Bravo Balance Dog Food (Raw Frozen)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Bravo! Balance Dog Food earns the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Bravo! Balance product line includes three raw dog foods, 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.

  • Bravo Balance Premium Beef Formula
  • Bravo Balance Premium Turkey Formula
  • Bravo Balance Premium Chicken Formula

Bravo Balance Premium Chicken Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Bravo Balance Premium Chicken Formula

Raw Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 62% | Fat = 25% | Carbs = 6%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken bones, chicken liver, chicken gizzards, chicken hearts, green beans, broccoli, acorn squash, salt, potassium chloride, tocopherol vitamin E, zinc oxide,copper sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cholecalciferol vitamin D3

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis15%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis62%25%6%
Calorie Weighted Basis49%47%5%

The first ingredient in this dog food includes 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 bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.

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 chicken gizzard. The gizzard is a low-fat, meaty organ found in the digestive tract of birds and assists in grinding up a consumed food. This item is considered a canine dietary delicacy.

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

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

The seventh ingredient is broccoli. Broccoli is a healthy green vegetable and a member of the kale family. It’s notably rich in vitamin C and fiber and numerous other nutrients.

Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is believed to provide anti-cancer benefits.

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 one notable exception

The minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Bravo! Balance Dog Food
The Bottom Line

With human-grade, antibiotic-free poultry and hormone-free, grass fed red meat, Bravo Balance Dog Food can certainly be considered 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 62%, a fat level of 25% and estimated carbohydrates of about 6%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 50% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 23% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 39%.

Above-average protein. Below-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 an abundance of meat.

Those looking to mimic a dog’s natural ancestral diet will find the Bravo Balance raw product line an excellent candidate.

Bottom line?

Bravo! Balance Dog Food is a meat-based raw product using a significant amount of poultry or beef as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

For more suggestions, be sure to visit the Advisor’s Recommended Raw Dog Foods summary page.

Special Alert

Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.

A Final Word

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

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.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

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

Notes and Updates

05/03/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Nancy Calloway

    Shawna, excellent teaching points for me; I’m taking notes. I am terribly sorry about David’s experience and feel so sad for his dog. My question to you: You mentioned that you and numerous others feed raw turkey necks. Would you share your source for purchasing these? I know they have an important role in raw feeding and need to know a reliable place to get them. Thank you very much.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Bravo just launched a new freeze-dried raw line called Homestyle Complete. It’s available in turkey, beef and pork.

  • Crazy4cats

    Mmmm… This food was just recalled a few days ago. I wonder if that was the issue?

  • Betsie MacKusick Cummings

    Hi David,
    First off, I think we all hope your Pup is feeling better.
    My question would be, had you already had your dog on a Raw Diet before giving him the Bravo? Switching (or even going between Kibble and Raw) can and often will have adverse effects on the dog. If they are “coming off” the Kibble or Canned stuff, their systems are detoxing…blowing out the old to welcome the new.
    Just a thought.

  • losul

    Hi David, I hope that all is better with your dog now. I agree with Shawna and feel that the vet was probably wrong in his diagnosis. However, something made you dog very sick, and it’s a real possibility he had listeriosis. Hopefully you still have the product code/expiration date of the product, and/or your EM’s because Bravo just made a recall for listeria and turkey was one of those recalled. Even if you don’t still have the numbers, I would consult with your vet and ask if listeriosis was a possibility, and also get back with Bravo about it. Generally dogs are pretty resistant to listeria and many are occaisionally exposed to it in the environment, but if they were large numbers of it in contaminated meat………or in a compromised immune system, it CAN become pathogenic to various degrees, including very serious or death, in dogs.

    PRODUCT: BRAVO! TURKEY BALANCE FORMULA (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, CT)
    NET WT 2 LBS (32 OZ) .09KG, Chub (tube)
    Product Number: 31-402
    Best Used By Dates: 1/7/16 and 2/11/16

    NET WT 5 LBS (80 OZ) 2.3KG, Chub (tube)
    Product Number: 31-405
    Best Used By Dates: 1/7/16 and 2/11/16

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-recall/bravo-dog-and-cat-food-recall/

    I contemplated buying some Bravo lamb (also recalled) just the other day, glad I didn’t now. Although it has nothing to do with the recall, for one thing I was turned off by the lengthy product life of 2 years that they give the product. That just isn’t right IMO, frozen ground meats should be used within 6 months or so.

  • Shawna

    That’s horrible David!! I am so sorry this happened to you. But, I think your vet is a bit misguided here. The turkey and possible even the bone could have cause an allergic or sensitivity in your dog but that really isn’t Bravo’s fault. I foster and I’ve fed Bravo foods (among others) to over 30 dogs over the years including the eight dogs I currently have (five are mine and three are long term, possibly forever, foster dogs). We’ve yet to ever have a problem of any kind let alone one as serious as yours.

    MANY of the folks on this website, myself included, feed their dogs raw turkey necks as well. If your case truly had anything at all to do with the “raw bone” in the food it is a unique and probably rare case.

    In addition to the experiences of others here on this site I’m aware of several vets that endorse Bravo foods. One of which, the well known and respected Dr. Martin Goldstein, has a positive review right on the Bravo site. It can be found here http://www.bravorawdiet.com/whyrawdiets.html

    Dr. Goldstein was often featured on the Oprah show regarding dog nutrition and diet. He also treated at least one of Oprah’s dogs. He is also affiliated with Martha Stewart (has a podcast on her channel).

    Dr. Karen Becker recommends Bravo on her Natural Pet site. http://www.naturalpetproductions.com/resources.html

    I’m not sure what having a vet on staff would have to do with the quality of dog food produced? Some of the big name companies have vets on staff and their foods get poor ratings on this site as well as from many, but not all, informed pet owners.
    I’m not sure about post manufacturing testing but my guess is that most of the smaller manufacturers don’t either. Yet Dr. Meg Smart who has taught clinical pet nutrition recommends buying commercial diets from these companies on her blog. She also recommends raw foods (including raw bone) on her site. There are many others as well.
    It’s unfortunate that your vet may not be well informed about raw diets but that isn’t Bette’s fault. :(
    I do want to make it clear that I’m not saying the food wasn’t the cause but that your vets suggestion that it was the raw bone is pretty far out in left field unless your dog is the RARE exception to the rule.

  • David Hunt

    I recently purchased Bravo Turkey raw food. My dog became very sick within 24 hours. He would cry out in pain for no apparent reason. He ended up at the vets. After having a series of xrays it was determined by the vet that his intestines and stomach were inflamed. The vet said the cause was Bravo due to the high uncooked bone content. He informed me the second ingredient in the food is turkey bone. He also told me they do not have a vet on staff and do not do any independent post manufacturing testing
    The vet bill was over $665.50
    I contacted Bravo and after 2 months the owner of back and forth emails, Bette Schubert, declined to help in any way with the bill.
    A product is only as good as the people who stand behind it. I am here to say do not buy this food as they failed that test.

  • BaileyGirl

    I love Bravo and so does my dog. My question though pertains to all high quality raw foods.. My dog had a splenectomy. Because she no longer has a spleen should I be cautious about feeding this to her? I have been mixing the Bravo with Evo kibble, but would like to switch to 100% Bravo if $$ allows. I feed the raw to her where it is still somewhat frozen, but easy enough for her to chew (she seems to like it better this way). She has Hemangiosarcoma, which is why she had her spleen removed, so I just want to make sure feeding her Raw is OK. Thank you!

  • Chrissy

    There are RAW cat foods available…I do believe Bravo makes one but there is also RAD Kat, which comes in single serving cups for you…

  • Maggie May

    This is too high fat for a dog prone to pancreatitis such as schnauzers. They need 10-12% as another poster said, but I use the raw and add extra veggies to it from Honest Kitchen Preference to decrease the per serving fat content. I also add boiled chicken breasts to decrease the per fat serving. I want to get benefits of raw feeding, but have to make some adjustments for my schnauzers.

  • Erin

    It was recalled but no salmonella was found in any Bravo products.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Cats need cat food. They have a requirement for taurine that only a rare dog food would meet. The company may be able to tell you if they have enough taurine, but other wise I wouldn’t risk it. Have you looked at Darwin’s? They have cat food, and an amazing introductory offer.
    It is possible that your cat will require something like montmorillonite clay to keep a firm stool, but its also possible that that was a temperary need that your cat is now past, no way to know without trying.

  • Rachelle Madsen

    How well would this food do for my cat? For a little while now I have been feeding her Natures Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diets, and the benefits from that have been exponential.

    The reason I started her on raw is because she has severe diarrhea problems with ANY type of kibble or canned cat foods. Natures Variety cured her of her issue in about two weeks, but it is rather expensive. I noticed on the review for NV that it has Montmorillonite Clay which it states directly helps diarrhea issues, but this food doesn’t? If I switch her to this food, would her issue come back like it does with other foods?

  • Dawn

    The chubs are 2 pounds of meet..I let them slightly defrost cut up her portions(read the recommended amount for your size dog) and put them in the freezer until needed. I defrost them in the fridge.. Its been wonderful for her and she loves it! Her constant itching has stopped and her overall health has improved 10 fold.. the most you have to do is appropriate the right amount of food for your dog and that’s about it. I also use a water /vinegar solution when cleaning up its safe for everyone..Chubs is just like ground up meat with the added natural ingredients..I can see the fresh parsley,carrot’s..ect. in the meat when I serve her..We love and recommend it!!
    ,

  • Pattyvaughn

    It probably would not be considered low fat for your purposes. You probably want to stay closer to 10-12% on a dry matter basis and I don’t think there is a commercial raw that goes that low.

  • John Sewell

    Is this appropriate for a dog prone to pancreatitis? It looks very low fat to me, but I get so confused with dry matter, versus guaranteed analysis…I just want to be sure.

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  • Alpha Biotch

    What an excellent food. Alpha Biotch certainly approves, and I shall most certainly give this a try! :-)

  • Pattyvaughn
  • brie

    what is darwins website?

  • KarenC

    I imagine the chubs could have a lot of bone too? I guess I could call or email and ask before I purchase.