Steve’s Real Food raw frozen dog food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Steve’s Real Food Turkey Diet
- Steve’s Real Food Chicken Diet
- Steve’s Real Food Turducken Diet
- Steve’s Real Food Beef Diet (4.5 stars)
Steve’s Real Food Beef Diet was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Steve's Real Food Beef Diet
Raw Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Ground beef, beef hearts, broccoli, beef kidney, carrots, beef liver, apples, raw goats milk, beef bone powder, flaxseed, dried kelp, cod liver oil, anchovy oil, coconut oil, inulin, sunflower seeds, salt, mixed tocopherols, eggshell membrane, dicalcium phosphate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.5%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||43%||41%||8%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||29%||66%||6%|
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.2
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 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 fourth ingredient is beef kidney, an organ meat low in fat and rich in protein and essential minerals.
The fifth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The seventh ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
The eighth ingredient is goat’s milk. Goat’s milk is rich in calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. Although it contains slightly less lactose, in many ways it can be considered nutritionally similar to cow’s milk.
The ninth ingredient is beef bone powder, an excellent source of natural calcium.
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 five notable exceptions…
First, anchovy oil and cod liver oil are rich in both EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids and cod liver oil has vitamin A and D. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, these oils should be considered a commendable addition.
Next, depending upon the quality of the raw material, coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids.
Coconut oil has been reported to have a beneficial effect on a dog’s skin and coat, improve digestion, and reduce allergic reactions.3
In addition, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.
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.
Next, this recipe includes 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.
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.
Steve’s Real Food Frozen Raw Diet
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Steve’s Real Food frozen raw 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 40%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 9% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 90%.
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 a significant amount of meat.
However, with 66% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 29% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal. In addition, this same finding also prevents us from awarding the brand a higher rating.
Steve’s Real Food is a meat-based raw product using a significant amount of beef or poultry as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
A Final Word
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The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.
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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.
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Notes and Updates
10/22/2014 Last Update