Why Raw Dog Foods Typically Contain More Fat Than What’s on the Label


The Dog Food Advisor uses a practical method for estimating the carbohydrate content of dry foods. I use the same formulas in my books.
Fat Gauge

Yet this technique doesn’t work as well for raw dog foods because some manufacturers significantly understate the fat content of their products.

I’ve sent many raw products to testing laboratories — and have found some egregious examples of mislabeling the fat content.

For example, one of the more popular brands lists 8% fat — as a minimum. Yet it actually contains 18% fat (as fed basis). That’s because pet food regulators require fat content to be listed as a minimum — not the actual amount found in the food.

Most people feeding raw are trying to mimic the ancestral diet of dogs, which was a high protein, moderate fat, low carbohydrate diet. Yet not all raw diets properly duplicate this design.

Some raw dog foods contain much higher fat — 75% of calories from fat compared to just 44% for the ancestral diet. And these same recipes can include much lower protein content — just 25% of calories versus 50% for the ancestral diet.

To mimic an ancestral diet, the actual dry matter fat content of a raw dog food should be less than ¾ the protein content — and preferably closer to ½.

How to Estimate the Fat and Carbohydrate
Content of a Raw Dog Food

Here’s an easy way to estimate the probable fat and carbohydrate content of those raw diets that include meat, bone, vegetables and a nutrient mix.

First, visit the Dog Food Advisor’s review of the product and note the estimated carbohydrate content shown in the gauge at the top of the yellow dashboard.

If the carb content is notably greater than the values listed below, you should suspect significantly more fat than what’s reported on the label. And you’ll need to do some basic math to estimate the more likely fat content.

For a more realistic nutrient profile, simply subtract the difference between the figures in the chart below (+3%) and the carbohydrate amount listed on the carb gauge.

I suggest adding 3% because numbers are often rounded — and most manufacturers typically understate protein and overstate moisture and fiber on their labels.

For typical (meat, bone and vegetable) raw dog foods, here’s an estimate of the dry matter carbohydrate content. Use the higher values if yams or sweet potatoes are included.

  • 95% meat: 1 to 2%
  • 90% meat: 1.5 to 4%
  • 80% meat: 4 to 8%
  • 70% meat: 8 to 14%

Some Typical Examples

Let’s look at two raw dog foods…

With Darwin’s Natural Selection (please note I’m a consultant for Darwin’s and helped in the formulation of this food) the dashboard estimates carb content at 18%.

This figure overstates my projection by just 4%, close to the 14% actual carb content (as the food contains yams).

However, for Nature’s Variety 95% meat product, the dashboard overestimates carbs significantly — at about 26% — compared to my estimate of 2%.

Something is being understated on the label — and it’s probably the fat.

To more accurately assess the fat content, subtract my carb estimate (plus 3%) from the dashboard and add that to the fat.

For Darwin’s subtract 17% (14% from the chart plus 3%) from 18%, and add the 1% difference to the fat content. For Nature’s Variety, subtract 5% (2% +3%) from 26% and add the difference (21%) to the fat content.

The Arithmetic of Major Nutrients

For those who’d like more details…

Vegetables contain about 90% water and 5% carbohydrate. And meat has zero carbohydrate. So, a food that’s 95% meat (as fed) is only 5% vegetable — which consists of 5% carbohydrate.

And that makes the same food about 0.25% carb — or about 1% on a dry matter basis.

So, with water completely removed, all foods consist primarily of…

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Carbohydrate
  • Ash (minerals)

According to USDA definition, carbohydrates are calculated from the amount of protein, moisture, fat and ash. And fiber is the non-digestible component of carbohydrate.

Carbohydrates come from plant sources only. Meats contain no carbs — and no fiber.

Calorie Content
Another Important Clue

For those products that appear to be missing fat data, I suggest visiting the appropriate company’s website for more information.

Then, look for the energy content of the food — expressed as kcal (kilocalories) per ounce.

For fresh diets (those containing natural amounts of water of about 67–77%), there should be 50 kcal per ounce or less.

For fresh foods, any product containing more than 45 kcal per ounce can be considered a high fat diet

In my opinion, a fresh (with moisture) food with more than 60 kcal per ounce has too much fat — and not enough protein for puppies, pregnant or lactating females.

The dog’s ancestral diet contained about 35 kcal per ounce — fat has 9 kcal per gram and protein 4 kcal.

Learn More About
Raw and Fresh Feeding

For more information, see the pet food math section of my book, “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet”.

Or to learn more about the dog’s natural ancestral diet, please visit www.SeeSpotLiveLonger.com

Steve Brown is a nationally renowned dog food formulator and author of three popular books on canine nutrition.

Steve Brown and FriendsHe is the creator of Charlee Bear® Dog Treats, one of the world’s first training products.

Brown also founded Steve’s Real Food for Pets®, the first AAFCO-compliant, frozen, raw meat-based diet. He later left the company to focus on research and education.

In 2004, he co-authored a book on canine nutrition, See Spot Live Longer — now in its seventh printing,

Brown has published numerous articles on canine feeding in pet related magazines, veterinary journals and leading natural health web sites.

In 2006, Steve began to suspect the major weakness of most dog foods was in their fat content. So, after three years of research, Brown wrote Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet.

He also offers an e-book, See Spot Live Longer the ABC Way.

Brown is currently a consultant to and food formulator for several well-known pet food companies.

  • Shawna

    I was going with the other definition of concede (admit to something as true after first denying). 🙂

  • aimee

    Your reply gave me a giggle….. this wasn’t an election… just science.

  • Shawna

    I concede……in cases of significant proteinuria protein can further damage already damaged kidneys.

  • aimee

    This statement I posted from the more recent research(2012 vs the 2006 paper) is a definitive statement “Albumin and its ligands induce expression of inflammatory and fibrogenic mediators resulting in inflammation and fibrosis resulting in the loss of renal function as a result of tubular proteinuria” ( the word ligand refers to what is bound to the albumin molecule ie FFA’s)

    I wrote “The free fatty acid depleted bovine serum albumin caused inflammation and damage but when combined with free fatty acids the degree of damage was worse.”

    And you responded “That’s an assumption.”

    It isn’t an assumption, the paper you cited reported that and referenced the statement. I’ll attach a screen shot of the pertinent data. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/989a5977ef14ea728f41a2dd62d68b09873bcb2d81f5ea6a1ee8f49a8c69b564.png

  • Shawna

    There’s a lot of “unanswered”, “may”, “could” and “seems” in there. Nothing definitive.

    “The free fatty acid depleted bovine serum albumin caused inflammation and damage but when combined with free fatty acids the degree of damage was worse.”

    That’s an assumption. It’s also an assumption that FFA’s are the only potential toxins attached to the protein.

    I think the important part here though is that we both agree that protein should be moderated if significant proteinuria is present. I do get what you are saying though and will word my posts slightly differently in the future.

  • aimee

    In that review the authors were reporting on several different studies. From your excerpt we have Kees-Folts et al. in which the dilapidated albumin “produced little such activity” and then the authors reported that in a different study “the exposure of proximal tubular cells to lipidated albumin resulted in
    chemokine overexpression at levels similar to delipidated albumin” The authors report on two different in vitro studies with different results.

    The authors then follow that with information on in vivo studies, “animals that received an injection of FFA-replete BSA had higher levels
    of macrophage infiltration and tubulointerstitial damage as compared
    with the groups that received an injection of FFA-depleted BSA (36–38).”

    The free fatty acid depleted bovine serum albumin caused inflammation and damage but when combined with free fatty acids the degree of damage was worse.

    From the article summary of that section “These studies collectively indicate that the ability of albumin to act as a carrier enhances the proinflammatory activation
    of proximal tubular cells.”

    These authors are concluding that proteins alone causes inflammation and that that inflammation is magnified by the ability of albumin to carry other components into the filtrate.

    The conclusion from the article”The toxicity of albumin seems to be mediated by its initial endocytic uptake, although the importance of albumin
    itself versus protein-bound molecules in the induction of irreversible tubular damage is not clear. Other proteins, including ultrafiltered
    transferrin and Ig, and the intrarenal complement pathway could play a predominant role”

    From another more recent source: “Albumin and its ligands induce expression of inflammatory and fibrogenic
    mediators resulting in inflammation and fibrosis resulting in the loss
    of renal function as a result of tubular proteinuria……..Urinary proteins themselves may elicit proinflammatory and profibrotic
    effects that directly contribute to chronic tubulointerstitial damage……Therefore, high-grade proteinuria is an independent mediator of progressive kidney damage.”


    In science one makes reasonable conclusions based on available data. Maybe new data will come out and a new conclusion drawn but currently, from all that I’ve read, the reasonable conclusion is that in the case of proteinuria, the proteins by themselves are damaging to the kidney. Components carried by albumin are damaging as well and it is currently unclear which contributes more to the demise of the kidney.

  • Shawna

    My laptop just finished Windows 10 updates and I was able to find the article I reference in my previous post. This is dated 2006

    specifically this part “whereas delipidated albumin produced little such activity.”

    “Which proteins play a predominant role as activator of tubular cells still is unanswered. Despite evidence that albumin overload elicits several responses by tubular cells in vitro, it has been argued that albumin per se may not be toxic to the proximal tubular epithelium. Compounds that are bound to albumin, such as free fatty acids (FFA), instead have been implicated to be causative in proinflammatory activation or injury of cultured proximal tubular cells (33). Kees-Folts et al. (34), by studying the specific response of cultured tubular cells to albumin-bound molecules, found that the tubular metabolism of albumin-bound fatty acids could generate macrophage chemotactic activity, whereas delipidated albumin produced little such activity. It was suggested that fatty acids can be released during degradation of albumin, HDL, or LDL. Lipid metabolites then would exert intracellular effects on second messenger systems with impairment or promotion of epithelial cell growth. Conversely, the exposure of proximal tubular cells to lipidated albumin resulted in chemokine overexpression at levels similar to delipidated albumin (17). Arici et al. (35) found that, among various fatty acids, oleic acid and linoleic acid exerted the most toxic and profibrogenic effects in human proximal tubular cells in culture. In studies of an in vivo model of overload proteinuria, animals that received an injection of FFA-replete BSA had higher levels of macrophage infiltration and tubulointerstitial damage as compared with the groups that received an injection of FFA-depleted BSA (36–38).” http://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/17/11/2974.full

  • Shawna

    I don’t have the paper in front of me, I’m on my phone. In this paper they suggested that albumin doesn’t cause the damage but rather fatty acids along for the ride. Specifically linoleic acid and I believe the second mentioned was oleic acid.

    If this is correct, and I don’t know if it is as I didn’t follow up on that theory, than no, protein is not damaging but like with other symptoms of kd it should be lowered to help decrease symptoms when needed.

  • aimee

    I know you agree that lowering dietary protein is recommended for patients with proteinuria. I’m not questioning your understanding of when to lower dietary protein for renal patients but rather your understanding of why it is recommended to lower protein in renal patients when proteinuria is the only symptom.

    Lowering dietary protein is done as part of a multi modal treatment to decrease protein loss into the filterate because the excessive protein in the tubules sets off a cascade of events that further damages the kidneys.

    This is why I disagreed with the statement that “Protein does not damage the kidneys” because under certain circumstances it does.

    Do you agree or disagree that in that specific type of kidney disease that protein can damage kidneys?

  • Shawna

    I do agree that protein should be lowered if excessive proteinuria is present – and have stated it here on DFA before. I did not list all symptoms but did suggest that amount of dietary protein is based on symptoms. Davita, a site you have referenced before, refers to proteinuria as a symptom.
    “Because proteinuria is a symptom and not a disease itself, medical care focuses on treating the underlying condition” https://www.davita.com/kidney-disease/overview/assessing-your-risk/proteinuria/e/7463

  • aimee

    Hi Lisa,

    I’m so sorry you and your dog went through this. With renal patients, each patient is an individual. Diet needs to be based on what your dog’s concerns are. What is right for one dog could be totally inappropriate for another, hence multiple opinions.

    Even among the therapeutic renal diets there are significant differences when compared to each other. Renal diets are formulated to meet the NRC recommendation for protein. I tend to think of them as controlled protein diets instead of low protein diets as the term low tends to have up a negative connotation. When feeding them, ongoing monitoring is needed.

    Consider contacting a board certified veterinary nutritionist to guide your dog’s ongoing recovery and long term management. This will be much more helpful than reading random information from well meaning individuals.

  • aimee

    I’d disagree with this statement ” Protein does not damage the kidneys” Protein can damage kidneys when it crosses through the glomerulus thus exposing the tubules. For dogs with this condition, controlled protein levels in the diet is a hallmark to therapy to delay renal failure.

    The poster reported that her dog’s kidneys were damaged from Leptospirosis. Leptospirosis causes acute kidney failure and can damage the glomerulus resulting in leakage of protein.

    Controlled dietary protein could be a very important component of this dog’s recovery

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    The preferred treatment for leptospirosis is Doxycycline 5mg/kg PO/IV twice daily for 2 weeks. 1 Doxycycline eliminates the organism from the renal tubular cells. Penicillin drugs including Amoxicillin and Ampicillin are also effective against leptospires. If it is not possible to give doxycycline, then Ampicillin 20mg IV QID is used as a common alternative. Ampicillin should not be used orally due to poor bioavailability by that route. Other symptomatic therapies (antiemetics, H2-blockers, proton pump inhibitors, appetite stimulants) are used on an as-needed basis.
    Fluid therapy can be a great challenge for patients with Leptospirosis. Oliguric or anuric renal failure is common and can be a life-threatening development for many of these patients. A fluid therapy algorithm is outlined below.
    Fluid deficit (dehydration) should be replaced over 12-24 hours.
    Maintenance fluid needs are usually supplied with a balanced crystalloid like LRS or Normosol-R.
    Urine output should be quantified by use of a urinary catheter. This also prevents exposure of veterinary personnel and other animals to potentially infectious urine. Once the patient is rehydrated, IV fluid input should roughly match urine output. If urine output lags behind IV fluid input and the patient is gaining weight, this is a sign of oliguria and the IV fluid rate should be slowed down to better match urine output.
    Conversion of oliguric (or even anuric) renal failure to polyuric renal failure can be facilitated by the use of IV diltiazem at a rate of 1-5 mcg/kg/min.7 We have had very positive experiences using Fenoldopam (an analog of dopamine) at 0.8mcg/kg/min.
    Although the diuretic furosemide is often used with oliguric or anuric renal failure to manage volume overload, it does not hasten improvement in renal function.
    If medical management of oliguric/anuric renal failure is not successful, then hemodialysis has proven to be a very effective way to manage these patients until their renal function improves (2-4 weeks).
    Most patients with leptospirosis require hospitalization for 7 days or more. Many of them also need to have nasogastric or esophageal feeding tubes place due to reluctance to eat during the period of clinical illness.
    The prognosis for dogs treated promptly and aggressively for leptospirosis is favorable (80% survival rate).1 Anuric dogs not responding to medical management require hemodialysis to survive. Dogs that develop respiratory complications have a survival rate closer to 40%.6
    Above is an excerpt from:

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Besides, If I had a dog with a serious condition I would only take advice from a veterinarian that has examined the dog and knows it’s history.
    I see incorrect information on the internet all the time. I have to ignore it.
    Each dog is unique and should have a specific treatment plan based on the veterinarian’s findings. There are several factors to consider, for example the dog’s age, breed, symptoms, other medical conditions.
    So, as you can see, blanket statements regarding treatment are not a good idea (imo).

  • Shawna

    “Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function

    Why Have We Chosen to Keep the
    Reduced Protein Myth?

    The myth has been maintained even in the past decade despite negative scientific evidence because the dogma has persisted about its value for the past 40 years. If we as professionals are uncertain about the facts concerning a controversy, we are likely to put ourselves in someone else’s hands who appears to have authority. Power to command this authority is in the hands of commercial advertisements that promote these special products with misleading messages. Marketing is aggressively aimed at veterinarians and owners alike. There is a profit motive for veterinarians to sell these diets.” bolded emphasis mine http://www.championpetfoods.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Myths_of_High_Protein.pdf

  • Shawna

    The diet should be based around symptoms and how high the creatinine and BUN and the type of kidney disease – acute or chronic. Protein does not damage the kidneys but in acute kidney disease it can be beneficial while dealing with the illness. If the kidneys are permanently damaged, aka chronic kidney disease, protein should be lowered once symptoms warrant it – which is usually in the later stages of the disease.

    Not all vets are familiar with the more current (for 20 years now) science on protein and kd as discussed by this actual expert on the topic in this paper titled “Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function”. He writes about the myth of protein restriction “Why Have We Chosen to Keep the Reduced Protein Myth?
    The myth has been maintained even in the past decade despite negative scientific evidence because the dogma has persisted about its value for the past 40 years. If we as professionals are uncertain about the facts concerning a controversy, we are likely to put ourselves in someone else’s hands who appears to have authority. Power to command this authority is in the hands of commercial advertisements that promote these special products with misleading messages. Marketing is aggressively aimed at veterinarians and owners alike. There is a profit motive for veterinarians to sell these diets.” http://www.championpetfoods.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Myths_of_High_Protein.pdf

    So in a nutshell, some vets don’t know what diet is best for kd so rely on the prescription food manufacturers to tell them what to recommend.

    Another expert on the topic writes
    “Amount of Dietary Protein.
    However, reduced dietary protein for management of CKD in dogs is not necessarily beneficial.

    Recently, it has been shown that dietary protein levels can be increased in dogs with CKD without adversely affecting life expectancy. However, the diet must be phosphorus restricted, using protein sources naturally lower in phosphorus concentration, such as soy isolate.” http://todaysveterinarypractice.navc.com/nutritional-management-of-renal-disease-an-evidence-based-approach/

    That said the same expert in the above link mentions that renal diets showed benefit over “maintenance diets”. the quality of the protein in kibbled diets is not the best so if feeding kibble a lower protein prescription diet might be the best option. The amount of phosphorus, omega 3, as well as other nutrients in the diet is also important. Because of this it is important to work with someone who really knows what is needed in the diet – some vets do but others do not. I learned this from first hand experience. My pup had kidney disease from birth and lived almost nine years. The same vet/s that recommended prescription diet also only gave her a year to live. Do LOTS of research or work with a vet that truly understands the unique needs of a dog with chronic kidney disease.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Please listen to your vet and go along with the prescription food. My dog had kidney damage due to Lyme, she lasted 2 years with sub q fluids (at least twice a week), special diet. Good days and bad days.
    This is not a “do it your self project”
    Listen to the experts, licensed veterinary health care professionals.

  • Lisa Mikec

    My JRT is coming home from more than a week in hospital after battling Leptospirosis. We’ve been told she needs a low protein diet because of the kidney damage she now has. Her levels like creatinine are still considered high. I’m really concerned about what to feed.. so many opinions out there! Now I read that low protein may not necessarily be needed for my type of dog?! Help?

  • Jamie Schwartz

    Raw food is actually an excellent choice for dogs with pancreatitis. The reason is, kibble is a dead food with no living enzymes in it. The dog’s body is forced to create the enzymes to digest the food, which overworks the pancreas. The pancreas is not able to produce enough enzymes to digest kibble (which is very hard on the dog’s body) so it gets inflamed, and can even start to digest itself. With raw food, it isn’t cooked, and the food is full of living enzymes. This lets the pancreas relax and not overwork itself.

    One thing I would suggest to add to the diet is fresh raw pancreas (typically it’s pork pancreas, but I think you can get it in beef). You can also add some natural digestive enzymes as well to help aid things.

    You can also go for foods such a rabbit that are lower in fat, however you will still need to provide variety by feeding at least 3 protein sources. Lamb and pork are pretty fatty, so I would avoid those. It will also depend on where you get your raw food too. If you are getting pre-made raw, check the fat percentages on the label. If you are buying your own meat to feed you can cut off excess fat. Though your dog will still need some fat.

    I hope this information helps!

  • steph

    I know this is an old thread but thought I’d comment anyway. I’m a bit overwhelmed when it comes to dog food. I have one dog that has chronic pancreatitis and needs a low fat diet and one dog who is diabetic. Right now they are on different versions each of Royal. Canin (which I know isn’t the greatest) I wanted to switch to raw but after reading this website I realize raw might be too high in fat. Does anyone have any suggestions? I’m so frustrated! Thanks

  • naiauhane

    I’m having trouble figuring out what the correct Darwin’s nutritional info is for their Natural Selections line. The link you provided gives one version of data, and then they also have nutritional data summaries and a separate PDF that all have differing numbers. My dogs have gained weight since the fall and I’m guessing it’s due to the reformulation but I can’t figure out the current accurate nutritional data to even try adjusting the amount of food we feed… I have an email in to customer service so hopefully they can provide a straightforward answer.

  • Jamie Schwartz

    Dogs do not need dairy – it does nothing for them. Boiled beef also isn’t ideal. Fresh, raw foods, with plenty of variety is what is best.

  • Rhythm Chauhan

    best fat dog you can give boil beaf and put cheees inside if see how your dog will look in some days. goo.gl/YwJSek
    I am having 2 germans. so beaf with cheese is best.
    You can read how to make.
    Thankyou all

  • See Sea

    Darwin’s Naturals raw food has high fat formulas and increased prices, according to a 9/6/14 email from Darwin’s and the provided Formula Comparison Chart -http://www.darwinspet.com/Prod… .
    Darwin’s high fat seems to be contrary to the preferred canine raw diet of ‘moderate’ fat. Darwin’s canine turkey formula now has fat content that is about 90% of the protein content. The duck and bison each have fat content about 70% of the protein. The old formulas all had fat content that was about 40%, 50%, and 60% of the protein content, which was ideal. There is now more fat and the price of the product increased. As of last month, I was all set to get a monthly order of Darwin’s. But I have cancelled because I don’t want higher fat and a higher price.

  • Nalu-Rufus

    Thank you for this post, it explains a lot. I started using Nature’s Variety as a topper for The Honest Kitchen meals about a year ago. My dog was, and remained fat on this diet (80 lb pointer/lab mix). About six months ago, I cut him down from one 8 oz. patty per day to 4 oz. per day, and a month ago, switched to Stella & Chewy’s freeze dried for topper. We went for a check up yesterday and he weighed in at 62 lbs!! The vet said he is really fit and lean, and has likely been saved from a host of health problems. His exercise did not change during this time, so I can only attribute it to too much NV raw frozen topper. I calculated his caloric intake based on the package labeling, and now realizing that was probably understated, I understand why the calculation did not work.

  • Mo

    I get raw food for my dog from a local butcher who sells his scrap left overs. My dog is by no means a genetic goldmine but his physical characteristics of late would tell you a different story. Raw food is the way to go for most dogs I would say. It isn’t necessary to seek brands if you can find quality raw food in your community.

  • Shawna

    Hi Mike,

    Although Darwin’s is not a locally available product it is shipped direct to the customer and comes frozen solid. The fat to protein ratio of the foods is ideal for all diets (chicken, turkey, beef etc). Steve Brown, the author of above article, was involved in the formulation of Darwin’s products as mentioned in his article. Additionally unlike Primal poultry products, Nature’s Variety, Stella & Chewy’s and others, it is not high pressure pasteurized. Many of us long term raw feeders feel that foods subjected to HPP are not truly raw.

    Darwin’s has a fantastic introductory offer and in my opinion is definitely worth trying.

  • Mike

    I have been researching locally available commercial raw dog foods. There are not many on the market where the Fat is 1/2 the Protein, or less. Those that fit that formula are often times a novel protein and therefore very expensive. Another issue is that the ME on these foods is lower by as much as 50% than the “high” fat counterparts. As a result you wind up feeding more of the low fat varieties. In order to meet this recommendation for fat and stay somewhat in a budget I am feeding 75 % premium(5*) Canadian kibble and 25% Primal Raw T&S formula.

  • Shawna

    A few weeks ago I mentioned Steve Browns Dinner Mix premix. I can’t remember which thread it was posted under so this page seemed like a good place to post.

    Steve’s Dinner Mix is an inexpensive way to balance meats we supply.. However, the mix had “rice bran”, which with the latest info on arsenic in rice, concerned me a bit. I emailed Steve to ask. So happens Steve was in the middle of reformulating the product :)..

    Just heard back from Steve and the rice bran (and fish oil) has been removed. Steve is the guru of fats and is always concerned about freshness. So rather then adding fish oil he is stating on the product packaging to add sardines or fish oil at the time of feeding.

    Great, budget friendly, product to use in our rotations…


  • Shawna

    I agree..  And everyone knows my thoughts on grains :)..  Well, at least the regulars…

    Sojo’s does have a grain free mix but my dogs don’t digest it well unless I rehydrate it fully/overnight and then run it through the food processor to futher break down the chunks of veggies.  Otherwise it is “carrots in, carrots out”.  😉

    sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, celery, apples, whole egg, tricalcium phosphate, flax meal, parsley leaf, carob powder, dried kelp, dried alfalfa, ginger root, garlic, vitamin D3”  http://www.sojos.com/products/dog-food/sojos-grain-free-dog-food-mix

  • Hound Dog Mom

    They do have a grain-free premix.

  • BryanV21

    Even the plain Sojo’s, which doesn’t come with any protein in it, is so-so IMO. It’s all grain, with no fruits or vegetables, unlike Honest Kitchen Preference.

  • Shawna

    I agree with everything Hound Dog Mom states — TOO low in protein.  LOTS of kibbled foods have way more protien then Sojo’s or Petsana. 

    I like dehydrated foods better then kibble but not at these low protein levels..  The only way I would ever recommend either foods to anyone is if they needed low protein for medical conditions or if they were willing to add extra higher protein balanced foods to the produc — like commercial or home prepared but balanced raw or canned foods.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Beth6230 –

    From what I understand Petsana is the same product as Sojos. I think Sojos just allows them to package their food under the Petsana name – same ingredients list and virtually the name nutrient profile. Check out the review for Sojo’s – it’s only a 3 star food, too low in fat and way too low in protein. If you want to feed a dehydrated food I’d recommend looking into The Honest Kitchen or Grandma Lucy’s – same idea, you add water, but higher quality product.

  • Beth6230

    I would like to see some review of Petsana.  It seems to-good-to-be-true. They list min 8% fat which is of course too low for an adult, medium activity bouvier. I’ve started feeding it cautiously and adding some fat via egg/salmon. 

  • Pattyvaughn

    Commercially prepared raw, such as Darwin’s, usually have ground bone, so teeth are not required. Obviously, you won’t be feeding raw meaty bones.

  • Kmw_vabch

    I would love to feed my dogs Raw and even thought about Darwin’s.  The only trouble is, my little puppy mill rescue (papillon) only has about 4 teeth – I assume teeth are required since it contains bones?

  • Toxed2loss

    Even game meat can be fatty. It depends on what forage was available. It’s important to know the target % of fat to lean your dog needs, and trim all his/her meat to that %.

  • Guest

    My understanding is that there is a higher fat content in animals raised for commercial consumption than in the animals that would have been present in the ancestral diet.  Simply put, a chicken that a dog would have eaten 100 yrs ago wouldn’t have been fattened up in a feedlot like they are today.  And even if you get the best meat – organic, grass-fed, whatever – it’s still not as lean as the ancestral diet.  However, if you use game meat (rabbit, venison, bison, etc.) you will get close to the right %’s.  You do have to remove the fat from other meat (chicken, duck, beef, etc.) to get to the proper fat profile.

  • Best_Dog_Food

    Very informative article! It sure will be helpful in purchasing commercial dog.

  • Adele

    Could this be why my Pomeranian keeps gaining weight?  I carefully calculate her caloric intake based on my vet’s recommendation to put her on a diet and she doesn’t lose.  I’m feeding her a 5 star kibble mixed with a raw product.  I think the raw must have too much fat (according to the calculations in the article).  If she is getting more fat calories than she needs to use, she must be storing the fat.  I am somewhat confused.

  • Some dog owners also get wrapped up in what their dog will eat and what he won’t eat. Usually, the owner will let this be a determining factor as to what to feed their dog. 

  • dietaryfiberguide

    In fact, a diet high in fiber can be convenient and tasty – as easy a bowl of bran cereal topped with berries…or as exotic as, say, conchiglie with artichoke sauce, a simple pasta recipe that contains nearly 20 grams of fiber in one serving. There are no limitations.

  • Johnandchristo

    Hi Hagelult….

    thats a very interesting point. good post.

  • Toxed2loss

    Good observations hagelult,

    Consider that ancestral wolves predated on environmentally pressured wild herbivores as opposed to the farm raised meat sources today. Even wild deer and elk feed in farmers alfalfa pastures, and range far less than their ancestors to find food. Historical records for my area indicate that there were vey few deer and elk available… Lewis and Clark journal entries,… And that they were extremely lean & scraggly… Yet they are very abundant, and well fed, today. So, the ancestral diet is based on the food source available, then, not now, and I’m sure studies/research on optimal conditions were factored in. Steve’s a pretty smart guy! 🙂

  • hagelult

    “To mimic an ancestral diet, the actual dry matter fat content of a raw dog food should be less than ¾ the protein content — and preferably closer to ½.” This makes sense to me, it seems quite obvious that you would want to feed your dog more protein than fat. However, when I made the switch to a raw diet and started reading guaranteed analyses of the various complete/incomplete foods available I was a little confused. The only foods that achieve this ratio of fat to protein that is supposedly ideal are commercial made diets. If you get a whole ground animal the fat content will be equal to or only slightly less than protein content for leaner meats (such as chicken) and for fatter meats (such as beef or duck) fat content will be higher than protein content. This is for a whole animal, isn’t a whole animal what a wolf would eat in the wild? I feed Primal mixes for my base, but I started to look into making food completely from scratch and just buying the whole animal ground (available on mypetcarnivore.com, haretoday.com) and it seems to me that the only way to achieve this fat content of 50-75% of protein content would be to add in more lean cuts of meat and less fattier cuts and to remove the skin from RMBs. But the whole point of an ancestral diet is to feed dogs what they would eat in the wild and I’m sure that dogs in the wild wouldn’t eat the chicken breast and leave the wings and thighs or remove the skin from their turkey necks. I’m not trying to say the lower fat content is not healthier, this ratio is actually what I aim for with my dog’s food (and why I decided to stick with Primal) because so much fat just doesn’t seem healthy to me, however I’m not so sure how “ancestral” this ratio is. Maybe farm raised animals are fattier than wild animals (although the whole ground animals I was looking at were grass fed/free range)?

  • Threenorns

    …. what’s wrong with just feeding the dog (or cat) raw food?  steak, chicken, turkey, goat, pork – cut off an appropriate sized chunk, toss, and end of subject.

    same with bananas, sweet potato, blueberries, etc – for the dog, though, not the cats – no nonsense with blending and pureeing – just toss and let him have at it.  i don’t know why ppl say it passes through undigested – i examine each and every poop for signs of worms (even though there never is any) and it’s all very homogeneous even if he ate half a sweet pototo.  even grass gets digested (turning the poop green) unless it’s a certain type in which case it comes right through (i’m sure there’s a healthful reason for it).