SmallBatch Dog Food (Raw Frozen)

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Rating: ★★★★★

SmallBatch Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The SmallBatch product line includes six raw frozen dog foods.

However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.

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

  • SmallBatch Beef
  • SmallBatch Duck
  • SmallBatch Lamb
  • SmallBatch Rabbit
  • SmallBatch Turkey
  • SmallBatch Chicken

SmallBatch Lamb was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

SmallBatch Lamb

Raw Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 49% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 6%

Ingredients: Free range lamb, lamb hearts, lamb necks (including bone), yams, broccoli, squash, carrots, free range lamb liver & kidneys, kale, salmon oil, kelp, parsley, basil, rosemary, garlic, apple cider vinegar, bee pollen

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.8%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis16%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis49%37%6%
Calorie Weighted Basis34%62%4%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Lamb is considered “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered” lamb and associated with skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1

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

The second ingredient is lamb 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 lamb neck. Raw lamb neck consists of muscle meat and bone and contains optimal levels of both protein and natural calcium.

The fourth ingredient is yams. In much of North America, the word yam can be used interchangeably with the term sweet potatoes.

So, assuming this item is indeed sweet potatoes, it can be considered a good source of complex carbohydrates. In addition, yams are naturally rich in fiber, beta carotene and other healthy nutrients.

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

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

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

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

The eighth ingredient is lamb liver and kidney. These are organ meats sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

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

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

With three notable exceptions

First, 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, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.2

However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).

And lastly, we find no added vitamins or minerals on the ingredients list. We would assume these essential nutrients are provided by the food ingredients in the recipe.

SmallBatch Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Since this recipe contains a number of organic ingredients, we feel compelled to grant this line a more favorable status as we consider its final rating.

That’s because organic ingredients must comply with notably more stringent government standards — standards which significantly restrict the use of any synthetic pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, hormones or antibiotics.

With that in mind…

Judging by its ingredients alone, SmallBatch looks like an above-average raw dog food.

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 49%, a fat level of 37% and estimated carbohydrates of about 6%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 52% and a mean fat level of 35%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 5% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

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

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

Bottom line?

SmallBatch is a meat-based raw dog food using a generous amount of various species 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.

A Final Word

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

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes and Updates

11/26/2012 Original review
04/15/2014 Last Update

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for beef published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition
  2. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)
  • Crazy4cats

    Hi-
    I’ve used NW Naturals frozen nuggets mixed in my dogs’ kibble. We had good results with them. They are a good value! Hope they work out for you.

  • sparkleANDsplat

    We’ve been using Darwin’s natural selection for years with our two medium-sized dogs. They’ve loved it and we had no problems until this summer when one dog got picky over the food. It started with not wanting to eat the poultry flavors and he’d still eat the beef. Then he wasn’t keen on any flavor. We had never bought the vision flavor so we added that in which seemed to intrigue him for a bit until he wasn’t interested in that one either. I went into our local pet store to check out the price points and see if there was anything close in price to Darwin’s. For reference we were buying 62# total of Darwin’s, 42# dog and 20# cat, for two dogs and two cats. It cost us around $250 per month until the price change, and then it was a little over $300. We were also having extreme constipation issues with one cat due to the really high bone content in Darwin’s. The pet store suggested Small Batch chubs as an alternative for the cat. The 2# chicken chub was $6 or $7. He likes it, it’s on point price wise with Darwin’s, and no more constipation. The chubs can be feed to cats and dogs, so I tried it out on the dogs too. Both like it and the picky dog ceased being picky. I researched a bit more and decided to fully switch to Small Batch chubs in all the flavors that weren’t too expensive. The company had great customer service when I emailed asking about the suggestion to add supplementation with the chubs. They said some animals do well on a striped down diet while others need supplements. We’ve been feeding without the addition of supplements. Things went well for the first week so I ran around to all the stores in my area to stock up (as I found going to my regular store that they’d only have maybe 8 chubs in stock at a time and some of the flavors would be bought already by someone else). I was trying to do one big shopping run to buy a month’s worth; I very much miss the ease of the delivery process with Darwin’s. Once stocked up, we went a couple more days before the picky dog spit up, started having and then puked a bunch. All this was mid-day, nowhere near meal time, and right after he woke from a nap. The same thing happened a week later. I took him to the vet and they suggested it was acid reflux. The other dog started displaying similar symptoms with the addition of reverse sneezing from getting irritating avid into her sinuses. I started researching avid reflux in dogs and we played with what we feed them. They’ve now done all right feeding half Small Batch mixed with half Darwin’s, with the addition of a tsp apple cider vinegar, .5 tsp prebiotics, a dropperful or two of Animal Apawthecary Phytomucil (to help soothe/heal esophagus tissue), and a sprinkling of shredded cheese. I’ve also been giving a tablespoon of kefir before bed to help promote good probiotics while they’re sleeping and digestion is slowed. All of these additions obviously add to the cost, make meal time more of a production, and we’re still having to feed half Darwin’s. I’m not sure what it is about Small Batch that’s encouraging acid reflux but it’s leading us to look for other food for the dogs. I’m just trying to finish up our existing stock that is almost gone now, thankfully. I’ll still feed the cats with Small Batch as they aren’t having issues, and I like the company. I’m bummed it didn’t work for the dogs too. Although dealing with the chubs packaging so frequently when compared with the ease of the Darwin’s packages… Darwin’s is so much nicer to feed. We did not try any of the Small Batch food that comes in chunks in bags as the price was much higher for that convenience (2-3 times more). I just found my receipts… from All the Best Pet Care in the Seattle area, price is for one 2# chub: lamb $10.99

  • Judy

    I currently use Darwins (the more expensive organic, no addative, etc formula), but am not happy with the increased fat combined with the increased cost of the new formulation. I haven’t yet been able tpo find an alternative that is as EASY to use combinned with high quality yet. so wondering while looking at Small Batch Dog Food …Has anyone done a comparison of quality and a cost comparison of Small Batch Dog Food tp Darwins (the more expensive version described above ) any advice much appreciated

  • See Sea

    Thanks BCnut, SmallBatch looks like a great product, but I reviewed their website and found it isn’t available in my area. BooHoo! I’ll be staying with OC Raw and Primal for most of my dog’s raw frozen meals.

  • theBCnut

    The review was updated in April. If one of the recipes is not the same star rating as the others, there will be a different rating in parenthesis after its name in the listing of different recipes. Since those have been removed, all of the recipes are now 5 star.

    I’m really disappointed in Darwin’s too.

  • See Sea

    I don’t find the 2-star rating for the SmallBatch Duck and Lamb above. I only find this general description “Enthusiastically recommended.
    Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.”

    Since Darwin’s Naturals has recently significantly increased the fat content in their new formulas, I am searching for raw frozen moderate fat brands.

    If a brand has been awarded 5 stars, how is someone to know that 2 of the 6 recipes of the brand are actually 2-star rated because of high fat?

    Are the Duck and Lamb now 5-star? Did the fat content get reduced?

  • PetRescuer

    This is the best raw food out there. They source all their ingredients from the local region in which they sell to (so bee pollen!) and it also all comes from humanely raised meats. It also seems to be the freshest compared to all other raws and I’m quite impressed with how the product looks in comparison to other raws. Definitely worth trying. I struggled for years to get my dogs healthy and this has been one that all my rescues can eat.

  • dchassett

    This could be an allergic/intolerant reaction to the rosemary, kelp or bee pollen. One of my dogs has issues with all three of those ingredients.

  • SandyandMila

    Do you just feed them chicken? Maybe trying other sources of protein and rotating them. They might not have been allergic at first but might have created it after having the same protein for too long. And the boxer/pit mix might be bored with chicken and want something else.

  • SP

    Maybe there’s something in there besides the meat that’s not agreeing with them
    Have you tried other raw brands?
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/raw/

  • theBCnut

    I knew it was there and still had to read it 3 times before I found it.

  • RukatheBlackfish

    Wow I totally missed that, thanks.

  • theBCnut

    “Enthusiastically recommended.

    However, with a fat to protein ratio exceeding well over 100%, both the Duck and Lamb recipes may not be appropriate for every dog — and have thus been awarded lower star ratings.”

    They have more fat than meat.

  • RukatheBlackfish

    Does anyone know the duck and lamb have 2 stars?

  • Petwaggin

    I just started feeding this to my dogs 1- terrier poodle mix and 1- boxer pit mix. the terrier is itching like crazy since he started eating it and the big guy won’t eat it after the first couple of days and is apparently on a hunger strike. I would really like to feed them a raw diet but don’t know where to turn from here. I should note that they are both about 8yr old so fat content is a concern for me and the kibble the protein in the kibble they were on was chicken so I doubt the itching is an allergy to the protein. Any suggestions would be really appreciated.

  • bosshog

    After my father past away I have taken over care of his friend Shoshi. she was not in good health and her diet was deadly. I had been referred to Small Batch by a close friend. After a week of starting her on this food. Not only have i seen a tremendous increase in her energy, but also her skin, hair, muscle and most important her mobility. It is like miracle food. I am so happy for her. I will continue to feed her this food as long as the are in business.

  • Val

    It is very concerning that these foods have not been formulated to meet AAFCO standards, and absurd to simply assume that the requisite vitamins and minerals are found in the ingredients listed without labeling to that effect. Please talk to your veterinarian about appropriate supplementation if you are using these products. Vitamins and minerals are extremely important to the life-long health of all living beings, and although deficiencies can take years to manifest they can also be painful, debilitating, and even lethal to your loved ones if they do occur. Please do not assume that a product is complete and balanced unless it is specified to be.

  • Pugsonraw

    Small batch sent out an email to customers today that they are moving their production back to San Francisco.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Thanks! If I can find it around here, I’d like to try it too.

  • Pugsonraw

    Hi Patty,
    I’m keeping this one in my rotation, it’s working out well for my pugs. I’ve tried just about every 4 or 5 star raw commercial product (Darwins, NV, Primal, Natures Logic, OC Raw) out there and like to rotate proteins and brands. I will continue to buy as long as my small pet store continues to stock it. I’be been using the beef and chicken the most.

  • tilda17

    I’m glad to see Smallbatch got 5 stars!  I have to admit that I don’t have a dog, but I recently purchased the beef sliders (feline version) for my cat, Izzy, and he absolutely loves them. He didn’t like Primal at all and Rad Cat only some of the time, but with this food I think I can move him to 100% raw.  I just recommended Smallbatch to my sister who has 2 dogs, but I will caution her about the duck and lamb being way too high in fat.  Also noted is the issue with salmon oil.  I give Izzy his EFA’s in the form of a tiny green lipped mussel capsule that he eats separately from his food.  Anyway, it’s great to see this local company doing so well!  I think I will email them about the salmon oil and see how they respond.

  • Reagan

    Except that Salmon Oil is volatile and starts to break down as soon as its exposed.  Putting it in a food whether raw or kibble or cooked prior to feeding is worthless. It should be given at the time of feeding.  While they aren’t lying when they put it in their ingredient list, it is deceptive in that some people who don’t know how the substance works will believe that they are giving their dog or cat the proper amount of fish oil when in reality they are not.  I wouldn’t commend them too heartily for adding it to their food – they would do better to save the cost of it and recommend that people add it themselves in the proper ratio. 

  • Pattyvaughn

    Please let us know how it goes.

  • Pugsonraw

    I’m happy to see that SmallBatch got reviewed. They are based out of San Francisco, CA. I picked up some of the beef and chicken sliders today.  I was on their website and their blog has a lot of info on the sources they use for their local ingredients.   Their prices seem to be a little cheaper than Primal raw (which I used before).  Going to give it a try…..