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

  • Chandlerbing

    Sometimes raw dog food has tiny bones in it and should not be cooked. Maybe you should call the companies first to make sure?

  • Natalie Martin

    Hi! My dog is a lab/pointer mix and she’s about 11 yrs. Right now we have her on purine kibble but I would like to get her switched to a raw diet but all this info can be overwhelming and not sure where to start. She tends to eat her own poop and the cats poop. She also has fatty cyst in numerous places. Any recommendations on where to start and how to switch her?

  • ashley

    Thanks Aimee!

  • aimee

    Hi Ashley,

    I’ve cooked raw frozen by sauteing in a frying pan.

  • ashley

    Hi everyone. This is my first post on Dog Food Advisor. I have been mixing rehydrated freeze dried raw patties (Primal and Stella & Chewy’s) as well the frozen raw Stella & Chewy’s patties into my dog’s kibble. Unfortunately, one of my dog’s recently had a life threatening illness and is not allowed to have raw food anymore. I have a lot of it left, and it would be a shame for it to be wasted. I was wondering if anyone had made the decision to cook any of the raw food they’d purchased and, if so, what method did you use? Maybe I could bake the thawed patties or make a cooked stew using the dehydrated ones? Just curious if anyone has any thoughts. Thanks!

  • paradise5

    Thats why our Dogs are dying of Cancers , Tumors , bad Health period!, from Dry Kibble Diets ,and treats , and the worse Vaccinations!

  • paradise5

    I would love some , im in kamloops , but could come up , unless someone is coming down to Kamloops or area , I would give some gas money!. I have 3 Dogs and help with rescues , so the bones are wonderful for that.My # is 250-299-8975 and its Debra Milenk. Thank you

  • DeathRayBob

    Are there any 5 star pre made raw that have a higher percentage of protein than fat??

  • sassmum

    I think you should add Amore Pet Foods! I’ve owned the company for 12 years and buy all the meat. I’ve been to the farms from which we source so I know the quality of the ingredients and the living conditions of the animals. We do both raw frozen and MEGA morsels (our cool air dehydrated) food. We do not use an additives, preservatives, synthetic or Chinese ingredients. All our meats (except kangaroo and lamb) are locally sourced. We use only fresh vegetable, extra virgin olive oil and BC kelp. 100% on what is in the bag is on our label!

  • sharron

    i tried Primal freeze dried, all it did was make Lexee constipated

  • aimee

    Hi Kim,

    I guess it goes to show you that different people value different things. I’d choose Natures Variety over Primal because they do HPP all their diets. : )

    I’ve fed Primal in the past but I always cooked it since they don’t HPP the variety I was using.

    But the company makes me nervous. Their website posted that they meet AAFCO profiles but the nutritional information posted was far short of AAFCO min. When I inquired about that the company responded saying they feed trialed the diets and so didn’t need to meet AAFCO. When I pointed out that the diets didn’t meet criteria for using the family rule the company stopped responding to my inquires.

    I prefer Natures Variety as they HPP the diets, were able to answer nutritional questions correctly and they do consult with a veterinary nutritionist.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Kim-

    Natures Variety has been sourcing their rabbit from France for quite sometime now.

  • Kim Wright

    Honest kitchen isn’t a raw diet and has to much starch for my liking, If I were you I would use primal over natures variety because the natures variety is electronically treated to kill pathogens and also sources it rabbit from china. I am assuming you live in the States as they are all American companies. I live in Canada and am fortunate to have a few family owned raw food companies to choose from .I do like primal though

  • Kim Wright

    Hi Sami
    I use iron will raw along with big country raw and pets 4 life. They all have a website you can look up. I was using big country raw almost exclusively, but prefer the iron will overall because it has a better fat to protein ratio due to the fact that they use skinless chicken duck etc were as bcr uses skin on. You need to be aware that these diets are not completely balanced so you do need to add fish oil and a supplement. I personally use best in show total support and green lipped mussels. As for pets 4 life it is a completely balanced diet, however it can be pricey, and also some dogs don’t react well to ground flax. I use this when traveling because it is really convenient. So for the long reply. Hope this info is helpfull.
    Cheers

  • Ed Schnauzer

    Raw BISON meat and bones.
    About two or tree times a year I purchase and butcher, in my house, a whole Bison from one of the best free rang Bison farmers of Northern British Columbia. The meat I use for my extented family and frinds consumption. Each time I end up with about 300lbs of bones and trimmings (approx 50%/50%).
    Anybody interested??
    Greater Vancouver Area

  • nosnittap5377

    Somehow, your post changed from what i recieved via email:

    A new comment was posted onDog Food Advisor

    disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    “Because, sharing my experience and knowledge may help someone. The subject does interest me and I do tell others about my negative experience with raw feeding in hopes of preventing others from experiencing the harm it caused.”

    I didn’t see anything saying that you tried raw, and had no reason to believe that you had, because you believe in science based, not holistic medicine. Or that you had any negative experience that caused harm. I just noticed you pushing vets and pet dermatologist. If I had a negative experience, I would share it as much as as positive one, but without pushing another agenda. What was your experience and what harm was caused? Thanks and peace to you.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Because, sharing my experience and knowledge may help someone. The subject does interest me and I do tell others about my negative experience with raw feeding in hopes of preventing others from experiencing the harm it caused.

  • Monica Reinhart

    Yes, but you are replying to several comments by telling everyone to go to the vet because of what you believe and this thread is about feeding raw, which most vets don’t agree with. So I was pointing that out in case you weren’t aware that this thread is related to an article about raw feeding, why, and to share experience and ask questions about this issue. I often wonder why people feel the need to express themselves on matters that do not interest them and are not in line with their beliefs, that’s all.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    “I think you are on the wrong forum.”
    I don’t think so, I can voice my opinion, just as you can.
    I tend to believe in science based veterinary medicine.

  • Monica Reinhart

    No more of of a health risk than handling our own food. Our own, GMO corn fed, antibiotic and hormone-laden food is full of salmonella and who knows what other toxins, which are the direct cause of allergies, immune disease, skin problems, ear infections, candida overgrowth, etc. Environmental toxins wouldn’t bother us or our pets as much, if our immune systems were not compromised by synthetic and poor food ingredients, and meds. Raw food is better for humans and and a raw, species appropriate diet for our pets is healthier. Vets will never agree because they’d lose business. Meds are not the answer and only mask symptoms. I saved my cat by feeding a raw diet, probiotics, real vitamin c, clay, slippery elm, and fllax oil. Her coat was shinier than it had been in years, her poop was the most normal, smaller poop that I’ve ever seen and it didn’t stink, she stopped sneezing, stopped howling, which vets blame on old age and is not true, looked extremely healthy, played like she hadn’t in a while and regained hydration. All of this in less than one week. The vet said she didn’t need fluids, what a joke, and only needed antibiotics, which had not helped her before, and steroids, so I refused. He did not believe in anything I mentioned and just wanted to extort $88 for euthanasia. I just took her home and tried anyway. Minor signs of improvement showed in a day, which was enough for me to save her from the euthanasia I had scheduled. I think you are on the wrong forum.

  • Sami Martel

    I am looking for information on Iron Will Raw Food – Canadian company from Ontario – any info?

  • Francis Cooke

    My pup a 1and a half year old Siberian Huskywas started on raw at 12 weeks old and has been doing great at first I made it how he eats different brands Primal, natural variety instinct and Stella and Chewys mostly ( with raw you can feed different brands going from one to a rather freely)

  • InkedMarie

    The Honest Kitchen isn’t a raw food

  • Beth Edwards

    what about the Honest Kitchen?

  • Crazy4cats

    I agree with the other two replies, have some blood work done if you haven’t already. My furry nephew had these issues and he ended up being hypothyroid. He takes a small pill for it now and has improved drastically. How is his weight?

  • Babslynne

    My dog had similar issues, please have him checked for thyroid problems, for my dog it was Cushing’s, his back had bald spots from his neck, down his back and over his ribs, even his tail, and it was crusty oozy stinky in spots. I soaked those spots in coconut oil and wrapped him in one of those thunder shirts. I added coconut oil to his food to balance his thyroid and started giving him Melatonin and flaxseed lignans. Its all natural and I didn’t read about any side affects so I had to try it and sure enough his skin cleared up and his hair is growing back. http://www.dogaware.com/articles/wdjcushings.html
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01801836I/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_17?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1NSXJ7I8F20VA
    https://www.chewy.com/thundershirt-anxiety-calming/dp/41103

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Please seek veterinary care, rule out medical issues, senior workup, labs.
    if it is within your means to see a veterinary dermatologist I would (sooner than later).
    I would not apply anything to the skin, nor would I give over the counter meds intended for humans, or supplements, or home remedies without the approval of a vet that has examined the dog. You can make things much worse and increase the risk of infection.

    From a previous post:
    “What you describe sounds like environmental allergies, food would have little impact, if any, on this condition”.
    “I would continue to work with your veterinarian, however, for best results, I would go to a specialist, a veterinary dermatologist.
    Have you tried the search engine here? This subject comes up frequently.
    Example: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/irritated-skin-food-allergy/
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/dog-chewing-nails-till-they-bleed/
    “Food allergies are rare. Food sensitivities tend to result in GI disturbances such as vomiting and diarrhea. Environmental allergies tend to show up as pruritus, ear infections and such”.
    “I tried all kinds of things times 1 year (including going back and forth to the veterinarian), but, did not get results till I took her to a dermatologist for testing”. “Allergen specific immunotherapy worked in her case”.
    “Unfortunately, steroids and such are often necessary (for brief periods) to stop the suffering and prevent infection”.
    “Allergen specific immunotherapy is the most natural treatment”.
    “Also, I have heard that some dogs do well on apoquel, you may want to consider staying with that, talk to your vet”.

  • Nellie ‘Rice’ Samms

    I have a dog with huge yeast issues. His back is nearly bare now… hot spots everywhere. I have tried everything. It’s been ongoing for some time. At one point, I did cave and use medicated shampoo, meds, etc. it wasn’t overly effective. I do think he also has allergies (def. to beef). He is 9 and we have had this issue for a few years to be honest. I have had him on top quality food – from raw to acana to canisource, etc. all good food with no drastic difference. My question is would the apple cidar or vinegar burn his skin (or sting possibly)? I have to bath him every week. Cannot live with the smell.

  • Kimi Painter-Shaffer

    Any thoughts or findings on Eureka frozen raw dog foods?

  • nicky

    thank you very much with your input. i will absolutly speak to my vet about it!!

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    I would do what ever you did for the last dog, diet and all. Sixteen years is wonderful!
    Of course age related maladies and genetic predispositions are going to play a role.
    Please consult a vet before you go down this road, raw doesn’t agree with all dogs, especially small breeds.
    http://skeptvet.com/Blog/?s=raw+diet

    Raw diets are another popular option on the market today. Studies have shown that 20-35% of raw poultry and 80% of raw food dog diets tested contained Salmonella. This poses a health risk for your pet, but also for humans. This is especially true for children or immunocompromised adults, whether exposed to the raw food directly, or the feces of the pet eating the raw food. Additionally, there is increased risk of other bacterial infections and parasitic diseases when feeding raw diets. And the bottom line is there is no reason to believe raw food is healthier than cooked food. (excerpt from) https://www.mspca.org/angell_services/choosing-the-right-diet-for-your-pet/

  • nicky

    hello all.

    I had a chihuahua who recently passed away at almost 16. she was always kibble fed.she also developed what the vet believes was a brain tumor that caused seizures that ultimatly cause her passing. otherwise she was always in good health.
    a new chi baby will soon be joining the family and im looking at benefits of raw feeding for the tiny dog ….and i do mean TINY …..variety. I would apreciate input or ideas.

    thanks .

  • InkedMarie

    Hi Erin,
    Do you mean NVIR? If yes, it has produce; an ingredient may be causing the allergies.
    I feed ground raw that I buy from Hare Today; it has meat/bone/organ & some have tripe. It comes in 1, 2 or 5lb chubs. Other good companies are Raw feeding Miami, Reel Raw and My Pet Carnivore. I’m sure there are more.

  • Erin OConnor

    I am new to raw feeding. I was feeding Honest Kitchen. I slowing began transitioning my dogs to Natures Variety Instinct Raw. My dogs have been on NBIR since the begining of December. I took my 7 year old to the vet yesterday. For the first time ever he has shown signs of allergies. He has red irrated paws. I am ready to quit raw. Any suggestions?

  • Jason Proctor

    Raw Wild does not put organs OR bones in their products. If you want to feed a truly balanced raw dog food, you should use another product. They view organs as “by products” and use supplement additives to their meals, but they don’t give a breakdown of what they add on their site.