Answers Detailed Dog Food (Raw Frozen)


Rating: ★★★★★

Answers Dog Food (Detailed Formula) receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Answers Detailed product line includes three raw frozen recipes, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Answers Detailed Pork
  • Answers Detailed Beef
  • Answers Detailed Chicken

Answers Detailed Chicken formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Answers Detailed Dog Food Chicken Formula

Raw Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 41% | Fat = 31% | Carbs = 20%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken heart, chicken liver, ground chicken bone, chicken eggs, carrots, green beans, yellow squash, montmorillonite, cultured whey, sardine oil, anchovy oil, parsley, sea salt, vitamin E supplement

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis13%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis41%31%20%
Calorie Weighted Basis30%56%15%
Protein = 30% | Fat = 56% | Carbs = 15%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is chicken heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing to us humans, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.

The third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fourth ingredient is ground chicken bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.

The fifth ingredient includes chicken eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The sixth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The seventh ingredient includes green beans, a healthy vegetable notable for its vitamin, mineral and natural fiber content.

The eighth ingredient is squash. Squash is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With three notable exceptions

First, montmorillonite is a naturally occurring compound rich in many trace minerals. Montmorillonite has been approved for use in USDA Organic Certified products.

Reported benefits include the binding of certain mold-based toxins and even controlling diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Next, sardine oil and anchovy oil are naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, sardine and anchovy oils should be considered commendable additions.

And lastly, except for vitamin E, we find no mention of added vitamins or minerals on the ingredients list.

However, we are reassured to find a detailed list of naturally present nutrients on the company’s website.

Answers Detailed Formula Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Answers Dog Food Detailed formula looks like an above-average raw product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 41%, a fat level of 31% and estimated carbohydrates of about 20%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 41% and a mean fat level of 31%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 20% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 77%.

Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a raw product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Answers Detailed Formula is a meat-based raw dog food using a generous amount of chicken, beef or pork as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

12/24/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • el doctor

    That discussion might have ended in a fiasco, but look at all the friends and customers they made in the 2 years they were here before things turned bad!

  • Dori

    HAHA Marie. Don’t I know it!!! Sister-Friends for sure.

  • InkedMarie

    oh Dori, you are my sister-friend, we think SO much alike

  • Crazy4cats

    He contacted me with a very nice email. He did state that fermentation is their only safety step and that is all they need. No mention of any testing at all. I think I mentioned before that I am good with feeding fermented foods. In fact I used sauerkraut as one of the dogs’ remedies to get rid of giardia along with garlic and probiotics. I do think it is good for their guts. As far as the only safety step with raw meat, I’ll have to do a little more research.

  • InkedMarie

    good reminder!

  • Shawna
  • Dori

    I also don’t understand, regarding contacting companies, etc. why more people don’t just pick up the telephone and call them. Maybe because I’m older than the general population here that I’m a bit more old school. Usually if I want answers on anything I want them pretty quickly. I’m also not a particularly patient person. As far as the Answers Company, itself, I have to readily and freely admit that I have always been put through to Jacquie and Billy. Sometimes it’s they themselves that answer the phones at the company. Also let me say that Answer’s Detailed foods are in rotation at my home.

  • theBCnut

    I intend to stay out of this discussion, but I do want to remind everyone that the Brother’s thread was permanently closed because people couldn’t play nice there. I’m relatively certain that William Hoekman and Dr Mike, BOTH, don’t want to see that happen here. If I were William, I wouldn’t wade out into the foray either. I prefer transparency in a dog food company and I have rejected several companies based on their lack of transparency, but that has nothing to do with willingness to battle publicly. Try email, then share your emails.

  • aimee

    Thanks Crazy4cats,

    It isn’t the GA I question but the DM percentages they report… about 40% of the diet is unaccounted for. William couldn’t explain that, he said I would have to talk to Roxanne as that is her area.

    I asked him if he could explain what it meant to say that the DM basis was corrected for energy density as compared to 3500kcal/kg as that is not a typical way to report a nutrient. He didn’t know and said I’d have to ask Roxanne.

    I also asked him about the AAFCO statement on their Detailed diets. He said the diets carry a statement that says the diet is formulated to meet the AAFCO nutrient profile.

    This is new and came as quite a surprise to me as Jacquiline had written to me “You never want a raw diet to be equivalent to the AAFCO nutrient requirements, that would be seriously overdosing in nutrients like zinc which in turn could lead to hemolytic anemia.”

    He couldn’t comment on the use of the previous statement which said the
    diet was comparable to one that passed a feeding trial. It didn’t seem
    he was aware that Answers had ever used that statement on their diets.

    Overall he was very nice and clearly very passionate about the product but after talking for nearly 40?? minutes I have to say I was left with more questions than answers.

  • Storm’s Mom

    I think William answered that pretty well himself.

  • Storm’s Mom

    No, I posted in support of respecting William’s request to correspond via email. As others have mentioned, there have been several instances in the past where reps from dog food companies have come on here with seemingly the best of intentions (or at least, I feel it’s polite to assume so), but with perhaps less internet savvy than folks on here, and they were treated pretty awfully, and surprise surprise none are active on here now. Isn’t the goal to have reps from dog food companies communicating freely and openly on here? Well then, let’s not immediately put them on the defensive and assume the worst about them or their company on, like, their 2nd post, shall we?! I do not doubt that aimee’s concerns have a decent chance of being valid, it’s how she went/goes about determining that that I took/take exception to. It saddens me that Shawna, in particular, has been driven away from DFA in part because of aimee’s tactics/antics (which I had no idea was the case until I read her post yesterday).

  • Shawna

    If the statement was in contrast to data I had been provided first hand by someone high up in that same company, yes I would not try to assume.

  • Crazy4cats

    So, basically you started posting on this subject just to harass Aimee? BTW, her concerns do seem to be accurate. Her questions actually helped me learn some new things today. I don’t find her to be rude at all. I don’t totally understand the Purina thing either, but could care less. She is a valuable asset to the site.

  • Crazy4cats

    Aimee’s concerns in my opinion were justified. Aimee being a troll is laughable. You haven’t posted on this site for weeks, yet you come back to make this comment? I think Aimee is the one being trolled upon.

  • Crazy4cats

    Thanks for the heads up on this company. I have bought their goat’s milk and have considered the fish stock. Sounds like they still have a lot of unanswered questions at this time. I’m not convinced on the safety of their meat either. I’d prefer a little more testing. I truly don’t understand why others think that you have an agenda or certain motives. I believe all of your questions about this company’s safety procedures and guaranteed analysis were totally appropriate.

  • aimee

    Interesting.. would you also not assume what was meant if the statement was written by a large commercial pet food company?

  • el doctor

    Hi Storm’s mom

    May I ask what those “legit business reasons” might be?

    “A company likely will never reach out on such a public forum to the degree that all of its customers or potential customers would like, for legit business reasons,

  • el doctor

    Hi C4d

    Thank you for your thoughts on this, they seem perfectly reasonable to me 😉

  • aimee

    I’ve never fermented meat…have made pickles and yogurt.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I’d love to hear what you find out! 😉

  • Crazy4cats

    I actually agree with you 100%. A rep would be crazy to come on here and face us! But he did! He opened the door and left it open. He disputed Aimee’s statement that Answer’s does not invest in any type of quality control testing. He could have easily explained at that time what measures they do use. Well, it’s been six days and still no explanation. I have contacted them and have not got a response so far. There is nothing on their website regarding testing. Makes one wonder?

  • Shawna

    How familiar are you with fermented or cultured foods and the process of making such foods?

  • Shawna

    I’m not going to assume to know what they meant, or even how you may interpret the entire conversation differently than I possibly. This often happens. I just know my experience.

    I do agree that the diets are higher in fat but I think the type of fat is as important as the overall quantity. When Primal upped their fat content (or released new analysis information) there was no formulation change so I was left wondering if they were using lower quality fattier meats. Although this may be the case with Answer’s I don’t believe so. The fermented cod liver oil, the whole eggs and butter are all nutrient dense sources of fats. Jacqueline follows Weston Price so I do have to assume, as it doesn’t state for sure, that the butter is from grass fed dairy cows.

    The AAFCO has no “safe upper limit” for fat. “The NRC sets the safe upper limit of fat at 82.5 grams/1000 kcals.” What is that based on? Is the quality of the fat even considered?

  • aimee

    You said: “What Aimee is trying to make us believe is VERY different from reality. Just my opinion though.”

    What is it that I’m trying to make people believe?….. Ya might want to let me in on that one : )

    Simply put, I was at a expo and there were several raw food dog manufacturers present. I asked each of them the same 7 questions. One of the questions pertained to the quality control testing that they did with their foods and specifically does the company “test and hold”

    Answers reported they did not do any type of microbial testing.

    I called William’s cell number and we had a nice conversation. He told me they do not “test and hold” but they now do test intermittently. He didn’t know the frequency, and said testing isn’t even necessary because of the fermentation process they use which ensures safety.

    I’m currently unconvinced on that point, others may conclude differently. The product is fully frozen within hours of inoculation via what he called a slow freeze process. I don’t see how enough acids could be formed in such a short and very cold fermentation time for product preservation. I asked what the starting and ending pH was and he didn’t know offhand.

    In regards to nutrient analysis he said he may have data depending on the nutrient I asked about.

  • Shawna

    You say personal attack, I say personal experience. :)

    I actually thought “knowledge battle” was a cute and very accurate description – clearly not everyone agrees. How many times have others, over the years, complained they couldn’t follow our conversations.

  • aimee

    What do you think Answers meant to convey when they wrote to me ” When protein is consumed in excess….this can have damaging effects on the liver and kidney”

    The context was in relation to the amount of protein and fat in their diets and their reasoning for formulating such a high fat diet I think you have to agree that of raw diets Answers has one of the lowest protein levels around and a very high fat content.

    The NRC sets the safe upper limit of fat at 82.5 grams/1000 kcals.
    Using provided information I calculate Answers Pork as 87.3grms/1000kcals, beef as 85.3 grams/1000 kcals and the chicken as 76.5 grms/1000kcals

  • Shawna

    Hi Aimee,

    My conversations with them have been different.?

    You are correct, I do feed an average of 45 to 54%, on a dry matter basis, but do keep in mind that that is a rotational diet and I add toppers – which I suggest to everyone. Toppers can be used to increase protein (as we all know) which in turn can decrease overall carb content AND/OR fat content. I also feed OC Rabbit 60% protein and OC Goat 77% protein.

    As you know, from previous discussions about pancreatitis, I’m not opposed to higher fat diets IF the fat is quality fat and protein needs are being met.

    “A typical prey contains 30% fat on an as fed basis” Yes, I would agree that does seem odd?

    I do understand you weren’t addressing renal patients, it was the only data I could find on their website relating to protein and kidney disease. My point was however, even here they don’t suggest that protein “damages” the kidneys. Quite the contrary, they discuss the importance of “quality” protein.

  • aimee

    Hi Shawna,

    This is what Answers sent me in an e mail: “When protein is consumed in excess it will be converted to sugar and the by products.. urea, along with excess nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorous that are left to be excreted. Through research and experience we know that over time this can have damaging effects on the liver and kidney.”

    On a caloric basis the protein content of the pork diet is ~22 % and the beef and chicken ~25%.

    I thought you said you like to feed much higher protein levels… 45-54%, which is why I said I was surprised that you fed Answers.

    I wasn’t addressing renal patients so not sure why you brought that up but doesn’t this excerpt taken from what you quoted strike you as odd… ” A typical prey contains 30% fat on an as fed basis”

    On an as fed basis a typical prey item is prob around 65-70% moisture is it not? Even if we went with the lower 65% moisture then add in their quoted 30% fat and that only leaves 5% for protein and minerals.

    If we used the entire 5% as protein the DM protein would be only be14%.

    When companies continually make errors like this one it makes me nervous.

  • Shawna

    “I don’t understand why William couldn’t have explained that” I misunderstood, I thought THIS particular comment thread was about William not responding as well as the food safety. I see now that I must respond to only certain points of the original posters comments. Thanks so much for that lesson Bobby dog. Much appreciated.

  • Bobby dog

    If Aimee, or anyone, was so time consuming and their personal time was better spent elsewhere they wouldn’t engage or reply with that person as much as you do. Battles? A bit dramatic and makes it personal which always takes the spotlight off the subject.

  • Crazy4cats

    Again, this is not about Aimee or you. This is about the safety of Answer’s products. I don’t understand why you are taking it so personal. Maybe it is safe. Maybe their website needs to be updated with more information. I will contact them myself if I need any further information. Thank you.

  • Shawna

    No, I get what you are saying. I too would have liked to have seen William answer Aimee here on DFA. As someone who has been involved in many knowledge battles with Aimee over the last six(ish) years I can say I would suggest that person be fully aware of what they are about to commit to as it is a commitment. It became so time consuming for me that I finally had to leave DFA as a regular poster. I now swing by about once a week instead of multiple times a day. I still want to help others as much as I did before but there are other venues I can do that without getting caught up in a never ending battle. It is never ending too. Small victories have been won (sorry for the metaphor) by both of us but much of what we have debated for these past six years goes on being debated. Some people chose to spend their precious time in a much more positive way (if for no one else but themselves).

    It’s almost midnight here so I’m not going to take the time to post a bunch of research but this one lists every bacteria you mention as being “sensitive” to Kombucha (which is the traditional name for fermented teas – Answer’s is being more specific by giving the exact type of tea – “green”). That’s just one of the fermented products used/recommended too.
    “The antimicrobial activity of Kombucha was investigated against a
    number of pathogenic microorganisms. Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella
    sonnei, Escherichia coli, Aeromonas hydrophila, Yersinia enterolitica,
    Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter cloacae, Staphylococcus epidermis,
    Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella typhimurium,
    Bacillus cereus, Helicobacterpylori, and Listeria monocytogenes were
    found to be sensitive to Kombucha. According to the literature on
    Kombucha, acetic acid is considered to be responsible for the inhibitory
    effect toward a number of microbes tested, and this is also valid in
    the present study. However, in this study, Kombucha proved to exert
    antimicrobial activities against E. coli, Sh. sonnei, Sal. typhimurium,
    Sal. enteritidis, and Cm. jejuni, even at neutral pH and after thermal
    denaturation. This finding suggests the presence of antimicrobial
    compounds other than acetic acid and large proteins in Kombucha.”

    Edit—–PS — I have mentioned this before but I think it deserves repeating. I like Aimee as a person. I think we could be good friends if we knew each other in person. I also have learned from her and have become a better, more intelligent person because of her questioning ways. I understand the topic I’m discussing much better than I might otherwise have without her. You have to if you are going to debate Aimee… :)