Best Raw Dog Foods

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A raw dog food diet is designed to mimic a dog’s natural ancestral menu. The whole concept of raw feeding is based upon a dog’s instinctive carnivorous bias — a built-in desire to capture (or find) and eat another animal.
Wolf with Raw Food

As unsavory as it may seem, it is completely natural for a wolf to consume the entire animal.

Meat, bones, organs and all.

As direct descendants of wolves, dogs are simply not genetically optimized to consume the 50% carbohydrate content of today’s commercial kibbles.

So, how do these diets compare?

The Ancestral Diet
Compared to Dry Kibble

No one can argue the dry baked pellets we call dog food aren’t convenient. Yet the nutrient profile of a dry kibble is nowhere near the nutrient content of a dog’s ancestral diet.

Canine Ancestral Diet versus Dry Dog Food

Notice the higher carbohydrate content of the kibble compared to the dog’s natural ancestral diet. Or how about the dramatically lower protein and fat levels?

The Benefits of a Raw Diet

Feeding a raw dog food diet has many notable benefits

  • Firmer stools
  • Improved digestion
  • Healthier skin and coat
  • Reduced allergy symptoms
  • Better weight management

There have been many reports of improved health when chronically ill pets were switched from a commercial product to a raw dog food.

The Downside
of a Raw Dog Food Diet

A raw dog food diet can’t touch the convenience of a kibble. Just measure and pour. It just doesn’t get any easier.

Yet besides the lack of convenience, there’s another critical issue. Bacterial contamination.

Salmonella and E. coli germs can always be a potential problem with raw meats. Yet the risk of food-borne disease is actually quite low.

That is, low risk for dogs. But not for humans.

That’s because a dog’s digestive system is shorter and more acidic.

Which makes canine infections like these fairly rare.

The real risk of food-borne disease is actually greater for a dog’s human caretakers — not the dog.

Yet with proper care and handling, this risk can be dramatically reduced.

How to Use Our List

Below you’ll find a list of the Advisor’s suggested raw dog foods. Of course, this list should not be considered a complete catalog of all the raw dog foods on the market.

For there are others. Many others.

We only provide this small group as a starting point.

As a matter of fact, if you know of a specific dog food you believe we should have included on this list, please feel free to share your recommendations in the Comments section below.

Or if you’re looking for some suggestions yourself, be sure to look through our readers’ Comments to find more good ideas.

Suggested Raw Dog Foods

  • Megan Marie

    Please check out Shebang’s Natural Select!! Thank you!!

  • jjennilee

    Awesome thanks ..and these add all they need no need for additional vitamins etc for a healthy dog

  • Crazy4dogs

    I use a rotation of Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance, Sojos and The Honest Kitchen. Other posters might have some other suggestions.

  • jjennilee

    how do you know what premix to add to the raw meat is there a recipe or recipes to be aware of so the meal is balanced for them?>

  • Nina Paris

    In Miami there is a new company called wolf pack legacy raw diet. It’s not expensive and have everything your dog need

  • sean

    Dogs need to eat organs and bones of animals to get all of the nutrients, vitamins and mineral requirements ..they will get sick and malnourished with just meat…. it would be the worst thing anyone can do…speak to an expert on raw food for dogs…..a good resource is healthypets.mercola.com..Dr. BECKER IS AN EXPERT HOLISTIC Vet

  • pilar coats

    Hi, my friend completed a fillable SEC Form 4 example here https://goo.gl/zWN2Bg.

  • Azul

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. Why are you spamming
    the entire internet with jibberish about filling out forms?

  • LoreeRaine1

    Valuable commentary , I am thankful for the specifics – Does someone know if my assistant might be able to obtain a blank SEC Form 4 document to complete ?

  • Diana Francher

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge! : )

  • Millie Wagner

    We raw feed and our feeding area is in the garage. We use a lot of Clorox wipes for cleanup. As for licking, you can train your pup not to lick humans. We have done it and my last 3 knew that licking my face was completely off limits.

    This is one thing about feeding frozen raw that I really like: less mess and I don’t have to touch the food. We use it exclusively when we board or travel with our dog.

  • Millie Wagner

    You don’t need to cook the meat for your dogs: their digestive tracts are not the same as humans and are not as prone to problems with bacteria like ecoli or salmonella. With that said, if your pets are health compromised, then I would discuss this with a vet that understands raw-feeding before proceeding.

  • Millie Wagner

    You, can but you need to watch for sodium content and potential additives. If you are a thorough label reader you can do it, however, if you have friends or family that hunt or have a butcher or meat locker nearby you’d not have to worry as much about sodium content and/or additives. (Note: any fresh game should be frozen for a period of time to insure your dog doesn’t get any parasites/worms from the meat.)

  • Crazy4dogs

    I don’t think I said that meat sitting in the store picks up salmonella. I realize that salmonella most often comes from the processing plant. However, meat that sits can pick up a host of bacterial contaminants:

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/food/how-safe-is-your-ground-beef

    http://www.peta.org/living/food/meat-contamination/

    http://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/superbugs/

  • Cannoli

    how long a meat sits in a store has nothing to do with salmonella. it’s were the meat is processed and whether the processor does salmonella testing at their facilities.

    for the most part i only feed raw none hormone pasture fed red meat. since free range grass fed animals TEND to not have as much salmonella issues as they are not cooped up in cages standing on top of their poop.

  • Marie Brochu

    Carnivora – http://www.carnivora.ca – company in Saskatoon, SK that has been around for 15+ years!! Their food is the one that all three of my dogs prefer over any of the ones they have tried. It has great consistency, no substitutions, and I know they stand behind their product. Please add them to this list!! 🙂

  • Crazy4dogs

    When I buy grocery store meat to feed my dogs, I cook it first, since it may have bacteria, salmonella, etc. Grocery store meat has sat around much longer than fresh butchered meat and is intended to be cooked. I then add a balanced premix to ensure the proper nutrients are in the diet. If you just throw some ground beef or a chicken leg at the dog and call it a day, nutritional deficiencies would eventually show up.
    Here’s a link to help explain raw diets:

    http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/04/15/raw-food-diet-part-3.aspx

  • Barb Glamser

    If I’m going to go raw, why can’t I just buy meat at the grocery store?

  • The one I feed is Nature’s Variety, and it’s processed under high pressure conditions without heat. So the amino acids don’t break down, and the nutrition is fully retained, but the pressure kills any harmful bacteria. Handle it like it’s meat and you’ll be fine.

  • Pitlove

    If you are concerned about pathogens (which is understandable), you can do a homecooked diet instead of raw. You still retain the same benefits. I would suggest consulting with a veterinary nutritionist on how to balance the meals properly for a puppy.

  • Stephany

    So my questions is, how easy and safe is it really? I have 8 month old and am getting a Brittany spaniel within the next two weeks. I keep learning more information about the raw diet as I feel it would be great for any animal but I am worried about the germs. Such as they will eat everything raw and maybe lick my daughter or I, so how do you guys keep their mouths clean??

  • Crazy4cats

    Ok, I’m of no help to you then. I use a couple of different brands of the prepared raw foods as toppers, but no home prepared. Best wishes to you and your puppy. I have big dogs. Some day I think I’d like a yorkie. I’m sure he is adorable!

  • Azul

    You’re welcome! Good luck with your dog. 🙂

  • Gabi Aamr

    I am currently living in Mexico, here there are no commercially prepared raw food options available… So I will be preparing them myself 🙂

  • Gabi Aamr

    thank you, thats a great forum!

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Gabi-
    Are you planning on preparing the raw meals yourself or buying a complete and balanced commercially prepared raw diet?

  • Azul

    Hi Gabi, you might find more help with your question in the forums on this site.
    Just go to the top of the page and click on forums.
    There is a “Help with new to raw” thread over there.

  • Gabi Aamr

    Hi! I have a 4 month old Yorkie puppy, he is currently on purina PROPLAN kibble, however I am interested in switching him over to a raw food diet. I feel a bit lost as I have read that it is important to balance the minerals especially in a puppy. If anyone could give me some advice about what specifically I can feed him and in what amounts I would be very grateful.

  • Cannoli

    you sir are what i inspire to obtain with my pup. It is awe inspiring reading this comment. dogs are likes humans. they are meant to work, it makes them happy and are not meant to eat meat flavored cereal while sleeping all day

  • Think about it

    I believe it is not that raw food diets are so controversial as it is the treatment of those who choose other diets, by most raw feeders. Kibble feeders have been told they don’t love their pets, are neglectful owners, etc. Kudos to you! Most people don’t have the stomach for slaughter, but I would assume most food-animal farmers do feed raw.

  • Mel

    It amazes me that raw food diets are so controversial! At any given time I have a dozen working sheep dogs (Kelpies) on my farm here in Australia. I have always feed raw meat, bones & offal to my dogs. In large part because it’s cheap and accessible (we kill on farm for them and us). Beef and lamb for the ones in work and Kangaroo for the older less active dogs due to it’s lower fat content. They have access to self feeders of high quality kibble when ever they like (hardly ever). Get raw fresh eggs at least twice a week and seek out fallen fruit from our fruit trees when in season. My dogs highly tuned athletes & perform long hours in intense weather conditions. I wouldn’t consider feeding them anything else! They thrive on this diet.

  • Susan

    Hi there’s a EPI Face Book group on F/B there’s a lot of GSD owners on that site……
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/38663535025/

  • Justin Gross

    Keep in mind, raw foods like chicken have a high water content. I am not sure about their age, but raw meat can cause your puppy to need to urinate frequently. The old idea of picking up the water bowl in the evening does not apply -err make a difference. I say this incase your puppies are not housebroken, whether crate trained or not.

  • InkedMarie

    YOU replied to Justin; I was replying to you!

  • Jessika Sueiras

    Thanks so much and sorry about the name

  • InkedMarie

    I’m not Justin but the amount dogs need depends on the dogs, sizes and breeds. Puppies (under a year) may eat more than adults. I use the calculator at Hare Today 9google for their link)

  • Jessika Sueiras

    Hi Justin…I have three puppies and I would like to know how many pounds of raw food should I give them in a day?

  • Joudee303

    Can you evaluate “All Provide”?

  • Kat Connor

    Hi everyone!!!
    Thanks for the interest!
    My apologies for not expanding upon the acronyms. I forget that not everybody knows these abbreviations.

    Yes, GSD = German Shepard Dog
    CCD = canine compulsive disorder (the canine equivalent of human OCD). CCD typically surfaces when they hit puberty (6 – 12 mo) … What we still consider “puppyhood”. It it is estimated that CCD occurs in 2 – 3% of the canine population ( some animal behaviorist believe that it occurs in approximately one out of every 50 dogs).
    GSDs are pre-disposed to CCD and as such are at high risk to having CCD. From very mild two more severe, any repetitive motion…. from digging water in the water bowl to chasing the tail is part of the CCD.

    Sometimes they grow out of it and although we’ve had many GSDs this young man is the first one that has had such a severe case of the CCD

    The research from Finland is very interesting and looks promising but I haven’t located any supplements to specifically target to be vitamins that are meant for dogs

    So when I found your site and this forum, I thought it would be worth a shot to see if anyone out there has had any experiences with excessive CCD in a GSD, or any other breed for that matter

    Thanks!
    Kat

  • millersway

    Thank you InkedMarie, never would have guessed the GSD. The OCD was the only one I had a clue on.

  • theBCnut

    I think CCD is the canine equivalent of OCD.

  • InkedMarie

    Oops, I replied to the wrong person…see my reply above.

  • InkedMarie

    In case she doesn’t answer, I can help with a couple:

    GSD: German Shepherd Dog
    OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    I don’t know what CCD is. I thought Canine Cognitive Disorder but that is not something a 7 month old dog has.

  • millersway

    Please spell out your acronyms once

  • Haley Jacquard

    I’m hoping to see Mountain Dog Food added to the list soon 🙂 would love to see how it scores on this site.

  • Carola Becker

    I would stay away from Hills or any of those Prescription diets. They are pure junk.

  • Justin Gross

    I thought this was going to be a good canine diet article. The lost has dog brands. Makes me laugh. People. People…. Whole raw chickens also including the organs, is the very best diet in general. Add carrots and other non-leady vegetables. Once in a while, throw them a nice big sirloin. Reminder: No dog should be fed cooked bones of any kind. Raw bones are exceptionally healthy and are key to making a difference in a dogs diet. Feed all-natural. If you cannot afford such a meal, which is cheaper and healthier than those disgustingly grotesque raw dog meals in your pet store’s freezer, you CAN supplement with kibble. As a matter of fact, I recommend it. Supplementing can relieve the cost greatly, because the raw food is so… hmmm… what your dogs body needs, and does not only just fill your dogs mass to keep him breathing, which is what kibble does. BUT, when supplementing, always feed the kibble earlier than a raw bone meal. When fed after the raw bone meal, the kibble can make your dog sick and potentially fatally septic as the kibble gets stuck and rots in place because the dogs body is busy taking the plethera of nutrients out of the bone meal, where the kibble flies thru because it is half filler and non-nutritional and well, not bone. Your dog will be better in mood, spirit, alertness and athleticism with a REAL raw food diet. Your dog will handle weight better and love you extra for every meal. When feeding a whole chicken, it is good to let the dog fast. My Doberman and Golden Retriever both eat about four large chicken breasts in the mor ing and in the evening, they get another breast and a whole, large chicken. Side note: If a dog refuses to eat what you are ordering him to eat, do not let them own you. Your dog will not starve. He will eat it eventually and everything will be just fine. Your dog just knows that he owns you and well, maybe its time you act like a leader and have your dog get off of his high horse. Also, if your dog is on a full, raw food diet and cannot gold weight, do the supplementing with a premium kibble. It will give it the little bit of filler you need. An all raw food diet xan be very expensive. But don’t do it half-arsed. Either buy your dog crappy premium dog food or feed them a real, REAL raw meat, vegetable and grain diet. There is no point of in-between with those dog food brands of raw diets. And please, learn how to read a dog food label. If it says, “chicken MEAL,” or something not likely on human food, it is what manipulating words is to polishing a terd. It is not what you think. Sounds great, but you are wasting your money. Especially if it were to say, “Contains chicken meal.” Oh thats a funny one. So, they could put 1 gram of chicken MEAL in and slap that on the label. After all, the bag then contains chicken meal…

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