Review of Instinct Raw Frozen Diets
Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw frozen dog food earns the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4.5 stars.
The Instinct Raw product line includes the 11 frozen dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Use the following links to check prices and package sizes at an online retailer.
|Instinct Raw Frozen Bites Grass-Fed Lamb||4.5||M|
|Instinct Raw Frozen Bites Cage-Free Chicken||4.5||M|
|Instinct Raw Frozen Bites Real Beef||4.5||M|
|Instinct Raw Frozen Bites Senior Cage-Free Chicken||5||M|
|Instinct Raw Frozen Medallions Real Beef||5||A|
|Instinct Raw Frozen Medallions Cage-Free Chicken||4.5||A|
|Instinct Raw Frozen Medallions Grass-Fed Lamb||4.5||A|
|Instinct Raw Frozen Patties Real Beef||4.5||M|
|Instinct Raw Frozen Patties Cage-Free Chicken||4.5||M|
|Instinct Raw Frozen Bites Puppy Cage-Free Chicken||5||G|
Recipe and Label Analysis
Instinct Raw Frozen Bites Beef Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Frozen Bites Real Beef Recipe
Raw Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef, beef liver, beef kidney, beef spleen, carrots, apples, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, ground miscanthus grass, montmorillonite clay, ground flaxseed, salmon oil, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement), salt, tricalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate), blueberries, spinach
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 10%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||40%||27%||25%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||50%||19%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The third item is beef kidney, an organ meat low in fat and rich in protein and essential minerals.
The next ingredient is beef spleen, an additional organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a positive addition to this recipe.
The fifth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
The seventh ingredient is sweet potato, which is a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The eighth ingredient is squash, a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
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 Nature’s Variety product.
With 5 notable exceptions…
First, montmorillonite clay is a naturally occurring compound rich in many trace minerals. Montmorillonite has been approved for use in USDA Organic Certified products.
Reported benefits include the binding of certain mold-based toxins and even controlling diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Next, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
In addition, salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
Next, miscanthus grass, also known as elephant grass, is a non-GMO source of crude fiber.
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.
Based on its ingredient panel, Instinct Raw Frozen Dog Food looks like an above-average product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 41% and a mean fat level of 28%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 23% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 68%.
Which means this Instinct product line contains…
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a raw product containing a notable of meat.
Our Rating of Instinct Raw Frozen Dog Food
Instinct Raw is a grain-free frozen dog food using a notable amount of named meats and organs as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
Has Instinct Brand Dog Food Been Recalled?
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Nature’s Variety.
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Dog Food Recall of July 2015 (7/24/2015)
- Nature’s Variety Dog Food Recall February 2013 (2/15/2013)
- Nature’s Variety Dog Food Recall July 2012 (7/12/2012)
- Nature’s Variety Dog Food Recall March 2010 (3/9/2010)
- Nature’s Variety Dog Food Recall February 2010 (2/14/2010)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
Get Free Recall Alerts
Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.
More Nature’s Variety Brand Reviews
The following Nature’s Variety dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
- Instinct Be Natural Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Instinct Dog Food Review
- Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Instinct Original Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Instinct Raw Boost Dog Food Review (Dry)
A Final Word
The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.
However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.
For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.
Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
06/22/2021 Last Update