Steve’s Real Food (Raw Frozen)

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Rating: ★★★½☆

Steve’s Real Food raw frozen dog food earns the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Steve’s Real Food product line lists five raw frozen recipes, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.1

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

  • Steve’s Real Food Pork Diet
  • Steve’s Real Food Turkey Diet
  • Steve’s Real Food Turducken Diet
  • Steve’s Real Food Beef Diet (4 stars)
  • Steve’s Real Food Chicken Diet (3 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

Protein = 44% | Fat = 36% | Carbs = 12%

Ingredients: Ground beef, beef hearts, broccoli, beef kidney, carrots, beef liver, apples, raw goat’s milk, beef bone powder, flaxseed, dried kelp, cod liver oil, coconut oil, inulin, sesame seeds, salt, mixed tocopherols, eggshell membrane, dicalcium phosphate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis44%36%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%36%12%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%61%8%
Protein = 31% | Fat = 61% | Carbs = 8%

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 includes 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 four notable exceptions

First, flaxseed is 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.

Next, we note the inclusion of coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.

Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.3

Because of its proven safety4 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.

In addition, cod liver oil is a fish oil known to be rich in both EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins A and D.

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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 44%, a fat level of 36% and estimated carbohydrates of about 12%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 39%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 9% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 91%.

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.

However, with 61% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 31% 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.

Bottom line?

Steve’s Real Food is a meat-based raw dog food using an abundance of beef, pork or poultry as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

Recommended.

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

Steve’s Real Food Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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Dog Food Coupons
And Discounts

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A Final Word

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

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes and Updates

04/12/2016 Last Update

  1. Per Gary at Steve’s Real Food Customer Service, 12/12/2012
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  3. Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754
  4. Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9.
  • Sonia Thayer

    Where is your store?

  • Crazy4cats

    I think they are pretty expensive, but I signed up on their site and receive coupons every couple of weeks. Also, I also have been getting great coupons from Pet Smart lately for Instinct food, both kibble and raw. So, you might want to sign up at Pet Smart for their “club” rewards program as well. Good luck!

  • Todd P

    Thanks for the advice! Yes, I may have to try another brand–Nature’s Variety looks especially good. One thing I really like about Steve’s (other than the price, which was great with the 9.5-lb boxes) is how easy it is to serve. So many other brands have vacuum-packed patties that are a pain to open, and Steve’s has nuggets in resealable bags. But Nature’s Variety also looks like it’s easy to serve, so if it’s available locally and the price is decent, I’ll give it a try!

  • Crazy4cats

    Have you given Nature’s Variety, Primal, or NW Naturals a try? I’ve had good luck with all three of them and they all have decent sales and coupons occasionally.

  • Todd P

    I buy the 9.5-lb box of beef nuggets, and I’ve found the quality to be really inconsistent. One box, the meat will be nice and pink, and my dogs love it. The next box, the meat will be grayish brown and my dogs are really reluctant to eat it. I’ve been buying this stuff for over a year, and this happens constantly.

  • Suzy Myers

    Dr Karen Becker and Steve Brown have a youtube video on how he developed this raw food product. Dr Becker is rated one of the best vets in the country who clearly has the best interest of animals in mind over profit. I will try this product based on her recommendation.
    The youtube video is long but worth watching

  • Naia

    I did telephone after several unanswered e-mails. The individual I spoke with was unfriendly and unconcerned. She said that the ingredient lists were on the website but nutritional information was unavailable. She also tried to blame the stores I purchase food from. How are the stores suppose to know Steve’s has mislabeled food?

  • Dori

    I’m curious as to why you never telephoned their customer service department once you did not get a reply on your email? By the way, Steve no longer owns this company and hasn’t in quite a while. The company does continue to use his name and he does continue to consult with them, of course.

  • Naia

    I switched from Northwest naturals to Steve’s Frozen Beef about 8 months ago. I immediately noticed the beef looked more like beef than the NWN. I am feeding two Newfoundlands so need to buy food in bulk and have been purchasing the 20 lb boxes.

    When I first switched, I sent an e-mail to Steve’s asking some questions about the kcal numbers on their website. There wasn’t information on the bags and the numbers on the website didn’t make sense. The website problem was resolved but I never heard a response.

    About five months ago, the bags out food come in started to have a black “X” through the ingredients. I sent an e-mail to Steve’s regarding this odd packaging and never heard a response. My dogs started to become severely constipated. Apparently, they stopped adding vegetable to the 20 lb boxed foods and they are no longer considered a balanced diet. However, the bags of food are still marked as such. I looked through my older stock piled bags and some contained the “X”s through the ingredients and some didn’t. I have no idea what I was feeding my dogs!

    I sent another e-mail (which was never returned) and made a phone call (only way to get a response from the company). The woman who answered was terribly rude and blamed the stores where I have been purchasing the food. All of the stores I work with are very informed with raw ingredients and were never told of a formula change, mislabeled food, or the 20lb size having different ingredients than the 13 lb size. In fact, they were feeding their dogs the same food and experiencing the same constipation problems.

    The website is still very confusing with regards to the 20 pound size; there is no nutritional information on the 20 lb size.

    Bottom line: I still feel this is a highly quality product than others available on the market. However, the companies extremely poor customer service, distributor education, and blatant mislabeling of the product would prevent me from any sort of recommendation.

  • PUNKem733

    Oh man, I thought this was A review for Real Meat dog food. You should review them.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Steve’s is now making a raw goat’s milk yogurt with added coconut and chia. I hope I can get my hands on some of this! Has anyone tried it?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Wow, that’s cheap. I just got some not too long ago to try out and paid $4.45/lb.

  • Schnazuermom

    I sell this in my shop and also feed it to my dogs. My prices are no where near what y’all are saying…maybe it is the area??? It runs about $2.95 a lb. My dogs are doing GREAT on all varieties of this. I do throw in a few pieces of chicken every now and then just because my dogs are so large. This was the only food that helped my male dog finally put some weight on.

  • It was on 3/7 actually. The article is still listed on the left side bar.

  • Shannon
  • InkedMarie

    I should have clarified that was the price to order online. 

  • Pattyvaughn

    Price varies by location.  Shipping in a freezer truck costs money.

  • Snowdogmom

    $4.45 a pound is high for Steve’s. I buy the 9.75 lb box of Beef nuggets and it’s about $3.29 a lb. or $31.99 for the box. Several local independent pet shops carry it in my area.

  • InkedMarie

    I was out all day, haven’t had time to look at the site. $4.45 a pound is more than I pay for Darwins. My last Darwins order, this week, was $162 for 40lbs. Hmm, if it’s the same price, give or take, as Darwins, I’ll stick with that.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Let me know what you think of it if you try it. I just noticed where rawpetfood.com is selling it now – free shipping and $4.45 per pound so I was thinking about giving it a whirl. Looks like a good food.

  • InkedMarie

    I just found out that a store not too awfully far from me carries Steve’s; I may take a look at it

  • myshepee

    Fantastic!!! So happy by the way that you make the food.
    I will share this great food to whom ever will have ears to hear and eyes to see.
    Thank you, keep up the wonderful work…
    Sincerely Dawn

  • Doug

    You donn’t cook it feed it raw

  • Elevbr00000

    I fed this to my maltese who had chf for 3 yr before he crossed over 45 days short of reaching 15 yr. There was less tear discharge and some weightloss at first once he stabilized. That with his vetriscience holistic meds for his chf allowed him to live a good life which the vet couldn’t believe. I wish it was available in the 10lb medallion size bag within a reasonable distance of my present address in ga. My other dogs which were a chi and a yorkie all loved it and thrived on it.

  • LA

    When i started RAW two of my dogs went through detox – lost weight and fur but now they are doing great – eyes are bright, fur grew back.

  • Cathyjohnson8

    Laura, I have an older sheltie and switched to raw. At first I thought I would have to switch back to kibble. But we stuck with the raw and she quit having issues. I think it was part of the detox of all those years of kibble. Don’t give up you won’t be sorry. I use Darwins.

  • Laura

    I have an older dog and the raw food seemed to upset her stomach.  She is 14.  My younger dog, 6, didn’t have any problem.  How long do you cook the food?

  • M Ward1993

    Steves Real Food vs Natures Variety raw?

  • Lisa Hoop

    Steve’s Real food is a great and convenient frozen food that I have given for 3 years to my brittany, starting when he was 10 years old. He will be 13 this month, and I can no longer serve him the food raw, which now causes bile vomiting. So now I am cooking it and no more upset digestive track issues. Keep this in mind if you have an older dog. My vet did not mention the food could cause it, but I found info on the internet that did, and I am glad I did.

  • Gordon

    This looks like a good raw food compilation for the 4 legged variety, Nicole. Raw is best, although RMB’s and offal is all they need and do best on, it’s nonetheless good that manufacturers such as that, you represent, at least compile together such, for those looking for added convenience. Sure beats any kibble and canned foods no matter how dressed up the lies may be, or how liver coated those pellets and what else, to make it appear more appealing to dogs taste and smell sensation. RAW AND REAL FOOD RULES!!

    Keep up the good work.

  • Thanks for the great review Mike. Here at Steve’s Real Food we will not sacrifice quality ingredients for higher profits. We believe in transparency and appreciate that the Dog Food Adviser provides honest, simple advise about the food we feed our four legged loved ones.

  • Jan (Mom to Cavs)

    I picked up some of the chicken flavor of this food today at my vet’s office. She also carries Nature’s Variety. I’m gonna add it to our raw rotation of NV and Primal.

  • Gordon

    That was meant to read….I’d feed this to my dogs in preference over any kibble.

  • Gordon

    This looks as though it’s a high quality formulated raw food. Not available down under. It’s not quite scientifically formulated as well as BARF, judging its ingredients list and order. Still, I feed this to my dogs over any kibble.

  • Meg Hoffmann

    Thank you so much for finally reviewing Steve’s! I’ve been feeding it for quite awhile and chose it from what I’ve learned about food on this site. Glad I made a good decision!

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