sourced to meet your canine companion’s unique needs.
How does Stella & Chewy’s work?
You can’t buy Stella & Chewy’s directly from their website, so you’ll have to access an online or physical store.
For instance, respected pet online marketplace Chewy.com have a range of Stella & Chewy’s products for sale on their website if you decide you want to try their raw dog food.
They offer a range of freeze-dried raw food, frozen raw food and raw treats for dogs.
All of Stella & Chewy’s recipes have been approved by three vets: Dr Greg Martinez, Dr Lindsay Butzer and Dr Ashley Geoghegan.
Although you can’t order Stella & Chewy’s food on their website, they do provide a useful overview of the different types of raw food that they can offer pet parents.
Furthermore, they’ve got a product selector that can help recommend which of their products will best suit your dog’s needs. You simply enter their breed, weight, activity level, preferred food type and preferred protein source.
What recipes do Stella & Chewy’s offer?
Stella & Chewy’s offer a range of different options.
Raw Dog Food Patties – 90-95% meat, organs and bone Grass-fed, cage-free, wild-caught and farm-raised proteins Pea-Free, Lentil-Free, and Potato-Free Premade and frozen immediately for maximum freshness 100% organic fruits and vegetables (beef, chicken, duck, turkey, lamb, venison and rabbit.
Raw Dinner Morsels – 95% meat, organs and bone Grass-fed, cage-free, and wild-caught proteins Pea-Free, Lentil-Free, and Potato-Free Premade and frozen immediately for maximum freshness Organic fruits and vegetables (beef, chicken, duck, lamb and turkey).
Stella & Chewy’s have other options including Stella’s Solutions, Lil Bites, Meal Mixer Superblends, Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Mixers and Toppers.
What are customers saying about Stella & Chewy’s?
Stella & Chewy’s Raw Dog Food Patties get 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Jill gave their patties a glowing five-star review given her picky eaters love this raw food option.
We recently tried these as a sort of substitute for the Tylee’s brand that has been out of stock. A Chewy employee recommended these patties. My dogs go crazy for them! I have two Teddy Bears that are pretty picky, but I mix these patties with a little water and some wet dog food and the love it!
A dog mom of six revealed her furry friends love Stella & Chewy’s:
I’m blessed to be fur mom of six. My oldest is a terrier of 17 years. It is my goal to do everything i can to keep him with me as long as i can in good health. I just received food today mixed two burgers with current food and gave to my precious boy, christian. He loved it. Cleaned his bowl.
We couldn’t really find any negatives to Stella & Chewy’s raw food options. Arguably it would be more convenient if you could order directly from their website. However, if you place an order of Stella & Chewy’s through Chewy.com, you can add some extra items to your basket.
Stella & Chewy’s are a great option from dog parents who are looking to make the switch to a raw-fed diet.
They’ve got a good variety of options to meet the needs of most pet parents, whether you’d prefer patties, kibble, toppers and morsels.
Stella & Chewy’s have a wealth of experience given they’ve been creating their unique raw food over 17 years ago.
While their website has a lot of great information about their products, you’ll need to visit Chewy.com or another online pet store to place an order.
For more information and to place an order: stellaandchewys.com
3) Raw Wild
Where to buy: rawwild.com
Who are Raw Wild?
Raw Wild explain on their website that they started their company because they believe there’s a vast difference between manufactured chow and small batch nourishment.
They designed their food to meet your dog’s special needs through a complete, raw dog food diet.
Raw Wild explain that they use nothing but raw elk and venison meet in their recipes, along with a mixture of essentials vitamins and minerals.
Their website even goes as far as to reveal where their protein is sourced: deep in the rocky mountain west, there’s elk and deer who spend their entire lives grazing on wild plants, grasses and drinking from springs.
Raw Wild shed further light on the ingredients in their raw food, explaining that it’s 99.4% wild elk and deer but without organ meat. They decided against adding organ meat from domestically raised animals in order to avoid contamination fo their wild food.
They’ve got a unique selling point with regards to the fact that they use 100 per cent wild game which is completely unprocessed.
How does Raw Wild work?
Raw Wild provide a dog food calculator to help ascertain how much raw dog food you require to feed your canine companion.
They asked for your dog’s weight to calculate the suggested daily portion and the monthly amount of raw food they need.
Based upon the suggest daily portion, you’ll receive a quote for a month’s worth of food.
Raw Wild provide the option to set up a reoccurring order that can save you some money.
Your food will be shipped within three days or less to ensure their high standards of quality and freshness is met.
What recipes do Raw Wild offer?
Raw Wild offer one simple recipe that is made from 100 per cent organic elk and venison meat raised wild in the rocky mountains.
In their description, Raw Wild provide a list of ingredients: 99.4% wild elk and deer, 0.6% vitamins and minerals, meat/bone ratio is 85-87%/13-15%. There are no organs, no growth hormones, no antibiotics, no preservatives, no fillers, corns, grains or rice and no animal byproducts.
What are customers saying about Raw Wild?
Raw Wild have a review section on their website that list 19 reviews, receiving an average of five stars.
Cynthia gave a glowing review of Raw Wild’s raw dog food.
Raw Wild has been a great addition for my dog. She has food allergies and is on Ultamino dry food and then we supplement with Raw Wild. Feeding raw does not flare up her food allergies the way processed dog foods seem. And she LOVES it!
Andrea shed light on just how crazy her dog is about Raw Wild:
My dog went crazy for Raw Wild. The food actually looks like raw meat instead of the light brown bars that I usually get for my dogs. I will be ordering more
Unlike some of the other raw dog food companies that we’ve taken a look at here, Raw Wild only offer one recipe. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Raw Wild have a adopted a wild approach to raw dog food.
Their high quality food is 99.4% elk and deer, supplemented by minerals and vitamins.
Unlike other regular brands of dog food, you won’t find any growth hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, fillers, corns, grains, rice and animal byproducts.
By using their short and simple questionnaire, you can get an idea of how much of Raw Wild’s food you’ll need to satisfy your dog’s needs based upon their weight.
For more information and to order: rawwild.com
Where to buy: trudog.com
Who are TruDog?
TruDog are a small, family-owned pet food company based in the Midwest.
The company was founded in 2013 after they experienced some seruous health issues.
The TruDog founders decided to move away from processed food, looking to make the transition to more natural, wholesome foods.
This led to the creating of TruDog’s raw food and topper to give pet parents the option to embrace a raw-fed diet.
TruDog will offer subscribers the chance to avail of benefits that aren’t available for customers who make a one-time order.
They also have the TruDog Love Club, allowing pet parents to earn loyalty points for every dollar spent.
How does TruDog work?
Like Darwin’s Natural Pet Foods, TruDog offer pet owners the chance to create a customised meal plan.
Their questionnaire starts with entering your dog’s name, breed, sex, birthday, activity level, weight, body type, allergies and more.
Once they’ve got these key details, TruDog will offer two different meal plans: Feed Me and Boost Me.
They provide information about both types of raw food to help you make an informed decision.
TruDog will generate a quote comprising of the daily cost and the monthly cost of their raw food.
Finally, you’ll be taken to the checkout to complete the necessary personal and bank details to complete your order.
What recipes do TruDog offer?
Feed Me Freeze Dried Dog Food – TruDog’s Feed Me is a nutritious premium raw superfood in freeze-dried form. It’s crafted from simple, nutrient-rich ingredients. It’s made with nothing but quality cuts of beef meat, organs, bone and blood with a little herring oil added in to aid with digestion.
Boost Me Freeze-Dried Raw Topper – TruDog Want to give a nutritional boost to your dog’s current food without the cost of going 100% raw.? A sprinkle of TruDog’s Boost Me on top of your dog’s bowl provides raw protein and nutrition missing from most kibble.
What are customers saying about TruDog?
TruDog get an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 based upon 340 reviews on Chewy.com.
A Border Collie owner was pleased to see her picky eaters thrive on TruDog’s food.
I have a Collie who’s super sensitive and picky about her food. Due to this, I like to add in food toppers with limited ingredients to keep her interested in her food. So far, this is the best food topper out there.
A German Shepherd pet parent added that her GSD is usually picky but enjoys TruDog.
My very picky dog digs into his food with only a teaspoon of this on top. My food hound found an unopened bag in the car. While I ran into the store, she found it and ate nearly a pound of it! The other dogs were licking her face afterwords Must be very very tasty! She was fine afterwords. No diarrhea or anything so it must be very digestible as well.
TruDog provide a premium service so there dog food may be a little more expensive than traditional pet food that you would buy at your local supermarket or pet store.
They only offer two lines of raw food, which is less than the other companies we’ve reviewed. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
You won’t go too far wrong if you decide to feed your dog TruDog.
They’ve got two different raw food lines: Feed Me and Boost Me.
A relatively young company having been founded in 2013, TruDog are looking to provide pet parents with the opportunity to feed their dog a balanced, complete and nutritious diet.
You can order directly from TruDog’s website, setting up a regularly delivery for your convenience.
For more information and to order: trudog.com
Where to buy: darwinspet.com
Who are Darwin’s?
Darwin’s write on their website that they’re 100% committed to your pet’s health and happiness. The founder, Gary Tashjian, founded Darwin’s over 30 years ago to help feed his arthritic dog a raw, all natural pet food.
Their website states that they only use the highest quality ingredients to make feeding your pet fresh, healthy, quality raw meals convenient and affordable. In doing so, they seek to provide complete and balanced nutrition.
Darwin’s acknowledge that all pets are different so they’ll customize your order to ensure they use the right mix of meals to take care of your dog’s nutritional needs.
Indeed, their raw diets are specially formulated to contain everything your canine companion needs to help them have a healthier and happier life with their pet parents.
You won’t have to stress about heading to your local pet store or supermarket ever again as Darwin’s will deliver your dog’s raw food direct to the doorstep with regular shipments.
Note: The FDA released a report disclosing five recalls that Darwin’s Pet Products made between October 2016 and March 2018. To read this FDA report, click here.
How does Darwin’s work?
To get started with Darwin’s, you’ll need to provide them with details about your pet. Once you’ve entered these basic details, you’ll proceed to the next step.
You can choose between two dog food lines: Natural Selections and BioLogics. Natural Selections uses meats that are pasture-raised, cage-free, antibiotic-free. BioLogics are conventionally-raised.
At this stage, you’ll see how much Darwin’s recommend feeding your dog based upon their weight, as well as setting up a reoccurring order.
Next, you’ll have to choose what type of meat your want to feed your four-legged friend, whether it’s beef, chicken or turkey. In doing so, they cater for dogs that may have a sensitivity to certain protein sources.
Once you’ve completed these three simple steps, you’ll reach your shopping cart. Here, you’ll be informed of the price and how you’re reoccurring order will work.
If you decide that Darwin’s isn’t for you after your initial order, their website explains that there’s no risk or obligation. You can change, postpone or cancel your deliveries.
What recipes do Darwin’s offer?
Darwin’s offer a number of different raw food options depending on your values as a pet parent. Let’s take a look at how Darwin’s explain the different between the three types of raw food that they offer to dogs in the USA.
Natural Selections – This grain-free mixture of free-range meats and organic vegetables will provide complete and balanced nutrition for your dog. All the meat used to produce Natural Selections were raised cage-free (free-roaming), or pasture raised, were grass fed, and are free of steroids, antibiotics or artificial growth hormones. Available in turkey, chicken, duck, beef, or lamb.
BioLogics – Their more economical line of raw dog food uses the same formula as Natural Selections. Complete and balanced meals. Made with conventionally grown meats and vegetables. Available in chicken, turkey and beef.
Intelligent Design – Intelligent Design Veterinary Formulas for Canines are specialized meals designed to provide extra support to dogs facing certain health issues. These highly palatable and nutritious meals use only hormone-free (no added hormones), antibiotic-free, and pesticide-free meats and organic vegetables, with no grains, added fillers or chemical preservatives. Available by prescription only.
What are customers saying about Darwin’s?
Darwin’s Natural Pet Products gets an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars based upon over 207 reviews on independent website Trustpilot.
A German Shepherd owner explains the difference she’s seen since making the switch to the Darwin’s.
My GSD had a miserable puppyhood. His skin was dry, he always had diarrhea, and he was in the vet’s office practically every month. I researched every dog food online and tried every expensive kibble I could find as I could not imagine giving my dog raw food. Finally when the puppy was two my husband insisted on trying Darwins. We now have the happiest liveliest agile 8 yr old puppy who can hardly control himself at feeding time. Darwins rocks
Wendi explained how her dog is no longer a fussy eater.
I started using Darwin’s when I adopted my fist dog ever over five years ago. He was in bad shape and I could tell he had been fed a lot of people food, a habit of 1 for me and 1 for you scenario. He is a very picky eater and it took a little while to get him onto the raw diet, But it makes him feel so good that he eats it right up now.
Darwin’s Natural Pet Products provide pet parents with the option to give their dog a raw fed diet. Given the quality of the food, you will have to pay a premium price. While dog owners will have to dig a little deeper into their pockets, you will have the opportunity to feed your beloved pooch customised and natural food.
As we mentioned above, Darwin’s Pet Products do have a history of recalls. The FDA released a detailed report about the recalls which you may want to read if you’re thinking about purchasing from Darwin’s.
Darwin’s Natural Pet Products are one of the big names within the raw dog food market.
They’ve got over 15 years of experience in the industry with a lot of positive reviews online.
Darwin’s provide pet owners with a selection of options for raw food as well as a variety of protein sources.
Their website states that their mission is to provide you with a raw, all natural pet food, claiming that you’ll see a healthier and happier pet in 30 days.
Their history of recalls is something that pet parents should research in order to make an informed decision before ordering raw dog food.
For more information and to buy: darwinspet.com
Anything Else To Consider?
As we have mentioned numerous times, this article doesn’t constitute professional advice and shouldn’t be taken as such.
If you’re thinking about making the switch to a raw-fed diet, we highly recommend you consult your vet to learn more about the potential risks associated with raw dog food.
Wrapping Things Up – Our Final Thoughts
We’ve reached the end of our article on the best raw dog food.
There are an array of options available to pet parents in the USA so it can be difficult or overwhelming to select the best one for your pooch.
Darwin’s Natural Pet Products are one of the leading providers of raw food, with a lot of experience and the ability to create a customised plan.
If you want a raw and wild approach, you may want to consider Raw Wild. They’ve got one recipe but we like that their food is source from wild elk and deer without any domestically raised animal organs.
Alternatively, Stella & Chewy’s have 17 years of experience in the raw dog food market and they’ve got a number of different options in their creative and versatile range.