DNA Ancestral Dog Food (Dehydrated)


Rating: ★★★★★

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DNA Ancestral Dog Food earns the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The DNA Ancestral product line lists four dehydrated dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

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

  • DNA Ancestral Beef Formula
  • DNA Ancestral Lamb Formula
  • DNA Ancestral Venison Formula
  • DNA Ancestral Chicken Formula

DNA Ancestral Chicken Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

DNA Ancestral Chicken Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 22% | Carbs = 38%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken liver, chicken heart, eggs-dried, pea flour, citrus pulp-dried, coconut oil, pollock oil, alfalfa meal, cranberries, blueberries, pumpkin, spinach, carrots, thyme, oregano, lecithin, potassium chloride, zinc propionate, mixed tocopherols (preservative), salt, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, calcium carbonate, copper proteinate, manganese, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis30%20%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%22%38%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%43%31%
Protein = 27% | Fat = 43% | Carbs = 31%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.2

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

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

The third ingredient is chicken heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.

The fourth ingredient is dried egg, a dehydrated powder made from shell-free eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The fifth ingredient is pea flour, a powder made from roasted yellow peas. Pea flour contains as much as 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is citrus pulp. Citrus pulp is a by-product obtained from the waste of citrus juicing operations. This item is most likely included here for the usual benefits of dietary fiber.

The seventh ingredient is coconut oil. 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

The eighth ingredient is pollock oil. Pollock 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, pollock oil should be considered a commendable addition.

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 two notable exceptions

First, we find alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

DNA Ancestral Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, DNA Ancestral Dog Food looks like an above-average dry 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 33%, a fat level of 22% and estimated carbohydrates of about 38%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 33% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 38% 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 dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea flour and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

DNA Ancestral is an air-dried, grain-free, meat-based dog food using a significant amount of various 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 and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

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 entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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

08/05/2016 Last Update

  1. As of 8/25/2016
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  3. Dr. Bruce Fife, Healthy Ways Newsletter, Vol 4:3
  • I guess it’s because of the high chicken content

  • jch

    This dog food has been recalled so many times in the past few years. I’m not sure how often it was the diamond naturals, but is it not made in the same place as the other diamond brands. This dog food scares me. I know rescues that use it and swear by it but I’ve also seen their dogs sick after the recalls and they fed the diamond naturals. The dogs didn’t really look well either. I’m speaking of their personal dogs also, so it’s not that the rescue dogs were in bad shape to begin with. I know they take very good care of their dogs. It’s the food.

  • ct

    The big thing i think you might not be understanding is with the better food you dont have to give them as much of it! By understanding this its actually not that much more than the cheap dog food! My dogs eat blue wilderness unlimited! They were eating 6.cups a piece of the cheap dog food! I put 4 cups in there bowls of the blue and they never eat it all! Always a little left! And there poop.is smaller and less of it

  • Dori

    You didn’t mention what food you’re feeding your dog. Also how old is your dog and out of curiosity why does your dog go to the vet every 6 months? I am glad to hear that you supplement with a wet food that has meat. Dogs have no need for grains nor do they digest them as we would. There are plenty of high quality dog foods that are very budget friendly. I feed grain, soy, corn, and white potato free foods. I avoid potatoes because night shade veggies are inflammatory. My 15 year old Maltese has a bit of arthritis in one of her hips and 2 degenerated discs mid spine. I also avoid foods with starch as much as possible. I feed high protein, moderate fat, low carb foods.

  • 4FootedFoodie

    There are definitely budget friendly 5 star foods. I can’t imagine that you’ve priced them all. I’ll also say that you get what you pay for and cannot imagine why someone would knowingly choose to feed a dog a very low quality food if, with some research, they could feed better on their budget.

    Why does your dog go to the vet so frequently?

  • Daddio53

    I really don’t get all of this. At the prices these 5 star foods cost, it would cost me more per day to feed my dog than I spend on myself! That is just plain ridiculous. I think most of what’s driving this nonsense is the gluten thing, the vegan thing, the organic thing, and all of these other causes of the day that people blindly follow. Do dogs even suffer from Celiac Disease? I don’t know. I’ve been using a one star food. My dog eats it all. She seems to be as healthy as she could ever get. She runs around with plenty of energy. She goes for physicals every 6 months, and so far, she has a perfectly clean bill of health. So why should I be convinced that I should run out and spend almost 5 times more for a 5 star food? I’m using the same food as I used for my last dog, who lived to be 15, and was healthy to the end. I don’t think I’m convinced that a grain based food is so bad, especially because I supplement with wet dog food that has meat.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Nancy Calloway, I don’t know why she charges for the lists. I don’t follow her @ all. I just have done my own research for years. I have always found DogFoodAdvisor a great site and prior to that I read dogfoodanalysis.com (seems outdated now) and dogfoodproject.com. I wouldn’t personally pay for a list. I do subscribe to whole dog journal and follow Dogs Naturally magazine.

  • Betsy Greer

    There’s only one list. You just have the option to donate what you feel the list is worth to you.

  • Nancy Calloway

    You think DNA is a healthier choice than ZiwiPeak and if so WHY? I am just trying to learn, and feel dumber everyday!!

  • Nancy Calloway

    Mary: Did you follow through on your home cooked raw food meals? I am very interested myself. Would love to hear about your success — how ever you achieved it. This site is so great and HDM YOU ARE AMAZING!!

  • Nancy Calloway

    I feel the same. THIS IS VERY INTERESTING!!

  • Nancy Calloway

    I’m curious too.
    Can you tell me what the difference is in all the PRICES at the TRUTH ABOUT DOG FOOD website? Susan T is selling her lists for $20 to $50 but there is no way to know WHY one would buy which list. Do you know? (You know a LOT)

  • Lauren Yee

    birchpetsupplies.com has it for the same price, but free shipping on orders over $49.

  • Flamingos

    This site is fraudulent. I do nothing wrong yet they keep deleting my information. They don’t want you to have unbiased info

  • Crazy4dogs

    I just tried a bag of this food the other day. I like the idea, but I always rehydrate my foods before feeding it to the dogs. The bag says allow to rehydrate for 30 minutes, but it just looks slightly larger and still seems dehydrated. Anyone have suggestions on this? I feed Grandma Lucy’s pureformance premix and Primal which rehydrate very quickly in comparison.

  • Shawna

    Hi Michael,

    I agree that enzymes aren’t something that needs to be added but I personally would advise it to those that are willing to spend the extra money. If eating an ancestral diet, dogs WOULD get supplemental sources of enzymes from the pancreas of the prey animal as well as the tripe. Buried bones and meat would be yet another source (from the enzymes in the product itself but also produced from the bacteria breaking down the meat/bone).

    The amino acids the body would have used to make digestive enzymes could then be utilized for metabolic enzymes. 🙂

  • Michael Goldman

    boiling water to rehydrate is defeating the purpose of feeding raw because at the same time you are hydrating the food, you are also cooking it which will eliminate some of the nutrients and enzymes kept in tact by leaving raw….

  • Michael Goldman

    digestive enzymes aren’t something you need to add if you are making your own raw formula…uncooked meat and bone already contains those…when you cook the meat, though, they are lost.

    feeding raw isn’t an exact science – you should really judge success on the dog.

    is the poop healthy? not too hard?

    does the poop stink bad or does it have that “clean” odor raw feeders are familiar with.

    probiotics are excellent – generally they will have a dosage on the package, but you can’t really go overboard on the probiotics.

    just my .02

  • Michael Goldman

    you shouldn’t mix raw and non-raw food especially in the same meal…it will mess with the dog’s “flora” or balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.

    if your dog’s gut is healthy and the diet is clean, the poop should not be smelly at all…it shouldn’t have an off odor or might have a slightly off odor.

    if the dogs gut isn’t, the poop will be loose or soft and smell considerably stronger.

    just my .02

  • Monica Hubbard

    I’m looking for it also, sounds like a unique product and perfect for my small dogs. I went to petfoodetc.com and they charge $43.99 for their 3 lb bag and petfooddirect was only charging $28.99 when they had it. I was really looking for the 8 oz size to try it out but didn’t find that anywhere. The online websites mentioned on the DNA website don’t have it either. I emailed the company today so I guess I’ll just wait for a reply.

  • InkedMarie

    Go to http://www.petfoodetc.com

    (Next time, go to the food website)

  • John Mips

    Does anyone buy DNA anymore? Can anyone suggest a source? Its no longer on petflow, has only one option and is out of stock on petfooddirect, and doesn’t have any reliable sources on amazon. Anyone have recent experiences?

  • charlie

    When you mix kibble with raw in the same meal the pH of the stomach will probably be lower (more acid) than if you fed kibble alone, but higher (more alkaline) than if you fed raw alone.

    This is good for the digestion of kibble but bad for the digestion of raw. Raw is digested with fewer issues in a very acidic environment.

    For this reason I would feed raw and kibble in separate meals.

  • Pattyvaughn

    My dogs have had raw mixed with kibble for a year now and never had an upset stomach from it. I know several people who mix raw with kibble without a problem. I do know someone who has one dog that can’t handle the mix, but she is in the minority.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    A lot of people mix raw food and cooked food with no issues. I’ve heard of some rare cases in which mixing the two gives the dogs digestive upset, but this isn’t very common. Most dogs tolerate raw mixed with cooked food just fine.

  • Deema

    If I am not mistaken, it is not advisable to mix raw food with cooked food, which is what kibble is. My vet and dog trainer both have emphasized that. Just an FYI.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I don’t feed based on cups per day I feed based on kcal. per day. Cups are an inaccurate way to measure daily intake due to the different caloric densities of different recipes. For example, if my recipe was based on 85% lean ground beef which has around 1,000 kcal. per pound I wouldn’t want to feed the same number of cups as if I based the recipe on chicken gizzards which have only about 450 kcal. per pound. My girls generally get 2,500 – 2,700 kcal. per day.

  • CranberryCoco

    How many cups of raw do you feed each dog?

  • Mary Hornaday

    Okay! Wow! I’m so completely floored by all of this information. Lol. Phew! Thanks so much 😀

  • Hound Dog Mom

    You could use regular or greek yogurt as long as it’s plain. Kefir is great too if you can get it as it generally has more strains of probiotics than yogurt. I give my dogs 1/4 C each per day (they range from 68 lbs. – 110 lbs.). They each probably get about 1 lb. green tripe per week. I use tripe as part of the muscle meat component in my meals and balance the meal but green tripe does have a naturally balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio and a great nutrient profile so it could certainly be a stand alone meal once a week.

  • Mary Hornaday

    Thanks so much!

  • Johnandchristo

    I have to agree, Raw is the best. It must be done right though. I really praise the raw feeders that do it right. I use a dry food and re hydrate with water and mix in some raw or lightly cooked meat. Right now I’m using Tripett with kibble. The dog really loves it, but wow its pretty expensive. I was saving money buying chop meat, lol. I like to mix it up.

    Steve Brown’s book will help you do the raw right and your dog will thrive, best of luck and have fun doing it!

  • Mary Hornaday

    Okay! I asked in my forum post about adding probiotics and enzymes without buying the supplements. How much of the plain yogurt (would it be greek yogurt or regular yogurt?), kefir, and green tripe do you feed at a time? Do you also add fiber (someone recommended pumpkin puree) or do you find that the recipes are adequate in fiber?
    ALSO, would it be safe/recommended to completely switch Louie to the raw diet 100% (I have a feeling the answer is a yes/maybe since his recipes are AAFCA compliant but I’m not entirely sure)?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    All of the recipes in his book are AAFCO compliant and are made from pretty easy to find ingredients. The recipes don’t include probiotics or enzymes but you could certainly add probiotics and enzymes. I personally don’t add supplemental probiotics or enzymes to my dogs’ meals but I do give them kefir or plain yogurt daily (rich in probiotics) and green tripe at few times a week (rich in probiotics and enzymes).

  • Mary Hornaday

    Thanks 🙂 Based on everyone HDM has been saying about homemade raw and it being less expensive, I think I’ll be trying that option! BUT DNA might be really nice for travel.

  • Mary Hornaday

    Does his book help with the inclusion of probiotics and digestive enzymes as well? I really need a comprehensive, complete explanation of absolutely everything. There are ratios and things that I just don’t know how to assess nor do I understand. I posted a topic on the forum but I do feel like some sort of literature will be my best friend as long as it’s truly all-inclusive and reliable 😀

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Thanks John!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Yeah, definitely. Homemade is a bit more time consuming but you’ll save a lot of money and you can be in control of all the ingredients that goes into every meal. I’d highly recommend Steve Brown’s book if you’re just starting out with homemade raw, it’s a wonderful guide for beginners.

  • Mary Hornaday

    I replied to your original reply with a post that included a “bad word”, I guess, so when that comment is done being moderated, you can ignore it haha.

  • Johnandchristo


    Sorry about Gus. Hope he is ok, for a really long time to come.

  • Johnandchristo

    Hi Mary Hornaday,

    I have fed this food to my dog. He really liked it and It seems to be a very healthy well made food. It is pricey, but great for rotating. I have only one dog, So that leaves me extra wiggle room to feed the better foods. IMO Dna is a top food. I plan to try it for my cat.

  • Mary Hornaday

    I seriously did not ever think that feeding homemade raw would be less expensive than a high-quality kibble! I’m really excited to hear that! I just got a Costco card so I can buy in bulk and not break the bank and be feeding him better????????

  • Hound Dog Mom

    When I started feeding raw I was mostly following Steve Brown’s recipes from the book “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet.” I’m now comfortable enough to make my own recipes. It’s much cheaper making it myself. I buy all my meat in bulk from a wholesale distributor that supplies restaurants and grocery stores in the area, I can get most of my meat for under $1/lb and I buy human food supplements from Swanson’s and fruits and veggies from the grocery store.

  • Mary Hornaday

    Is it really more cost-effective to make your own raw?? What recipes do you follow?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I make my own. If you’re feeding something like Primal or Nature’s Variety my guess is they would cost about the same to feed as DNA.

  • Mary Hornaday

    Oh wow! What raw do you feed? Since I only have my Louie and he doesn’t eat too much, I’d love to find the healthiest, most cost-effective food for him!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I’ve never fed it – looks like a great food though. I definitely don’t think it’d be a cost-effective alternative to raw though. I currently spend around $350/mo. to feed my three raw. Going by the prices on Pet Food Direct it would cost me $900/mo. to feed them DNA.

  • Mary Hornaday

    I’d love to hear people’s overall opinions of this food. I feel like it’s the best, most cost-effective alternative to raw. BUT does anyone have any reservations about it?

  • Wow! I was strongly considering getting this food, and now I’m not strongly considering, I am getting it because of this comment. Being honest about the nutritional value of the food (as far as the lowered amount of amino acids and enzymes being intact) and praising another type of food other than the one you are selling is a major plus for me. That is honestly and it is impressive. I also appreciate how cost-effective this food happens to be. I wish the fat was a little lower but with salmon oil being the seventh ingredient (which will hopefully mean my finicky anti-fish silky will not be able to taste it), the eggs, and the chicken broth/natural flavor it makes sense. I’d rather have a higher fat content in a nutritional product than feed my dog Purina Puppy Chow again.

  • Pattyvaughn

    As long as you ONLY consider protein, carbohydrates, and fat to be nutrients then you can consider yourself right. But I think of vitamins, enzymes, etc. as being nutrients, they are what makes the food nutritious, and they are damaged by that kind of heat. Sorry, but we will have to agree to disagree on that one.

  • The issue is that it’s dehydrated food, which is not the same as kibble … which is like a dry cookie, for instance. With dehydrated food, it will expand somewhat when exposed to water. You “can” feed the food as kibble, HOWEVER, you should make sure your dog drinks enough water along with it … or it could just all “blow up” in their stomach and cause digestive or even worse, bloat types of problems. I do feed dried raw products like stella and chewy’s for hikes because my dogs are vizslas and they have very little fat and energy reserves, so I need to keep some food in their system on long hikes. Freeze dried is basically the same as DNA, but DNA is air-dried vs freeze dried. But I absolutely make sure they hydrate well when they are eating these products raw and I control their intake amount. Hope that makes sense and helps. Stella and Chewy’s talks about this on their labeling as well.

  • Patty, boiling water does not “destroy” nutrients! There is no way to “destroy” nutrients in food. If you are talking about the issue of cooking vegetables in water, the issue is that some of the nutrients leach off into the water. In this case, when the boiling water is poured over the food and the food absorbs the water and any remaining broth along with the food is given to the dog, no nutrients are lost.

  • sharron

    don’t know where my posting went – will try again

    i got a sample of this food on the weekend – is it suitable for a dog that needs to lose a couple of lbs – been told it has too much fat -please don’t suggest a weight loss food – have tried them all and she won’t eat them


  • sharron

    came across this food on the weekend – got a sample – would this food be suitable for a dog that needs to lose about 2 lbs – please don’t suggest a weight loss food – have tried many and she won’t eat them. currently feeding acana grasslands and ranchlands.


  • Pattyvaughn

    I’ve wondered the same thing about dehydrated foods. I can’t think of any reason it would matter except in the amount of moisture, or if they swell a lot when rehydrated. It could be that if they aren’t rehydrated and aren’t chewed, that they hold together better than kibble in the stomach and intestines so don’t have enough surface area exposed to stomach juices and don’t digest thoroughly. But that is complete and utter speculation about slim possibilities on my part and by no means anything I have heard or read. I do know that many people use dehydrated foods as training treats without rehydrating, but that would be a small amount at a time.

  • losul

    Just wondering, is it somehow more harmful to feed this food dry vs dry kibble?

  • Pattyvaughn

    When you use boiling water you are destroying some of the nutrients in the food, hot tap or bottled water heated about the same amount is as hot as you should go.

  • When you change food, a lot of dogs experience some diarrhea or lose stools …. some take a couple weeks to adjust and you should always slowly introduce new foods – by doing 3/4 old food, 1/4 new food for a few days, then to 1/2 and 1/2, etc if you dog has problems when you switch foods. It’s not supposed to be like canned food. However, if you re-hydrate with boiling water and let sit covered, it will re-hydrate to a softer consistency. All I can say is that my dogs love it!

  • I tried this food when my local supplier replaced Honest Kitchen with this brand. I have to say, my dogs like it MUCH more than Honest Kitchen … I had to mix in Stella and Chewies duck duck goose to get them interested in the HK. For those that are having trouble with re-hydrating, I used boiling water from my tea kettle – just cover the stuff (as package says) and let it sit with a cover on it for at least an hour. Note that the package says to rehydrate for AT LEAST 1/2 hour. It seems like a very good food. I mix my dogs food up. Dry kibble with wet food some days and DNA with kibble another. I would say this is a very high quality food that is very reasonably priced … it runs a good $20 less per bag (for chicken at least) less than HK at Petflow.

  • monkey

    I noticed the powder too when i held a bag of it at a local store. If i finally buy it ill just pick the one most intact, but not everyone has this option as they need to order it online. I guess this is just the downside of not using starches to hold the kibble together.
    By the way, do you use hot or cold water to rehydrate it? I don’t like the idea of using “hot tap water” for the hot water heater like they recommend.

  • I’ve been using DNA too — when I don’t have raw thawed out and need a good quality alternative. I use HK and others too but I like variety..
    Wondering, could you turn the bag over and shake the powder to the top so that it can be incorporated into the daily feedings? I only have access to the small $5.00 sample bags. There is only a tiny amount of powder in them so I don’t know that my suggestion would work. Just a thought.

  • ohnoesaz

    I’m going to gripe a little.

    So, DNA is probably the healthiest choice for dogs. It’s essentially a high-protein kibble with no starch or grain. Heck, even Brothers Complete (which I love) has tapioca, and that’s a very high quality food. So if you buy DNA for your dogs then good for you.

    My problem is how much of the food turns into powder before it reaches the consumer. I bought 3 bags for a total of 30lbs. When it was all said and done, 9lbs was powder. Ouch! With price weighed in, that puts the dollar amount of powder to be about $70. Some people, including myself, might be able to make use of this powder by mixing it with dehydrated foods like THK – its all wet goo in the end – but I don’t like to do this and many people don’t have this option.

    DNA says I can send them to powder and they’ll send more food. But why am I having to spend extra effort and shipping $$ to chase down food that I already paid for? I already spent the time, effort, and money to get the food in the first place, why am I having to jump through more hoops just to get a finished product?

    DNA should really include more food in the bag to compensate for the powder. 13lbs should be put into every 10lb bag to compensate for the usual powder as well as to compensate for the extra food that also will partially turn to powder.

    When comparing a 10lb bag of DNA to other foods from a price standpoint, you’d be fair to compare the price of DNA divided by 7lbs instead of 10lbs.

    But I do admit… awesome food.

  • When I soaked it in hot water for about an hour or hour and a half, it turned into “fruit cake” consistency, no longer crunchy, but not soft and soggy.

  • monkey

    Everyone in here is talking about how DNA doesn’t rehydrate. Has anyone managed to get it to soak up the water, and if so what is your method?

  • InkedMarie

    I understand that. I ordered some coffee from Keurig on Black Friday….never heard from them so a week later, call them. Find out one of the ones I ordered (an 80 count box) was backordered. The guy offered to send me four 24 count for the same price, I said fine. Offered to pay more but he said, nope, on us, we didn’t tell you it was on backorder. The following week, BOTH orders arrived. I called, offered to pay for both but they refused. Happy New Year to me! (you too!)

  • ohnoesaz

    They replaced the bag. Now that I know the original expired bag is ok to feed, I have two bags I can use. Normally I’d feel guilty, but I’ve been loyal to petflow and plan to stay loyal so they’ll win in the end.

  • InkedMarie

    Thats great!  Did they refund you or send you a new bag?

  • ohnoesaz

    Just FYI… Petflow did fix the situation with the expired bag.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Orijin is coming out with a freeze dried that I can’t wait to try for travel.

  • monkey

    The calcium to phosphorus ratios on Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance bothers me. I’ve been meaning to email them. Chicken for example, MINIMUM calcium is 1% and MAX phosphorus is .46%.

    So no matter what the ratio is going to be greater than 2:1 and ideally don’t we want in the middle of that?

  • Only Natural Pet MaxMeat uses antibiotic/hormone free chicken/beef.  You might also consider Ziwipeak or Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance.

  • Agiledawgz

    I normally feed a raw diet, but I always need something for travel.  I might try this food however the chicken and beef can have antibiotics and hormones in it.  This information is off their own website.  So if your are worried about such do not feed the chicken or beef.

  • ohnoesaz

    I fed my expired bag today. All seven dogs are still alive! 🙂

    The food is so dried I can’t see any way this could possibly spoil. It’s like holding one of those Stewart brand freeze dried liver treats, which are popular and sold at most pet stores so that’s why I used it as an example.

    I agree, this stuff needs rehydration and I wouldn’t feel comfortable feeding it dry. Since I mix it with wet The honest Kitchen then that’s plenty of water already but anyone feeding just DNA needs to spend time trying to rehydrate.

    I went ahead and ordered a second DNA bag. This time from petfooddirect. I’ll let the DFA’rs know what the date on the bag is when it arrives.

  • monkey

    Ken Wilks, I would probably consider feeding DNA if the fat levels were a little lower. Just food for thought 🙂

  • ohnoesaz

    Ken, I emailed you with the information that my expired bag has the date of 12/6/12 on it and today is 12/28/12, and I asked if you felt it would still be safe to feed. That email from me might be what you’re referring to when you responded here to Betsy. So, thanks for your reply to this thread!

    I guess I’ll go ahead and feed it and find a different place to buy DNA from online. I know other websites sell it but the trick is finding one with a distribution center as close to the west coast as possible.

  • Hi Ken,

    The food I purchased that was close to expiration wasn’t actually DNA (I should clarified that also :). However, I’m sure that ohnoesaz, who did purchase DNA, will feel much better reading your post. That’s interesting information you’ve shared.

    So, since I’ve got your ear, or in this case, eye… the expiration date refers to the bag unopened, right? Once opened, how long would you expect the food to stay fresh and, probably more importantly, what do you think is the very best way way to store food for both short term and long term usage? I have both Vittles Vaults and Simplehuman containers, but open the bags and dump the food in (rather than putting the bag inside with the top rolled down, etc.). We’ve also discussed refrigeration and freezing of unused portions of food recently; do you recommend for / against either?

    Thanks for your input!

  • Ken Wilks w/ DNA

    Hi Betsy,
    DNA just completed accelerated aging trials that allow the food to be dated for 18 months.  The bag you have was dated to expire in 12 months.  The way we were able to get approved for 18 months is because we have the food in “suspended animation” by taking the oxygen out of the bag.  Have no fear, the food is good for at least 18 months (6 months longer than your expiration).  We are now testing it for 2 years.  The oxygen removers we add could allow the food to be good indefinitely!

  • InkedMarie

    I didn’t know they have free returns but I thought you got expired food…for that, they would have let me return it or free, trust me. I’ll be honest, I can’t afford to buy a big bag of food and donate or give it away. I think I will double check when I next order from PetFlow that its well within a usable timeframe.

  • You know what, I should’ve been more clear. The bags I received weren’t expired, but were within months of expiring.

    I didn’t realize that both Petflow and wag both have free returns until just now when I looked at their return policies. At wag, you have 365 days to return something, but petflow’s site doesn’t specific a time frame. It’s funny though, both say the product can’t be used or expired and must be in the original packaging. Hopefully, if the food was expired when you received it, they’d still take it back.

    I’ve never actually returned dog food, opened or not. I’ve always either given it away or donated it.

  • InkedMarie

    ohnoesaz and Betsy, I hope you sent the food back to PetFlow! I got a bag of Dr. Tim’s a couple weeks ago from them, bag was only three months old. I hope it’s always that fresh. If I get old bags, I won’t keep it.

  • I’ve received old bags of food in the past from Petflow also. That’s very frustrating, isn’t it. Especially when you’re a stock-piler like me who is already a rotation ahead.

  • ohnoesaz

    I ordered some DNA from petflow and received an old bag. Just a word of warning to fellow DFA’ers!

  • Cypher_6

    This is the first dog food in a long time that I’ve been happy to feed my Chow Chow, he has food allergies to chicken, beef,bison, and corn. He has never liked fish based foods but the Venison/Salmon he eats and loves, he is now excited to eat again and that makes me happy. After 2 weeks on this his scratching and shedding is almost non-existant, this really makes me happy as I don’t have to vacuum every day and he isn’t miserable with all the scratching.
    It is nearly twice the cost of the previous brands he was getting, but my guy is worth it.

    Thanks for an amazing product

  • Ken

    Hi Jennifer- you are correct, the terminology we use to describe how much meat is in a food is confusing. DNA is a diced and dried raw diet made primarily from fresh whole meat. Most frozen raw diets for dogs contain about 2/3 meat along with other ingredients to make a complete and balanced diet- DNA is no different. To compare, traditional (extruded) kibble is usually 2/3 grain or potato flour, and often uses Pre-cooked rendered meat that has been dried into a powder (meal). To add to the confusion, many kibble companies market the meat content of their food without discussing how much of the diet is really an inexpensive starch. So, compared to kibble, DNA is primarlily made from whole fresh meat- but about 1/3 of the fomula is other ingredients like egg, friuts and vegggies. I hope this helps.

  • Jenifermorrell

    Ken, I’m confused. Reading the ingredients of DNA, it is not a “whole meat” product. I see several other ingredients list. Can you explain?

  • Debadabbadoo

    My dog adores the Venison/Salmon flavor and it makes travel so much easier than lugging fresh food. I think it’s far superior to mixes like Honest Kitchen (which don’t seem to agree with my dog’s tummy and don’t have enough meat to feed without supplementing.) I generally use it a few times a week–when I’m too lazy to prepare fresh food or feel he needs more variety in his diet. I put each meal’s worth of DNA in a 16 oz Pyrex bowl with the water and refrigerate. When it’s dinner time, I warm the Pyrex slightly in the microwave. It couldn’t be easier and it absorbs the water well.

  • Hi Jenifermorrell,

    Can you justify the cost since it sounds as though he’s healthier and you might not be needing digestive supplements or making as many trips to the vet?

  • Ken Wilks

    Jenifer, thank you so much for the kudos.  Whole food without the fillers can solve a lot of digestive issues in both humans and pets.  I hear you on cost though.  Traditional kibble keeps the costs down by using about 2/3 starch fillers.  A whole meat product can be expensive to feed.  You might perhaps consider supplementing your Dane’s diet with DNA occasionally to still get the some whole food benefit.  Again, thank you!

  • Jenifermorrell

    Man, I love this food, but it is incredibly expensive to feed my Dane (about $6 a day). I must say, though, that it sure helped fix his gut issues. Sad that I have to say good-bye to DNA, though, as we just can’t afford the cost.

  • Hlnhale45

    Thanks Ken,
    My dog at 14 yrs. old finally found a food DNA that he would eat his whole meal and is also very playful.
    Thanks again for your help 

  • Great review! My dog loves this stuff, you can re-hydrate in in water and it’s still crunchy. The only place in Boston that I know of who sells DNA is Brookine Grooming and Pet Supplies.

  • Kirby

    Hi Hound Dog Mom.
    Thanks for the info will try NRG Maxim if I can’t get DNA in my area. 

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Have you tried the NRG Maxim? That doesn’t have oats, if the oats are what’s the issue.

  • Kirby

    Thanks for your reply, hopefully a Global store in my area with carry DNA, My dog is currently eatingNRG chicken with oats but the oats seam to upset his stomach his is a very picky eater so was happy to see him eat and he loves chicken but not so good to see oats on the carpet.

  • Ken Wilks

    Hi Kirby – we just launched in Canada.  Many of the Global stores have picked up DNA already.  Please email your location to me at [email protected] and I’ll find a store near to you.

  • Ken Wilks

    Thank you for recognizing the value in DNA.  While not quite as “good” as raw in terms of having all of the amino acids and enzymes intact, when you air-dry raw food instead of freeze-drying it, it makes a big difference in price……so good to hear from you!

  • Kirby

    Is this product available in Canada, if so what stores??

  • Petnannyservice

    We LOVE this food its an economical raw food alternative. We have bearded dogs so the fact that it holds its shape once hydrated is WONDERFUL for us…. doesn’t get mushy and stick to their beards “yeah”!Also my dogs lick the bowl clean….super excited about this food thank you so much Ken for producing a premium natural food at an affordable price.

  • Monkey,
    Thank you for the link. I just read that someone got a sample hahaha just thought I’d take a shot at it! Have your dogs tried this food? 

  • monkey

    Hi Angie,
    this is just a site that reviews and has discussions about pet food. Try contacting DNA directly and they might be able to help out: http://www.dnapetfood.com/contact-us

  • Hi, I’m really interested in this product and would like to know if you guys have any samples I can have before I spend 80+ dollars (I’m still in college -_-) lol but I still really want the best for my dog. He has was diagnosed with IBD so it’s really hard to find something for him. This product looks amazing though so any sample would be really appreciated!! 

  • Johnandchristo

    Hi Ken……..

    Thank you for the samples. DNA was a big hit with my dog. the ingredients are very impressive. I’m sure I’m not the only one that appreciates the courage it takes to come on a public forum and answer questions. It seems that the best products have nothing to fear. Thanks again.

  • dugitup – dog food guide

    Hi Ken,

    There are some of us here at Dog Food Advisor who are very interested in “arcane nutritional philosophy” as well as arcane nutritional facts.

    I have spoken before with you about DNA when I first became aware of your food last year.

    Thank you for all the information you have provided to me in the past and for answering my question today here in a public forum.

    I will call you for additional details.


  • Ken

    AAFCO (The Association of Feed Control Officials) requires protein minimums, fat minimums to be reported. Manufacturers intentionally make foods that are slightly higher than minimums in order to meet those guarantees. If you look closely at the guaranteed analysis of any pet food , you will see either a “min” or “max” next the percentage being reported.
    As to your other question, I will be happy to discuss more arcane nutrional philosophy with you directly. Please feel free to call me om my cell at 806-290-4570.

  • Dave’s Hounds

    Get ready Ken – here it comes

  • BryanV21

    Now you’re going after somebody else? Would you give it a rest, already? If you have questions about a food then contact the manufacturer. Please.

  • dugitup – dog food guide


    On your website there is variation in all the proteins as they are listed in each varieties nutritional analysis vs the ACTUAL protein levels reported from your tests.

    All of the Actual protein levels are higher than what is reported in the nutritional analyses. The chicken is over 10% higher.

    One of the issues I have with your food is the HIGH amount of fat calories in proportion to the protein calories.

    What would the percentages of protein, fat and carbohydrates be on a calorie weighted basis for all your foods if you calculated them on an as fed basis?

    Thank you

  • Ken

    Yes that lot code is yeast free!

  • Linda

    Oops! My previous question was meant for Ken….

  • Linda


    Do bags of the lamb, Best Buy 12/27/12, Lot #11361 contain brewer’s yeast?  

  • Ken

    Try doggiefood.com, petfooddirect.com, Cherrybrook.com there are others but these are the first three to sell DNA online.

  • Dave’s Hounds

    Is DNA available online? There do no seem to be any retailers in my area. 

  • BryanV21

    It’s main purpose is to be a food on it’s own, as it’s a complete diet. Unlike… say… Evanger’s canned game meats, which aren’t a complete diet.

    If you’re looking for a good topper I’d steer you to canned/wet foods. Or canned tripe works really well as a topper, as most dogs love it (only downfall is that it stinks something fierce). Speaking of tripe, I sell freeze-dried tripe, which some people will grate over a dog’s kibble (it still smells, but not as bad).

  • Srials

    Does this food serve as a good kibble topper? Or is it best used as the kibble itself?

  • Ken Wilks


    Rest assured your bag is yeast free.  We took the Brewers Yeast out as of 12/11  (we date the Best Buy for One year out from date of manufacture) – so any bag dated with a Best Buy date of 1/13, 2/13, 3/13 etc. will definitely not have yeast in it.  The labels are gradually changing to reflect the removal of yeast and should be completely out of the supply chain by the end of 2012.  AAFCO allows us to make the change on labels within one year to avoid having to throw them out for something like removing a minor ingredient.

  • gregg

    so i have a bag that says best buy feb 2013….it mentions yeast in ingrediants but it IS YEAST FREE IS WHAT YOUR SAYING.  I do need to know thanks Ken

  • Pugsonraw

    I picked up some of the beef too….

  • doggonefedup

    I just tried the lamb formula. I mixed it with fresh “parboiled” boneless lamb chops and the water I used to parboil.  l let it cool to room temp, and they tore it up. No hesitation and spotlessly clean bowls. I think this may go into the kibble rotation.

  • So true…no crumbs of anykind in  my house.

  • Ken Wilks


    Thank you for trying DNA – I am glad your dogs like it.  We are finding a lot of raw food users supplementing with DNA because it is easier to use and about half the cost (though admittedly not as “good” – only about 2/3 the active amino acids & enzymes of raw). I really appreciate this site and the even handed approach they use to rate foods – I wish they were all this way.  

  • Pugsonraw

    Hi Ken!

    Wow, thanks for responding.  We like when the founders of their products are out here on DFA taking an active interest in our comments.  If my pugs would let the food sit for “15 minutes” that would be ideal but they are impatient at feeding times. It probably rehydrated for about 5 minutes and it in no way slowed them down.  I did hear some crunching going on….. it made me laugh.  I would definitely try out the other flavors.  I don’t think my pugs would mind any crumbs……

    Dawn aka PugsonRaw

  • Ken Wilks

    My recommendation is to rehydrate it – this gives dogs (and cats soon) more water in their diet, and aids in hydration for dogs that are a little reluctant to drink enough water.  Add hot tap water enough to cover the food in a small container (about 180 degrees) and allow to soak for about 15 minute.  The food will remain “solid” and meaty in appearance and will not mush up – this solidity is due to the egg.

  • Kwilks

    Hi Elizo
    I am sorry about the amount of powder you found in the food.  When we initially started making DNA, some of the early runs had some powder (what we call fines).  Normally this is no big deal if you are rehydrating DNA foods, but I understand that if you feed it dry, some dogs will not want to eat the fines.  Anyone that has this experience is invited to write to [email protected] and give the date code of the product if possible.  We will glady send out to you exchanged product for the entire bag or just send you more product the amount of fines (as you noted 1 lb.).  This is a new innovative food, and we did not get it 100% right on the fines right out of the gate.  Since that time we have greatly improved the production process and have minimized the fines to about 1%.

  • Pugsonraw

    Hi Sandy,

    I will probably try it both ways. Maybe with water first to see how it goes. Some of the other posters mentioned it didn’t rehydrate well. I like to test drive products and see first hand how it goes.

  • Are you going to serve it wet or dry or try both?

  • Pugsonraw

    I ‘ve been seeing this food for the past two months at my local pet store. Bought a sample bag of Venison/salmon to try with the pugs tomorrow. Wanted to check it out so opened it up and these are small cube pieces. Reminds me a little of Steves dehydrated Real Food. Will see how it goes.

  • ElizO

    I received the 12 lb bag of the Venison and Salmon Formula a few days ago.   When I opened the bag, I was surprised by the amount of powder inside the bag.   I emptied the food into two plastic containers, poured the powder into a zip-loc bag, and weighed it – the powder weighs 1 lb 4 ozs.   This amount of waste is extremely costly.  What shall I do with this amount of powder?   My havanese will not eat it.

  • Ken

    Probiotics would be an interesting comparison among most extruded dry foods.  DNA is not extruded, however. It is a dehydrated raw food dried at 180 degrees,so a comparison against most other dry foods is like comparing apples to oranges.  Most commerically available extruded food is cooked at high temperaturs and contains at least 50% flour from grain or potato, so probiotics are a help to dogs in digesting a level of starch and biologically inactive food that they do not encounter in the wild.  A good comparison for humans would be how we feel lethargic after a heavy meal of starches including bread and potatoes, and how we feel after a meal of chicken soup with vegetables.  More energy and pro-biotic help is needed for dogs to eat most extruded commercial diets containing a lot of starch. Since DNA is comprised of Meat, egg, oils fruits and vegetables, the boost of pro-biotics to deal with high levels of flour is not required.

  • ohnoesaz

    Mike, is there any reason the review does not make note of the product lacking probiotics? This note can be important to people who are having a hard time reaching a final decision between two products.

  • I purchased two flavors of DNA & my dogs loved both – HOWEVER –  I bought it to use in addition to their kibble thinking it could be rehydrated like K9Naturals, Stella n’ Chewy’s, THK, etc.  This is NOT the case.  It does NOT rehydrate even if left to stand 45 mins.  I understand, Ken, that the product will not swell but it SHOULD soften — it does not — it remains hard & crunchy in the centers.  While DNA seems to be an excellent kibble, it is far too expensive to feed two large dogs on this product, alone.

  • Guest

    My dog loves the lamb dry. He eats a piece at at time throughout the day as if it were a treat. He will also eat a good bit dry at his mealtime.

  • Guest

    Our fussy dog loves this food dry. Walks by the dish and will pick up a piece or two like a treat. I do have a concern about the dry food bloating his stomach once it mixes with fluid in his stomach.

  • Guest

    It’s all dried and can be served dry or add water and let soak.

  • Ken

    To answer your question , DNA starts out with raw meat (60%) whole dried fruits and veggies (15%) egg (15%) added oils (10%) and vitamins (0.3%) and is blended into a loaf. After the loaf sets up into a kind of meat loaf, it is diced, then sent off to a low temperature drying oven (180f degrees). The result is a square kibble that has no potato, grain or other starch filler. It can be fed as is, or rehydrated back into solid, meaty cubes. A cup of dry DNA weighs about 35 grams, compared to a cup of regular extruded kibble at about 95 grams. The difference is air- so DNA does not expand when rehydrated- the water just soaks in and replaces the air.

  • Fuzzy Pants

    I’m confused. Is it just the veggies that are dried and the meat is kibble or is the meat in dried form as well?

  • DAWN


  • Tim

    i just fed the chicken formula – my dogs went crazy for it dry.  They usually dont get this excited unless I am using training treats.  I usually feed raw food to dogs I am showing, and supplement with freeze dried once in a while.  I am looking forward to using this food instead of raw when I travel to shows….a lot cheaper and seems much better than feeding them cereal or potatos.  I’ve used some other dehydrated foods that you have to add water to, and don’t like how the mush gets on my dogs beards.  DNA rehydrates back into a meaty cube and does not turn to much – thank goodness.  This is a much cheaper way for me to get the benefits of raw food without the need to haul around dry ice.

  • Greyhound

    I purchased this food after emailing Ken Wilkes, the owner.  It is not at all what I was expecting.  I have, twice, added water and let it sit for 45 minutes and it was absolutely nothing like canned food as advertised, most of the water was not absorbed.  Also, my dog’s stool was very, very soft which is very unusual for her.  I have a 60lb. dog.  I rotate Stella & Chewy’s duck, surf & turf, beef, K9 Natural beef, Honest Kitchen Zeal and Ziwi Peak Venison.  I was hoping to be able to lower my dog food bill by adding DNA to the mix.  Sadly, I’ll just be adding 1/4 cup DNA to one of the other foods that I feed once or twice a week until I use it up and will not buy it again.

  • lisama

    I bought some different flavors of DNA food to try out. I really like the food but I don’t think that the food is worth such a high price. This food smells terrific, but my small dogs don’t like that the kibble doesn’t soak up well. I feed the same amount of this food as other high quality foods so there is no savings by feeding less. I also think this food should be compared to dry food measure and not equated to canned food measures. There are still things to be worked out with this food. I also still want to see the organ meats in it, but they will not ever be put in because too many people don’t understand how darned important organ meats are to our dogs. That is information I gained by writing to Ken Wilks, founder of  DNA foods. I am not sure I will buy again as the cost outweighs any benefits. I was hoping for better and I am disappointed.

  • You may be wondering what holistic dog food is. This dog food is a healthier form ofdog food then the traditional ordinary forms of dog food and many people are beginning to feed their dog holistic food.

  • Ron

     Hello Ken,

    Thank You, good to know.


  • bellasmom

    How do I feed this food? There are no instructions about the amount of water to add. Thanks!

  • Ken Wilks

    Hi Ron,

    My name is Ken Wilks and I founded DNA Pet Food Inc. We originally included yeast due to the benefits it offered. I have heard a number of folks voice concern, however. In response to those concerns, I took out the yeast. Labels will reflect this in coming months. Any product with a “best buy” date of January xx, 2013 is yeast-free.

  • Ron

    I just bought a bag of this to try. To early to tell, but
    I wish they would have left the yeast out.
    Can be a big problem for yeasty dogs.