Are you searching for the finest and best raw dog food to give to your pet? If you are new to this topic, it can be impossible to know where to begin. Raw food? Won’t that be unsafe or full of bacteria?
It’s a common worry, hence why we have researched this area and provided you with everything you need to know about switching your pet onto a raw food diet. It doesn’t need to be difficult and there are advantages for you as well as your dog. Let’s look at some of the available options on the market now, so you know what’s what.
Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Dog FoodCheck Current Price
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Dry Dog FoodCheck Current Price
Instinct by Nature's Variety Raw Boost Dry Dog FoodCheck Current Price
- 1 The Best Raw Dog Foods
- 2 Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
- 3 Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Dry Dog Food
- 4 Instinct by Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Dry Dog Food
- 5 Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets Freeze-Dried Dog Food
- 6 Sojos Complete Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
- 7 Castor & Pollux Natural UltraMix Dry Dog Food
- 8 Choosing the best raw food for your dog
- 8.1 What does raw food mean?
- 8.2 Are there different ways to approach raw feeding for dogs?
- 8.3 What are the advantages of choosing ready-made raw dog food for your pet?
- 8.4 Freeze-dried food is the most popular and easiest way to switch
- 8.5 Benefits of switching your dog to a raw food diet
- 8.5.1 A healthier coat
- 8.5.2 Smaller, more manageable stools
- 8.5.3 Better dental health
- 8.5.4 More energy
- 8.5.5 Better health overall
- 9 Conclusion
The Best Raw Dog Foods
While you could toil away in the kitchen, weighing, measuring, and preparing lots of raw foods for your pet, there is a far easier way to make this change. There is much to learn about this type of diet for dogs, and it is very easy to get the nutritional balance wrong if you don’t know what you are doing.
Fortunately, there are a handful of companies experienced in creating finely balanced nutritious raw meals for dogs. Below are the best raw dog foods for switching easily from a traditional diet without any fuss.
Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
‘Only the good stuff’ is inside these freeze-dried dinner patties from Stella & Chewy’s range. Not only are the patties made from chicken and nothing else, they do not contain any hormones or antibiotics either. That means you know your dog is getting the best quality chicken around.
The chicken is free range and is combined with fruits and vegetables to create a complete and balanced meal. They’ve even popped probiotics into the mixture to ensure good digestion is achieved.
Another plus point is the fact you can try a small bag to start with, moving on to larger bag sizes if your dog likes it.
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Dry Dog Food
The photo of a wolf on the cover of this bag of infused dog food tells you the history of the raw food diet. This Great Plains recipe features beef, lamb, and rabbit, giving your dog a tasty meal that they’ll love.
The recipe is grain free – a key feature of this diet – and provides a high-protein kibble mix that is freeze dried to preserve its goodness. None of the meat is cooked – it is freeze dried in its raw state.
The bag also proclaims the mix includes added vitamins and minerals and is ideal for all breeds of dog.
Instinct by Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Dry Dog Food
If your dog has a thing for chicken, he’ll love the protein kibble with real freeze-dried raw chicken in this mix from Instinct by Nature. The first ingredient, i.e. the one that appears first on the list and therefore in the greatest amounts, is chicken. Chicken heart, chicken meal, and chicken liver also appear on the menu in this grain-free recipe.
The bag comes in three convenient sizes, so you can select the one that best suits your dog. They also provide you with a handy feeding guide and a seven-day transition plan for moving from their existing dog food to this raw food option.
Primal Chicken Formula Nuggets Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Another chicken recipe is on the menu here, with Primal’s freeze-dried chicken nuggets – a world away from anything you might find on a fast food menu. Indeed, the recipe boasts 78% chicken, organs, and bone, all rolled into a tasty meal that is completed with 22% produce and supplements to maintain your dog’s health.
Free of grains and gluten, the Primal nuggets are easy to serve and are pitched as the ideal alternative for dogs who may be sensitive to grain products. The back of the packet also gives full feeding instructions, including details of how to rehydrate the nuggets before serving.
Sojos Complete Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food
Let’s leave the chicken behind and move on to turkey with Sojos Complete. Their ‘raw made easy’ tagline will no doubt appeal to dog owners wanting to feed their pets the best freeze-dried food available.
Available in two sizes, the bag provides a complete meal for your dog. The turkey has been safely freeze-dried and is accompanied by air-dried vegetables including broccoli. Cranberries, kelp, and pumpkin are also on the simple ingredient list, each playing a role in improving your pet’s overall health.
Castor & Pollux Natural UltraMix Dry Dog Food
If your dog prefers red meat to white meat, this UltraMix food offers a chance to enjoy a good source of prime natural beef. The raw beefy bites are accompanied by grain-free kibble pieces, which include vegetables, fruit, fatty acids, and many more essentials.
The feeding directions give instructions to help your dog reach their goal weight, so you can keep track of how they are progressing. Nothing artificial is included here either, giving you the peace of mind that you need to confirm you’re feeding your dog the best ingredients.
Choosing the best raw food for your dog
If you regularly feed your dog tinned or dry food, you might wonder why you would consider switching to raw dog food, let alone deciding which one to buy. Your dog seems happy with what he’s getting, so why change?
There are many reasons to consider doing this. For starters, the diet dogs are fed today is worlds apart from the foods they used to get many years ago. Commercial dog food has only been around since 1860. Before that, dog owners couldn’t rely on purchasing tinned food or bags of kibble to feed their dogs.
Go further back still and you’ll find evidence of the so-called ancestral diet that is far removed from the foods our domesticated canines eat today. Their ancestors would have caught whatever they could (we doubt they cooked it either). Raw meat was familiar to them, whereas our dogs are rarely served it today.
It is perhaps inevitable that some dog owners would consider winding back the clock and reverting to a more natural diet for their pets – a diet that was once the only thing their ancestors ate.
This guide has been designed to cover all the most important questions you’re likely to have about raw foods for your dog. How should you approach this diet? What advantages does it offer? You’ll discover the answers to these elements and much more below.
What does raw food mean?
Raw food is just that – food that is given to a dog in its raw state. When you think of raw food, you’re likely to think of raw meat above all else. While that is a key element of the diet, along with raw bones (cooked ones are potentially dangerous as they can splinter), other foods also make an appearance.
Peas and carrots often feature, along with organ meat. This is typically viewed as an addition to regular sources of meat. The diet may also feature fish, although this should be frozen first as it is a potential source of worms that can cause issues. It should be noted that veggies are given in limited portions, with raw meat providing the lion’s share of the meal.
Are there different ways to approach raw feeding for dogs?
This type of diet can be fed to your dog in one of two ways:
- You can take the homemade route, following recipes to create raw foods with a mix of ingredients
- You can purchase ready-made raw food products by specialist companies
Both options are worth considering if you want to switch your dog onto an ancestral diet. However, it can be time consuming to go for the homemade solution. It’s not just a question of throwing together some ingredients and feeding them to your pet.
Indeed, this could potentially be a route to an imbalanced diet – possibly a diet that is little better than the one your dog is already on. One report pointed out that 60% of raw foods eaten by dogs in one study had notable nutritional imbalances.
Unless you are following tried and tested recipes you know you can rely on, it is difficult to be certain you are feeding your dog the best nutrients in a balanced meal.
Add to that the fact that some dogs do suffer from allergies and other health issues – much as we humans do – and you can see the challenge of taking the purest homemade route to nutritional success with a raw food diet. We often struggle to find the best diet for our needs. It makes sense the same might be true of our canine friends, too.
What are the advantages of choosing ready-made raw dog food for your pet?
It’s a great time saver, for one. You won’t need to do much research into the nature of the food, since the manufacturer has already done all the hard work for you. The brands that focus on providing these foods are aiming at a specific segment of the market. As such, they put a lot of time and effort into getting the formula just right.
You can also purchase freeze-dried food that lasts far longer – longer even than the familiar kibble your dog might have had in the past. Raw foods go off far faster than kibble, yet the freeze-dried version is drier than kibble.
The process used to dry out the food ensures there is less moisture present than in kibble. The lack of moisture means it is far harder for bacteria to multiply and cause issues.
Freeze-dried food is the most popular and easiest way to switch
We’ve seen the benefits of moving over to ready-made raw foods rather than trying to make suitable foods for our dogs ourselves. When you begin to research the possibilities, you’ll notice there are lots of freeze-dried options on the market. This is a popular choice for many proponents of this diet.
If you were to go truly raw for your dog, you’d need to make sure you fed them the freshest food. That means keeping an eye on use-by dates and preparing everything just when you needed it. That alone can be an inconvenience.
With freeze-dried foods for dogs, you get all the ingredients and nutrients a well-balanced diet should have, with none of the downsides. All you need to do is to measure out the required amount, rehydrate it according to the instructions on the pack, and feed it to your dog.
Benefits of switching your dog to a raw food diet
Many fans of this diet say it is far closer to the natural sources of vitamins and minerals dogs used to get. You also know exactly what goes into it, even if you purchase freeze-dried raw foods rather than making your own.
When starting, it’s best to make gradual changes rather than completely switching from the standard dog food to a raw diet. In doing so, you may notice some of the following benefits.
A healthier coat
Long coats, short coats, curly coats, wiry coats… dogs run the gamut of coats depending on their breed, age, and genetic history. However, one thing many dog owners can confirm is that a raw diet seems to encourage a far healthier glossier coat. Proteins and fats in your dog’s diet help encourage better skin health and therefore a healthier coat too. And since these ingredients are present in the raw foods that provide the backbone of this diet, it stands to reason a healthier coat will be the likely outcome.
Smaller, more manageable stools
Part of being a responsible dog owner is clearing up after your pet. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve struggled to do just that.
Softer stools can be a nightmare to clean up, no matter where your dog goes.
This tends to become less problematic when a dog is on a raw diet. The difference in food leads to the stools becoming firmer and therefore easier to pick up. Many owners notice the stools are much smaller too – another plus in the column for easy-to-manage clear-up.
Better dental health
Cleaning a dog’s teeth is not an easy task, even if you have made sure to get them used to it at a young age. The BARF diet, which stands for Bones and Raw Food, naturally includes bones as part of the daily feeding schedule. As the dog crunches the raw bones, it will naturally help keep their teeth nice and clean. The cleaner they are, the less likely it is the dog will experience dental health issues as they get older.
It stands to reason a raw diet such as this will include a healthy amount of protein. This helps to ensure no muscle is lost while transitioning to the diet. However, while the diet also includes a level of healthy fats, it tends to encourage healthy loss of fat in the body. These diets are also far lower in cereals compared to shop-bought dog food in cans or bags.
All these elements combine to ensure the dog feels satisfied, gaining more energy, and feeling less lethargic.
Dog owners also notice the lean and stronger look their dogs achieve when they have moved onto this diet.
Better health overall
Many dog owners have reported their pets are healthier after switching to freeze-dried raw dog food. Some dog owners make the change because their dog suffers from an allergy or other health condition. Of course, it is always recommended that you seek advice from your vet concerning any health issues your dog has. Yet many have found a raw diet has helped when other things have not.
We’ve seen the many benefits of feeding your dog a diet rich in raw foods. The good news is you need not research and develop these recipes on your own. Thanks to several leading companies taking on the lion’s share of the research for you, it is easier than ever to choose the best raw food for your dog if you decide you want to take this route.
It is reassuring to know you can give your dog the best food available without spending ages preparing it in your kitchen. With several leading brands of good quality freeze-dried raw dog food to choose from, you simply need to consider which one would be best for your budget and your pet.
Looking for grain-free mixes is a good start, as we’ve seen above. You should also check the ingredient list, so you can see what type of meat or poultry is included. No doubt your pooch already has a favorite, so it’s good to give them what they want in the best form you can possibly buy.
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