Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diets (Raw Frozen)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Nature’s Variety Instinct raw frozen diets receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Nature’s Variety Instinct product line includes seven raw dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

Depending on the recipe, some are available as bites, medallions, patties and chubs.

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

  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Beef
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Rabbit
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Venison
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Chicken
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Lamb (4 stars)
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Organic Chicken
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Duck (4.5 stars)

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Beef Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Beef Formula

Raw Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 43% | Fat = 34% | Carbs = 15%

Ingredients: Beef, beef heart, beef liver, raw ground beef bone, beef kidney, apples, carrots, butternut squash, ground flaxseeds, montmorillonite clay, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, dried kelp, dried apples, fruit pectin, apple cider vinegar, parsley, honey, salmon oil, olive oil, blueberries, alfalfa sprouts, persimmons, inulin, rosemary, sage, clove

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis15%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis43%34%15%
Calorie Weighted Basis30%59%11%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1

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

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

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

The fifth ingredient is beef kidney, an organ meat low in fat and rich in protein and essential minerals.

Amongst the rest of the ingredients we note the inclusion of a number of healthy fruits and vegetables

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Kelp
  • Parsley
  • Blueberries
  • Alfalfa
  • Persimmons

Also included along with the fruits and vegetables we find flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

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 four notable exceptions

First, salmon oil is 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, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

Next, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

Thirdly, montmorillonite clay 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).

And lastly, although we find no added vitamins or minerals on the ingredients list, the company assures consumers its Instinct raw product line is “complete and balanced”.

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diets
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Variety Instinct raw frozen diets 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 43%, a fat level of 34% and estimated carbohydrates of about 15%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 33%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 16% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 76%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a raw product containing an abundance of meat.

Bottom line?

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Diets is a meat-based dog food using a significant amount of named meats and organs 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.

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, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits 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

11/04/2009 Original review
05/16/2010 Review updated
04/11/2012 Review updated
10/14/2012 Review updated
10/14/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • ab1028

    How do I get my picky poodle to eat raw? He has eaten a couple of raw meals before, but 99% of the time he sniffs it and walks away…

  • Janet Forero

    Great explanation of protein content! Thanks! I’m surprised this is not on the label.

  • Janet Forero

    Our toy pups liked lamb and rabbit, but I’ll try every flavor as it goes on sale to determine which they like best. You might want to give them half portions of the raw patties at first, followed by half portion of the canned If they gobble up the raw, you will know by their poop how many days it is taking to adjust. Our pups adjusted to the raw diet in only 24 hours. The food is that good! :-)

  • Janet Forero

    Don’t worry about the portion size. I have two puppies that are under 5 lbs. I used the quarter-pounder sized rabbit patties, and simply semi-thawed them, then cut them like a pie, into 6 pieces or quarters, as I increased their meal size. The bag actually indicates how much of the large patties to give small dogs per day. Our puppies loved the raw diet at first, then seemed to tire of each flavor. I have only tried lamb and rabbit. Their coats have been beautiful, and despite a very cold winter, had minimal flaking. Our pups seem to get constipated easily, so I added some kibble and water to the food. The extra cost and extra care in handling raw food are worth it if your dogs have have skin or digestive issues!

  • zev

    how can I find out the % ME (metabolizable energy) of the raw beef patties?

  • snootifox

    Hello, I have a small toy breed dog, 11 lbs, that is almost 14. She has has had stomach upset issues for the last 8 years or so. We can go along pretty well with say, Canine Caviar fish and then all the sudden she can no longer tolerate it. She is also in the early stages of kidney disease. She sees the vet regularly and has had an mri, an ultrasound, xrays, etc. over the years and no one can find anything to diagnos her tummy upset. The vet constantly wants her on a renal vet dog food (Royal Canin), which I hate and which she is not tolerating very well. I was thinking a raw diet might be helpful, but was worried due to her age and the renal issues if this food would be too high in protein or fat. Any suggestions?

  • theBCnut

    It’s not cheap, but Darwin’s is always fresh and arrives at my door frozen solid. In fact, I got a shipment today and had fun playing with the chunks of dry ice that were still in the packaging. I also get grinds from Hare Today and My Pet Carnivore and add my own veggie mix to them. I feed tripe once a week and sardines or herring once a week too. I also get a couple different premixes and add my own meat to them. I also got the books “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” and “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats” and use some of their recipes. And I feed raw meaty bones at least once, usually twice a week.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    I use GreenTripe.com in my rotation. Just a warning, raw tripe smells really bad! I also have Smack, and it hydrates well although smells a little grassy or earthy. I make my own raw so tripe is the only commercial raw product I buy. But a lot of folks like products from Darwin’s, Hare-Today and MyPetCarnivore.

  • Jose

    Hi BCnut I have been researching for quality raw dog foods. I like a rotational diet for my dog and from time to time I switch off with Nature’s Variety instict raw and Orijen, However I have problems hydrating Orijen because it is freeze dried. I would really like your input on another raw food product I can rely on or even a few if you are able to give me the information. Thanks!!!

  • tenterhooks

    This owner isn’t stupid. When I put my dog on NV I followed the portion recommendations to the letter. And my dog gets and got a great deal of exercise daily as well – about 14 hours of walking weekly. Since i abandoned NV last March she – now 31/2 – has lost 20 lbs., has 5 to go. She has lots more energy than she had when on NV. When you remove the 62% moisture from the NV provided analysis of the lamb product you get 13% protein and 12% fat with a negligible amount of fibre. So almost 50% of the product is fat. If my dog was pulling sleds in the north, 45% fat may make sense . But otherwise it is way too much fat. Of course, I could have fed her less than the recommended daily amount but that’s just less of the same balance of protein and fat. I spent a small fortune on vet bills to figure out what was wrong with her – thyroid tests, etc. Only to find out that NV had reevaluated their product and what was on the package as 8% fat had suddenly been upped to 12%. Hey Dude, this owner isn’t stupid – I actually called NV on the misleading info on their packaging and they admitted they had revisited their values and upped their fat content rating. I no longer buy the product so don’t know whether they have changed their packaging to reflect the new assessment of the contents: all I know is that a diet that high in fat is a potential recipe for more health problems than I wish to inflict on my dog. A raw diet does not have to be unhealthy. And NV is very pricey: you are paying a lot for fat.

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi kmm,

    I know you posted this a while back, but I just read it and thought I’d comment. It’s not necessary to “supplement” with kibble, unless you’re using it to stretch your budget or for convenience (two of the reasons I also use kibble); as the raw product you’re using is complete and balanced. You could add tinned sardines several times weekly for added Omega 3′s if you like or use raw meaty bones for oral health (it’s a myth that kibble helps to clean teeth), but the raw product you’re using is fine on it’s own.

  • Laura Kay

    Switched our small dogs to raw because one of our girls had terrible allergies and we couldn’t determine the cause. She is now itch free and happy and they both love the lamb formula. We couldn’t be happier with this product.

  • Laurie Cederstrom Matson

    Would this be a good raw, frozen Diet to switch 4 small dogs to that have been eating Pedigree canned food all their lives (the oldest is 10)? what frozen raw diet would you folks recommend? and how do I make the switch?

  • Frooma

    We tried Blue and our dog had really bad gas and diarrhea with it. Then we tried Science Diet and she itched so bad. I have heard bad things about Blue and Science Diet. Our Vet really pushes Science Diet which upsets me because it’s really not that great. Now we have her on Nature’s Variety Chicken Kibble with freeze dried bits. It’s more natural and she is doing so much better on it and she loves it!

  • Steve

    Link above not right. Should be
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8575968

  • Steve

    Sorry for my absence on the discussion I started! I did have Bella in training and it was helpful to a degree. She still shows tendencies of territorial aggression. I, nor the trainer, are not suggesting high protein causes aggression. Rather I was repeating results from a study done several years ago (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8575968) where a low protein diet positively affected dogs with territorial aggression.

    Since switching to Instinct Raw, I believe I have seen a slight improvement in Bella’s behavior, but she still has a ways to go. I’ll keep her on raw for now, as I believe the higher quality food is the right direction (as opposed to the Beneful we were using).

  • kkellyCDT

    I wrote that earlier, as I’ve come to learn that high protein diets can actually affect the tryptophan levels. Learn something new everyday! I would personally find a food that has high quality protein (not plant protein), low in starches and grains, and a food that also has added tryptophan, or find a tryptophan supplement. :]

  • butchroy

    I must say I spoke too soon without reading and thought the trainer was saying protein did cause aggression, but I am still glad Steve has went raw. Sorry for the comment.

  • butchroy

    I am so glad you went raw! My dog is on raw and he is so much better with being excited and he has a beautiful coat now. Listen to HDM, not all these so called certified trainers.

  • kkellyCDT

    As a certified professional dog trainer, I can tell you that the protein content of your food does not fuel aggression. If your dog is displaying aggression, I would consider talking to a professional dog trainer. Check out: http://www.ccpdt.org

    and look for a trainer near you!

  • kmm

    my puppy hates the lamb…. beef seems to be the preferred type! I also supplement with dry Merrick food.

  • Kathleen Kincaid

    with that puppy chow you may very well end up having skin condition problems! I used to breed and train GSD’s for 13 years. For a DRY KIBBLE food… I found, after some research and talking with dietitian of 3 different companies… the formulation of NutraNuggets, has an excellent balance of real protein (not meat meal/byproducts) fats (with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids) and rice (non allergen) price-wise… it’s half of IAMS and the formulations is very close to the same nutrition levels. I always took my German Shepherd puppies off the “puppy formula” at 4 months and put them back on it at 10 months. This slowed their growth curve sufficiently, to prevent elbow “issues! and yet develop excellent joint and bone growth. When I quit breeding and my last shepherd was getting up there in years… I put her on a raw diet due to her developing bone spurs/pain/weakness in her spine/thighs. This made a huge improvement in her over all health and her quality of life for her last year was so much better… without having to give her medications like Rimadyl… I wish I’d heard of the raw diet much sooner..

  • Kathleen Kincaid

    I have been using this as a “back up” for the raw diet I’ve been feeding my little dog… I’m about ready to switch over my geriatric dog also. The little dog does not like AT ALL the lamb formula, seems to do okay..mostly with the rabbit, but her all time favorite is the chicken! I haven’t tried the beef with her as yet.. it hasn’t been available in the portion size I use for my little dog.

  • Steve

    Thanks for the thorough explanation on protein values. it’s great info.

    My dog has territorial aggression. We have used a trainer, but some of her tendencies still remain. During research I came across the study that was done several years ago that determined that dogs with territorial aggression improved when fed low protein food. I was set to go with that plan when at the last minute I read a thread where most felt this was on par with punishment by malnutrition. Their suggestions were to feed grain free, avoid preservatives, artificially, etc…

    Having had no success at the Petco type stores, and with each vet having a differing opinion, I decid to visit a local pet shop. Had a nice discussion with the owner who showed me to this food. I saw the 15% protein value, and the very short list of ingredients, and thought it’s exactly what the doctor ordered.

    It’s only been a week since I started with raw, so I need to give it more time. But we did have a full house for Christmasyesterday, and she didn’t act outta all. So maybe low protein won’t be needed, but maybe a quality feed makes the difference?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Raw diets are very high in moisture, this needs to be accounted for when calculating the protein content – the actual (adjusted) values are shown on the dashboard. Nature’s Variety’s raw formulas contain 65% moisture (water) so all the nutrient values appear low because the food (as fed) is predominantly water. To account for the water and calculate the actual protein content you subtract the %moisture from 100% to obtain the %dry matter. You then divide the as fed nutrient value by the %dry matter and multiply by 100%. So in the case of the Nature’s Variety:

    100% – 65% = 35%
    15%/35% = 0.43
    0.43X100% = 43%

    A similar approach should be taken for canned foods as well. Because dry foods are so low in moisture (~10%) the actual values don’t differ much from the as fed values.

    May I ask why you were “drawn to the low protein content”? Does your dog have a health condition?

  • Steve

    I am just starting with the beef variety, partly because I was drawn to the low protein content (15%) shown on the product bag. The dashboard above shows 43%. Can someone explain the difference?

  • InkedMarie

    It fall depends on your dog (how much he sets). There are kibbles with rabbit, kangaroo, bison…

  • shihtzumom

    Hi Lauren,

    I have a Shih tzu who has eaten Nature’s Variety Raw quite a bit and he does very well on it. I personally really like it and he has great BM’s which tells me his body likes it to! And they use whole foods for their minerals/vitamins. They have lots of great proteins to choose from,the only thing I would say is the rabbit in the raw I am fairly certain is the one sourced from China. All the other proteins are not. A bag lasts Dawson a fairly long time, but for Tango I would suggest the value chubs would be a better deal if you can get them in the protein you are looking for. I know they have Venison available in the chubs. Dawson personally approves the Lamb, Duck, and Beef. Hes not a fan of the chicken but chicken is his least favourite protein in any form of food. I am sure others will help you as well, but I believe dogs who have had trouble with proteins in Kibble tend to be able to eat them raw but I don’t know for certain and Dawson does not have any other problems (yet!).

    On the website it says Tango would need almost 11 ounces a day, which would depend on how he keeps weight, I always feed Dawson much less i.e he is about 17 pounds but as a rule I will feed him as an eleven pound dog which has kept his weight perfect. But seeing as Shih tzu’s are easy keepers Tango may very well eat the suggested amount or need more. Its a learn as you go type thing. A chub is 32 oz, Medallions are 1 oz each and comes in a bag of 48. To see how long it would last I would calculate how many calories Tango is eating now, provided he is at an appropriate weight, and then compare to the Nature’s Variety, each ounce is 65 calories.

    Then for the skin issues I would supplement with a fish oil, if you dont already, generally some of the better are Krill, herring etc, the smaller, shorter life span have less mercury accumulation. I cant remember the dosage off the top of my head but somebody else may have it or I can find it for you.

    I hope this helps some!

    This is there website:

    http://www.naturesvariety.com/InstinctRaw/dog/all

  • Lauren

    I’m looking to see on average how long a package of the raw food lasts to see if it is something we can afford. Our vet has asked us to change our dog’s protein source to one he has not had before. She suggested rabbit since it is a “cooling” meat and our dog has already tried chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish. Our 4 yr old cattle-dog mix, Tango, has crazy skin allergies. We would be supplementing some of this “dry” food with a rabbit-formula wet food (probably Wild Callings). Can anyone tell me how much of this food they go through on average? Tango is 50 lbs and is fed twice a day. Currently he is fed 3/4 dry food in the morning, mixed with a couple spoonfuls of wet food, and the same in the afternoon. Any help is appreciated!

  • InkedMarie

    Please don’t, that is a horrible food. Try the Nutri Source that Patty suggested.

  • Pattyvaughn

    This is a HUGE change in quality from Purina. It’s like going from prison camp food to gourmet restaurant. A change like that can cause all kinds of digestive issues. To top that off, since you have a large breed puppy, he has his own set of issues you have to think about when feeding him. Large breed dogs need to be on controlled calcium until they are done growing so their joints develop correctly. Over on the forums, Hound Dog Mom started a thread to discuss the issues that large and giant breed puppies have and she has done the research on what foods have he right calcium levels. Here is a link to her list of foods that are OK for large breed puppies.

    https://docs.google.com/viewer?srcid=0BwApI_dhlbnFTXhUdi1KazFzSUk&pid=explorer&efh=false&a=v

    For your pup, I would suggests NutriSource Large Breed Puppy. It is a relatively bland food that most dogs don’t have trouble switching over to.

  • Lydia

    I’m wondering if I should just put him back on purines puppy chow. He wasn’t having problems then.

  • Lydia

    Hey. I have a four month old golden retriever male. I wanted to feed my dog a high quality food and my vet recommended science diet. My dogs been on this for about two months and seems to have diarrhea all the time. I’ve been back and fourth to vet, given him medicine, but despite what my vet says I want to try switching foods. Someone told me about this. Just wanted your thoughts. Thanks so much!

  • dogslosttochina

    FYI- NV frozen rabbit product is sourced from China however the label proudly states “made in USA”. Customer service (CS) advised the company produces the product in the USA and it is not necessary to state the rabbit originates in China. CS said NV is being transparent, if you telephone them. WHAT! Odd the rabbit in their canned food is sourced from France. In light of the recent info of dogs dying from China sourced chews, it is obvious to avoid any products from China.

  • Shawna

    I agree that for some concerned about pathogens, HPP can be an excellent segue to raw feeding. But for many of us that have been raw feeding for a long period of time, even before HPP was introduced, HPP is, in our minds, not really raw. The texture is different, the look is different etc.

    I fed Nature’s Variety BEFORE they began using HPP and I wasn’t in the least bit impressed with how they transitioned over to HPP (which incidentally was in the same timeframe that Catterton Partners bought them out). They lost several valuable members of their staff around that same time as well (Sandy Goodwin went to Stella & Chewys, Scott started Nature’s Logic and Jacqueline Hill started Answers). My dogs went from enjoying Nature’s Variety to refusing to eat it.

  • Dude

    ok guest!

  • Dude

    HPP is a good thing… yes they are still raw..

  • Dude

    eat less

  • Pattyvaughn

    If NV has more calories than the previous food and you feed the same amount, then the dog will put on weight. Weight gain is all about calories in/ calories out.

  • kiki

    sh said her dog started getting fat only after eating the NV product…

  • Shawna

    I agree that fat isn’t bad and that if a dog is gaining it makes perfect sense to feed them less. BUT, if the fat content is too high (and I don’t know if NV’s is?) it can cause the pet to get full (or fat) before it’s protein and vitamin needs are met.

    I personally don’t care for NV’s raw products due to them being subjected to high pressure pasteurizing. In my opinion, they are technically no longer raw. Unfortunately, most raw foods are going the HPP route now… It’s getting to where we don’t have many options if we want commercial, non-HPP raw.

  • Dude

    OK I’ll let you have the last word!

  • Guest

    yes and my first response didn’t need any clarification…

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Where did I say that a higher fat content made it a bad product? All I did was clarify that the fat content is likely higher than what’s stated on the guaranteed analysis. Although it should be noted that oftentimes a high fat content indicates that the company is using low quality fatty trimmings versus high quality lean meat. I’m not against feeding fattier diets in some cases – for example my hounds are very active and need more energy dense food to maintain their weight – however I wouldn’t pay a premium price for it, I can get fatty trimmings for less than $1 per pound.

  • Dude

    yes it may be higher in fat but that doesn’t make it a bad product… if your dog is gaining weight you might think about feeding them less…

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I believe what the poster is pointing out is that the fat level in the food is much higher than the stated value. “Min” means that there’s a guaranteed minimum of 12% fat – the fat can actually be much higher than this. Judging by the calorie content (65 per oz.) it’s clear that this food is pretty high in fat. Dr. Mike has an article addressing this issue: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/raw-dog-food-fat/

  • Dude

    which canine nutritionists?

  • Dude

    I feed both at the same time and have never seen any problems.

  • Dude

    feed your dog less…

  • The Admiral

    My Newfie puppy just recently switched to Nature’s Variety: Instinct Raw Chicken with great weight results. Before, she was on Blue Wilderness LBP–which had a lower protein/fat content, but she was still about five pounds over her ideal weight (giant puppies should be kept “super-model skinny”, as my vet says). She’s done so well on the NV that I switched my cats over.

    What helps, though, is only feeding 3/4-2/3 of the serving recommendation on the packaging. Being a Newfie, my girl has different caloric needs than other (more energetic) breeds, so I’ve always had to adjust her feeding amount based on what’s best for her, individually. I’ll also add that she only eats the Chicken and Rabbit varieties because of their low Calc./Phos. levels.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    It’s not fat that causes a dog to gain weight, it’s excess calories. Fat just happens to be more calorically dense (9 kcal. per gram) than protein or carbohydrates (4 kcal. per gram). Nature’s Variety states the calorie content on their website, you should always feed based on calorie content not fat level.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    I’ve learned over the years to email every company of raw that I fed to find out more regarding the calories, and the more realistic amount of protein and fat in a product since the labeling laws aren’t very consumer friendly.

  • Tallulah

    My dog was on this food – mostly raw lamb – for about a year and a half. Until 6 months ago. She is now 41 months old. She loved it. Of course she did. Fat makes everything taste great. Despite feeding her per the NV directions her weight continued to escalate. My vet and I were perplexed. We undertook thyroid tests, etc. Then I went to the website to discover that the fat content was hugely greater than what was on the package. I emailed NV to inquire about the discrepancy. Got chipper email back from “Customer care” saying not to worry, while NV had reevaluated their guaranteed analysis the product remained the same as it has been for several years. Oh goody. My dog was feasting on fat and is now under a strict – not-NV diet – to shed the weight. Nothing other than her diet has changed. She gets the same 14 hours/week of exercise she always did. She ballooned to 73 pounds. She’s now 55 lbs with at least 5 left to lose. I feel sorry for my pooch. I got sucked into a trendy nutrition movement that is clearly being exploited by dog food manufacturers. Raw is good. Natures Variety is not.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Yes, I have. The key is to figure out what your dog is reacting to and to completely avoid that ingredient. That is much easier done with a homemade diet because they are much more limited in number of ingredients. It doesn’t have to be raw either, you can cook your own dog food. Dr Karen Becker has an excellent book called “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats” that has the info you need to get started. I only have a toddler at my house once a week so don’t have all the issues you do, but I taught him right off the bat that every time we feed the dog anything we wash our hands. This is vital with kibble fed dogs too!

  • Anivas

    I have a 3 year old bullmastiff who has terrible skin problems and we are suspecting allergies. Anyone seen improvement in skin after switching to raw? I’m just worried about handling and contamination as I have an infant and toddler in the home

  • Shawna

    I think that is a myth that was started by the big kibble makers to prevent people from adding “real” food to the kibble.. Yes, they do digest at different rates but so does meat and fat and meat and bone, veggies etc.. Yet we mix those without causing digestive upset..

    One does not prevent the other from digesting in a healthy gut. In fact, it is likely that raw increases the digestibility of kibble by adding moisture and extra protein which increases the amount of hydrochloric acid secreted by the gut.

  • Zoe’s momma

    I mix raw into the dry kibble all the time, and my dog has tolerated it just fine. It does not cause gas, discomfort, or any other digestive issues, and she tends to have a very sensitive stomach.

  • Pattyvaughn

    But it is still opinion. My dog has IBS and has not had a bout of it since I started mixing some raw with his dry, over a year ago. He definitely does produce more gas from eating the dry without raw in it, but he does not produce more gas or show any signs of discomfort when the two are mixed. I was a Vet Tech for many years, I know how to tell if a dog is in discomfort, and I especially know this dog, so I stand by my original statement. I’m sure that somewhere there is a dog that actually needs its raw and kibble seperate, but I believe the vast majority don’t.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    When I use to feed commercial raw I bought a couple different flavors at once so I could feed something different for the next meal. I would buy beef, duck, pheasant, turkey and rabbit.

  • Crazy4cats

    Actually, I have fed the raw medallions with dry on several occasions without issue. It most likely depends on the dog whether or not its a good idea.

  • psudad12

    I wouldn’t feed them together. That’s not just my opinion but the opinion of many other highly regarded canine nutritionists. I feed both everyday but I give about 4 hours, or more, between kibble and raw to allow for digestion. I have IBS, and eating foods that digest at different rates is a no-no. There won’t be any serious complications(no worries about it being lethal!) but it can cause some pretty severe discomfort for the dog due to gas or other digestive issues. Since dogs don’t always show when they’re uncomfortable you may never see that mixing raw with kibble is actually causing uncomfortable issues for your dog.

  • psudad12

    Please don’t mix dry with raw food. If you are feeding both raw and dry(as I do) then feed them at seperate feedings. Dry digests differently than raw does and may cause gas, or other digestion issues.

  • Mudi Mom

    I know you wrote this 5 months ago, I just saw it. One question, do you wear your shoes from outside to inside your house? If so you could have brought them in, eggs etc.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Oryon,

    After taking only a casual glance at the updated GA figures for NV Instinct Raw Frozen on their website today, it appears the company may have increased the meat content of this product.

    So, it’s quite possible our next visit to this product, it’s likely you might see an adjustment back up to 5 stars.

    This product line is due to be re-visited sometime in mid-October. Until then, this is still an excellent product and I wouldn’t worry too much about these minor differences in our rating.

    Hope this helps.

  • Oryon

    Dr. Mike,

    This site has been immensely helpful the last few years in helping my wife and I feed our dog better food. I can’t commend you enough for all the information available here.

    I’ve been looking into gradually introducing some raw food into our Lilly’s diet, eventually to the point where about 25% of her daily food is raw. On our last trip to Petco, I noticed they began carrying the Nature’s Variety raw products, and my wife and I began looking into more info about them.

    As someone mentioned in a post down below, Nature’s Variety looks to have changed their formula/guaranteed analysis since this review was last updated. The Beef formula now has a Guaranteed Analysis of 15% protein and 12% fat, up from the 13/8 in the review.

    I see that this product was downgraded from a 5 star food to 4.5 back in December based on new raw category guidelines. I assume it was based on the carb content? I have noticed compared to the 5 star raw foods, this has a higher carb content based on their older numbers.

    How does their new guaranteed analysis affect the food’s rating? Does it leave it unchanged? Does it drop now to a 4 star food, or raise it back up to 5 stars?

    I assume the overall percentage for the dry matter basis for the carbs went down and the fat percentage went up based on the new numbers. Are the carbs now considered average, down from their above average? Is the fat now considered average, up from the below average? How does this food now fit in the raw category guidelines with its new numbers?

    Thanks so much! :)

  • Sadie

    My girl has been excessively thirsty and her labs and urinalysis are perfect. Des anyone know if nv raw chicken could contribute to thirst? What about the clay ingredient? She doesn’t eat processed human food and drinks first thing after breakfast before she has played outside and gotten hot. Help please, insight appreciated.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’m using raw, but not NVI, will that do? I defrost something and then I feed it. Then I defrost something else. If it takes 3 days to feed it then I feed the same for 3 days, if they finish it in 1 day, then I feed something different next.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    There’s really no method – just switch formulas whenever your want. You can also mix raw or canned with the dry.

  • kcvweb

    Can someone give me an example of how they rotate different NV Instinct? I really just want to feed a raw diet (no kibble. can). Thanks

  • SanDnMila

    Thanks. They sent me an email a few mins after your comment.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    It’s sourced from France.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I do know that they use HPP, so I’ve never seriously considered their food.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I have no idea.

  • SanDnMila

    Is Stella and Chewy’s Rabbit sourced in the US?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Good for you!! I always miss those.

  • Laura Vandervelde Flack

    II was thrilled to death today to get the Raw Duck on sale for $8 per bag! Oh my Lucky Day!

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’ve been reading right along on the website and I still kept wondering if we were still talking about the same thing until someone would say the right thing so I knew we were on the same page. We kept saying “they” instead of HPP.

  • InkedMarie

    Thanks, I read via email unless I need to respond and got totally lost!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Go up to RevNyc’s post with the link to Healthy Pet Products. It’s them, not NV.

  • InkedMarie

    Been a busy weekend and I’m not following along: are you speaking of NV raw or something else?

  • Shawna

    Me too!! I’m gonna have to go back to home prepare all meals before long.

  • Shawna

    Thanks aimee!! Thought I was losing it :)..

  • Crystal

    Thanks I’ll skip the rabbit.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I totally agree with HDM, but want to add that I won’t use their raw rabbit because the rabbit in the raw is sourced from China.

  • Pattyvaughn

    EXACTLY!!

  • Crystal

    Thanks so much!!! I’m going to give it a try.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Definitely a good idea! NV Instinct is a very high quality kibble and feeding raw is the best thing you can do for a dog (imo). No one can really tell you how much – that will depend on age/size/activity level/etc. I’d recommend starting with the feeding guide on the bag (if it’s for adults you may need to feed more than what’s recommend because she’s a puppy). Then adjust accordingly – if she starts to gain too much weight reduce the portions and if she looks to thin increase the portions.

  • Crystal

    I’d like to know if it would be a good idea to start a 6 month-old Yorkshire tarrier on a rotation of the nature’s variety instinct dry & raw food. She is just under 5 pounds.  If you think it’s a good idea how much?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    If they would have just said “we use fatty meat to keep costs down” I would have had a lot more respect for their answer and would possibly still consider using the beef formula on occasion because that formula does have appropriate levels of fat. Now I know that they are either a) deceptive or b) lacking knowledge when it comes to canine nutrition – and I don’t want to purchase food from a company that is either of those.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Oh wow – I didn’t even notice this post when I posted the response they sent me. I guess they send everyone the same bogus response! Well I did like the beef formula, but after receiving a response like this I have to question the company and will no longer use their products. I only tried it once, but it was reasonably priced and looked fresh. I typically make my own but occasionally use pre-made when I’m short on time. Thought this was a brand I could keep on hand but I guess not. The number of commercial raw foods I’m willing to use is dwindling..

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’m not sure that I would say it is unbelievable, they were honest about the ridiculous amount of fat in the chicken, just that they have serious gaps in their knowledge and maybe no sense of logic to boot.

  • Melissaandcrew

    I’m glad I am not the only one left scratching their head over this. Bears eat higher calories before hibernation to build a nice thick fat layer, to use later. Since my dog is not hibernating, there is no logical reason, imo, to feed that high a level to the average dog.

  • aimee

    Hi Shawna,

    Not HDM …but I don’t think you are missing or forgetting anything. : )

    The “bugs” in the ruman can synthesize protein from products of carb fermentation and a nitrogen source. and plant synthesize AA. But dogs making AA from fatty acids… Um no.

    This statement ranks up there with : “Dog synthesize all the minerals
    they need” which was on another dog food manufacture’s site

  • losul

    I agree, what a strange answer. And comparing feeding a dog to a bear going into hibernation is really weird. The bear does does eat/require more fat before hibernation, but only to keep systems running at a much reduced pace to get through the lean times, not because he can convert the fat to protein.

    I hope Mr Lander is not their nutritionist.

  • Shawna

    Amino acids can be converted to fatty acids ——- but, fatty acids converted to amino acids? What am I forgetting or missing?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Shawna –

    I just got a response and it is what I thought (skin) and I do not agree with their reasoning for including so much skin.

    ———————-

    Lydia,

    The chicken skin is used in the chicken because we want the fat as high as possible. Chicken skin is mostly fat. This question comes up often because people think of how fat interacts with people, We’re not feeding people, dogs are a totally different species than people, have different needs and process different foods differently than people.. Simply put, peopleconvert fat to fat, dogs convert fat to protein. It’s similar to a bear getting ready for hibernation, they load up on fat even more so than protein. Let me know if you have any additional questions.

    Michel Lander

    ———————

    I’m all for higher fat foods (as you know) but unless a dog is a true endurance athlete, I don’t think it’s appropriate for the level of fat to be higher than the level of protein. I also can’t help but assume that the real reason so much skin is included is for cost reasons. The beef formula is not high in fat, so if it were true that they feel fat levels should be as high as possible the beef would have more fat as well.

  • RevNyc

    I am disappointed because he loves the beef formula.Once I took him off the chicken his stool was a lot less. I live in NYC (apt) and I used to grind all his food and organs. I just got so sick of it. 5 years every Sunday night for a couple of hours. Then all this pre packaged stuff started coming out so I started buying it.

    I am assuming with the above answer its safe to say that what they say they are putting in their food is not believable?

  • Pattyvaughn

    And this is “Healthy” Pet Products! Obviously they know absolutely nothing. I have crossed them off my list of products to try with exclaimation points. Along with all their other idiocy, they must not have heard that there is and epidemic of canine obesity. I’m sorry, but saying fat is converted to protein ranks right up there with someone thinling their dog got worms from kibble. No, it’s worse, because as a dog food company they ought to know better.

    That is exactly what I meant about their answer should tell you all you need to know.

  • Shawna

    Did you hear back from them HDM?

  • Shawna

    NO!! NO?? Are you serious? WOW!!

  • RevNyc

    Wow I cannot believe they just emailed me this answer. This actually makes me really nervous about their product. Here is what they said

    This question comes up often because people think of how fat interacts with people, We’re not feeding people, dogs are a totally different species than people, have different needs and process different foods differently than people.. Simply put, people convert fat to fat, dogs convert fat to protein. It’s similar to a bear getting ready for hibernation, they load up on fat more so than protein. Thank you for asking and thank you for feeding HPP. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    When I’m comparing different formulas from one brand whether wet, raw or kibble, I change it to dry matter so I can compare them to each other as the different foods have different moisture content. Also the % of protein and fat are minimums only which means there could be more.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Then I think that as long as you use wet % to come up with wet % or dry % to come up with dry %, you should get good numbers. You may want to email the company for the ash %, raw food often has higher ash on a dry matter basis, wet would be much lower numbers.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Liz,

    Our carbs figure is only an estimate based upon the company’s posted Guaranteed Analysis numbers for protein, fat and moisture.

    If a company lists its actual carb content on its label or its website, then you should go by their figure. It’s most likely significantly more accurate than ours.

    Hope this helps.

  • Liz

    So should I break everything down to dry matter and then figure carbs?

  • Liz

    I got my number from the NV website and I am using the standard 8% ash.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Where did you get any of your numbers? I’m not positive about this either, but protein should be 13%, fat should be 8%, moisture I don’t know. And do you have an actual ash figure or are you using Dr Mike’s standard 8% which is for kibble and I have no idea what it should be for raw with moisture included?

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    This article was last done on 4/2012 when the beef formula was different. Take a look at the dashboard above (the yellow box). The 26% carb is also in dry matter. The new beef formula is approximately 15% carbs in dry matter with a fat-to-protein ratio of 80%.

  • Liz

    I’m new to all this so please bare with me but I figured the carbs in the beef formula and I don’t come up with estimated 26% that the dashboard is showing. How I figured was 100-15 protein-12 fat-65 moisture- 8 ash= 0. So where are they getting 26% carbs???

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Okay I just emailed them and inquired about why the fat level in the chicken formula is so high. I will post their response when I get one. I’m hoping it’s a typo because I would like to try the chicken formula.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hmm…about a month ago I fed the beef formula to all three of my hounds for about a week (they ate the beef mix for breakfast and poultry RMBs for dinner) and I didn’t see any change in their stool in terms or consistency or volume.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I don’t know – that’s all I can come up with. It could very well be a typo on their part though. I may actually email them about it because I liked the beef formula a lot and would consider using their brand again in the future.

  • Shawna

    That still seems excessive even with the skin??

  • Shawna

    You could always add it to his rotation if he likes it so well.. Or use it as a topper to a lower protein food — like rabbit.
    This food doesn’t appear to be pasteurized (didn’t see anything on their site at least). That may be why he likes it better than NV.

    Hmmm, maybe you can educate the raw guru!! :)

    And you’re welcome.. Sorry we missed it the first time you posted!!!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi RevNyc –

    I’ve fed my dogs the Beef formula. It seemed like a good product and is definitely reasonably priced as far as pre-made raw goes – didn’t try the chicken because of the fat content though. I like to keep my dogs’ meals rather high in fat, but I never feed foods where the % fat exceeds the % protein. It’s definitely possible for chicken to be higher in fat than beef if the chicken they’re using contains the skin.

  • RevNyc

    Oh and Shawna thanks for the replies!!

  • RevNyc

    I got the originals numbers I posted above from the packaging. I bought this from a retailer and she had no idea that the % of fat should not be more then the protein. She is just selling what she thinks is better then kibble just because it has the word raw on it. I may just go back to Nature Variety Raw patties and throw in some k-9 cravings 5 star food here and there. My dog loves this food though. Ive never seen him so excited before when eating this stuff.

  • Shawna

    It should be on the packaging too..
    What do you mean she had no idea what you were talking about — meaning fat to protein ratio or meaning the food being high?

  • Shawna

    Yeah, me too.. I think every line I can think of has more fat in the beef than in the chicken..

    If the food is truly organic and grass fed (and more importantly finished) I suppose you could see a mild detox (the runny eye) but poop size still seems odd imo..

  • RevNyc

    I started writing them asking them this question but I figured they would not tell me what I need to hear. However you are right I should ask anyone. The women I bought it from swears she is raw guru and when I mentioned the fat vs protein content she had no idea what I was talking about.

  • RevNyc

    I am a gym rat and there is no beef that I have ever eaten that has less fat then chicken. Even 96% lean beef still has more fat and its def not being feed to dogs.

    My dogs stool has tripled in size since feeding him this stuff. One of his eyes started tearing since the switch. I cant imagine everything being a 100% true when my dogs poop size resembles and elephants!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Go to the website, click on contact us, and ask them if the fat level really is that high. Their answer should tell you all you need to know.

  • Shawna

    I have to wonder if the high fat amount shown is not a typo?? That seems VERY high for organically raised, free range chicken. It’s usually the beef that is high in fat and chicken is lower..

    The beef looks good. I like that they use the kidneys, lungs and tripe as well as the more frequently used heart and liver. I do prefer whole foods over synthetic and/or isolated vitamins and minerals but it wouldn’t be a deal breaker when used in rotation with other foods.

  • RevNyc

    anyone???

  • gmcbogger

    Thank you so much! I will definitely look into doing that.

  • Shawna

    That’s actually a myth. It is true that the two foods digest at different rates but as the food is digested to chime the chime leaves the stomach and moves on to the small intestines for further processing. What is left in the stomach continues to digest.

    My guess is that it is actually beneficial to add some raw (or lightly cooked) protein to the kibble diet as the extra protein would cause more hydrochloric acid production which in turn activates pepsin which digests protein.

    Certified Nutritionist Monica Segal says this “So, if you feed kibble every day, maybe you want to think about adding a bit of fresh food as well.” http://www.monicasegal.com/wordpress/?p=859

    “Supplementing the dry food with fresh, unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruit, yogurt, meat or a bit of canned food is also safe and healthy.” http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=myths

  • Pattyvaughn

    My self and several others here do that every meal and have been for quite some time. In case you haven’t noticed, dogs can also handle kibble and canned in the same meal, and they digest at different rates too. People have been doing this for centuries in their own diets. I’m sure that somewhere there is actually a dog that needs its raw and kibble seperate, but I believe the vast majority don’t.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I think most raw feeders will agree that any small amount of raw is better than no raw. I’d rather see you give a raw meaty bone a couple time a week than the expense of NVI as far as band for the buck. Don’t get me wrong, I like NVI, but as long as you are sticking to 20% or less of the diet, you don’t have to worry about it being balanced and you will see a huge benefit in dental health if you feed an RMB occassionally. If you could do both, that would be even better.

  • crazy4cats

    LETHAL? That seems a bit extreme!

  • keden

    DO NOT MIX RAW DIET AND KIBBLE IN SAME MEAL. They digest at different rates and can cause lethal results.

  • RevNyc

    has anyone heard about this company

    http://www.healthypetdiet.com I bought there beek and chicken thinking it was k-9 kravings brand. When I got home I realized the fat content in the chicken what 25% vs 14% for protein which I know is a no no. However their beef looks alright

  • gmcbogger

    I have a question about raw food for anyone who is knowledgeable about it. I currently feed ACANA dry to my dogs and they are doing well on it. I was thinking of mixing in a few of the Natures Variety raw nuggets into their food every day. Will this have a positive impact on them or will it be worthless to do?

  • crosswind

    Bugs in the house can have parasites too. They are all around us. i saw a youtube video one where a lady killed a spider and she thought it came back to life, but it was a parasite coming OUT of the spider that kept it’s body moving. Eww.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Primal only uses HPP on their poultry formulas, NV uses HPP on all their raw formulas.

  • Red

    Thank you for trying anyway. Guess I can’t keep her in a bubble.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Since they can get worms even as much as a year before showing signs, you may never know. A visitor that didn’t remove shoes, something that was sat down before opening the door and coming in, a bug or lizard that got in the house. You won’t necessarily see signs of tapeworms in the litterbox BTW, especially if they have the kind that they get from lizards instead of fleas.
    Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  • Red

    I was aware their poultry raw foods were HPP but wasn’t aware the lamb was. If you could suggest where they would have come from, please do so! I really want to eliminate all possibilities so I don’t have a wormy kitty again. The vet mostly shrugged it off as commonplace.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Freezing meat for a least two weeks should kill any parasites if they were in the meat prior to freezing and a commercial food must’ve been frozen at least two weeks prior to purchasing. NV is also HPP so I highly doubt the worms came from the food.

  • Red

    The vet did not say. I haven’t noticed any “rice” in the litter box so I’m thinking its not tape worms.

  • Melissaandcrew

    What kind of worms..

  • Red

    Our shoes don’t come into the house, they are left in the porch. Where do you think they would have come from? I am at a loss to explain it.

  • Pattyvaughn

    If you ever track dirt in on your shoes your cat is more likely to get worms from that than it is to get then from a frozen food. And they have worms for a while before the worms are bad enough for the cat to get sick from them.

  • Red

    I’m a little suspicious of NV now. About 2.5 weeks ago I bought some raw lamb medallions to try with my cat. She has been on their raw bites duck for about 3 months with no issues. A few days after we started the lamb she started getting greasy fur and losing weight like crazy. I thought maybe she was just adjusting (even though she’s had lamb before), but I finally figured out it was worms!! She’s an indoor cat with no contact with other animals; I have no idea where she would have gotten them otherwise, and the timing is a little too perfect. This makes me nervous about trying their other products.

  • InkedMarie

    When I got Darwin’s, it came frozen solid with no ice crystals. Right now, I’m feeding grinds fom Hare Today to one dog completely; the other two get one meal of kibble, other of raw

  • InkedMarie

    I use fb! How do I find you?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I don’t use facebook. :(

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    I feed a mixture also. No one feeds raw but me so there’s plenty of back-up foods. I feed kibble, canned, freeze dried and raw. I use Brothers Complete, Nutrisca, Nutrisource (kibbles), for canned I also use a variety – Merrick, Weruva, Wellness, Tripett, Nutrisca, Addiction and then there’s freeze dried in Vital Essentials and Nutrisca and Instinct. I’d also like to try Ziwipeak but I’m pretty stocked up right now. If no one has told you yet, stools from raw foods are small and turn ashy and will crumble. Didn’t want that to alarm you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BirdieBazaarJudy BirdieBazaarJudy

    also lilo

  • http://www.facebook.com/BirdieBazaarJudy BirdieBazaarJudy

    also Patty HDM, Marie, if u wanna be FB friends, too, lmk

  • http://www.facebook.com/BirdieBazaarJudy BirdieBazaarJudy

    Thanks, Betsy. your CKCS is adorable (my favorite breed) I went to your facebook page listed on your profile to see mmore pics of your CKCS, but I guess I need to be your “friend to see more pics. If you wanna be friends, lmk. I actually got my little dog Tillie by making a donation to Peffinder.com and them they sent me all the CKCS mixes they got into rescue. Tillie is a CKCS/Mini Eskimo mix (called a Cav-a-Mo by some) Her mom was taken into rescue pregnant, and I had her reserved before she was even born. She has all the wonderful carachteristics of eskies and CKCS, sweet, agile, cuddly, smart, fun loving

  • http://www.facebook.com/BirdieBazaarJudy BirdieBazaarJudy

    Thank you so much, Patty, HoundDogMom, Inked Marie, Betsy, and anyone else who replied to my endless questions…It realy has helped a lot :) After I finish my bargain NV purchase, I will try Steves with the free shipping for 20 lb (hope I have that detail right this time) and will also try Darwins and probably try a rotation of different raw brands

  • Pattyvaughn

    I keep mine on some kibble, because my family can’t handle feeding raw if something happens to me or if I take a trip. I change up what I feed every meal so I change up my kibbles too. I use Darwins, grinds from Hare Today, and homemade raw. My dogs get beef, chicken, turkey, duck, goat, mutton, rabbit, sardine, herring, and soon venison. Variety helps to keep their systems strong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer

    Hi Judy,

    That $14.95 introductory offer is a fantastic deal and yes, it includes shipping. Darwin’s has great customer service, have you called them to see what type of quantitiy you’d need for future orders? They can quickly put a quantity and shipping costs together to tell you the cost of future orders. There is a weight point (40 lbs if I recall correctly where you get a 10% price break). Once your dog tries it and you see how you both like it, you’ll determine if it’s a good value for you. The Zoologics are less expensive than the Natural Selections and different proteins are different prices with chicken being least expensive. I presume you found this page on their site: http://www.darwinspet.com/darwins-raw-dog-food/.

  • InkedMarie

    I prefer Darwins over Steve’s but its all personal choice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BirdieBazaarJudy BirdieBazaarJudy

    Yes Patty you were right, I was mistaken (see above) Thx Judy

  • http://www.facebook.com/BirdieBazaarJudy BirdieBazaarJudy

    NO, I was wrong-There is NOT free shipping on auto ship@ Darwin’s-
    Gosh,
    I just saw the replies to my post and you guys are all correct and I
    was wrong. I just went to the Darwin’s website to read morecarefully
    about the auto shipment shipping. I had gottten confused by the 14.95
    Introductory offer with free shipping, and impulsively assumed
    incorrectly that if you sign up for auto-ship that shipping would be
    free- Incorrect- Please forgive me (a newbie) …is it still worth it
    to go with Darwin’s? Or is there a way to get free shipping from a
    comparable quality raw frozen brand ? Again, I’m sorry I
    mis-stated.this & Glad u guys caught it so quickly so that I could
    correct my post

  • InkedMarie

    Really? The Steve’s was pinkish/grey, can’t remember the NV, the S&C was really light.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I know I’m in the minority here, but I can honestly say I didn’t find Darwin’s to look any more like “meat” than any other pre-made raw I’ve fed.

  • lilo’smom

    Steve’s. Always Steve’s. Never had a problem with it. And it comes in plenty of different flavors. Plus I enjoy supporting a local Business that has the recycling on it’s mind. Their 5lb bags are completely decomposable. And in the food, there are no additives, everything comes from the ingredients they put into it.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Judy –

    Darwin’s Zoologics would be fine. It really depends on your budget. The Zoologics are made with conventionally raised meats and produce (hence the cheaper price) and the Natural Selections are made with free range meat and organic produce. All of the Steve’s formulas are made from free range, hormone and antibiotic free meats. If you can afford organic/free range that’s obviously preferable, but if you can’t even raw food made with conventionally raised meats and produce is far superior to kibble.

    Honestly, as I just explained to Marie in a previous post, the recent recall doesn’t bother me. Many of the highest quality and most reputable brands have had past recalls (The Honest Kitchen, Orijen, Natura, etc.). To me whether or not a recall deters me from purchasing that company’s product again depends on how the company handles the recall – I like companies that pull the product before there are any associated sicknesses and companies that are open and honest about the recall and don’t try to hide it. Recalls can happen to any company at any time. On the other hand, if a company has repeated recalls (i.e. Diamond) and/or waits until there have been several illnesses/deaths and attempts to downplay the recall (i.e. Blue Buffalo) – I wouldn’t use their products.

    I just got the Steve’s today. It’s my first time ordering so I can’t say anything about the smell yet. It arrived fully frozen. The food comes in nuggets and they are in see through bags – there weren’t any ice crystals or discoloration visible to me just from looking through the packaging (but I haven’t opened it yet). I really like the looks of the ingredients and the protein/fat levels are perfect for my active crew of hounds so I wanted to give it a try.

    Also, it’s not like you have to stick with one brand. Order some Darwin’s, order some Steve’s and whatever else you can find. Find which brands you like and switch things up once in awhile.

  • InkedMarie

    Hi Judy, I’m not HDM but I can answer a few questions. I fed the Zoologics. It’s the same meat you and I probably eat. Is the other better? Probably. Can you afford it? If yes then that’s great! If you can’t, buy the Zoologics.
    I fed a Bag of Steve’s. I saw on the website that they have burgers but the distributor didn’t have them. They have nuggets. I admit, the Steve’s looked nothing like the Darwin’s. Darwin’s looks like meat, to me, the Steve’s didn’t. My dogs don’t need the higher fat of Steve’s.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Yeah – I like the fat content, perfect for my crew. The recall doesn’t bother me. I don’t judge companies based on recalls as many reputable companies have had recalls (i.e. Honest Kitchen, Orijen, Bravo, Natura, etc.). The recalls only bother me if they aren’t handled well and/or are repetitive (i.e. Diamond). A recall can happen to any company at any time – and with how stringent the FDA is getting with testing for salmonella, I wouldn’t be surprised is we start seeing a lot more of the “top” companies pulling products for contamination.

  • InkedMarie

    I got one Steve’s but mine don’t need the high fat (I know yours o well on higher fat). They also had a recent recall too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BirdieBazaarJudy BirdieBazaarJudy

    sounds like that would be a good business decision to me- wonder if they will ever test that- maybe someone should suggest it to them lol

    – do you folks prefer Darwins over Steves if shipping was equal (free on 20 lb thru rawfood.com)??

    I am never sure where to post a reply–is it right here under the comment we are replying to or up at top? I also am never sure where to look to read comments, still tying to igure out how to navigate here; been asorbing all this wonderful info here for at least a month now, so you would think I woulda figured it out by now /…

  • http://www.facebook.com/BirdieBazaarJudy BirdieBazaarJudy

    Thanks, HDM, that was quick, will print out that info for my comparison of where to buy from.

    Now aout Zoologic type– would that be not recommended? how much less desirable would that version be? (certainly better than the NB LID kibble my dog has been on)
    The Steves free shipping on 20 lb sounds great, especially in light of the higher cost of raw, at least free shipping is a way to afford it if being shipped.
    I’m thinking that no matter how much the cost, that it is worth it to keep a beloved dog healthy and vet bills are more costly and also if not switching to raw, the beloved dog probably would have a shorter life span and lower quality of health as well as ore vet costs, so all the way around, no matter the higher cost, that the higher cost of raw is well worth it.

    I’m assuming that the past recall of Steve’s is not something to be concerned about, right? (can happen anywhere, right?), and the main thing is that the manufacturer is honest and responsible, and makes any needed corrections, and I’m guessing they did) I really like the free shipping part, cuz with the higher cost of prepared raw (no, I don’t have the time and energy to do it myself at this time-maybe in the future)
    Does the Steve’s raw ever arrive with ice crystals? and are there ever any discolorations or weird smells on Steve’s raw frozen food when you receive your delivery? Is it vacuum sealed like I think I read Darwins is? and does it come in the same expensive dry ice packaging like Darwin’s does?

    As you can see, I am still pondering where to purchase from, and when I saw the NV freezer in Petco last nite, I couldn’t help myself to pick up some to sample raw frozen for the first time. I now see that it is different than I was anticipating, not like palain bloody raw meat, but instead lookks to be meat gound up along with all the other needed ingredients, and the formed into patties or medallions. Is that what Steves and Darwins is also like (ground up raw mead with other ingredients and then formed?)
    Sorry for so many (long) questions. Thank you all so much for our guidance. I am SO glad to have found this site, which will surely improve my little dogs quality of life and lifespan. If only our beloved dogs could live as long as we do…but in the absense of that, at least they will live a better and longer life, now that these diet changes made. Wish I had understood all of this five years ago when she was a baby. Better late than never…

  • InkedMarie

    Hi Judy, no harm! I was thinking if Darwin’s is doing free shipping, their business is going to skyrocket!

  • http://www.facebook.com/BirdieBazaarJudy BirdieBazaarJudy

    Now that I have corrected my mis-assumption about Darwin’s auto ship, (again NO Darwin’s does NOT give free shipping on orders EXCEPT for the Introductory offer shipment)

    I now have one more question: HGM, InkedMarie, PattyVaughn, and others, you have all been so helpful to me, and I am now making the switch to raw, and would like to know, do you now avoid dry kibble completely, or IF you do supplement with any dry kibble, which brand do you favor? I only have about 2 lb left of my small dog’s kibble that she has been on for 5 years (Natural Balance Limited Ingredients Diet (in my earlier post I named my dog’s prior food inorrectly as “Natures Select-which is incorrect)
    Anyway, for transition purposes, since I don’t have much of her old (dry) food left to use for transitioning, would you recommend that I get a little more of what she has already been using (although she does not like it and has always been kind of a grazer, or more accuratly, waits until the end of day(when she is sure nothing ore tasty is coming) to eat her NB L.I.D. If I do need to get another bag of dry kibble to use fro transition purposes, I was thinking about getting a bag of BB Wilderness (I have a $5 off coupon for that, but the persona at Petco said that unless my dog is a very active dog, that it has too much protein (although my 22 pound dog has lenty of energy and runs faster than any dog in the neighborhood and jumps high, if there is no one to play with, and if I’m to busy for a long walk, she can be a couch potato)

    She LOVED the raw I gave her last night for the first time (NV Instinct Beef medallions, so I was wondering if I even need to slowlu decreas the kible at all since appetitize-wise she took to it quickly, but for other transitioning purposes ( to be an easie transition to her system, etc), She doen’t have any health issues, nor any stomach sensitivities.

    So, Just for transitioning pruposes, should I bother getting aother small bag of her old kibble (NB LID) or preferably try BB Wilderness (or would that just be adding one more new brand to the undesirable dry food mis?)
    OR should I just go completely raw after the week’s worth of her old kibble runs out, just go completely to raw and supplement possibly with a 5 star canned food when on the go and can’t carry frozen food. OR, do you guys keep your dogs on a little bit of kibble for that _on -the -go purpose? And what do you think about buying the frozen NV Instinct that has a sell by April 19 (today) that was half price, I bought last night? It was frozen solid, pink in color, no odor of any kind, although there were a bit of ice crystals on some of the medallions, which I scraped off with a knife) (the burgers don’t seem to have as much icy crystals, just a bit of ice crumble at bottom of the bag) I was concerned that I don’t want to gamble with my dog’s health for a good deal, even if it is a huge 50% discount, but I did inspect it when opening and it looks and smells fine, and she ate it immediately and has had NO problems, and didn’t even need to go potty again until this morning, so I am guessing that all is well on the freshness front, and the transitioning front. I would like to keep on the lookout for these type deals,(since prepared raw feeding is so costly) but ONLY if I can be sure they are safe for my dog. The Petco salesperson said the the NV rep had just been to the store that morning and marked those packages with the reduced price when she brought more to refil the NV freezer at the Petco store. I am guessing that he Darwin’s is always received by the purchased without any ice crystals—can each of you wwho get Darwin’s confirm this? I’m guesings ice crystals would only affect flavor (didn’t seem to be so with my dog, who devoured it quickly) and I am also guessing ice crystals aren’t dangerous (assuming it hasn’t been defrosted and re-frozen) But if I am buying at top price, I will want there to be no ice cystals (and it sounds like Darwin’s if also vacuum-packed, which I am thinking would eliminate the condensation and air that probably cause ice crystals.. Even the farther dated packaged in the Petco freezer seemed to feel crunchy at the bottom of the bag where ice crystals had formed on my bag of Venison patties. I’m thinking that for the future, the safest practice would be to purchase the vacuum packaged Darwin’s, that I can rely upon the certainty of freshness (albeit more expensive) I do want the vey best for my one and only small dog, in fact my dog will be eating more healthy than me…… Maybe it will inspire me to go more natural and organic for myself than I currently do …
    Anyway, pleas let me know if you all use a little bit of kibble ( and/r canned) and if so which brand(s) do you recommend?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Rawpetfood.com sells Steve’s Real Food (frozen raw) and they offer free shipping on orders over 20 lbs. They have an autoship option, but you don’t have to sign up for autoship to get the free shipping. The food is $4.45/lb – Darwin’s Natural Selections average $4.53/lb. and the Zoologics average $3.15/lb + shipping ($0.50 – $0.99/lb.). I ordered some of the Steve’s but I haven’t gotten a chance to try it yet, I really like the ingredients though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BirdieBazaarJudy BirdieBazaarJudy

    NO, WAIT–I was wrong-There is NOT free shipping on auto ship@ Darwin’s-
    Gosh,
    I just saw the replies to my post and you guys are all correct and I
    was wrong. I just went to the Darwin’s website to read more carefully
    about the auto shipment shipping. I had gottten confused by the 14.95
    Introductory offer with free shipping, and impulsively assumed
    incorrectly that if you sign up for auto-ship that shipping would be
    free- Incorrect- Please forgive me (a newbie) …is it still worth it
    to go with Darwin’s? Or is there a way to get free shipping from a
    comparable quality raw frozen brand ? Again, I’m sorry I
    mis-stated.this & Glad u guys caught it so quickly so that I could
    correct my post

  • http://www.facebook.com/BirdieBazaarJudy BirdieBazaarJudy

    NO, I was wrong-There is NOT free shipping on auto ship@ Darwin’s-
    Gosh, I just saw the replies to my post and you guys are all correct and I was wrong. I just went to the Darwin’s website to read morecarefully about the auto shipment shipping. I had gottten confused by the 14.95 Introductory offer with free shipping, and impulsively assumed incorrectly that if you sign up for auto-ship that shipping would be free- Incorrect- Please forgive me (a newbie) …is it still worth it to go with Darwin’s? Or is there a way to get free shipping from a comparable quality raw frozen brand ? Again, I’m sorry I mis-stated.this & Glad u guys caught it so quickly so that I could correct my post

  • Pattyvaughn

    I think Judy is mistaken.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer

    Me too. What’s up with that?

  • Pattyvaughn

    I pay shipping too.

  • InkedMarie

    Judy, Darwins does free shipping? I got Darwins but paid for the shipping and yes, I did set up a delivery schedule

  • http://www.facebook.com/BirdieBazaarJudy BirdieBazaarJudy

    I just today purchased some NV Instinct raw 2 different varieties from Petco”s NV Instinct freezer ( I was suprised s=to see this at Petco) Beef medallions (bag says Crude Protein min 13%.; Crude Fat min 8%, Crude Fiber max 2% and Moisture max 68 %)and also some Venison patties bag says:Crude Protein min 13%.; Crude Fat min 8%, Crude Fiber max 3% and Moisture max 68 %(today that have an expiration date of tomorrow and were marked 1/2 off – opened the bag and defrosted medallion of beef and my never before raw feeder 5 year old (see my avitar) 22-pound Cav-a-Mo hybrid devoured it (after I opened the bag of the beef medallions and micro defrosted it for 10 seconds in a small bowl (I won’t typically micro defrost– but she knew there was something for her in the bag and I wanted to try it out for her dinner, mixing in some chicken broth soaked of her prior dry kibble (which is Natures Select LID which she has been on for years., which I will be eventually discontinuing in favor of raw )… when I gave her the bowl, she couldn’t get enuf-she kept licking the empty bowl, (and looking to me for more) so I gave her one more. (bag says for her wt that she can have 4-6 medallions if inactive or 6-9 if active adult (which she is when there is opportunity and playmates-but when I am busy and no playmates she can be a couch potato but always ready for jumping, running and playing I plan to continue only raw ( )I am now beginning to transition to raw (and will mixing in some chicken broth soaked of her prior dry kibble (Natures Select LID which she has been on for years prolly get set up with Darwin’s auto delivery to get free shipping after I get their trial 14.95 deal), and have requested a consult for menu selection with Darwin’s) but I couldn’t pass this up at half price. It was pink and had no odor or any kind. The Venison says Crude Protein min 13%.; Crude Fat min 8%, Crude Fiber max 3% and Moisture max 68 %

  • InkedMarie

    I’m just a “wee” bit tattooed, PugsonRaw. Well, maybe a little more than wee LOL.
    Funny what you learn here, such as the fat to protein ratio for pre made raws. The Hare Today that I got is just meat/bone/organs and in the case of beef, tripe. That’s it. No fruits or veggies. It’s not that dogs can’t eat those, they can but if I can get the above for less than Darwins, why pay for it?
    I understand about some being grey. When I got a sleeve of S&C’s once, I was surprised at what it looked like. I then got Darwins and it looks so much better.

  • Pugsonraw

    Hi Inked Marie!

    Love the name….Yes, I was quite surprised on the % of fat in this. I normally try keep the fat to protein ratio in the 50-60% range for my pugs. I ended up taking this back as I didn’t want to feed it.

    I have used pretty much every pre-made raw food out there. I’ve tried Pawnaturaw, Darwin, Lotus, Primal, Bravo, Natures Variety, Stella and Chewys, OCraw and smallbatch.

    If I throw cost to the wind, my faves are Darwin’s, Lotus, and smallbatch…..just because the meat is normally a pinkish red color rather than some that are gray or greenish on the outside.

    I feed kibble occasionally, canned, dehydrated and mostly raw.

    Will have to check out Hare Today….

  • InkedMarie

    I didn’t know about the fact that the fat should be roughly half the protein, in pre made raws, til I read it here, then I read it in a few other places! It’s one reason I never tried Stella & Chewys. Have you used other pre mades? I’ve used Darwins for quite awhile but just changed to grinds from Hare Today, today was the first meal of just their grinds.

  • Pugsonraw

    When did NV change their protein/fat content on the medallions? I picked p a bag of lamb today and when I got it home it showed 13%protein, 12%fat. The old product used to be 11.5 %protein, 6%fat….I went tontheir website and looks like all the varieties changed with the venison and rabbit staying at about a 60 %FTP range…..-all the others are pretty high.

    Lesson learned….read the bag even if it is a product I normally buy.

  • sharron

    thanks
    problem is, these foods you mentioned i can’t here in calgary alberta what dry food do you suggest – she like natural balance and acana
    but i have been told that with natural balance it is too high in carbs and won’t lose weight and acana is too high in protein and fat and supposedly it’ not good for a little dog.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    There are raw foods that are lower in fat – Primal has some low fat varieties (pheasant, quail, rabbit, turkey & sardine and venison), all of the Bravo Balance formulas are pretty low in fat, Aunti Jeni’s turkey, beef and goat formulas are low in fat and all of Darwin’s formulas are fairly low in fat.

  • sharron

    hi and thanks
    yes it does make sense and from what you said i won’t be feeding her this food – she doesn’t need a high fat food
    it doesn’t help her with her weight no matter how little of it i feed her – i’m going to start giving her again the natural balance duck and potato – i suppose this is high in carbs too because of the potatoes – is there any regular food that would be appropriate for her other than what the vet wants me to keep feeding her that she won’t eat because it’s so bland – she 2 lbs overweight – should be 8-8.5 lbs.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi sharron –

    I don’t think the food actually has the estimated 26% carbohydrates. I think the food is actually much higher in fat than stated on the label and that’s where the “extra” percentages that are being attributed to carbohydrates are coming from. Food is made up of fat, protein and carbohydrates. The problem with accurately estimating the levels of each is that pet food manufacturers are only required to report guaranteed minimum levels of fat and protein and they aren’t required to report carbohydrate levels at all. The carbohydrate levels can be roughly estimated using the stated minimum protein and fat levels along with ash levels (this is what Dr. Mike does) but unless the exact levels of protein, fat and ash are known the resulting carbohydrate estimate is going to be inaccurate. A good way to determine whether or not the fat content is higher than stated is by the calorie content of the food – NV Instinct contains 65 kcal. per oz. this is very high meaning the food is high in fat (much higher than what they state). Also, this review needs updating. NV has updated their guaranteed analysis and now lists the minimum protein level as 15% and the minimum fat level as 12% for their beef formula (probably closer to the actual values) – this would equate to 43% protein and 34% fat on a dry matter basis. I hope that makes sense.

  • sharron

    the review for this food says above average carbs – where do the carbs come from – reading the ingredient list i don’t see anything that could be carb related that’s because i’m learning about all of this
    thanks

  • sharron

    hi kelly and thanks for your reply
    lexee is a yorkie/chihuahua and 2 lbs overweight – should weigh 8 lbs – been told that this food will help with her losing weight – is this true – it has to be either can or premade raw – she really dislikes dry

  • Kelly

    Yes. When I started our Bichon/Shihtzu on the Duck Bites, she seemed so hungry, I felt bad. It only lasted a few days until her metabolism got used to it. Also she had a bit of diahrrea for the first week or so. I bought pureed pumpkin (organic, for dogs at the pet food store) and added a tblsp or so every feeding until they firmed up.

  • sharron

    Hi – i started lexee on the medallions chicken this morning
    1 at breakfast and 1 at dinner – this dog is hungry!!!!!
    will she adjust to the new serving amts.
    thanks

  • Renee

    I have an epi shepherd as well he stopped eating his kibble innova prime so I switched to grandma lucys but he keeps loosing weight even so he gets b12 shots and pills . Poop is fine but a lot of it …increased enzymes …no luck ….I started him on the nature raw and lucys 50 /50 right now ….how much raw do you feed to maintain ? My boy is at 93 lbs trying to get him back to 100. I cant afford 100% raw so I plan to feed the raw for breakfast and introduce acana grasslands for dinner . Any help and thoughts be great .

  • disqus_3bTgMVQhkU

    What is a raw diet and how do I prepare it?

  • Tallulah

    Nature’s Variety has recently upped the fat content in their frozen raw foods. This is not reflected (yet?) on their packaging but can be found on their website. For instance, lamb frozen raw patties now have a min fat level of 12% (up from 6%) despite the fact that their packaging – at least that which is on my neighbourhood shelves – still says the fat level is 6%. The protein levels in the lamb formula increased by a mere .85% in comparison. That’s a lot of fat and a huge jump in the ratio.

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  • keden

    HMMM, put my sphynx cats on this food, all varieties in addition to a home made raw diet. His skin became very mottled and he had rings of red on his stomach. Vet said it was a yeast infection. A mess. Bought two different medicated shampoos, one for yeast and one antibacterial.Also slobbered him with anti fungal cream, have a spray too. All these are available without a prescription. Three weeks later his rings are gone, skin is clearing up .  I’m using a homemade raw diet most days, just using this if I’m away and someone else feeds them.I’ll pay more attention to the days I give him this food.

  • Kari

    Kelly, your comment about the tearing and red paws caught my attention!!
    We started feeding our old English bulldog the natures variety raw chicken along with Pinnacle’s dry chicken formula (about 6-7 months ago).  Let me say our dog LOVES this food!!

    However, 2 weeks ago his eyes started tearing; we thought it was allergies due to the change in weather (it’s been windy in So CAL). Also the underneath part of his paws had changed color – they are now a reddish brown.
    We took him to the vet and he doesn’t think it’s the food but a yeast infection because his paws (thru the licking) have been wet and was a breeding ground for the infection.
    I’m not sure I’m buying that diagnosis…he prescribed a topical powder and we’ll know in a week if that is correcting the problem.

    Anyone else notice the tearing and red paws after changing to this food?

  • Kelly

    I started my bichon/shitzu on the natures variety raw duck, a few months ago, because of her severe skin allergies. Her red, itchy, inflamed skin went away, but she started tearing red gunk and her white chest and paws fur have turned reddish. I’m not too concerned about that BUT I’ve noticed numerous pieces of bone and other hard pieces in the medallions. I am looking at other brands now because recently she was sick for a day throwing up the pieces and also diarrhea. Anyone else have this problem?

  • Pattyvaughn

    I know what you mean.  If this was still June, I could say I lost 3 in the last year.  It doesn’t get easier, only different.  Hopefully, they will give you a long time before you have to go through this again.

  • Hound Dog Mom

     *our dogs

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Sorry to hear this Melissa. Hang in there, it’s tough. Our become such a big part of our lives but are only with us for such a short period of time.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Thanks guys-

    Its never easy to lose one, even when we know we signed up for it each and every time we choose to share our lives with a fur kid. We still have quite a few old timers, so guessing next year and the year after will not get much better.

  • Toxed2loss

    :-( so sorry for your loss.

  • losul

    Disqus wouldn’t let me edit original comment, so I add;

    Sardines or other oily fish, preferably the fish instead of the oils, are good to add to either beef or chicken.

    and; 

    Steve Brown is VERY much into the importance of well balanced fats, but he accentuates 

    1)start with very lean meats. This means (at least 90%+ lean beef, or poultry with all/most the skin and most visible fat removed.)

    2) Balance the fats

    3) Balance the vitamins/minerals. Calcium/phosphorus ratio especially important, and also the calcium and phosphorous in total.

  • InkedMarie

    I used a product called Plaque Off but made by someone else. We had shelties & smooth fox terriers at the time and it didn’t do anything for them.

  • InkedMarie

    oh Melissa, I am so sorry about your recent loss. I hope things get easier for you. While it’s not the same, I have been in your shoes and know how hard it is.  

  • losul

    Wow that’s quite a long list of supplements. Not sure at all about so many of the herb/spice ingredients such as carob, rosemary, sage, etc., but the fats appear well balanced, and the anti-oxidant super foods are good, provided you are supplementing a combination of both red and white proteins such as beef/lamb and chicken/poultry, becuase of the varying amounts of SFA’s, MUFA’s, and PUFA’s in these. For example, beef is high in saturated fats (especially grain fed) , low in polyunsaturated, low in linoleic acid LA, and low in ALA alpha-linolenic acid. So hempseed is a good  fat to bring beef into better balance, whereas flaxseed can throw it even more out of whack. Chicken is high in PUFA, and LA, so flaxseed is a good additive whereas oils like hempseed, safflower, sunflower, walnut, canola, etc. are not.

    referenced from Steve Brown’s “Unlocking The Canine Ancestral Diet”

    Steve Brown is VERY much into the importance of well balanced fats.

  • Alexandra

    So sorry for your loss!

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Sorry to hear that Melissa. I keep all my past ones around.  Either their ashes or buried in the yard.  MissyPoo just left us in October but we’re reminded everyday of her as all the dog pictures are the screensaver on the laptop.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy
  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    I was told brisket bones are softer.  Maybe give those a try.  I was told those were ribs from the breast bone area and are softer and consumable.

    Eating ground meat doesn’t necessarily clean teeth although it does contain raw enzymes.  It is just not in the mouth long enough to clean teeth.  It keeps the teeth cleaner than eating kibble though.

    I’m currently using the  ProDen PlaqueOff dental powder (seaweed) on some of the dogs.  Seems to be starting to work.  One of my fosters had the worst breath.  Had to open the windows when driving him home.  Now after a month of using the product, I don’t notice his breath if he’s in the same room with me.

     http://www.onlynaturalpet.com/search.aspx?avs|Pet+Type=Dogs&avs|Health+Condition=Dental+%26+Oral

  • Shawna

    I’m so sorry for your loss Melissa!! Any time of year is difficult to lose a fur baby but I think the holidays are the worst. We lost my daughter’s Chi last Christmas. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers..

  • exotica

    thank you sandy but i have a very good mix of vitamins I am on canine caviar right now but i am only allowed to use 25% raw with this food to keep my dogs diet balanced and proper so 3 cups of canine cavair plus 1 cup of raw i was thinking with lots of ground bone. The canine cavier is good for my dogs diguestion and stools.

    This is the vitamin/herbal mix i mix with raw if i get it:

    2 big table spoons of this

      Carob
    powder, ground sunflower seed, dried parsley leaf, kelp
    flakes, alfalfa greens, ground almond, hulled oil rich hemp
    seeds, hemp seed flour, dried red and green pepper, dried
    celery leaf, dried blueberry, dried cranberry, dried dandelion leaf,
    ground pumpkin seed, powdered carrot, stinging nettle, barley
    grass powder, dried mint leaf, powdered rosehip, paprika,
    burdock root powder, garlic powder, ground walnut, ground
    flax seed, sesame seed, Prozyme, glucosamine, MSM, dried dill
    weed, coriander, anise, fennel, goat milk whey powder,
    powdered marshmallow root, blue Hawaii spirulina, rosemary,
    ascorbic acid, Primal Defense probiotic, oregano, ginger,
    cumin, marjoram, thyme, savory, basil, sage, cayenne, powdered
    yucca, turmeric, fenugreek, bilberry, vegetal silica.On top of this i add a teaspoon of cold water bottom feeding fish oil. I prefer prey bottom feeding fish cause they dont eat other fish so we know they are clean at least.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    For starters I would do some reading.  I use the Mercola book currently.  It gives raw and cooked recipes and bone and boneless recipes.  And it gives a vitamin mix.  It seems difficult at first, but once you put everything together and make a batch, it is actually easy.  I have found that heart/gizzards/necks/liver are widely available at Asian and Mexican supermarkets.  You can also purchase organ mixes from Bravo if you prefer.

    I’m using Dr Harvey’s green multivitamin/herbs right now and also give krill oil.  But there’s also many brands of multivitamin.  I also have Super Daily Greens by OnlyNaturalPet (dot) com that I will use after the Dr Harvey’s is gone.

    I vary the meats and the veg/fruit with every homemade batch.

    Also in the forums section, there’s a homemade food thread and a raw feeding thread.

    The initial investment of a meat grinder is well worth it if you decide to make homemade raw.

    http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/real-food-for-healthy-dogs-and-cats-cookbook.aspx
     
    http://www.amazon.com/Work-Wonders-Meaty-Bones-Lonsdale/dp/B004J24OE8/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326817698&sr=1-9

    http://www.amazon.com/Raw-Meaty-Bones-Promote-Health/dp/0646396242/ref=sr_1_16?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326818090&sr=1-16

    http://www.amazon.com/Unlocking-Canine-Ancestral-Diet-Healthier/dp/1929242670/ref=pd_sim_b_5

  • doggonefedup

    Melissa,
    Sorry to hear of your loss. We lost a GSD about 3yrs ago to cancer. We still get sad thinking about him.

  • doggonefedup

    My GSD’s love meaty beef rib bones. In the summer they get them straight from the freezer still frozen as their “beefsicle” treats. In the winter I sometimes soak them in very hot water for 3-5 minutes. I use the water to moisten their kibble with later.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Sorry to hear that, Melissa.  That’s so hard to go through even when you know they had a good long life.  Your crew sounds exciting.  I hope they help to brighten your day.  Take care and be good to yourself.

  • exotica

     i was hoping to give something on a reg basis that would keep them very clean wont ground chicken bone work or ground lamb ?

  • exotica

     the problem is my dog is not allowed to have full or hard bones now because she bites way to hard and wears her canines down the vet said her canines are a bit worn down from chewing

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    For teeth cleaning for a large dog, try a femur bone. It can be split lenghtwise or left whole. She should be able to gnaw on it and scrape her teeth on it and floss her teeth with the meat/tendons still left on the the bone as she tries to remove the meat from the bone.

  • Melissaandcrew

     We have a varied crew of different breeds that consist of-doberman, rottie, schnauzer, standard poodle, shihtzu, Iggy, wheaten, cocker,doxie  and several mixes : ) Smallest is 5.9lbs, largest is 110. Ages are about 2 yrs old to 15yrs. Most are special needs rescues, though not all-We were asked to adopt a special needs doxie/yorkie mix the other day, but its much too soon. We just lost our 14 year old on friday to atypical sarcoma of the jaw, a mere 5 weeks after diagnosis. It was unfortunately a very aggressive cancer with no treatment options and we are devastated.

  • exotica

     for a a german shepherd what kind of raw meat should i give with teeth? i was going to ask my butcher to just ground some lamb up and then feed it to her 1 cup a day with kibble and a mixture of herbals she has

  • Pattyvaughn

    Oh man!!  I really gotta get a grinder!!  I thought I was the only one who remembered Witchie-Poo:-)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HGEKDGOOAGM7O757RT6JDLUK44 Christine

    Hey I’m a pug over too we feed commercial raw and I haven’t transitioned to prey I’m nervous in how to feed and supplements any suggestions?

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    here is the “Raw feeding picture thread” from dogforums.com:  Now that’s a bit crazy!!!!

    http://www.dogforums.com/dog-food-forum/112667-raw-feeding-picture-thread.html

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Grinder!  Grinder!  Grinder!!!  Vrooommm!  Crackle!  Crackle! Pop! Snap goes a spine!!  Crunch goes a neck!!
     
    and me cackling like a witchie-poo!
     
     
    Let me rub it in some more:

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    If you haven’t been to the new dfa forum yet, there’s a raw feeding section and a homemade dog food section.  Check them out.  You can also start your own thread.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Taking it out of the package and feeding it to them is about as close to non-processed as you can go (other than what happened to the chicken at the packaging plant!)

    I keep mine frozen.  Take out what they might consume in 2 or 3 days.

    They eat it right up. No left overs. No bowls to clean as they eat outside.  Normally they don’t need to touch it with their front paws unless it’s something big like a neck or rib. 

    It’s safe for them. For me, I don’t kiss them or let them lick me for about 30 minutes. As for their paws, they can be cleaned but I haven’t ever done that either.

    Just remember a raw chicken leg/wing is not a complete and balanced diet. I feed kibble and canned food also and a homemade ground raw mixture with supplements.

    The raw chicken parts and other raw meaty bones is an occasional thing they do to clean their teeth.

    For teeth I also give roasted trachea and raw chicken feet.

  • exotica

     is that safe? my dog does not do well on kibble chicken but i dont know about raw to be honest might make my dog better. I had no idea you can just take it out of the package and give like that though that is a bit crazy lol

  • InkedMarie

    I had no idea you had so many dogs! What breeds do you have?

  • losul

    Oh yeah, it’s produced in China for an American Co. Even so, the quality seems to be very good, along with the warranty, and especially for the money involved.

  • Melissaandcrew

    exotica-

    I have 15 dogs, lol. Just the poodle gets the medallions daily-the rest get a rotating basis : )I find that by feeding a variety, I am able to offer a varied diet and keep the cost lower. Somedays they get the frozen for am, and then dry with canned for Pm. Other times it may be Grandma Lucy for am, then dry with raw in pm. Perhaps I will look into making some grinds over the winter, but I tend to loose interst  in things very quickly with my schedule, : )

  • losul

    This is the grinder i just purchased about a month ago. I wouldn’t call it a commercial grinder, but for the money,  it’s very good. I’ve ground chicken and turkey bones w/the meat on the bones, but no way would I put beef or pork bones in it. With Bone or not, the pieces still have to be cut up in about 1 1/2 inch cubes. We’ve been also grinding our own human hamburger with it, yummy, much better than pre-ground, and no pink slime or who knows what.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008LFAS08/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00

  • Pattyvaughn

    They never listen.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’ve also got a chest freezer out in the garage, but it’s still not enough.  It is packed top to bottom and about 1/3 of it is dog food.  if I could just remember what is on the bottom of the human side, maybe I would use it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1140685339 Betsy Greer

    I have a dog who’s going to be dog food soon if he doesn’t shape up. I told him last night to pack his bags and go and this morning… he’s still here.

  • InkedMarie

    Yes, we have an upright freezer. Two shelves have Darwins, the basket has Darwins bones. There’s a little human food in there too

  • Pattyvaughn

    Every time you mention your grinder I get this pang of grinder envy.  That’s my long term goal, a grinder and a bigger freezer.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I don’t have a grinder.  I use regular ground beef/turkey/chicken/pork etc. sometimes, and sometimes I feed them chunks.  You should have seen me last month, the first time I ever used a meat clever and I was hacking apart a turkey!  I started out holding the chunks until I was satisfied that they understood that they had to chew it.  That was yucky.  I feed beef and pork ribs.  I get rabbit, sheep, and goat grinds from Hare Today, oh and tripe,sardines and herring.  My Pet Carnivore has amazing super mixes that I’m going to try next.  And I have a goat that is going to be dog food very soon if he doesn’t shape up!

    In some cases making my own is definitely cheaper, but sometimes I pay a little more to get a different protein in their diet.  I’ve been looking at different premixes because they all have different things in them.  Some are a good deal and some are more expensive.  I’ll use the cheaper ones more often, but I will use the more expensive ones sometimes just to get different stuff in their diet.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    If you have the freezer space, the initial investment of a commercial grade grinder and/or freezer is worth it! I can grind duck, goose, pork ribs, necks, turkey, backs, organs, etc, bones and all.  Between the Asian and the Mexican markets, you can find all sorts of organ meats too.

  • InkedMarie

    I just found that link…..I decided to go through the millions of links I have and make a dog food folder. Well, maybe not a million but it sure seems like it. Found that link and saved it!