Instinct Raw Frozen Diets (Raw Frozen)


Rating: ★★★★½

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw frozen dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Instinct Raw product line includes 5 frozen dog foods.

Depending on the recipe, some are available as bites, medallions, and patties.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

Use links below to compare price and package sizes at an online retailer.

Instinct Raw Beef Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Beef Formula

Raw Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 43% | Fat = 27% | Carbs = 22%

Ingredients: Beef, beef liver, beef kidney, beef spleen, apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, montmorillonite clay, tricalcium phosphate, ground flaxseed, salmon oil, salt, potassium chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement), choline chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate), blueberries, spinach

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.7%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis13%8%NA
Dry Matter Basis43%27%22%
Calorie Weighted Basis33%50%17%
Protein = 33% | Fat = 50% | Carbs = 17%

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 ingredient is beef kidney, an organ meat low in fat and rich in protein and essential minerals.

The fourth ingredient is beef spleen, an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a positive addition to this recipe.

The fifth ingredient includes apples, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.

The sixth ingredient lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The seventh ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The eighth ingredient is squash. Squash is 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 product.

With four 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.

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.

Nature’s Variety Instinct
Raw Frozen Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Instinct Raw looks like an above-average raw dog food.

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 43%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 22%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 42% 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 67%.

Near-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.

However, with 50% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 33% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.

Bottom line?

Instinct Raw is a meat-based raw dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly 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.

Nature’s Variety Dog Food
Recall History

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

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

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

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
and Discounts

Readers are invited to check for coupons and discounts shared by others in our Dog Food Coupons Forum.

Or click the buying tip below. Please be advised we receive a fee for referrals made to the following online store.

Special FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

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 on its product label or its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the 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.

However, we do receive an affiliate fee from certain online retailers, including some that offer their own private label brands.

This policy helps support the operation of our website and keeps access to all our content completely free to the public.

In any case, please be assured it is always our intention to remain objective, impartial and unbiased when conducting our analysis.

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

Notes and Updates

07/09/2018 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials

{ 792 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. If you wanted to feed your dog microwaved food you should have just got it some Hot Pockets.

  2. One of our chronic pukers does boneless raw with occasional (GASP!) canned food, because bone in any form causes nasty issues for him. Our others have no problem! Keep in mind we feed 10% soft, edible bones only, no ground marrow bones here.


    The vet suspects a hiatal hernia but we avoided the scope to be sure because what we’re doing works.
    Vet also asked us to try an acid reducer short term which worked; the stomach problems went away, and once the dog was off the acid reducer the problem came back twice as bad leading the vet to believe a part of his problem is chronic low stomach acid (he’s never been robust or “healthy”). We’re finding what he’s good with and not good with (he does poorly with dry or any edible bones, does very well with boneless raw, cooked meats or canned foods.)

  3. I had a similar experience as a result of listening to the homeopathic crowd.
    Went to the emergency vet, saw the x-rays, paid the vet bill.
    Even finely ground up bone can cause stomach and bowel obstructions (painful condition) it’s true.
    If you are receptive to science based veterinary medicine, go here

  4. Gail, are you a vet? My dog is under the care of a vet so I’m obviously not too concerned with your opinion. If the food is suspected of being a cause of inflamation, then a person can’t wait until things are healed, now can you? So I guess you can now stop being “most puzzled”. YES I can blame this food on the issues I quite clearly explained in my posting, contrary to you saying that I can not.. Your statement of saying that I “probably” switched the food too fast is idiotic. Were you here? Are you a mind reader? If so you need to stay out of my house or switch professions. For the record it was gradually added into his diet over a period of 2 weeks. But he did go off of the food IMMEDIATELY after seeing the x-ray and at the request of my vet. Why don’t you just read the info on the website and use what you want, ignore what you dont agree with and stop with the argumentative type of posts?

  5. Gail Taraschuk says:

    I think “I “would get another vet since she is having issues admitting she is wrong.I think she needs to get updated.

  6. Gail Taraschuk says:

    Thats sounds far fetched. A dog eats many ingredients at once and some digest different than others..I highly doubt that would kill a dog.

  7. Gail Taraschuk says:

    The ingredient in RC are horrible

  8. Gail Taraschuk says:

    Your dog already had issues to begin with so you cannot really blame this food !!! Also you probably changed the dogs food way too fast when it needs to be gradual. Changing your dog’s food when it is already sick is a bad idea. The dogs body should be healed first before switching its diet. Even healthy dogs can get stomach upsets etc… from changing food. it has to be done slow. I am most puzzled that you fed your dog this food when it already had inflamed stomach and intestinal tract and are blaming this food ?

  9. If his anal gland condition becomes chronic, ask the vet about removing his anal glands, it is a simple operation and stops all issues.
    Per the search engine

  10. Jennifer Fariello says:

    My 10 month old Giant Schnoodle has been having issues with his anal glands for the past 3 months. We get the manually drained by the groomer or vet and 2d later, smell is back & he starts to lick his butt. We’ve tried antibiotics, leukotiene inhibitors, FortiFlora, pumpkin, cottage cheese, changing his food, etc. Switching him to NV Raw Insticts was recommended to me by numerous people. I’m really confused on exactly what and how much to give him. He’s about 75# @ 10 months. Most recently he was eating Orijen Large Breed puppy food, 2 cups, 2x/day. Any guidance/suggestions on the amount and type of food is very appreciated!!

  11. Barbara Brehm says:

    The deep chested dogs have more problem with torsion or bloat and it happens to them most frequently, according to the studies. I will go along with the current philosophy until a proven cause is found just to avoid losing a dog with great pain for him in two hours after animal hospital hours.

  12. anon101 says:

    Next time you want to try a new food, consider Zignature. I am impressed.
    I use the kibble as a base, add bit of cooked ground turkey or something and a splash of water (2 meals a day)

  13. I don’t doubt it.. I felt awful when the vet showed me the xray… Going to try Susan’s recommendation and see how he does..

  14. Thanks for the info Susan.. Although I’m pretty sure I can’t find kangaroo here in Texas, USA, we do have Taste of the Wild.. I just went and picked up a small bag of the Lamb version and will give it a try. Thanks again!

  15. Hi Joe, my boy has IBD, I went thru a Animal Nutritionist to put him on a home made raw diet using human grade lean meat Kangaroo mince & blended green veggies & blended fruit & a supplement to replace the bone & organs, no bone or organ meats were added to his raw diet, grounded bone can irritate the bowel & organ meat can cause bad diarrhea with some dogs, my boy can NOT stomach any bone…. Stay away from the big commercial raw pet foods, it’s best to go with the smaller home pre-made organic raw diets, also they can be specially made to order…
    My nutritionist said she has been to a rendering plant where they make raw pet foods & the smell was AWFUL rotting flesh smell…Once your dogs stomach & bowel has healed, I’d start feeding a balanced home made cooked diet, your dog was probably put on a vet diet after this happened, he’ll need around 6 months for his stomach & bowel to heal fully… I feed “Taste Of The Wild” Sierra Mountain Roasted Lamb it has 1 single protein, Lamb & has limited easy to digest ingredients sweet potato egg & I also feed a cooked meal for dinner that I make a big batch once a fortnight & freeze in small meals & I feed the TOTW kibble for Breakfast & lunch…My boy is doing really well now..

  16. anon101 says:

    I have told people about this, even finely ground up bone can cause intestinal obstructions.
    Glad you were able to avoid surgery.

  17. Per Dogfood Advisor rankings I started feeding this to my dog which has issues with vomiting.. The condition got worse and I took him to a vet where he was x-rayed. My dog’s stomach and intestines lit up like a Christmas tree and my vet immediately asked “what are you feeding him? Whatever it is, it certainly isn’t helping.” Apparently the ground bone tends to attach itself to the intestinal tract and stomach. Without further research it’s unknown if the ground bone could be partially to blame for some of my dog’s issues.. He has been taken off of this food and x-rayed a couple of weeks later. X-rays seem to indicate the excess bone is now out of his system. So anyway, after the information I was given by my vet and looking at the x-rays, I would be careful with this food. Ground bone might not just have the benefit of getting calcium. It quite possible could cause problems..

  18. Yes, the frozen foods are formulated for all life stages.

  19. Tenerife Coton says:

    Is Instinct Raw Medallions formulated to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles”?

  20. Mike Oppenheim says:

    If you want her to gain weight naturally I suggest the supplement “Gain & Shine” available at Amazon. Great stuff. Dogs love it. Also UPCO bone meal, just a tablespoon per meal, dogs love it!

  21. Hi have you contacted NVI ? send them an email, if NVI is a good company they’ll have a Vet Nutritionist & they will contact you, unless you look for their old formula’s…..I know what your saying, I have a dog with IBD & there’s nothing like the formula being changed & they don’t release anything or tell no one that they have changed something…
    My vet was telling me Hills are really bad for doing this not telling no one they have changed a vet diet, the Hill Prescription vet diet Z/D kibble was changed end of last year & all these poor dogs with IBD & other health conditions became very ill, the vets didn’t know what was wrong, the soluble fiber had been increase & the ingredient list was still the same, so you didn’t know what had happened….
    It’s wrong these big pet food companies have the money to make big signs & put above their foods in the pet store’s & tell their customers we have change ??? formula’s….

  22. InkedMarie says:

    I believe, by law, that they have six months to announce formula changes on their bags.

  23. haleycookie says:

    I’ve worked pet retail for quite sometime and I’ve come to expect a formula change with a new look. Every year around summer time almost every brand in my store does a repackaging, reformulation, and/or releases new product in place of old. If you think this is bad you havent seen anything lol. I used to recommend blue wilderness to ppl, maybe a couple years ago, the formulas like rabbit and salmon for dogs who were sensitive to chicken because they didn’t have any chicken and they jammed chicken meal as second ingredient into every kind of wilderness food and raised the bags by 6-8 dollars and told nobody. That’s bad, I no longer recommend blue because of that. This company however didn’t do anything that every other company isnt doing right now. I’m sorry you’re so upset by it. I will still trust and believe in their venison and lamb raw boost formula and their regular chicken raw boost dog food.

  24. Jeff Spry says:

    No that is NOT true. I compared the bags and they are VERY different. Kilocalories much more. Fat, protein, all different. How can you say replacing Chicken Meal with Chicken, which is the inferior form, with all the water weight, is a good thing?! Plus you are avoiding the issue that they DID NOT tell consumers and nowhere on the new bag does it say the formula changed. Only the “look”. They have lost my trust and business.

  25. haleycookie says:

    NV only changed a few formulas and most of them have improved in my opinion and my rep for the company has already come to the pet store I work at and posted tags on the ones that did change. It’s mainly a bag change. The prices dropped significantly and the bags went down a pound or two.

  26. Jeff Spry says:

    BEWARE OF THIS FOOD. I am a breeder and dog show enthusiast and have used this food for years, BUT, they JUST CHANGED the bags and formulas without telling their customers. IT IS NOT THE SAME FOOD!!!! I compared the bags and they not only went from a 5lb bag to a 4lb bag, but there is not warning of a formula change in their Raw Boost Puppy Food. BAD BUSINESS!! Please call Nature’s Variety and call them out.

  27. bohicasis says:

    Different types of stones/crystals/struvite require different care. I would suggest finding out which one your canine had. Water and much of it, is very important as well as letting your dog fully empty his bladder several times a day

  28. bohicasis says:

    There is absolutely no reason to add a dry dog food or kibble. You may want to add chicken necks and chicken back so they can use their teeth and jaws rather than just eating mush.Chicken necks as the Perfect size for them . Just remember, no weight bearing bones and NEVER cooked cones. You can also add any raw meat you wish or veggies. Using canned, you are simply reverting to processed cooked .

  29. Kathryn Eden says:

    Feed a wet diet. Dry diets contribute to crystals. Same goes for cats. Add water to raw if you feed raw.

  30. disqus_SBl7sCuYS7 says:

    My dog had both (struvite and calcium oxalate), you can see my posts (anon101) if you go to forums and search bladder stones.
    The main causes that I was able to determine was inadequate fluid intake and genetic predisposition.
    So, I would add water to meals and offer frequent opportunities to urinate (every 2 hours ideal, at least every 4 hours), keep the bladder flushed.
    Stagnant conditions in the bladder contribute to the formation of bladder stones.
    Also, if the dogs symptoms (uti, frequent urination etc) return after antibiotic treatment(sometimes this happens) ask your vet if he did an x-ray to rule out calcium oxalate? Dogs can have more than one type of stone.
    I would stick with the prescription diet for now, maybe presoak it with water plus add a splash of water.
    Always have fresh water available.

  31. Kaywood says:

    My dog was diagnosed with bladder crystals a month ago.
    He was put on RC urinary so. His crystals are gone so I would like to look into different food options.
    Does anyone feed this raw food diet to a dog predisposed to bladder crystals or struvites?

  32. InkedMarie says:

    Five stars except for the one noted that is 4.5

  33. The varieties without a rating, are they 5 stars or have they not been rated at all?

  34. Gabbie Grapes says:

    Thank you!
    I think it’s so hard to find a “perfect” diet! There so much info and conflicting ways to do things. It sounds like you’re pretty close though!

  35. Jennifer Ackley says:

    Hi Gabbie
    It all depends on your dog. I feed her 3x a day but small portions so she doesn’t gain weight. I’m still trying to figure out the best nutrition for her. Natures variety is not the perfect food but it’s better than what she was on. I give her about 1/2 cup a day because she’s only 10 lbs. I rotate fruits, veggies and fats to try and make it a balanced diet. I’m always searching for better though. I wish I had the perfect diet for her. Good luck with your pooch

  36. Crazy4cats says:

    Does she think it’s ok to mix canned food in kibble? Like I said earlier, if you are not comfortable, by all means do not mix them. You would feel terrible for not listening to your vet if it caused your dog harm. My dogs have done fine with it for a couple of years now. I also use canned, sardines, eggs, and tripe as meal mixers.

    Are you feeding raw currently?

  37. Kathryn Eden says:

    Just checked again with the vet who said this. She said it’s not ideal to mix.

  38. Kathryn Eden says:

    Just checked again with the vet who told me this. Now she says she gives both.

  39. Kathryn Eden says:

    If raw has supplemental vitamins it’s good. Otherwise give canned too.

  40. Kathryn Eden says:

    If there is bone in the raw yes poops are smaller and smell less. Normal

  41. Kathryn Eden says:

    You can get good probiotics at Whole Foods.

  42. Gabbie Grapes says:

    I have a beagle boston mix who recently started shedding uncontrollably, has always itched, and just started getting ear issues again. I’m looking to switch her food and saw you mentioned frozen and dry kibble. What kinds?
    Also could you explain alternating the fats? She gets fish oil right now and occasionally coconut oil. I do rub coconut oil on her but don’t fed it often.
    Would you also be able to tell me what kind of fruits/veggies and where you get the kelp and probiotic from?
    Thank you and sorry for the many questions! 🙂

  43. Gabbie Grapes says:

    Could you tell me how much of eat you give your pup. My pup has never had junk food, but I just recently put her on a food that had grains, not realizing and her shedding went out of control, her skin dried right up, and her coat is so dry. I add coconut oil and a fish oil but need to change her food and add the goodies too!
    Thank you!

  44. Anthony Lozano says:

    that theory is just ridiculous… dogs in “nature” would come across all sorts of moisture content food.. little meat.. some dry stuff… to think they would “flip” their stomach and potentially die simply because they mixed a wet and a dry food is silly… the entire purpose of a gi tract (in any mammal) is the absorbsion and balancing of water. while it is moved along by peristalsisand broken down, the gut pulls and releases fluids. to say it gets digrested at “different rates” is inaccurate and no different than you eating a steak with some dry bread. the body is amazing and balances everything out. nature doesnt make it so complicated.. why should we.

  45. Crazy4cats says:

    That used to be a common belief, however, as raw becomes more popular that theory has been disproven. I have been mixing them together for about three years without issue. There are several other posters on here that do also. I also mix canned and fresh foods in their kibbles as well. They may digest at different rates also and have not had a problem with that either. By all means, if you are not comfortable with it, don’t do it! Btw, I’ve read that adding canned food to kibble may help prevent bloat or torsion. I don’t think it is really known what exactly causes it yet. There are several theories. Best of luck to you. Who knew that feeding dogs could be so complicated? 🙂

  46. hi – i did it once, i was told that you can mix both dry and raw, my dog, yorkie/chihuahua, was sick for nearly a week. that was just one meal that i did that

  47. Kathryn Eden says:

    I have been told by a veterinarian never to feed a raw meal mixed with kibble. Feed only one a time for that particular meal. Kibble digests at a different rate than raw and it can result in the stomach flipping ( don’t recall actual term) which can be fatal for a dog.

  48. Crazy4cats says:

    Hi Leanna-
    I believe all of their recipes are complete and balanced. Therefore, it is fine to feed it without any dry food added. If a food says for supplemental or intermittent use only, then you would need to add something to make it complete. I use commercial raw mixed in my dogs kibble three or four times per week without issue. They love it! Either way works. Hope this helps.

  49. Hello I just started my toy dog on this food . I was wondering if it is ok to feed him just this food or do I have to add dry food to it ?

  50. bohicasis says:

    I too was concerned about the amount of fat but looking at other pre packaged raw frozen i have seen fat content of over 62% in some. I think i will be using this from now on a only as a supplement. The last thing i want to be hit with is Pancreatitis. Just a concern as my Aussie/BC ages

  51. bohicasis says:

    Once it is introduced to the microwave it is no longer “raw” even on defrost mode. If you heat or microwave a patty and have it exceed 118 degrees it will destroy the active enzymes and phytonutrients. (from various articles)

  52. I have a Shih Tzu that has severe bouts of Pancreatitis. I tried special vet prescription diets that did not work. She is highly allergic to grains chicken and beef as well.
    I introduced the raw duck for small breeds, and it’s been 6 months without an attack!!
    Best thing I ever did, it saved her life.
    She only eats raw now, she looks healthier too.

  53. Jennifer Ackley says:

    After almost 15 years of junk dog food (SD & BB) I have finally discovered a raw diet for my dog. She still gets a variety of other things like organic pumpkin, homemade probiotic goats milk, flax meal & unrefined organic coconut oil just to name a few. She’s lost some weight and her coat is very soft. She has even stopped shedding. I only wish I had discovered it earlier.

  54. Would this food be okay for dog’s with a history of Pancreatitis, and 1 of them has a sensitive stomach to foods such as veggies also. Also I’m confused by the amount of fat which of the 3 stats shown for fat is the actual amount in the food? Thank you all, for your help.

  55. Crazy4cats says:

    This subject has come up before. It has something to do with the high level of minerals in certain vegetables that cause the sparks. Nature’s Variety has a good reputation. I can understand why you were concerned though. I have fed it a lot as a topper to my dogs’ kibble with no issues. I believe you can feed it without worry. I usually defrost in the microwave as well.

  56. I thought raw generally sparked in the microwave I mean I never saw it but I heard it and I’ve heard some other pretty wicked sounds from microwaving foods.

    I even thought the microwave blew up one time because their was like this exploding sound, I went to check it out and it was blowing up the food all over the walls nothing more, I think it’s the design or something but the way it projects some sounds can definitely be scary.

  57. Jason Kolar says:

    Hi I was Browsing your site for dog food for my new puppy. I noticed you rated this Instinct Raw food High. I thought I would share my experience with it. My local pet food supply store was promoting this stuff so I decided to buy some of the frozen Raw food to suplement my dogs food and give as treats. It was frozen so I decided to thaw it out in the microwave. I put some in the microwave for a few seconds and sparks started coming off the food. This was vary disturbing. I have never seen sparks off any food in the microwave before. I tossed the food in the garbage. They clearly put some kind of metal in this food. I am suprised more people have not reported this.

  58. Romeo Lakis says:

    I have been feeding my Pomeranian and Bichapoo the NV Small breed Raw Superfood boost, I cant seem to find any reviews about it on here? Anyone have any input?

  59. Mattie Claire says:

    My 3 Bostons love this stuff! They had bad skin allergies & pustules. After 3 yrs at the vets, removing all dyes, colors, scents, year round allergy meds & flea meds. Oh & steroids, antibiotics. Dietary changes, brand change, protein examined & tested & added junk removed when they said there was nothing more they could do. I won’t accept that. I was a body builder for 20 yrs & the most important thing is diet. So I spent 9 months researching dog nutrition. I tried doing all raw by myself. It’s too complicated & you have to be very careful & accurate so they are meeting their dietary needs. So more research, but I knew I was on to something. I tried them on NV raw frozen beef kibble. That alone cleared up all skin issues in 3 days! Omg I was so relieved cuz they were miserable. They get 1/2c frozen, 1/4c NV Instinct dry kibble. I alternate fats like sardine/anchovy oil, coconut oil (1/2) 2-3 x’s a week. Plus fresh fruits & veggies, pet kelp skin & coat 1/2 tsp 2x day & probiotic/bromaline supp. 1/8 tsp per feeding. No table scraps! They don’t need flea meds, their immune system is stellar, their coat looks like they’re ready for the show ring! They poop a lot less as there is less being wasted. They absorb most of it. They also fast 2times a month for 24 hrs. Their blood work is done 2x year to ensure all is well. No plaque on their teeth either. Their energy level went up. My daughter is a VT & always tries talking me out of feeding them what I do, but the proof is there to see. They tend to put on a bit of weight if your not careful. I have to adjust theirs every so often. Like my male tore his ACL & therefore less active so I cut his food back a bit. His ACL healed itself. I’m not lying. I have no affiliation with anybody any company or anything. I’m a 48 yr old retired lady. Who loves her dogs more than life. ❤️ Sorry so long.

  60. sharron says:

    thanks again for your help – lexee prefers the canisource dehydrated raw over the NV raw

  61. Cannoli says:

    shawna is correct feed with what you know is best and keep an eye on your dog. your dog will tell you best. my pup is fed 2lbs a day if he is sokely eating protein. he is a little over 60 lbs. if it’s kibble i feed him only 2 cups a day. if it’s a heavy exercise day meaning we are spending all day outside walking, hiking, and swimming he gets 21/2- 3 cups of kibble OR 3lbs of raw protein that day split into two meals

    on days he doesn’t exrcise or move around much i feed him less.

    people here are just giving you guidelines to experiment with but every dog’s metabolism is different

  62. Sharron,

    Don’t do what I say or what Aimee says or anyone else if you think it is not in Lexee’so best interest. You know her best. Start with whatever amount you feel is best and then watch her for signs that she needs more or less food.

    The point of my post was that dogs are different and what amount is best for one will be too little for some and too much for others.

  63. Hi Sharron,

    You reported that there are 182 cal in each cup of this food. You are feeding her 1/2 cup of food for a total of 91 calories and 23 from her treat for a total of 114 calories a day.

    Is this the total amount of calories you want to feed every day?

  64. i understand what you are saying – so i have Shawna saying to feed 1/2 cup a day – you are saying i should feed her more than 1/2 cup – so which is it? – 1/2 cup or more?

  65. sharron says:

    lexee is 12 lbs and would like her at 10

  66. sharron says:

    she gets a dental chew – a whole chew is 70 cals – i break the chew into 1/3rds – and she gets a 1/3 every night – the amt of food i am giving her she seems content with – she’s not looking for more food after she eats and she is able to go from breakfast to dinner – i don’t recall asking about how much to feed her – i thought a 1/4 cup of raw and 1/2 tsp of wet 2 x a day was appropriate

  67. For an 8 lb dog the recommended amount would be 8.6 grams and the min would be 6.9 grams.

    Keep in mind when formulating a diet for a dog in kidney failure the NRC rec. value is what is used

    At 1/2 cup you would barely make the min NRC value for an 8 lb dog. If the protein level in the diet is close to their guaranteed min.

  68. Crazy4dogs says:

    Why don’t you give Lexie a chew every other day since that’s over 10% of her daily recommended calories

  69. NRC stands for National Research Council.

    When you feed Lexie a dry diet there is very little water in it so your 1/2 cup of food represents all food for practical purposes.

    When you feed a canned or fresh diet that has a lot of water associated with it, your 1/2 cup of food is ~1/3 cup of water and 1/6 cup of “dry food”.

  70. theBCnut says:

    I believe Sharron has told us that Lexee is 10 lbs and over weight by a couple pounds, so maybe you should figure for an 8 lb dog.

  71. The NRC min and rec amounts are based on proteins of high digestibility and high quality.

    The NRC min amounts are equivalent to feeding 8% of calories as protein and the rec is based on 10 % calories fed as protein.

    AAFCO then interprets this for commonly used ingredients in commercial pet food.. So the AAFCO rec amount for kibble is ~16% calories fed as protein.

    How many grams of protein do you think a 10 lb dog should take in daily?

  72. sharron says:

    hi and thanks – first, what does NRC stand for and secondly Lexee looks like a Freshpet roll with legs – her max for food intake is around 4 oz a day, no more than that – she doesn’t have a big appetite so i doubt very much that she would even eat a cup of food

  73. The 8 grams a day is based on kibble though, correct?

    If two of my 12 pound dogs ate 1 cup of food a day (even high protein foods) they would be overeating.

  74. Hi Sharron,
    If feeding the raw frozen, keep in mind that the food has a much higher water content then dry food. If you only feed 1/2 cup of the raw bites you will not be meeting her nutrient needs or her calorie needs.

    For example NRC recommended protein need for a 10 lb dog calculates out to ~10 grams a day. If you feed 1/2 cup of Nature variety instinct raw bites chicken you would only be feeding Lexee 7 grams protein/day

    NRC min protein would be ~8 grams a day.

  75. InkedMarie says:

    Yes….one of the best raw perks!

  76. sharron says:

    hi – since being on this food for the past couple of days, i have noticed that Lexee’s poopies are really tiny and and not as frequent – she might go once a day or not at all – is this normal when you feed raw…thanks

  77. sharron says:

    thanks BC – i’m feeding her a little less than a 1/2 cup a day – she still wants wet with it, so i have cut back on the raw and give less than 1/4 cup 2 x a day with a 1/2 tsp of wet each meal

  78. theBCnut says:

    My 12 lbs. active JRT gets 3/4 cup of this. If I were you I would go with the 1/2 cup and watch her weight.

  79. sharron says:

    can’t find the turkey formula in stores, so i had a pet store ordered one in for me – hope she likes it

  80. sharron says:

    thanks so much shawna – i thought that a cup seemed a lot for her – will stay with the 1/2 cup/day – like i said last night – i have never fed Lexee a cup of food

  81. I just calculated the amount for my 12 pound Papillon that doesn’t need to lose weight but I said she did. The amount it says to feed is 1 cup of the raw bites beef a day. I feed Kippee about 4 ounces of food a day – which is half the recommended amount.

    Tumbleweeds, also 12 pounds, is older and eats more. He gets between 3/4 and one cup a day. My other Papillon, Mimi, also 12 pounds gains easily and she gets less then Kippee or Tumbles.

    I would definitely NOT use the recommended amount. Use what you normally feed and watch for small changes in weight and adjust quantity fed as needed.

  82. sharron says:

    NV is coming out with a small breed version of the instinct raw bites
    thought i would pass this little tidbit along to other little dog owners

  83. sharron says:

    i’ve tried stella and chewy, doesn’t care for it, and primal doesn’t like it either and a couple of canadian brands of raw, same thing – anyways thanks for your input
    a typical chihuahua is a moderately active chi

  84. Pitlove says:

    yes hopefully someone who has used a commercial diet can weigh in on this!

  85. sharron says:

    well for lexee 182 cals ‘;imo seems adequate and with her nightly dental chew which is about 23 cals that’s 205 cals a day and from what i have read a typical chihuahua should get around 200-205 – i think a typical chi means between an active puppy and a senior, – will have to check that out further

  86. Pitlove says:

    I’m not sure how that compares to other raw diets, but if I were thinking in terms of kibble that is very low calorie to me. I’m not that well versed on commercial raw diets though and what consitutes high or low calories.

  87. sharron says:

    there’s 182 cal/cup

  88. sharron says:


  89. Pitlove says:

    It probably has to do with the calories of NV vs the dry foods you’ve fed. Which flavor are you using?

  90. sharron says:

    hi – well lexee now has decided that she likes NV raw bites after all – the calculator on the NV website says to feed 1 cup/day – i indicated that she needs to lose weight when calculating the amt to feed – i have never fed her a cup a day – should i still stay with the 1/2 cup or even less

  91. Christy Wrede says:

    There was just a great article in the Whole Dog Journal last month about the Nature’s Variety company. Now I like them even more!

  92. Crazy4cats says:

    Hi Melena-
    We have been feeding K9 Natural frozen tripe, and Nature’s Variety, Primal or NW Naturals frozen raw nuggets as toppers for a few years now with no issue. Hope this helps!

  93. Cannoli says:

    if you are asking for commercial raw dog manufacture suggestions i don’t have any. i am not yet comfortable using them.

  94. Melena Peter says:

    Thanks Cannoil
    Oh no but thanks for letting me know . Is there any other for Food suggestion?

  95. Crazy4cats says:

    Yes, and it’s always the chicken that ends up being recalled.

  96. Cannoli says:

    glad to hear your dog likes instinct raw. my issue with instinct raw is that they have too many recalls which makes me shy away from their food.

  97. Here’s the opinion of another vet
    “The type of food you feed your pet can also be a contributor. The majority of kibble (dry food) on the market contains carbohydrates like corn, wheat, rice, soy and oatmeal. These carbs are highly fermentable, and fermentation produces gas.

    Fermentable carbohydrates can be considered a side effect of feeding your dog a non-species appropriate diet. Dogs don’t have a dietary carbohydrate requirement. The more carbs you feed to an animal with no requirement for them, the more gas they will produce.”

    Fermentation of carbohydrates makes more sense to me as the cause of bloat. If this is true, adding higher protein canned, home cooked or raw to a higher carb diet should reduce the risk of gas and bloat.

    In humans, food sensitivities (like gluten intolerance) seem to be a cause of abdominal gas and bloating. My guess is this would be true in dogs as well.

  98. 🙂 all the same applies. BRAVO is for cats and dogs, cat man do treat my dogs LOVE too, and grain free canned is preferred to kibble.

  99. agree, vet friend has reported serious problems due to different digestion times. Recommends not mixing kibble and raw in same meal. I think she said it was the stomach twisting thing which is life threatening.

  100. sharron says:

    lexee is a yorkie/chihuahua, not a cat
    though there are times i think she is one

  101. Its not easy getting older cats to switch over. Venison is usually liked. Chicken and rabbit are not a favorite of mine. you have to buy in small qualities and try different brands. They outright refuse some. Primal freeze dried is easy if they like that. expensive though. We have BRAVO brand here and my cats like that.It comes in Chubs. Heres a TIP worth trying . Buy life essentials Cat Man Do freeze dried chicken. Crumble it into a powder and sprinkle on top of the food they refuse. It works 100% of the time with all my guys. THEY LOVE IT. I could sprinkle it on dirt and I bet they’s gobble it up. You can make your own raw diet, on the link in my last post. again make a small quantity to find the meat they will eat. You can also try feeding them cooked chicken (organic please). I cook it overnight in a crock pot and it’s so soft the next day it can easily be crumbled. That mixed into grain free canned would be a good second choice if they refuse raw. Again I say unless you have your vitamins and minerals down pat “mix it up”, canned, cooked, raw, so you know they are getting proper nutrition.

  102. sharron says:

    thank you – will give it a try again…tried about 4-5 years ago with raw and it lasted about 2-3 days…she can be difficult to feed, she’s picky, my fault

  103. RC is not a breeders choice. DRY IS FULL OF CARBS AND FAT read this: Take her off the dry altogether and feed raw if you can, supplement with a grain free canned.I believe
    mixing it up is the best way to go to be sure you are getting all the vitamins and nutrients. Raw with bones can cause constipation at times.

  104. sharron says:

    would feeding this help with weight loss? – she is still at 5.4kg, even with increased length of walks, i am not overfeeding her, she gets 3 oz/day or 180-190 cals/day and that is including her nightly treat – no human food or other treats are given – she was at the vet yesterday for her annual check up, everything is fine, no issues at all – the vet said she is a little overweight but it’s not serious but i would be more comfortable if she lost a lb or 1 1/2 lbs – i have her still on royal canin moderate calorie dry and for the wet food, royal canin gastro low fat – could it be the food that has made her gain?……..thanks

  105. el d You really can’t ever stop can you? How can you even expect me to be keep silent this time with all that twist you put on things?

    That post of mine of you referred to above that was deleted, you know the “deja vu” post, I made that post to an id named Billy Barret. who showed up mysteriously as a first time poster and kept calling me a liar over something pretty silly, and hasn’t posted again since. another first and last in that conversation was Sue G.. Billy’s and Sues posts are still actually there. I sent a reply to billy earlier. On top of that, later on, there was a post from “losul the liar”-with some very derogatory commentary that replied to my “deja vu” post. I have that in my saved Email. Strange. I’ve also gotten losultheliar or losulthelier -identities popping up with very derogatory comments, with some later posts I made. I’m certain that I’m not the only one to have seen these.

    “The first thing you did when you returned to DFA (the review side)

    was post in a conversation I was having with Shawna and aimee about the MCT formula used in the Purina Bright Mind study.”

    I posted to Shawna on the MCT formula recently (1st post, and then you asked me (3) questions. more on that below.

    “Can you please link to the product or products you would use to

    “replicate” the ratio of 97% caprylic acid to 3% capric acid that was used in the study?”

    Let’s include the other 2 questions you asked too me, the ones before you edited them out, edited AFTER my reply to you;

    “Can you please link to the product you would use to “replicate” the
    3% capric acid in the formulation, while keeping the formula’s ratio
    of 97% caprylic acid to 3% capric acid?”

    “And if you could “replicate” the MCT formula used in the study, how
    would you incorporate it into a dog’s diet?”

    “Would you also try to “replicate” the total fat of 12.5% and the “tallow” to MCT ratio of 7% to 5.5%, or would you do something

    You appeared to have some kind of problem with the word “replicate” right then and there.I picked up on that and in my reply, I said “To me, replicate means, a similar copy, in the context I used it, i think, or i thought. you can call it mimic or simulate if you rather.” Further I went on to tell you “For me, i won’t even try too duplicate, replicate, or mimic it at all.” I then went on to tell you all the reasons I
    wouldn’t even try to to do so. Next you wanted to argue that usage
    of “replicate”was wrong but you didn’t even supply your source. I
    then gave you the source where I got my definition, and even then I
    said, “But I don’t think it necessary to argue over semantics. :-)”

    Aren’t maybe you the one having a problem arguing over this word,

    “You argued about the meaning of the word “replicate” and then
    things just got nasty.”

    I didn’t argue or want to argue, and yes you started to get
    nasty. Your last post there ( of which there were at least 5 revisions that i saw over a period of several hours) first one and last ones here;

    “Hi Losul
    I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I
    have no respect.
    Edward Gibbon”

    “Hi Losul
    “you know what they say about opinions”
    They say opinions are like Losuls, just kidding ;)”

    I finally replied to that with,
    “C’mon el. How bout we knock this stuff off now, before it turns
    into something not so funny again. We have this huge rift between us
    and always will. So why don’t we just do our best to ignore/avoid
    each other and keep the peace? I’m not on here much anymore anyway.”

    After awhile your post was finally deleted, you never answered mine, yet you then still found it necessary to go to that heartworm forum board and post what you did. I’m certain it was only meant to antagonize further.

    “”You see, I was already expecting a setup and attack of this sort.
    I already saw it coming”

    “As if someone, by simply asking you a question, could set you up to
    lie, and make you claim you had read a report which you in fact, had

    What I said above, was in reply to Billy Bennet, are saying you ARE
    Billy Bennet then? No mention of any of your names were made in that post. Both Billy Bennet and Ann G appeared out of nowhere, never posted before and haven’t posted since. Here was a series of his billy’s accusations;

    “losul I dont know why you lied yesterday or why your desperately
    trying to weave your way out of it today”

    “If i were you I would drop this. It’s your words not mine that
    prove you lied!!!!”

    “Now he’s trying desperatly to cover it up.”

    “You spun a story that wasn’t true and you got caught.”


    “Then you left DFA for over a year, only to return and pick up right
    where you left off.”

    I’ve never left DFA. In the about 3.5 years years I’ve been here on DFA I’ve remained silent and refrained from posting a few times but I’m almost always been very active reading posts. I haven’t missed very many. I’m very aware of goings ons. Manytimes in the wee morning hours (at least by my time) when you tend to post often, I’m here reading here/researching. How long have you been here in total?

    “So now I would like to extend an olive branch to you in hopes of a
    peaceful coexistence for you and I on DFA!”

    That’d be really great, but it’s more like you keep trying to beat me with a thornbush.

  106. Hi C4d

    It was meant as one 😉

  107. Crazy4dogs says:

    I’m taking that as a compliment! 😉

  108. you got that right!!!!!

  109. Hi C4d

    Except you, of course 😉

  110. Crazy4dogs says:

    Awe, c’mon kids! Play nice! 🙂

  111. Whenever there’s drama on DFA, it doesn’t matter what it’s about, or who it’s between, the same people who are replying to me now, show up.

    And it always goes the same way, first they comment to the poster whom they want “to school”, and then they start gossiping among themselves.

    C’est La Vie 😉

  112. aquariangt says:

    curious, isn’t it?

  113. LabsRawesome says:

    It was a very fake “welcome back” You were just building him up so you could knock him back down. You just spelled it all out in your post above.

  114. LabsRawesome says:

    I agree. His posts are passive aggressive. He tried to make me look stupid by saying that I should have given my condolences in a post. But I had replied to theBCnut, not the op that lost a dog. After I explained his mistake to him he deleted his “shaming” post to me. He’s been deleting a lot of posts lately. The post under this one is one of his deleted posts to Wolfwood claiming that Wolfwood is really losul.

  115. Storm's Mom says:

    I’m a bit are you able to see what Losul said a year ago? Previous posts are hidden, according to Losul’s profile.

  116. Your passive aggressive olive branch is very transparent.

    At least you didn’t contest his referring to you as James and even repeated it yourself.

  117. Hi Losul

    The first thing you did when you returned to DFA was post in a conversation I was having with Shawna and aimee about the MCT formula used in the Purina Bright Mind study.

    You said;

    “on the other hand, if one wanted to replicate the MCT’s (those that were
    used in the study), I think that can be done. I don’t see anything unique about the study MCT’s”

    The first thing I did was give you a very warm welcome back;

    “Hi Losul, Welcome back!

    That was a well researched and thought out post, with a lot of interesting questions and observations, great job ;)”

    Then I said;

    “Can you please link to the product or products you would use to “replicate” the ratio of 97% caprylic acid to 3% capric acid that was used in the study?

    Thanks Losul.”

    And as it turns out you were never able to do that because the formula used in the study can’t be replicated using products available to the public.

    So instead of saying you were probably mistaken as Shawna gracefully did;

    “I was likely incorrect in that the exact levels in the research paper could be achieved with supplementation”

    You argued about the meaning of the word “replicate” and then you just got nasty. So nasty in fact, that when I made this comment to you in the forums;

    “Hi Losul

    I’m glad that everything worked out well for you and turbo! I hope the new year brings you less stress”

    You replied;

    “Yeah right James. To all those with the GENUINE words that I hadn’t yet gotten back to, C4C, Glenna, BobbyDog, InkedMarie, anyone else, thank you for all the kindness and support. Turbo’s awesome, and I’m doing fine!”

    Imagine that, I tell you I’m glad that your dog Turbo is doing well, after his bout with heartworm, and you insult me and try to antagonize me by insinuating I’m a previous poster who was not very popular.

    In the past when another misinformed poster accused me of being someone else and using an alias. Dr Mike was kind enough to step in and set the record straight;

    “By the way, our server records do not show any link between this guest (me) and any previous identity. (James, or anyone else!)”

    And if all this is not bad enough, a poster named “Wolfwood” suddenly appears out of nowhere and attacks me for my stance on garlic. which just happens to be the last thing we argued about prior to your recent return.

    That argument ended when you said;

    “You see, I was already expecting a setup and attack of this sort. I already saw it coming”

    As if someone, by simply asking you a question, could set you up to lie, and make you claim you had read a report which you in fact, had not.

    Then you left DFA for over a year, only to return and pick up right where you left off.

    If you returned to DFA to argue with me, then I must commend you on a job well done, but if you returned for a different reason, then I ask you to please stop arguing with me, and get to it.

    Thank you Losul 😉

  118. That’s pretty funny – no, there is no alias. I’m a different person who disagrees with you (as do many others on the subject of garlic). The only deja vu here is silly posters such as yourself spouting off misinformation by others.

    Why so many people blindly repeat what others say without doing proper due diligence is beyond me.

  119. Nope, didn’t help at all (as I assumed it wouldn’t). You’re just spouting random statements made by others 🙂

    I repeat: Please post SPECIFIC FOOD STUDIES… not statements made by random vets. I can also post statements by random vets making the opposite statement. I really don’t know why you posted a link to “” to back up the safety/dangers of garlic. Is there a study on their website I missed? They actually know nothing on the subject of garlic, even though they post a warning about it. I have twice contacted them (using their contact form) about their stance on garlic, and both times, they were unable to even provide the source that led them to that recommendation, never mind any studies on garlic and dogs.

    Many traditional vets recommend “veterinary diet dog food” which are some of the worst offenders when it comes to the lowest quality pet food ingredients – certainly not the crap I’d ever feed to any dog or cat. In fact, some contain ingredients in these foods are banned in Europe as they are classed as carcinogenic. Yet traditional vets recommend them. Do you believe in such a recommendation simply because a vet made it? Many traditional vets outwardly denounce raw food diets completely with little to no justification. Obviously you disagree with them, based on your posts here… so perhaps consider questioning their logic on garlic and confirm it yourself by tracking down actual studies that prove your point.

    I learned a long time ago to dissect food labels on both human and pet food myself and do my own research. Vets are not pet nutritionists, just like doctors are not human nutritionists (they actually receive about 8hrs worth of nutritional education during their entire medical curriculum).

    I would trust a naturopathic doctor or vet far more than a traditional one on the subject of nutritional and preventative medicine. And I know of none that agree that garlic is toxic to dogs in the appropriate amount – they all recommend it.

  120. Hi Losul

    “Or maybe wolfwood is one of your own aliases?”

    This is what Dr Mike said when someone else mistakenly accused me of using an alias on DFA;

    “…By the way, our server records do not show any link between this guest (el doctor) and any previous identity”

    Bolded words were added by me.

    And as for me using your quote, I thought it fit this situation perfectly. I did NOT mean to imply it was you, that’s why I didn’t mention your name, sorry 🙁

  121. I see what you are trying to imply here el d.

    this was my quote yes: “”Well it’s deja vu all over again… You see, I was already expecting a setup and attack of this sort. I already saw it coming”

    this rest is NOT.

    what does that have to do with the poster wolfwood? I’ve never used any other identities period on DFA. Not once.NEVER. ONLY losul. Nor would i ever.

    That is simply not my M.O. unlike someone else I know. wolfwood’s post did seem strange, especially since it was replied to someone else, but directed to you. Or maybe wolfwood is one of your own aliases? I think Dr Mike has a way of finding where wolfwood originated, and I strongly encourage him to check into this.

    What’s more, my discussion about garlic ended 100% when I said it did. I had/have nothing further to say about garlic, and very little else to say to you.

  122. Hi Wolfwood, Welcome to DFA

    “Well it’s deja vu all over again… You see, I was already expecting a setup and attack of this sort. I already saw it coming.”

    You said;

    “your reply regarding garlic is simply not true at all and is misinformation repeated on various websites.”

    Here is some “evidence” I had posted in the past on garlic.

    Hope this helps 😉

  123. If you want a specific person to see your post, you should hit the reply widget under one of their posts and reply directly to that person.

  124. el doctor, your reply regarding garlic is simply not true at all and is misinformation repeated on various websites. Please post specific studies (the “evidence”) you mention which verifies what you have written. Garlic is NOT TOXIC to dogs in small quantities. Every naturopathic and holistic veterinarian recommends raw garlic, and Dr. Pitcairn, a highly respected and published author on pet health and pet diets advocates garlic on a daily basis in dog food (the amount depending on the weight). I have always used it in raw diets for my dogs and have never experienced any issues with it – in fact, they never get sick at all. Never have parasites, and never have gastrointestinal issues…

  125. LabsRawesome says:

    Montmorillonite Clay is a great product. Google it.

  126. ok ok ok..i read it in a feline forum. thank you for clearing it up. very much appreciated. no i didn’t ask.

  127. As theBCnut just stated below their rabbit hasn’t come from China for a minimum of 3 years, perhaps longer. Their rabbit is sourced from France. As also stated, someone has posted very old information in that other group you mention.

  128. It has been verified several times that they have stopped getting rabbit from China for all their foods. I wish people would stop posting old news when they have already heard the new news until they already confirmed that the new news is indeed correct. Do you expect them to just up and email you, out of the blue? They have been really good at answering other people’s requests for info, so I have to assume you didn’t ask, or at least not until everyone was gone for the holidays, and then decided to post anyway.

  129. I have changed my opinion on this brand. I feed raw. i supplement with the bites in either chicken, beef or lamb. my info rcvd from another group said their rabbit came form china so until NI tells me differently ( rumor they switched over to France for their rabbit) i’m sticking with it for my canine as a supplement to his raw. EXCEPT for the patties. For some reason or another..he vomits each and ever one up, No, not from gulping, not from being cold (room temp feeding)_jsut something about them..i have no idea what is different. The bites he has absolutely no issues with. As for the person who said that some of her bites were frozen together and she had to break them apart…that is due to them being thawed out and refrozen somewhere along the way. ( i know this as it happens every time i take the long way home and they thaw in my van when i can clearly feel them NOT clumped in the package before i check out) So, somewhere along they way…they thawed and were placed back in the freezer section. I’m a happy camper now, my canine is happy, my old cat is THRIVING.

  130. GonzoDeluxe says:

    Per their website: Montmorillonite is a natural clay that we source from deposits in southern Utah that is approved by AAFCO for use as an anticaking processing aid. We have used this same natural source for many years.”

    Don’t hesitate to contact their customer service (number online and on the products) with any questions. They’re super helpful.

  131. GonzoDeluxe says:

    In case you don’t see my reply above, Nature’s Variety has a very helpful customer service team available to answer consumer questions and concerns. The number is on their website and on the packaging. I think they’re available during work hours M-F.

  132. GonzoDeluxe says:

    Nature’s Variety raw foods vary in color from batch to batch because the meat is not highly processed and they do not add food coloring (which might cover the inconsistencies mentioned below). They use HPP (High Pressure Processing) to kill any bad bacteria while leaving the other nutrients in tact. Further, they test EVERY lot of food prepared four times (at different stages of production) to ensure it’s integrity and safety. If you have concerns or questions, there’s a phone number on the back of the bag and the people there actually answer the phones or call back very quickly. They’re very helpful.

  133. There are a lot of people who think if you mix a cooked meal with a raw meal at once you can cause some digestion upset. I just do Raw morning, kibble night, to be safe. (studied pet nutrition 10 years)

  134. I know the clay is very mineral rich, containing so many minerals that no one really gets these days from the water or soil we have. I’ve always seen the benefits outweigh the cons.

  135. Megan Smothers says:

    I’ve had my Boston terrier on the chicken formula for about 4 months now and I notice that the consistency of the food varies from bag to bag. Sometimes it’s a darker brown. Sometimes it’s a light pink color (more of what I would expect raw chicken to look like). The bites are different size. Sometimes they’re all about double the length of what they usually are and it smells different from bag to bag. Sometimes there will be giant frozen chunks that I have to chisel apart. I buy the food from at least 3 different stores depending where it’s on sale so I don’t think it’s how the store is handling the food. My biggest concern is that my dog’s bowl movements change from bag to bag. I can always tell we’ve started at new bag by her bowl movements. They’re not bad. Just different consistencies. Sometimes hard nuggets. Some times really long and on the softer side and color will change too. She doesn’t get anything else because she’s got a very sensitive system. Does anyone else notice these inconsistencies? Makes me really wonder about how this food is being produced and is it really safe? I hope so because my dog loves it and does well on it.

  136. Feline does excellent on the rabbit formula. Dog..vomited up every variety of this product. All returned for full refund. It was once hinted the the possibility was the high bone content…higher than recommended. This is a NO for my canine

  137. Call and ask if they are referring to DE powder. yes, i do have concerns about clay being added to any food.

  138. Chris Kavanagh says:

    Yet many dog foods use Garlic. If it was really harmful, we;d have 1000’s of sick dogs. . Yet, there is some evidence that garlic can be harmful over a period of time.

    In my experience it’s only harmful if given for very long periods of time, and not harmful at all in small amounts periodically. The benefits outweigh the danger in most dogs.

  139. Tracie Jones says:

    I’m curious about the clay ingredient mentioned in a few of the raw diets here. I read this clay has some bad effects, like addiction, med interactions, and cancer. Why would it be touted as a good ingredient?

  140. I feed my dog this brand he look great when the package say lean muscle it’s really mean what they say. My pitbull named coco, looks great & he eat every last bite. I highly recommend it. Just remember 7lb bag is 54 plus tax & last almost a week, but he looks great he coat looks great & you know what’s really in the food & it’s not processed unlike any dry or canned food.

  141. Massimo Reyna says:

    Thank you ver y much!! I will try

  142. Massimo Reyna says:

    Thank you very much i”ll try

  143. What is your experience with Ziwi? How does it compare?

  144. Christine Daley says:

    Try ziwi peak canned formulas!!

  145. Crazy4cats says:

    It depends on who you ask! LOL! I mix commercial raw nuggets or medallions into my dogs’ kibble three or four times per week with no problem. As C4D noted, you’ll just have to see what works best for you and your dog. Good luck!

  146. Crazy4dogs says:

    Some people mix the raw right in with the kibble and have no problems with it. I usually do kibble/canned mix for 1 meal and raw for the other. Just do a slow transition/addition and see which works best for your dog.

  147. Massimo Reyna says:

    Exist any problem if a mix kibble with barf food 2 or 3 days per week?

  148. Crazy4dogs says:

    Wonderful memories Dori! I do love chocolate and garlic, garlic cloves stuffed in pot or pork roast is to die for! 🙂 Not italian, but have grown up with garlic as well. I too, don’t always cook from recipes.
    Edit: I could possibly see garlic working in dessert in that sweet/savory mix that’s all the rage.

  149. I too am a chocoholic. Always have been. The dessert that she added garlic to didn’t taste like garlic to my recollection. I asked my sisters about it a little while ago and neither of them remember it tasting of garlic. My mother always believed that garlic was pretty much a cure all for what ails you. None of us can remember anything else that was in it. Mom never cooked from recipes.

  150. Crazy4dogs says:

    It is really good drizzled with a little olive oil. 🙂

  151. Crazy4cats says:

    I almost ALWAYS opt for convenience. That sounds like a terrific idea!

  152. Crazy4dogs says:

    Whole roasted garlic is delicious! My parents got a special ceramic bowl and you can microwave it (sorry, sometimes I opt for convenience). I would stop @ garlic dessert. I am an admitted chocoholic. 🙂

  153. Crazy4dogs says:

    LOL on the entire post C4C!!! 🙂

  154. Crazy4dogs says:

    Thanks C4C. I do follow a lot of the Dogs Naturally articles. That’s where I found the DE & pumpkin for worms. 🙂

  155. Oh, I’ve never tried pickled garlic. I’ll have to try.

  156. I give mine a break and recommend it as well (4 days on, 3 days off) but I’m not sure it’s really necessary. If giving a therapeutic dose I might give daily but on a maintenance dose I feel three or four times per week is adequate.

    Several of mine did get hit by giardia when a foster dog brought it in. Gave them a probiotic immediately and garlic with next meal as soon as I noticed symptoms and within 12 to 24 hours all dogs were back to normal. Guessing they all had a milder case allowing for faster recovery..

  157. Garlic dessert — YUM!!

    I don’t eat garlic daily but I do eat it often and, at times, eat HUGE amounts at a time. I’ll eat two or more whole roasted cloves when we “go out for garlic”. 🙂 My grand kids and I also eat pickled garlic — super yummy.

  158. That is another question that I can’t find a common answer to. I have enough going on that if I grate the garlic first it is usually 15 to 20 minutes before I’m actually setting the dog bowls down. I don’t remember where I read the 20 minute thing but it stuck. 🙂

    Dogs Naturally Magazine says 5 to 10 minutes.

    That said, it makes more sense to me that allicin begins to immediately form as it is the plants defense against bugs. If it took 15 to 20 minutes (or even 5 to 10 minutes) for the allicin to form, the bug would have finish the clove. That may be simplistic thinking but… Allicin Facts website says it takes 10 seconds — that actually makes sense. 🙂

    I think you are probably fine with the 10 minutes…

  159. Crazy4cats says:

    I like garlic too. But, I think the garlic dessert might be pushing it! Btw, Missy, your quarterback is in a little hot water! 🙂

  160. Crazy4cats says:

    Thank you and yes, I hope your pups do not get them either.

  161. Crazy4cats says:

    Coincidentally, this was recently posted on Dog’s Naturally’s site:

    Maybe this will help!

  162. Crazy4dogs says:

    Thanks. I’ll have to read up on dosage, etc. I’ve only used DE I’ve been lucky when it comes to parasites in my personal dogs & my fosters have to go by rescue rules. Most rescues seem to prefer chemical vs natural. :/

  163. Glad you got rid of those pesky parasites. Hope to not jinx myself but none of the girls have ever had any parasites. Thank goodness. I think it’s the garlic. lol Of course I think garlic makes everything better. I love the smell of garlic too. Reminds me of home when I was young in my mother’s kitchen.

  164. Hi Crazy4cats. I’m a bit of a garlic addict and have always fed garlic daily to all my dogs. Once in a while I’ll run out but those are the only times I don’t give them garlic. Garlic has been a staple at home always. My mother always used garlic and gave it to her dogs also. None of the dogs we had growing up or any dogs that I’ve had either have ever had any ill effects. Of course, it has to be given dose appropriate and I do believe that that is where people get into a whole host of problems. As Shawna and I have both mentioned in the past through the years, you’d have to be crazy to give a dog the amount you would need to to cause problems. Unfortunately, with that said, there are a lot of crazies out and about in the world we live. But if done responsibly, there is no issue, in my opinion, and there have never been any issues with my dogs or myself. I eat an enormous amount of garlic daily. My ancestry is Cuban, we’re big on garlic. Every day in every way we can get away with in a meal. There was even a dessert that my mother used to make when I was a kid that contained garlic. I wish I’d thought to get all my mother’s recipes before she passed.

  165. Crazy4cats says:

    Hi Dori-
    A few years back, I was advised to give my dogs garlic to help rid of the nasty giardia that we were struggling with. I believe it was both Hound Dog Mom and BCNut that recommended giving the fresh garlic to them only 3 or 4 days a week. They both thought it was best to give a couple days off from it. It would be interesting to see if Shawna has an opinion on that. And, btw, for anyone curious, it was very helpful in finally getting rid of that darn parasite!

  166. I agree with Shawna, C4D. Garlic powder does not work as well. It would be nice if we could get the same benefits. So easy to sprinkle garlic on their food but actually it’s not a big deal to do raw. I crush the garlic clove then mince it, wait 10 minutes and divide it into my three dogs bowls.

  167. Shawna, I’ve been adding the crushed and minced garlic to their food 10 minutes after I’ve crushed and minced once a day. Usually dinner. I’m too bleary eyes in the morning and their too hungry to wait for crushing and mincing process. Should I be waiting 20 minutes instead of the 10?

  168. I’m not sure about that but I would assume you would need less raw garlic for the same benefits that powdered garlic would provide — especially if the powdered garlic is not organic (as it could be irradiated), is old etc.

  169. Crazy4dogs says:

    Very Interesting. Would the possible toxicity be the same using equivalent amounts? Thanks!

  170. I think this is interesting to note —- I haven’t researched this thoroughly but found this regarding garlic and humans

    “Things to Note

    The lowest estimated ‘toxic’ dose associated with raw garlic consumption has been noted to be a human equivalent of 400mg/kg (or 25g of raw garlic), which resulted in testicular toxicity

    It is possible to be allergic to garlic supplements, if you are allergic to garlic itself

    8g (about two large cloves) of garlic can cut blood levels of Saquinavir in half

    While moderate dietary intake of garlic does not reduce platelet aggregation or adversely interact with Warfarin, higher doses (2,400-7,200mg of Aged Garlic Extract) may do so

    Contrary to popular belief, garlic may attract vampires[6]”

    From the same paper
    “There are no alterations in red blood cell count with normal doses of garlic (although there does appear to be a decrease when a toxic dose of garlic oil is ingested)”

  171. Hi Crazy4dogs,

    I believe there is still some benefit – it would still be a source of inulin and FOS for the good bacteria (also for the bad now though). It still has some of its chemical components but it is not nearly as healthy as raw.

    If you want efficacy against pathogens you want to feed crushed or grated raw about 20 minutes after crushing/grating. This gives enough time for the allicin to form but not enough time for it to dissipate. I’ve read the allicin is gone anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours after being formed. I’m not sure which is correct so I feed within 20 to 30 minutes to be safe.

  172. Crazy4dogs says:

    Shawna, I’m curious. Does garlic powder work with the same efficacy in health benefits for dogs?

  173. I will give you that El Doctor. It is true that there is some red blood cell damage from eating even small amounts of garlic. However, we are in a constant cycle of RBC loss and creation. If there was a concern with red blood cell loss, short of anemia, the Red Cross would not have nearly the volunteers they have as a lot of RBC’s are removed when blood is given — I imagine there would also be a lot of liability cases. A healthy body, however, is quite capable of producing the RBC’s it needs when this happens. I think you can give blood (which causes significant RBC loss) every two weeks from memory.

    Onion appears to cause enough RBC loss that the body is incapable of replacing those red blood cells fast enough and anemia occurs. Garlic however does not have the same concentration of that chemical and only minor amounts are lost. I read one study and if my math was correct my 9 pound dog would have had to eat 7 tablespoons of garlic for at least 3 or 4 days to initiate the beginning process of Heinz body. Hopefully nobody in their right mind would do that.

    To further complicate the issue — garlic seems to, in mice at least, increase the rate at which new red blood cells are formed. So what is lost gets replaced more quickly. Let’s first put this into perspective though — the human body “Take red cells. Millions of them are being made and dying every second.” Back to first statement — “Stimulation of erythropoiesis and related genes (Table 1) by garlic-fed mice is most likely mediated by CO, which by itself can increase the RBC counts, hemoglobin contents, and hematocrit in B6 mice”

    Garlic also increases macrophages (immune system), feeds (inulin & FOS) probiotics which “prime” neutrophils (immune system) as well as is directly toxic to yeast, bacteria and parasites. In fact, garlic is better at killing bacteria than antibiotics and does not cause resistance – allicin in garlic even kills MRSA (lots of research and articles on this available). Garlic also prevents and kills cancer cells by inducing apoptosis and antiangiogenosis.

    When used responsibly, the benefits far outweigh any risks and I stand by my previous comment. 🙂

    Reference for Red blood cell turn over quote —

  174. el doctor says:

    Hi Shawna

    I respectfully disagree!

    In dogs raw garlic, onions, leeks and chives damage red blood cells in ANY amount In small amounts there is a small amount of damage.

    When dogs consume small amounts of raw garlic they don’t show any observable signs of toxicity so people assume there is no damage being done, but there is!

    On a cellular level any amount of raw garlic fed to a dog will cause damage. Raw garlic also has many benefits as you stated but because all those benefits are accompanied be red blood cell damage I don’t feed raw garlic to my dogs!

    Though I confess that on rare occasions I sprinkle a little garlic powder on a slice of eggplant pizza and share it with my cheese heads 😉

  175. Raw garlic is only toxic if consumed in large amounts. To put this into perspective, if water is over-consumed it too can be toxic. Garlic has MANY benefits for humans and dogs if used wisely. I can link posts and videos from MANY vets that use and recommend garlic if interested.

  176. Jenedge says:

    Wait, I’m confused. I thought raw garlic was toxic to dogs. How can you use it to treat parasites?

  177. Crazy4cats says:

    Nature’s Variety is highly recommended. Give it a try!

  178. Polo And Cody says:

    My dogs are currently on Blue Wilderness adult and puppy formula.
    I would like to switch it up.I had some leftover bacon I wasn’t craving I have them it. They showed it down like crazy,
    So I was wondering if it would be worth it to buy this brand? Does any ody have any suggestions on this brand?I see people buying a bunch of these at petsmart and petco and I wanted to give it a try.


  179. Nickole says:

    Hi. I want to start feeding my 5mo old Belgian Malinois a RAW diet. Can someone please tell me how to begin. Do I slowly introduce it or just take away the kibble and start raw? Also, I was going to buy raw meat from the butcher instead of pre packaged, any feedback or advice? Thanks!!

  180. Your welcome Carol, I’m happy to be able to help.

  181. TJ and hamburger – LOVE that idea! I appreciate all the information!

  182. THANK YOU for all the great information!

  183. Poor baby!!! That must have been horrifying for you as well!!!!!
    My suggestion that it might be parasites was from the linked material which suggests that parasites might be a cause of HGE.. Looks like there are many possible causes and much not yet known.. Kinda scary!!

    I feed a WIDE variety of foods — Bravo (venison, rabbit, bison and salmon – balanced in a variety of ways), Bravo Balance in beef protein, Darwins Buffalo, OC goat and rabbit proteins, the Honest Kitchen Preference with Trader Joes hamburger, Honest Kitchen Love and Zeal mixed with raw balanced foods (to increase overall protein), Answer’s Pork, Nature’s Variety Rabbit and Lamb and a few other brands and proteins. I used to feed Primal Pheasant and Quail but my Pom reacts to all fowl proteins. I also used to feed Bravo Elk and Ostrich but they are hard to come by now and the Pom reacts to ostrich too.

    I truly hope the HGE was a one time thing!!!!!

  184. As I mentioned Carol, I don’t feed any fowl whatsoever regardless of where down the ingredient list it might be. Foods and companies that I trust and that are presently in rotation are: Primal Formulas Raw Frozen, Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen, OC Raw Frozen, Answer’s Detailed Raw Frozen, Vital Essentials Raw Frozen, Nature’s Logic Raw Frozen. For treats they only get organic (when available) fruits and veggies raw. If I have made veggies for dinner or I’ve bothered to steam a variety & keep refrigerated for them then they’ll get those also. I realize fruits and veggies raw are not as nutritious as steamed or pureed but since I’m giving them as crunchy and a treat I really don’t care about that. I do on occasion use Primal Freeze Dried and Vital Essentials Tripe as treats in the treat jars. Once in a while for a change I’ll give them dehydrated The Honest Kitchen Zeal. Zeal is the only formula that allergy girl, Katie, does well on. Not really a raw food but it’s nice for them for a change up. Once a week I will split a can among my three dogs of sardines packed in water with no salt. Once a day they get 1/4 tsp. organic coconut oil (I use Coco Therapy). Sometimes I’ll give them 1/4 tsp or so of greek plain yogurt. Not on a regular basis, just if I happen to remember it. Three days a week of give two of my dogs 100 i.u. Vitamin E soy free. Hannah, my senior citizen gets daily 200 i.u. Vitamin E soy free. I should mention that everything I feed is grain free also to the best of my knowledge and research everything is GMO free. I don’t feed any fowl as I mentioned. I also don’t feed corn, white potatoes, white rice, soy. I also mentioned in an earlier post I believe that I feed them all a rotational diet. I switch their food for every meal and none of them have any issues whatsoever. I like switching as often as I do because the level of protein & fats that I feed are on the high side…some higher than others so it keeps them somewhat more level on those counts. I also try to feed as low a carbohydrate diet as I can. None of the three have had any issues with very high proteins (one of their foods is 68% protein) or very high fats. The fats in their diets, though high, are quality fats. I don’t feed them any processed foods or commercially processed and sold treats. I never ever feed them jerky of any sort bought in stores nor do I feed raw hide or bully sticks. Hope some of this has helped. If I can be of any further help or think of anything else I’ll let you know. Forgot to mention that once in a while I’ll give them some B Complex by Thorne for canines. I probably do this once a week or so. It’s a capsule which I pull apart and give them each a quarter of the capsule. For the vitamin E’s I pinch a hole with a safety pin and squirt into their food. I don’t actually give them the outside of any supplements.

  185. Conclusively, based on a specific blood test, my yorkipoo had HGE and is currently under treatment for it. They have him on Royal Canin Prescription right now – talk about a “dramatically different food!” I will keep him on it while he’s undergoing the antibiotic, but in the next few days will transition him back to the raw diet. I forgot to mention that one of the foods I rotate is Honest Kitchen’s dehydrated turkey which they love. I typically serve it as their first meal and then the raw in the evening. Sometimes I switch it up. I think Honest Kitchen’s foods are quality — however, it is that food that he threw up twice last week (many hours later) before he started pooping blood in his stool (which made me take notice and get him to the vet). What raw brand do you use?

  186. Crazy4dogs says:

    Good post Shawna! I saw that article on HGE too. I think sometimes the vets want to blame raw regardless of what the cause might be. The fact that AMVA took a stand against raw feeding reinforces it. 🙁

  187. Is your vet thinking a bacterial infection from the raw? If so, the Nature’s Variety foods are subjected to high pressure pasteurization which greatly reduces the risks of contamination.

    I raw feed too and have had, including my own and foster dogs, about 40 dogs in my home over the last 10 years. None have had any issues with raw.

    I found this info on HGE
    “The exact cause of HGE remains unknown (idiopathic). It may be related to dietary indiscretion (ingesting non-food items or even dramatically different foods than what the dog is accustomed to), immune-mediated disease, toxins, or pancreatitis. Stress, anxiety, and hyperactivity are thought to be possible contributing factors in many cases. Recent research indicates that HGE may be an allergic reaction (food or inhaled). Intestinal parasites and bacteria may also be causes. Dogs who experience HGE may be more prone to developing HGE in the future.”
    If turkey is a new protein for your pup, it may be causing a reaction? My Pom gets ulcerative colitis (massive diarrhea with a small amount of red blood) if she gets chicken in any form.
    If there is a chance that it could be parasites, or if you want to treat just in case, check out info on raw garlic and/or raw pumpkin seeds. Both kill parasites.
    I hope you are able to figure it out without any more flare ups!!

  188. Thanks for the feedback, Dori. I do believe my dogs have done very well on the raw diet. My Shih Tzu is 11 and other than the bladder stone history she is spry and well! The yorkipoo has been on this diet most of his life and he, too, has done well. YES, they do get treats…and sometimes fed “treats” from the table — like steak or chicken or whatever meat we are eating. They also love fresh vegetables. The yorkipoo will eat any veggie or fruit. The treats I buy are premium and I make sure they are sourced and processed in the USA. Mostly they get a freeze-dried beef nugget that they LOVE, occasionally chicken breast jerky, and recently a turkey jerky I got at Costco. I did wonder whether the turkey jerky was the culprit because that is new — about a couple or so weeks now. What other brands do you rotate into your dogs’ diet? I only use raw beef or raw deer. They (and I) don’t like the raw turkey or chicken and I won’t feed them duck or rabbit. Just a personal choice. I think the Royal Canin RX diets are GARBAGE. I can’t believe they use these in the name of “prescription” diet! Pork? Cellulose? Really?

  189. What else have you been feeding your dogs? Treats, bones, etc. Wondering if the issue was something else your dog ate. I’ve been feeding my girls commercial raw diets in rotation for over 3 1/2 yrs. now and no problems whatsoever. The two you feed along with a number of others are in rotation. I do know, as you probably do by now also, that anytime anything has ever been wrong medically vets will attempt to blame the raw feeders and either want you to feed Science Diet, Royal Canin, Hills or whatever. Two of my girls have a few issues, one more than the other, but what I will say is that all three of my girls have never been better since making the switch to raw. I should mention that as one of my girls is fowl intolerant I don’t feed anything with any kind of fowl in it. Sorry for the long post, I was just wondering if your Yorkipoo maybe got sick from something else. One of my girls is a Yorkipoo also.

  190. I came to this site HOPING to get solid information and even PAID to get the “Editor’s Choice” recommendations. I find all of this more confusing than helpful. The “editor” recommends, then you have several posts speaking of things found in foods, horrible reactions dogs have had, etc. I have been giving my Shih Tzu (who has bladder stone issues) and my Yorkie-Poo (who is now 4 years old and was healthy up till now) raw food for about 3 years now. The Shih Tzu has not had a return of bladder stones that we’re aware of (she had surgery 4 years in a row and twice in one year)!! I alternate Nature’s Variety Instinct and Primal. The Yorkie-Poo got seriously ill this week and was hospitalized for HGE. The vet has him on Royal Canin Low fat intestinal prescription canned – it is GARBAGE. They told me the raw food MIGHT have contributed to his intestinal issues. So I’m looking for a cooked, canned alternative, The editor’s recommendations that I’ve looked at (NOT interested in feeding duck or rabbit) have tons of negative comments. What to do?????

  191. Denamarin is a supplement for cats and dogs with SamE and milk thistle, which is good for liver support.

  192. When my dog was on chemo the oncologist gave him Denamarin, which has milk thistle in it and is good for liver support. My cat with IBD improved on it too. Highly recommend!

  193. Peanut's Mom says:

    I’d like to know too because the Stella and Chewys is much cheaper at my pet food store.

  194. Does anyone know how this compares to Stella & Chewy’s raw frozen food?

  195. Jamie Schwartz says:

    I tried my dog on this food and for a raw food I feel that it’s okay for a raw food. Obviously it is much better than feeding kibble. I already feed my dog raw and decided to try this product out of curiosity. Compared to what I already feed I wasn’t blown away. It has a weird smell to it and I know it’s been pressure treated to kill bacteria. The medallions are very convenient, however convenience isn’t a huge deal to me. The food I feed is also local to where I live, Ontario, and NV is from the US, and I’d rather buy local. The price I paid for 3 pounds of NV food is the same as what I pay for 12 pounds of the raw food I feed.

    Things I noticed: My dog doesn’t eat any fruit and veg and this food contains a small amount. I noticed his breath started to smell when I started to feed this (he’s had no bad breath since switching him to raw from kibble 2 years ago). His poops were great, but one the third day eating this food he was puking up foam (he was fine and this went away).

    It is still an OK product, but depending on where you live there might be better options for raw, foods that are not pressure treated, with options for foods with no fruit and veg, that are local to you and with a lower price point.

  196. Crazy4cats says:


  197. L Maurer says:

    My cat was in liver failure for unknown reasons and my Vet recommended daily doses so Sam-E. Her enzymes went down and everything was good for years. She lived 5 years after the diagnosis of almost complete failure.

  198. theBCnut says:

    Try contacting them and asking. If I had to guess, I would say maybe they are using meat from a source where the blood is already drained out, so they think they need to add sodium. Maybe their GA shows it to be a bit low in sodium if they don’t add some back in. Maybe they are hoping it will stay good longer with a higher level of sodium. Too many possibilities, best to ask.

  199. Jamie Schwartz says:

    Does anyone know why they add salt to their raw foods? I’m used to feeding raw foods that are literally just meat/bone/organ, and decided to give NV Instinct Raw a try. The rest of the added ingredients I understand, but I’m not quite sure why they add salt. Just curious!

  200. Lynn Bland says:

    Hi I have a 13 wk old Husky! Is it ok to give him frozen cod pieces as he seems to like them very much & he keeps stealing them from freezer when kids open to get ice cream out!

  201. Donna Gaumond says:

    That is what I’ve been doing. She is healthy and fine. This is the only food she loves. Her weight is perfect. I do add water to the food so that makes me feel better. Thanks for the feedback. Donna

  202. Jamie Schwartz says:

    If you are switching from kibble, yes this is normal. Kibble has lots of fiber, carbs and filler in it. It’s the same as us going from a carb heavy diet to eating mostly fruits and vegetables. Feed the appropriate amount of raw and that’s it, your dog will get used to it.

  203. Jamie Schwartz says:

    Keep her on raw and don’t worry about it! Raw foods are 70 – 80% moisture. It is not uncommon for dogs that are fed raw to not drink at all otherwise. They are getting the liquid they need through their diet. DO NOT change her diet, that is what the vet wants you to do. Raw diets contain protein in the best form, so digestion is not a problem, and raw diets typically contain less protein than kibble diets. If you are still worried about the amount of liquid she is getting then you could add a bit of water to her RAW food, or make up bone marrow broth and feed that as well.

  204. Donna Gaumond says:

    Yes she only gets the raw frozen. She likes the rabbit and duck the most. I took her to the vet and they did a urine sample because she was having a lot of accidents. She had protien in her urine so they told me to change her food and add water because she doesn’t just drink water alone.

  205. I’m assuming you are saying that you feed Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen foods. That is one of the foods in rotation for my three dogs. Kibble, in my opinion, is not a good choice for any dog to be eating but, then, I’m an advocate for commercial raw feeding (I rotate between brands and within the brands). Typically dogs that eat raw foods do not drink as much water as dogs eating kibble. Raw has a great deal of moisture in it. I wouldn’t add water to the raw because it’s not needed but you can if you feel like it. I also only give appropriate fruits and veggies as treats. I don’t feed commercial treats as they mostly all have some sort of grain component to it. Also too many treats have had too many recalls for me to trust any of them, but that’s just my opinion.

    I give one of my dogs 200 mg. of vitamin E daily. She’s a 15 1/2 year old Maltese. I make sure that it does not contain soy and that it is non-GMO. My other two dogs (a Maltipoo and a Yorkipoo) I give 100 mg. three times a week. (I pierce a 200 mg. capsule and split it between the two of them).

    Fish Oil. In place of fish oil twice a week I split a small can of sardines purchased at the grocery store that is packed in water NOT olive oil. I add it to their meals. You can feed it separately if you wish as a treat. I do keep on hand, in the refrigerator (that’s important), a bottle of Nature’s Logic Sardine Oil. On the other days of the week that I don’t feed sardines packed in water, once I’ve prepared their food in their bowls I take out the bottle of Sardine Oil from the fridge, squirt a little on top of their food and immediately put the bottle back in the fridge. Fish oil goes bad very quickly so all fish oil should be kept refrigerated. The Nature’s Logic Sardine Oil bottle is pretty large and seems to last forever. It is a good quality fish oil and will certainly be less expensive than buying fish oil capsules.

  206. Donna Gaumond says:

    I have a shih poo that is 14 lbs. Nature Instinct frozen is the only diet she’ll eat. I tried many other top brands of kibble with no luck. The vet recommended fish oil, I give 500 mg. half of a human pill and vitamin e. I squeeze out some of a 400 mg oil tab. Is this alright? She doesn’t drink water that much so the vet recommended I add water to the food. She also eats carrots and bananas for snacks along with instinct dog treat for training. Is this enough?

  207. Scottilee Cameron says:

    My little dog (6lbs) eats the raw bites. How do I find out about Vitamin D for dogs? Not much sun in Edm, Ab. He seems a little off lately.

  208. Have you looked into a vet school to see if they have a holistic or TCVM vet on staff? I have a special needs pup and all traditional vets gave up on her and I contacted the LSU Vet school and they had a TCVM Vet (Traditional Chinese Vet. Medicine) on staff and now my pup is thriving using him and his knowledge of what her body required as to feeding her properly to help her. She is very sensitive to so much and can tolerate very little changes, so this was the best way to go. His advise about her food was spot on.

  209. Hi Lyd Bin. Absolutely! I don’t believe in feeding raw and kibble in the same meal as others do but I think, actually I know, that it is perfectly fine to feed kibble for one meal and raw for the other. It can get pretty costly to feed commercial raw foods for both meals especially if you have large dogs. Glad I could answer your question for you and glad that you are feeding some raw.

  210. Hi Judith,

    I agree with Melissaandcrew about whitefish. It creates less ammonia for the liver to have to convert to urea. Dr. Dodds has a home made (cooked I believe) diet utilizing whitefish that can be found online. You might not have to be as restrictive as the diet but it could be used as a base and modified to be suitable for his current values/symptoms.

    Milk thistle is good but I would also suggest raw eggs (white and yolk) and/or Answer’s Raw Goat Milk product. Both of these, if suitable for stage of liver disease, will naturally boost your pups glutathione. Gutathione, the master antioxidant of the body, is the same reason milk thistle is helpful. The eggs need to be fed just as they are when coming out of the shell for the most benefit.

    Also, look at a premade raw diet created by vet Dr. Barbara Royal for Darwins. Based on whitefish — If you can’t afford the diet with your expenses already high, maybe you can use it as a model. Or, use it as half of the diet etc..

    Good luck with your boy!!!! My pup has had kidney disease for eight and a half years and is high protein raw fed and doing well. The one product I won’t do without for her is Standard Process Canine Renal Support. I find it to be invaluable and will pay any cost for it (luckily, it’s reasonably priced). They also make a liver support product — Canine Hepatic Support. The products “feed” the organ they are made for while helping to prevent inflammation to the organ…

  211. Judith Williams says:

    Thanks Melissa. I am currently providing him with Dr. Becker’s recommended supplements and foods I prepare at home rather than commercial dog food. I will try the whitefish though. I’ve been alternating beef and chicken and he seems very happy and his liver enzymes have gone down from 237 to 153. I would really prefer raw though. I still want to get his ultrasound done of his belly but can’t afford to do it yet. Hopefully soon. He is doing better, though. Thank you again.

  212. Crazy4cats says:

    Hi Aimee-
    If you are still around, could you please check out the forum. I started a new topic on DL-Methionine vs vet food for crystals. I’d really like your opinion. Thanks!

  213. Hi Judith,

    My prior dog had a congenital liver issue. She was initially only expected to live until 9 months of age or so but lived a full life.. til 14.

    She was initially on home made but then on a therapeutic veterinary diet. I understand why you’d think the food “look cruddy” however when I looked at the veterinary literature I did find that ingredients that are often vilified have qualities that were beneficial to liver patients.

    There are a lot of different liver problems and without biopsy liver problems are hard to characterize. The vet diets are made to encompass a variety of liver conditions and your dog may or may not need each of those individual components. For example, some liver diets are restricted in protein but your dog’s liver problem may not need protein restriction.

    As Melissa brought up, copper levels in the diet are important when working with a liver problem in a breed known to have copper storage disease. But any ongoing inflammation in the liver can result in excessive copper accumulation so if your dog’s blood work supports on going inflammation a low copper diet either vet or homemade may be appropriate. Ask you vet. Balanceit has a semi custom diet feature and has a recipe that you can use with your vet’s approval for diets formulated to be low in copper.

    Personally if I had a dog that needed a low copper diet I’d either home cook or use a vet diet.

  214. Melissaandcrew says:

    I fed our liver disease dog wellness whitefish for 5 yr
    He did great. Not sure if it meets your needs.

  215. Judith Williams says:

    Hi Melissa. I have done a lot of research, and you’re correct. My problem is, the vet only wants to continue doing expensive tests, over-vaccinating him, and really paying no mind to the cruddy food she is telling me he needs. I am very saddened that my dog’s issues have been ignored by the very people that should know what to do. He is the love of my life in white fur. I started him on milk thistle and will change over to a different diet when I can. I was just hoping someone here could recommend a food. Thanks again.

  216. Melissaandcrew says:

    Hi there. Please Google liver disease in white west highland terriers. They have a huge genetic tendency for it coupled with excess copper storage. Check around..try yahoo groups etc to see if you can find a westies group that could help you with more breed specific info and options.

  217. Judith Williams says:

    I appreciate your recommendation. Unfortunately, we are not able spend so much on these products, and have to go the do-it-yourself route. But, we are learning so much! Thank you.

  218. JeremyScottRenolds says:

    Perhaps you can get a recommendation on food and supplements from this amazing holistic vet. His products are very pure and this guy is up there with Dr. Karen Becker imo.Check out his liver cleanse which he believes is important for all dogs.

  219. Judith Williams says:

    I found out he does not have Cushing’s. High enzymes and small liver. His vet thinks it is genetic.

  220. Judith Williams says:

    I can make my own raw diet for the dogs, and just add milk thistle and enzymes and anything else that may help him, and I will do that if need be. I would love a holistic vet, if only they weren’t so expensive. We pay a lot for our dogs’ health care now, just for the preventive maintenance. I just don’t have a lot of money to play with and he needs help now. Giving more than just an OK food source is my last gift to him, and I will do it on my own if necessary. I know that the prescribed food isn’t worth the high price tag, and is not even healthy, and puts him at risk. So, it’s a no brainer. I have to find him a usable alternative.

  221. Please post back the results of tests and then we can help give you some guidance.

  222. Your vet should be able to tell you what protein level to try to match and if there are any specific ingredients you should stay away from. You many want to ask for a referral to a veterinary nutritionist or you may want to go to a holistic vet. They are more informed about nutrition than regular vets. You may have to go the route of making homemade dog food to get a low enough protein and stay with ingredients you want. That’s what I would do.

  223. Judith Williams says:

    I know. Yes. They recommended Royal Canin hepatic formula. He’s on it now but I don’t like him eating that. It’s way too high in things like rice and corn and they have admitted they use ingredients from China, so I am doing my own research before changing to something more helpful/safe.

  224. Judith Williams says:

    Yes, his enzymes are high and they found his liver ‘smaller than normal’. No diagnosis yet. They are checking for Cushings. We paid for the all day test and have waited 2 weeks for results. No news yet.

  225. Dog_Obsessed says:
  226. Kris Johnson says:

    Can someone explain the difference between dry matter basis vs. Guaranteed Analysis? 15% min. seems low. Am i missing something?

  227. Crazy4cats says:

    I agree, this food is great. I wish I could afford to feed more of it to my large breed dogs. Good luck with your dog’s treatment. I hope he recovers fully. 🙂

  228. Has your Westie been given a diagnosis of liver disease or does he have elevated liver levels?

  229. Have you talked to your vet about what to look for in a food your dog? Usually, dogs with liver disease need very specific diets.

  230. Judith Williams says:

    Which of these foods would be good for the support of liver disease in my Westie?

  231. Bobby dog says:

    I also feed the same variety to my dog as Crazy4cats does with no issues; every dog is different.

  232. Crazy4cats says:

    That issue has been debated many times on this site. I use NVI frozen raw nuggets as toppers in my dogs’ kibble a few times per week with no problem. I also feed canned mixed in their kibble several times per week without issue. I guess it depends on the dog.

  233. Barbara Jeanne says:

    You should not mix raw with kibble as they are digested at different rates. The mixing can actually cause the digestive upset. I never had transition issues, but I never mixed raw with kibble. My Mini Poodles get Raw Frozen Instinct in the AM and Dry Fromm at night. No issues.

  234. thank you

  235. Riley Lavender says:

    This food is an absolute treasure. My heart dog, my pride and joy… 5 year old sheltie mix has been going through treatment for Valley Fever. Instinct raw is the ONLY food he will willingly eat. I’ve tried other commercial raw foods and they’re evidently not nearly as tasty. Without Instinct, my dog would likely be a rack of bones. It’s a bit on the pricy side if you’ve got a dog bigger than a toy breed, and damn near impossible to afford if you’ve got a large breed and considering I’m a broke college student … it makes my poor wallet cry sometimes…. but by golly it’s WORTH IT!!!!! A Happy, healthy dog is WORTH EVERY SINGLE CENT!!!!!! If I have to starve myself for a week to be able to afford this glorious bag of frozen magic, I WILL. NO question!

  236. Dog_Obsessed says:

    Both are great foods, I would suggest rotating between them.

  237. need a recommendation please – which would be better to feed stella & chewy’s freeze dried or nature’s variety raw medallions – she likes both – thanks

  238. can NV medallions be mixed with Weruva can food

  239. Actually Lyd Bin, Jeremy was the person that was going to speak to the rep and report back but I guess he may have forgotten. My three dogs haven’t had any issues with the food old or new so I haven’t bothered to check further myself. My three toy dogs are eaters and not the least bit picky about food. If it is that they lowered the fat content, then I for one am glad. Since most raw foods are pretty high in fat, it’s nice to have one that has lowered it a little as opposed to the company that I used to use that actually increased the fat so I stopped using them. Oh, just want to mention that I haven’t had to increase the amount that I feed them with NV Instinct Raw. They continue to maintain their weight. I’m a raw feeder and rotate their proteins and brands constantly (each meal is different) so that could be the reason why no weight loss issues with the girls.

  240. So what’s the scoop? Did you find anything out? I found out that they reduced the fat content, which might be why some dogs got disgruntled. It would also explain the lower calorie content. Maybe that’s it? Maybe there should be a petition to change it back to the older formula.

  241. Hound Dog Mom says:


  242. can sojos dehydrated complete feed be mixed with NV medallions

  243. I agree! This website and the people here have helped me tremendously!!

  244. Awww, thanks again!!! This is such a great community!!!:D

  245. You’re very welcome! We are all here to help each other. 🙂

  246. Thank you very much for all your advice!!!:D

  247. My 4-year-old Pekingese, Jax has been on this food for a couple of months now. I work at a pet store and have been through various pet food training classes, so I’d like to say that I know a thing or two about quality foods. Once I started to realize the benefits that raw food can have, I definitely switched. Jax loves it! However, did anyone else have to go through the switching process really slow? Jax eats 1 cup of food a day, so I started out with 2/3 cup of his beef flavored Fromm and 1/3 cup of the Nature’s Variety raw food. Within the first two days, he started to have diarrhea. I’ve read that raw food can take a little longer to get used to, and have now been switching him much more slowly. Has anyone else experienced diarrhea with their dogs?

  248. Here’s the coupon in case anyone wants to use it. Hopefully you can just print it out…

  249. Dr. Mike, thought I’d share this with you & others. I get emails from Nature’s Variety with coupons for their raw food. The pic below is a screen shot of part of the last email I got from them.

  250. Julianne Sobel says:

    Yup. My dog is refusing to eat the new stuff. Tried both the beef and chicken. Will try old fashioned NV turkey/duck without raw. If that doesn’t work I will need to find another brand.

  251. Rick Culbertson says:

    Just put my female dobe back on raw from Orejin kibble. Great food but she was putting on weight

  252. Rick Culbertson says:

    Yes your right I should of specified fresh veggies. Just something to fill them up.

  253. If you are talking about canned green beans or carrots, I don’t like to recommend carrots because they are full of sugar that, once cooked for canning, is available to the dog, and added sugar calories isn’t helpful. Raw carrots and green beans are less digestable and therefore do a better job of providing bulk without many calories.

  254. thanks – will give it a try

  255. Rick Culbertson says:

    Mix some no salted carrots of green beans in with the raw
    Should help fill her up

  256. well i’ve finally got lexee eating this food (just started) – giving her 3 medallions a day and i’m finding that it’s not filling her up – is this normal when just starting to feed raw – the last time she ate this food which was about 3 yrs ago i fed her too many and she gained quite a bit

  257. Hello Hound Dog Mom.
    I just made the jump to raw with ziwipeak air dried but want to use something more balanced with produce. Which do you prefer NV, primal or Stella an chewy? Also what are you thoughts on Ziwipeak?

  258. NO! The rabbit used to be sourced from China. It has been at least a year that they have been sourcing rabbit from France. Do some research before posting negative posts please. Thx

  259. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Hi Tracey –

    NV imports their rabbit from France. They no longer source from China.

  260. Tracey Atkinson-Bagatta says:

    Great food – but avoid the rabbit variety – the rabbit is imported from China.

  261. Raw is the best you can feed, then dehydrated raw, then canned then kibble. Whatever you think is best for your dog, is what you should feed. I started my girl on raw a little over a year and a half ago. I did just about 2 months of research before I started though. If you are interested in raw, there are a few good books out there to help you. “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” by Steve Brown is one. The other is “Healthy foods for Dogs and Cats” by Dr. Karen Becker is another. Also, there are a lot of people on here that are willing to help. If you check out the Forum section, there is a Raw Feeding section that is very informative. Good Luck! 🙂

  262. Hello!!! I have a 6 year old Dachshund named Oscar. Currently I have him on Taste of the Wild. I would really like to have him on the healthiest diet possible. Would raw food be the way to go??? I really don’t know

  263. Here is the reply I received from the company:

    “Hi Carla,

    Thank you for writing and sorry for your experience with our food. Feedback like this is very important to us.

    All of our Instinct Raw diets have recently been updated. You can read about the new formulas at The increased organs in the formula add a more vibrant, darker color.

    The information you have provided from the product in question will help us better report this issue to our Quality Assurance Department for further research.

    We have a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee that covers all of our foods if you are not satisfied with your Nature’s Variety purchase for ANY reason. Were you able to exchange or return this product for a full refund at the store? If not, we can send you a free product coupon to try another bag. Just respond to this message with your physical mailing address and we’ll send that coupon out to you right away. Again, sorry for your experience.”

  264. Thanks for the info – my dogs will not eat this. They have refused it for four days now. Not sure what to do!! I have contacted the store and attempted to contact the company – waiting on a reply.

  265. theBCnut says:

    For a healthy dog, the fat percentage should be 1/2 of the protein percentage.
    A raw meaty bone is NOT a marrow bone. It is a softer consumable bone such as ribs of smaller animals, turkey necks, chicken backs, etc. RMBs are usually not balance though, too much bone, so you usually have to give more meat with RMBs if they are a regular part of the diet.
    Sent from my iPod

  266. Ideally, you want to look for double the amount of protein than fat. But those are few and far between. But active dogs require more energy so can very well handle more fat. If you take a look at some sporting or professional or working dog kibbles, you will find that some have high fat, some have equal amounts of fat as it does protein. You can slowly transition your dogs to a high fat diet. I started by giving my dogs a couple bites a day as a treat. Then I started giving them chicken wings and thighs and drumsticks with fat on. BTW, those are RMB, something they can completely consume. I didn’t give them a marrow bone (recreational bone) right off the bat since those are just fat. Some dogs can handle a fast transition or even go raw cold turkey. But I like to be cautious. My group is accustomed to various amounts of fat as they get a rotational diet. They do get marrow bones too and some of their foods are probably around 100% or more fat-to-protein. But it’s rotational.

  267. Hi Nancy. Wait a little while (end of the month) before you order the Zeal from THK. They are removing the Alfalfa for various reasons and though it’s already in production, they are waiting until everyone sells out of their alfalfa inclusive products. I spoke with them again yesterday and they told me to call them again at the end of the month. Apparently there was a lot of product out there with the alfalfa.

    Again, Darwin’s is a great food but so are a lot of the 5 star raws. Remember, don’t obsess too much. Pick one transition your dog then pick another one. Rotate between the proteins in the brand you pick and also with different brands. Don’t feel that whichever food you pick is the one you’ll be feeding for life. The idea is to find as many as agree with your dog (over time) and rotate between foods. Eventually you’ll get to where you can rotate different foods whenever you feel like it even from meal to meal. I believe you are over thinking the whole raw feeding. I believe that HPP raw foods are great also because the simple fact is that the objective is to rotate foods so that your dog will be getting benefits from all different types of ingredients from different companies. It’s easy. Just jump right in and join us raw feeders. When you’ve been doing it for a while and see the difference in your dog you are gonna smack yourself on the head and wonder what the heck to you so long.

  268. Thanks for the info Jeremy.

  269. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Hi Nancy –

    I was referring to “Steve’s Real Food” brand of raw. The review is here:

  270. Nancy Calloway says:

    HDM – Better to be a Fool and ask a Q than not ask and remain one.
    WHO is “STEVE?”
    I went to the Raw Food List and saw nothing named “Steve’s” —
    I’ve missed something. Thank you for cluing me in.

  271. I learned some of it from the representative from the company that visits the pet store I work at, as for the feeding guidelines I looked at the bags we have in stock in our freezer. When our rep comes in again I will try to get some more in depth answers if I can 🙂

  272. Thanks for letting us know about the change in NV. Did you get this info from the company or the pet store that you purchased it from?

  273. Oops, this was supposed to be in response to Carla’s post

  274. Natures Variety did just change their product and packaging, I’m not sure on what all they changed with the recipe but I know it’s not suitable for cats anymore just dogs. Oh yeah and you have to literally feed twice as much as you used to, I checked between the old package and the new ones since we still have some old ones and it doesn’t seem like the changes to guaranteed analysis would account for this.

  275. Nancy Calloway says:

    Okay, Shawna — I am reading this thread at NV’s raw… So how about telling me WHAT commercial foods you DO TRUST NOW?
    BTW I just REvisited Brothers Complete. it is probl a trustworthy food. But it is pricey. I am a Raw Believer now. It’s just that I need to find a trustworthy source. Darwin’s I think IS one. What do you think? Even the Homeopath Vet I have mentioned earlier recommends it FIRST on his website. I aspire to GMO Free and would like to be feeding Organic for those high prices. Thank you in advance for whatever you can say. I am leaning toward THK Zeal also. Just as FYI I have called ZiwiPeak three times now and left a message and NOBODY ever calls me back. Bad sign.

  276. Nancy Calloway says:

    Hi Shawna: Thank you for your yet again watchful eye. I am studying Raw now. I do not want the HPP foods either. so, based on your knowledge, and to save me TIME, can you rec a few NON- HPP Raw producers? Sounds like the Pickens will be slim. Thank you!

  277. Nancy Calloway says:

    Glad to see someone on here who specializes in GSDs! My GSD had a terrible problem at 16 mos when I transitioned him to Origen and Acana. Terrible diarrhea. Ended up at vet, metronidazole, Hill’s WD. Now he is doing well on Dr. Tim’s Persuit because he is in training until Sept. But when he returns home I plan to move to Raw yet know I MUST do my homework. He will have been on Dr. Tim’s since June and doing well – stabilized from the terrible spring he had. He will be 2 in September and otherwise very healthy. What advice do you have for me in transitioning to Raw, other than going extremely slowly — I am thinking starting him out with 1/8 cup a day of raw (raw patties first) mixed with Dr. Tims, and increasing only when any soft stool stops. does this make sense? What ELSE might you say? Thank you.

  278. Nancy Calloway says:

    OKay – just read this. so WHAT IS THE RIGHT percentage of Protein to Fat for Raw? I am seeing variations and wondering about that. Don’t want pancreatitis!!
    I asked Betsy earlier about exactly WHAT IS A “raw meaty bone?” Where do I buy that or do I order? I know this is a stupid Question but I need to be sure that I understand this. I think the Whole foods butcher was wrong when he told me it is a leg bone with marrow. I did not correct him because I am just beginning to learn about raw. Thank you!!

  279. Nancy Calloway says:

    Hi Betsy: I just saw this as am studying the 5 * Raw Products reviews. I don’t fully understand “raw meaty bone–” exactly what it is and where to get them. For dental health they seem to be necessary (?) unless you are feeding your dog things like whole chicken wings and whole chickens with the bones which they have to chew up — or a “rack” of lamb with bones or similar (which I could not afford!). I went to the butcher at Whole Foods and he showed me a LEG bone with marrow inside, calling it a “raw meaty bone” however I think he was incorrect. I have read on DFA (I think) that a weight bearing bone like a leg is NOT recommended bec it can crack a tooth.
    Thank you for whatever you can say.
    Nancy C.

  280. Did you call the company and let them know what your experience is? Also did you talk to the pet store where you purchased the food? It would be good that they be advised of the issue and see if they have any answers for you. Let us know please as a lot of us use Natures Variety Instinct Raw. I don’t feed the chicken because one of my girls has allergies to all things poultry but I do feed some of their other proteins.

  281. Did they recently change the recipe for the Raw chicken medallions? My dogs suddenly will not touch it! They have been eating it for more than a year, and the latest 3 lb bag I purchased doesn’t even look or smell the same. It looks dark, like the beef formula. And it’s no longer a paste consistency when thawed; now it’s more crumbly, like cooked ground beef. Bad, bad deal, NV!!

  282. acozyreaderscorner says:

    Amazon, chewy’ and Petco or PetSmart all carry NV Raw.

  283. PUNKem733 says:

    Funny you should ask. You’re on a thing called the internet. It’s actually the greatest place in human history for gathering information such as this. It’s CRAZY!!!!

  284. What’s so great about the raw foods? I keep hearing about it.

  285. Pug Poppa says:

    Hi and you are a Pug Angel. We have 3 pugs, one had multiple mast cell tumors and numerous surgeries, the second, one MCT removed, chronieec ear infections, IBS, liver issues when we adopted him, and our oldest an elongated palate and athrophy of blood vessels behind his eyes causing genetic blindness. They are all doing well on raw diet with fish oil and added vitamin. We do use Darwin’s, which I admit is costly but we save on not having chronic wet bills.

  286. I’m replying to a 3-mo. old post, but the question is still valid and unanswered.
    I too am disappointed the mfg’r doesn’t include info on their label or website about ME and Calories for this food. The NI Raw Chicken website says my dog needs 1250 cals. per day. and to feed him 19.5 oz. By weight that equals 2.4 patties per day, and means about 512 cals/patty.

    Can we calculate ME by using the Dry Matter numbers DFA publishes and the Atwater Factor formula found in the article “Metabolizable Energy and Caloric Density” to calc ME. If yes, I get ME 4420 kcal/kg. Would love some other input and guidance on this.

  287. theBCnut says:

    Especially for your one with mast cell tumors, I think this would be a good one for you to try. Google high histamine foods and you’ll find a list of foods you want to avoid for her. That will help you make decisions in the future.

  288. Hello! I am wondering if this food would be alright as an introduction to raw for our pugs…we have one pug fully on raw. We were now thinking of trying all raw or at least one meal – it is pricey and we have 4 who all have special needs. We adopted them and they are all doing fantastic, but still have a lot going on right now. One little one just had 4 mast cells removed and a ton of upper airway surgery….then we just found out she also has laryngeal collapse and we adopted her knowing she had the most severe orthopedic conditions. She is one strong little girl! She is just the happiest little girl despite all she went through in those awful conditions before she was rescued and then now…we would like to try the raw thing one more time. Prior to this none have done really well on raw, but we may have tried to switch them over too fast. We were going to try a very slow transition. I am not sure if this is a good one to begin with, or if this is a not so good one. I see mixed reviews. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! I thank you so much for any help! We also have thought about Addiction dog food as well. <3 Chrissy G.

  289. Jo Ann Marlowe says:

    try a feed store

  290. theBCnut says:

    The tubes can be partially defrosted and portioned then refrozen. But my favorite place to order raw from is Darwin’s. it’s shipped right to your door frozen solid and has everything you need except for feeding fish once a week.
    Sent from my iPod

  291. Thank you! I would like to order Raw but it is only offered in Tubes at our Pet store. I am not sure how to get started with buying Raw and from where?

  292. theBCnut says:

    I might be wrong, and if I am, someone will come along and correct me, but my understanding is that Raw Boost is the regular food with bits of freeze dried raw added and not much at that. NVI does have regular raw in the freezer section.

  293. Is the Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost considered a raw dog food? I always thought of Raw having to be in the refrigerator section of the store, but I see it comes in a bag off the shelf???

  294. sharron says:

    hi – i would like to try this food again – i think it was about 4 yrs ago – was told it was high in fat so i didn’t continue with it – concerned she would gain weight – but have been told since then that a raw diet is good for maintaining or for losing weight – is this correct? thanks

  295. This is honestly the best thing you can feed your dog. This is as close as you will get to what dogs and cats are suppose to eat. The benefits or a raw diet are endless. If you can afford it do it, it will be the BEST thing you will do for your dog.

  296. Lisa Maxwell Emanuel says:

    This food saved my dogs life! I recommend it to everyone! My dog’s vitals were always super high since she was a puppy. The vet always said that there’s a chance she might not make it through her dental cleaning under anesthesia so i was a wreck each time. And her allergies were crazy. I began feeding this food for about two weeks when she went to the vet for her yearly check up where they called me and said that all of her vitals were normal and said that she was healthy and her allergies had gone down. I just broke down and cried. I was so happy! i am sticking to this food for the rest of my little girls life! 🙂 iwant her to live as long as possible!

  297. If u have facebook there’s a group on it called Raw feeding friends. It has lots of information on raw feeding. Just thought I would mention it to u.

  298. A “balanced” raw diet is the perfect food for any dog. Puppies can be weaned onto a raw diet.

  299. Kathryn Sinske says:

    Is a raw diet okay for a 10-week old puppy or do you need to supplement it?

  300. SandyandMila says:

    You shouldn’t microwave raw food because it can compromise the enzymes and benefits in the food. You should transition slowly into a new food and take as long as it takes. You can use Answers goat milk, green tripe, eggs, sardines, leftovers to help entice the dog.

  301. How long do you thaw for that way? I did that a couple times but then I started thinking that made it cooked food and not raw so I try to remember to leave out at room temp. instead.

  302. With these, I put them in the microwave to thaw them and my dogs seem to love it more when I do that. I think it really gets the yummy smell going and makes them want it more.

  303. thebarkingcat says:

    Hi there, glad you are thinking about making the switch to raw. If you are worried about fat, I would definitely steer clear of duck, but I don’t think the protein would be bad for your girl. The raw diet mimics the diet a dog would eat in the wild and is highly digestible. As a result, you can feed less. You will first notice and immediate change in your pet’s skin and coat, and a dramatic reduction in stool size and odor. Most renal diets use chicken as the protein source, so I would suggest starting there, and if she does well, try exploring other protein sources to rotate in. Because this diet is what nature intended, I think this will also help greatly with her tummy problems. Once her body begins to naturally align, I believe you will see a marked improvement in her kidney function. I am a big proponent of raw foods- I convinced a friend to try it with her dog and she no longer needs the Soloxine the vet prescribed for thyroid function. For now, make sure to continue with regular bloodwork, check-ups and any medications she has been prescribed…but there is a good chance adjustments will be made when she’s feeling better. Best of luck!

  304. How do I get my picky poodle to eat raw? He has eaten a couple of raw meals before, but 99% of the time he sniffs it and walks away…

  305. Janet Forero says:

    Great explanation of protein content! Thanks! I’m surprised this is not on the label.

  306. Janet Forero says:

    Our toy pups liked lamb and rabbit, but I’ll try every flavor as it goes on sale to determine which they like best. You might want to give them half portions of the raw patties at first, followed by half portion of the canned If they gobble up the raw, you will know by their poop how many days it is taking to adjust. Our pups adjusted to the raw diet in only 24 hours. The food is that good! 🙂

  307. Janet Forero says:

    Don’t worry about the portion size. I have two puppies that are under 5 lbs. I used the quarter-pounder sized rabbit patties, and simply semi-thawed them, then cut them like a pie, into 6 pieces or quarters, as I increased their meal size. The bag actually indicates how much of the large patties to give small dogs per day. Our puppies loved the raw diet at first, then seemed to tire of each flavor. I have only tried lamb and rabbit. Their coats have been beautiful, and despite a very cold winter, had minimal flaking. Our pups seem to get constipated easily, so I added some kibble and water to the food. The extra cost and extra care in handling raw food are worth it if your dogs have have skin or digestive issues!

  308. how can I find out the % ME (metabolizable energy) of the raw beef patties?

  309. snootifox says:

    Hello, I have a small toy breed dog, 11 lbs, that is almost 14. She has has had stomach upset issues for the last 8 years or so. We can go along pretty well with say, Canine Caviar fish and then all the sudden she can no longer tolerate it. She is also in the early stages of kidney disease. She sees the vet regularly and has had an mri, an ultrasound, xrays, etc. over the years and no one can find anything to diagnos her tummy upset. The vet constantly wants her on a renal vet dog food (Royal Canin), which I hate and which she is not tolerating very well. I was thinking a raw diet might be helpful, but was worried due to her age and the renal issues if this food would be too high in protein or fat. Any suggestions?

  310. theBCnut says:

    It’s not cheap, but Darwin’s is always fresh and arrives at my door frozen solid. In fact, I got a shipment today and had fun playing with the chunks of dry ice that were still in the packaging. I also get grinds from Hare Today and My Pet Carnivore and add my own veggie mix to them. I feed tripe once a week and sardines or herring once a week too. I also get a couple different premixes and add my own meat to them. I also got the books “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” and “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats” and use some of their recipes. And I feed raw meaty bones at least once, usually twice a week.

  311. I use in my rotation. Just a warning, raw tripe smells really bad! I also have Smack, and it hydrates well although smells a little grassy or earthy. I make my own raw so tripe is the only commercial raw product I buy. But a lot of folks like products from Darwin’s, Hare-Today and MyPetCarnivore.

  312. Hi BCnut I have been researching for quality raw dog foods. I like a rotational diet for my dog and from time to time I switch off with Nature’s Variety instict raw and Orijen, However I have problems hydrating Orijen because it is freeze dried. I would really like your input on another raw food product I can rely on or even a few if you are able to give me the information. Thanks!!!

  313. tenterhooks says:

    This owner isn’t stupid. When I put my dog on NV I followed the portion recommendations to the letter. And my dog gets and got a great deal of exercise daily as well – about 14 hours of walking weekly. Since i abandoned NV last March she – now 31/2 – has lost 20 lbs., has 5 to go. She has lots more energy than she had when on NV. When you remove the 62% moisture from the NV provided analysis of the lamb product you get 13% protein and 12% fat with a negligible amount of fibre. So almost 50% of the product is fat. If my dog was pulling sleds in the north, 45% fat may make sense . But otherwise it is way too much fat. Of course, I could have fed her less than the recommended daily amount but that’s just less of the same balance of protein and fat. I spent a small fortune on vet bills to figure out what was wrong with her – thyroid tests, etc. Only to find out that NV had reevaluated their product and what was on the package as 8% fat had suddenly been upped to 12%. Hey Dude, this owner isn’t stupid – I actually called NV on the misleading info on their packaging and they admitted they had revisited their values and upped their fat content rating. I no longer buy the product so don’t know whether they have changed their packaging to reflect the new assessment of the contents: all I know is that a diet that high in fat is a potential recipe for more health problems than I wish to inflict on my dog. A raw diet does not have to be unhealthy. And NV is very pricey: you are paying a lot for fat.

  314. Betsy Greer says:

    Hi kmm,

    I know you posted this a while back, but I just read it and thought I’d comment. It’s not necessary to “supplement” with kibble, unless you’re using it to stretch your budget or for convenience (two of the reasons I also use kibble); as the raw product you’re using is complete and balanced. You could add tinned sardines several times weekly for added Omega 3’s if you like or use raw meaty bones for oral health (it’s a myth that kibble helps to clean teeth), but the raw product you’re using is fine on it’s own.

  315. Switched our small dogs to raw because one of our girls had terrible allergies and we couldn’t determine the cause. She is now itch free and happy and they both love the lamb formula. We couldn’t be happier with this product.

  316. Laurie Cederstrom Matson says:

    Would this be a good raw, frozen Diet to switch 4 small dogs to that have been eating Pedigree canned food all their lives (the oldest is 10)? what frozen raw diet would you folks recommend? and how do I make the switch?

  317. We tried Blue and our dog had really bad gas and diarrhea with it. Then we tried Science Diet and she itched so bad. I have heard bad things about Blue and Science Diet. Our Vet really pushes Science Diet which upsets me because it’s really not that great. Now we have her on Nature’s Variety Chicken Kibble with freeze dried bits. It’s more natural and she is doing so much better on it and she loves it!

  318. Link above not right. Should be

  319. Sorry for my absence on the discussion I started! I did have Bella in training and it was helpful to a degree. She still shows tendencies of territorial aggression. I, nor the trainer, are not suggesting high protein causes aggression. Rather I was repeating results from a study done several years ago ( where a low protein diet positively affected dogs with territorial aggression.

    Since switching to Instinct Raw, I believe I have seen a slight improvement in Bella’s behavior, but she still has a ways to go. I’ll keep her on raw for now, as I believe the higher quality food is the right direction (as opposed to the Beneful we were using).

  320. kkellyCDT says:

    I wrote that earlier, as I’ve come to learn that high protein diets can actually affect the tryptophan levels. Learn something new everyday! I would personally find a food that has high quality protein (not plant protein), low in starches and grains, and a food that also has added tryptophan, or find a tryptophan supplement. :]

  321. I must say I spoke too soon without reading and thought the trainer was saying protein did cause aggression, but I am still glad Steve has went raw. Sorry for the comment.

  322. I am so glad you went raw! My dog is on raw and he is so much better with being excited and he has a beautiful coat now. Listen to HDM, not all these so called certified trainers.

  323. kkellyCDT says:

    As a certified professional dog trainer, I can tell you that the protein content of your food does not fuel aggression. If your dog is displaying aggression, I would consider talking to a professional dog trainer. Check out:

    and look for a trainer near you!

  324. my puppy hates the lamb…. beef seems to be the preferred type! I also supplement with dry Merrick food.

  325. Kathleen Kincaid says:

    with that puppy chow you may very well end up having skin condition problems! I used to breed and train GSD’s for 13 years. For a DRY KIBBLE food… I found, after some research and talking with dietitian of 3 different companies… the formulation of NutraNuggets, has an excellent balance of real protein (not meat meal/byproducts) fats (with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids) and rice (non allergen) price-wise… it’s half of IAMS and the formulations is very close to the same nutrition levels. I always took my German Shepherd puppies off the “puppy formula” at 4 months and put them back on it at 10 months. This slowed their growth curve sufficiently, to prevent elbow “issues! and yet develop excellent joint and bone growth. When I quit breeding and my last shepherd was getting up there in years… I put her on a raw diet due to her developing bone spurs/pain/weakness in her spine/thighs. This made a huge improvement in her over all health and her quality of life for her last year was so much better… without having to give her medications like Rimadyl… I wish I’d heard of the raw diet much sooner..

  326. Kathleen Kincaid says:

    I have been using this as a “back up” for the raw diet I’ve been feeding my little dog… I’m about ready to switch over my geriatric dog also. The little dog does not like AT ALL the lamb formula, seems to do okay..mostly with the rabbit, but her all time favorite is the chicken! I haven’t tried the beef with her as yet.. it hasn’t been available in the portion size I use for my little dog.

  327. Thanks for the thorough explanation on protein values. it’s great info.

    My dog has territorial aggression. We have used a trainer, but some of her tendencies still remain. During research I came across the study that was done several years ago that determined that dogs with territorial aggression improved when fed low protein food. I was set to go with that plan when at the last minute I read a thread where most felt this was on par with punishment by malnutrition. Their suggestions were to feed grain free, avoid preservatives, artificially, etc…

    Having had no success at the Petco type stores, and with each vet having a differing opinion, I decid to visit a local pet shop. Had a nice discussion with the owner who showed me to this food. I saw the 15% protein value, and the very short list of ingredients, and thought it’s exactly what the doctor ordered.

    It’s only been a week since I started with raw, so I need to give it more time. But we did have a full house for Christmasyesterday, and she didn’t act outta all. So maybe low protein won’t be needed, but maybe a quality feed makes the difference?

  328. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Raw diets are very high in moisture, this needs to be accounted for when calculating the protein content – the actual (adjusted) values are shown on the dashboard. Nature’s Variety’s raw formulas contain 65% moisture (water) so all the nutrient values appear low because the food (as fed) is predominantly water. To account for the water and calculate the actual protein content you subtract the %moisture from 100% to obtain the %dry matter. You then divide the as fed nutrient value by the %dry matter and multiply by 100%. So in the case of the Nature’s Variety:

    100% – 65% = 35%
    15%/35% = 0.43
    0.43X100% = 43%

    A similar approach should be taken for canned foods as well. Because dry foods are so low in moisture (~10%) the actual values don’t differ much from the as fed values.

    May I ask why you were “drawn to the low protein content”? Does your dog have a health condition?

  329. I am just starting with the beef variety, partly because I was drawn to the low protein content (15%) shown on the product bag. The dashboard above shows 43%. Can someone explain the difference?

  330. InkedMarie says:

    It fall depends on your dog (how much he sets). There are kibbles with rabbit, kangaroo, bison…

  331. Hi Lauren,

    I have a Shih tzu who has eaten Nature’s Variety Raw quite a bit and he does very well on it. I personally really like it and he has great BM’s which tells me his body likes it to! And they use whole foods for their minerals/vitamins. They have lots of great proteins to choose from,the only thing I would say is the rabbit in the raw I am fairly certain is the one sourced from China. All the other proteins are not. A bag lasts Dawson a fairly long time, but for Tango I would suggest the value chubs would be a better deal if you can get them in the protein you are looking for. I know they have Venison available in the chubs. Dawson personally approves the Lamb, Duck, and Beef. Hes not a fan of the chicken but chicken is his least favourite protein in any form of food. I am sure others will help you as well, but I believe dogs who have had trouble with proteins in Kibble tend to be able to eat them raw but I don’t know for certain and Dawson does not have any other problems (yet!).

    On the website it says Tango would need almost 11 ounces a day, which would depend on how he keeps weight, I always feed Dawson much less i.e he is about 17 pounds but as a rule I will feed him as an eleven pound dog which has kept his weight perfect. But seeing as Shih tzu’s are easy keepers Tango may very well eat the suggested amount or need more. Its a learn as you go type thing. A chub is 32 oz, Medallions are 1 oz each and comes in a bag of 48. To see how long it would last I would calculate how many calories Tango is eating now, provided he is at an appropriate weight, and then compare to the Nature’s Variety, each ounce is 65 calories.

    Then for the skin issues I would supplement with a fish oil, if you dont already, generally some of the better are Krill, herring etc, the smaller, shorter life span have less mercury accumulation. I cant remember the dosage off the top of my head but somebody else may have it or I can find it for you.

    I hope this helps some!

    This is there website:

  332. I’m looking to see on average how long a package of the raw food lasts to see if it is something we can afford. Our vet has asked us to change our dog’s protein source to one he has not had before. She suggested rabbit since it is a “cooling” meat and our dog has already tried chicken, turkey, lamb, and fish. Our 4 yr old cattle-dog mix, Tango, has crazy skin allergies. We would be supplementing some of this “dry” food with a rabbit-formula wet food (probably Wild Callings). Can anyone tell me how much of this food they go through on average? Tango is 50 lbs and is fed twice a day. Currently he is fed 3/4 dry food in the morning, mixed with a couple spoonfuls of wet food, and the same in the afternoon. Any help is appreciated!

  333. InkedMarie says:

    Please don’t, that is a horrible food. Try the Nutri Source that Patty suggested.

  334. Pattyvaughn says:

    This is a HUGE change in quality from Purina. It’s like going from prison camp food to gourmet restaurant. A change like that can cause all kinds of digestive issues. To top that off, since you have a large breed puppy, he has his own set of issues you have to think about when feeding him. Large breed dogs need to be on controlled calcium until they are done growing so their joints develop correctly. Over on the forums, Hound Dog Mom started a thread to discuss the issues that large and giant breed puppies have and she has done the research on what foods have he right calcium levels. Here is a link to her list of foods that are OK for large breed puppies.

    For your pup, I would suggests NutriSource Large Breed Puppy. It is a relatively bland food that most dogs don’t have trouble switching over to.

  335. I’m wondering if I should just put him back on purines puppy chow. He wasn’t having problems then.

  336. Hey. I have a four month old golden retriever male. I wanted to feed my dog a high quality food and my vet recommended science diet. My dogs been on this for about two months and seems to have diarrhea all the time. I’ve been back and fourth to vet, given him medicine, but despite what my vet says I want to try switching foods. Someone told me about this. Just wanted your thoughts. Thanks so much!

  337. dogslosttochina says:

    FYI- NV frozen rabbit product is sourced from China however the label proudly states “made in USA”. Customer service (CS) advised the company produces the product in the USA and it is not necessary to state the rabbit originates in China. CS said NV is being transparent, if you telephone them. WHAT! Odd the rabbit in their canned food is sourced from France. In light of the recent info of dogs dying from China sourced chews, it is obvious to avoid any products from China.

  338. I agree that for some concerned about pathogens, HPP can be an excellent segue to raw feeding. But for many of us that have been raw feeding for a long period of time, even before HPP was introduced, HPP is, in our minds, not really raw. The texture is different, the look is different etc.

    I fed Nature’s Variety BEFORE they began using HPP and I wasn’t in the least bit impressed with how they transitioned over to HPP (which incidentally was in the same timeframe that Catterton Partners bought them out). They lost several valuable members of their staff around that same time as well (Sandy Goodwin went to Stella & Chewys, Scott started Nature’s Logic and Jacqueline Hill started Answers). My dogs went from enjoying Nature’s Variety to refusing to eat it.

  339. ok guest!

  340. HPP is a good thing… yes they are still raw..

  341. eat less

  342. Pattyvaughn says:

    If NV has more calories than the previous food and you feed the same amount, then the dog will put on weight. Weight gain is all about calories in/ calories out.

  343. sh said her dog started getting fat only after eating the NV product…

  344. I agree that fat isn’t bad and that if a dog is gaining it makes perfect sense to feed them less. BUT, if the fat content is too high (and I don’t know if NV’s is?) it can cause the pet to get full (or fat) before it’s protein and vitamin needs are met.

    I personally don’t care for NV’s raw products due to them being subjected to high pressure pasteurizing. In my opinion, they are technically no longer raw. Unfortunately, most raw foods are going the HPP route now… It’s getting to where we don’t have many options if we want commercial, non-HPP raw.

  345. OK I’ll let you have the last word!

  346. yes and my first response didn’t need any clarification…

  347. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Where did I say that a higher fat content made it a bad product? All I did was clarify that the fat content is likely higher than what’s stated on the guaranteed analysis. Although it should be noted that oftentimes a high fat content indicates that the company is using low quality fatty trimmings versus high quality lean meat. I’m not against feeding fattier diets in some cases – for example my hounds are very active and need more energy dense food to maintain their weight – however I wouldn’t pay a premium price for it, I can get fatty trimmings for less than $1 per pound.

  348. yes it may be higher in fat but that doesn’t make it a bad product… if your dog is gaining weight you might think about feeding them less…

  349. Hound Dog Mom says:

    I believe what the poster is pointing out is that the fat level in the food is much higher than the stated value. “Min” means that there’s a guaranteed minimum of 12% fat – the fat can actually be much higher than this. Judging by the calorie content (65 per oz.) it’s clear that this food is pretty high in fat. Dr. Mike has an article addressing this issue:

  350. which canine nutritionists?

  351. I feed both at the same time and have never seen any problems.

  352. feed your dog less…

  353. The Admiral says:

    My Newfie puppy just recently switched to Nature’s Variety: Instinct Raw Chicken with great weight results. Before, she was on Blue Wilderness LBP–which had a lower protein/fat content, but she was still about five pounds over her ideal weight (giant puppies should be kept “super-model skinny”, as my vet says). She’s done so well on the NV that I switched my cats over.

    What helps, though, is only feeding 3/4-2/3 of the serving recommendation on the packaging. Being a Newfie, my girl has different caloric needs than other (more energetic) breeds, so I’ve always had to adjust her feeding amount based on what’s best for her, individually. I’ll also add that she only eats the Chicken and Rabbit varieties because of their low Calc./Phos. levels.

  354. Hound Dog Mom says:

    It’s not fat that causes a dog to gain weight, it’s excess calories. Fat just happens to be more calorically dense (9 kcal. per gram) than protein or carbohydrates (4 kcal. per gram). Nature’s Variety states the calorie content on their website, you should always feed based on calorie content not fat level.

  355. I’ve learned over the years to email every company of raw that I fed to find out more regarding the calories, and the more realistic amount of protein and fat in a product since the labeling laws aren’t very consumer friendly.

  356. My dog was on this food – mostly raw lamb – for about a year and a half. Until 6 months ago. She is now 41 months old. She loved it. Of course she did. Fat makes everything taste great. Despite feeding her per the NV directions her weight continued to escalate. My vet and I were perplexed. We undertook thyroid tests, etc. Then I went to the website to discover that the fat content was hugely greater than what was on the package. I emailed NV to inquire about the discrepancy. Got chipper email back from “Customer care” saying not to worry, while NV had reevaluated their guaranteed analysis the product remained the same as it has been for several years. Oh goody. My dog was feasting on fat and is now under a strict – not-NV diet – to shed the weight. Nothing other than her diet has changed. She gets the same 14 hours/week of exercise she always did. She ballooned to 73 pounds. She’s now 55 lbs with at least 5 left to lose. I feel sorry for my pooch. I got sucked into a trendy nutrition movement that is clearly being exploited by dog food manufacturers. Raw is good. Natures Variety is not.

  357. Pattyvaughn says:

    Yes, I have. The key is to figure out what your dog is reacting to and to completely avoid that ingredient. That is much easier done with a homemade diet because they are much more limited in number of ingredients. It doesn’t have to be raw either, you can cook your own dog food. Dr Karen Becker has an excellent book called “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats” that has the info you need to get started. I only have a toddler at my house once a week so don’t have all the issues you do, but I taught him right off the bat that every time we feed the dog anything we wash our hands. This is vital with kibble fed dogs too!

  358. I have a 3 year old bullmastiff who has terrible skin problems and we are suspecting allergies. Anyone seen improvement in skin after switching to raw? I’m just worried about handling and contamination as I have an infant and toddler in the home

  359. I think that is a myth that was started by the big kibble makers to prevent people from adding “real” food to the kibble.. Yes, they do digest at different rates but so does meat and fat and meat and bone, veggies etc.. Yet we mix those without causing digestive upset..

    One does not prevent the other from digesting in a healthy gut. In fact, it is likely that raw increases the digestibility of kibble by adding moisture and extra protein which increases the amount of hydrochloric acid secreted by the gut.

  360. Zoe's momma says:

    I mix raw into the dry kibble all the time, and my dog has tolerated it just fine. It does not cause gas, discomfort, or any other digestive issues, and she tends to have a very sensitive stomach.

  361. Pattyvaughn says:

    But it is still opinion. My dog has IBS and has not had a bout of it since I started mixing some raw with his dry, over a year ago. He definitely does produce more gas from eating the dry without raw in it, but he does not produce more gas or show any signs of discomfort when the two are mixed. I was a Vet Tech for many years, I know how to tell if a dog is in discomfort, and I especially know this dog, so I stand by my original statement. I’m sure that somewhere there is a dog that actually needs its raw and kibble seperate, but I believe the vast majority don’t.

  362. When I use to feed commercial raw I bought a couple different flavors at once so I could feed something different for the next meal. I would buy beef, duck, pheasant, turkey and rabbit.

  363. Actually, I have fed the raw medallions with dry on several occasions without issue. It most likely depends on the dog whether or not its a good idea.

  364. I wouldn’t feed them together. That’s not just my opinion but the opinion of many other highly regarded canine nutritionists. I feed both everyday but I give about 4 hours, or more, between kibble and raw to allow for digestion. I have IBS, and eating foods that digest at different rates is a no-no. There won’t be any serious complications(no worries about it being lethal!) but it can cause some pretty severe discomfort for the dog due to gas or other digestive issues. Since dogs don’t always show when they’re uncomfortable you may never see that mixing raw with kibble is actually causing uncomfortable issues for your dog.

  365. Please don’t mix dry with raw food. If you are feeding both raw and dry(as I do) then feed them at seperate feedings. Dry digests differently than raw does and may cause gas, or other digestion issues.

  366. I know you wrote this 5 months ago, I just saw it. One question, do you wear your shoes from outside to inside your house? If so you could have brought them in, eggs etc.

  367. Hi Oryon,

    After taking only a casual glance at the updated GA figures for NV Instinct Raw Frozen on their website today, it appears the company may have increased the meat content of this product.

    So, it’s quite possible our next visit to this product, it’s likely you might see an adjustment back up to 5 stars.

    This product line is due to be re-visited sometime in mid-October. Until then, this is still an excellent product and I wouldn’t worry too much about these minor differences in our rating.

    Hope this helps.

  368. Dr. Mike,

    This site has been immensely helpful the last few years in helping my wife and I feed our dog better food. I can’t commend you enough for all the information available here.

    I’ve been looking into gradually introducing some raw food into our Lilly’s diet, eventually to the point where about 25% of her daily food is raw. On our last trip to Petco, I noticed they began carrying the Nature’s Variety raw products, and my wife and I began looking into more info about them.

    As someone mentioned in a post down below, Nature’s Variety looks to have changed their formula/guaranteed analysis since this review was last updated. The Beef formula now has a Guaranteed Analysis of 15% protein and 12% fat, up from the 13/8 in the review.

    I see that this product was downgraded from a 5 star food to 4.5 back in December based on new raw category guidelines. I assume it was based on the carb content? I have noticed compared to the 5 star raw foods, this has a higher carb content based on their older numbers.

    How does their new guaranteed analysis affect the food’s rating? Does it leave it unchanged? Does it drop now to a 4 star food, or raise it back up to 5 stars?

    I assume the overall percentage for the dry matter basis for the carbs went down and the fat percentage went up based on the new numbers. Are the carbs now considered average, down from their above average? Is the fat now considered average, up from the below average? How does this food now fit in the raw category guidelines with its new numbers?

    Thanks so much! 🙂

  369. My girl has been excessively thirsty and her labs and urinalysis are perfect. Des anyone know if nv raw chicken could contribute to thirst? What about the clay ingredient? She doesn’t eat processed human food and drinks first thing after breakfast before she has played outside and gotten hot. Help please, insight appreciated.

  370. Pattyvaughn says:

    I’m using raw, but not NVI, will that do? I defrost something and then I feed it. Then I defrost something else. If it takes 3 days to feed it then I feed the same for 3 days, if they finish it in 1 day, then I feed something different next.

  371. Hound Dog Mom says:

    There’s really no method – just switch formulas whenever your want. You can also mix raw or canned with the dry.

  372. Can someone give me an example of how they rotate different NV Instinct? I really just want to feed a raw diet (no kibble. can). Thanks

  373. SanDnMila says:

    Thanks. They sent me an email a few mins after your comment.

  374. Hound Dog Mom says:

    It’s sourced from France.

  375. Pattyvaughn says:

    I do know that they use HPP, so I’ve never seriously considered their food.

  376. Pattyvaughn says:

    I have no idea.

  377. SanDnMila says:

    Is Stella and Chewy’s Rabbit sourced in the US?

  378. Pattyvaughn says:

    Good for you!! I always miss those.

  379. Laura Vandervelde Flack says:

    II was thrilled to death today to get the Raw Duck on sale for $8 per bag! Oh my Lucky Day!

  380. Pattyvaughn says:

    I’ve been reading right along on the website and I still kept wondering if we were still talking about the same thing until someone would say the right thing so I knew we were on the same page. We kept saying “they” instead of HPP.

  381. InkedMarie says:

    Thanks, I read via email unless I need to respond and got totally lost!

  382. Pattyvaughn says:

    Go up to RevNyc’s post with the link to Healthy Pet Products. It’s them, not NV.

  383. InkedMarie says:

    Been a busy weekend and I’m not following along: are you speaking of NV raw or something else?

  384. Me too!! I’m gonna have to go back to home prepare all meals before long.

  385. Thanks aimee!! Thought I was losing it :)..

  386. Crystal says:

    Thanks I’ll skip the rabbit.

  387. Pattyvaughn says:

    I totally agree with HDM, but want to add that I won’t use their raw rabbit because the rabbit in the raw is sourced from China.

  388. Pattyvaughn says:


  389. Crystal says:

    Thanks so much!!! I’m going to give it a try.

  390. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Definitely a good idea! NV Instinct is a very high quality kibble and feeding raw is the best thing you can do for a dog (imo). No one can really tell you how much – that will depend on age/size/activity level/etc. I’d recommend starting with the feeding guide on the bag (if it’s for adults you may need to feed more than what’s recommend because she’s a puppy). Then adjust accordingly – if she starts to gain too much weight reduce the portions and if she looks to thin increase the portions.

  391. Crystal says:

    I’d like to know if it would be a good idea to start a 6 month-old Yorkshire tarrier on a rotation of the nature’s variety instinct dry & raw food. She is just under 5 pounds.  If you think it’s a good idea how much?

  392. Hound Dog Mom says:

    If they would have just said “we use fatty meat to keep costs down” I would have had a lot more respect for their answer and would possibly still consider using the beef formula on occasion because that formula does have appropriate levels of fat. Now I know that they are either a) deceptive or b) lacking knowledge when it comes to canine nutrition – and I don’t want to purchase food from a company that is either of those.

  393. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Oh wow – I didn’t even notice this post when I posted the response they sent me. I guess they send everyone the same bogus response! Well I did like the beef formula, but after receiving a response like this I have to question the company and will no longer use their products. I only tried it once, but it was reasonably priced and looked fresh. I typically make my own but occasionally use pre-made when I’m short on time. Thought this was a brand I could keep on hand but I guess not. The number of commercial raw foods I’m willing to use is dwindling..

  394. Pattyvaughn says:

    I’m not sure that I would say it is unbelievable, they were honest about the ridiculous amount of fat in the chicken, just that they have serious gaps in their knowledge and maybe no sense of logic to boot.

  395. Melissaandcrew says:

    I’m glad I am not the only one left scratching their head over this. Bears eat higher calories before hibernation to build a nice thick fat layer, to use later. Since my dog is not hibernating, there is no logical reason, imo, to feed that high a level to the average dog.

  396. Hi Shawna,

    Not HDM …but I don’t think you are missing or forgetting anything. : )

    The “bugs” in the ruman can synthesize protein from products of carb fermentation and a nitrogen source. and plant synthesize AA. But dogs making AA from fatty acids… Um no.

    This statement ranks up there with : “Dog synthesize all the minerals
    they need” which was on another dog food manufacture’s site

  397. I agree, what a strange answer. And comparing feeding a dog to a bear going into hibernation is really weird. The bear does does eat/require more fat before hibernation, but only to keep systems running at a much reduced pace to get through the lean times, not because he can convert the fat to protein.

    I hope Mr Lander is not their nutritionist.

  398. Amino acids can be converted to fatty acids ——- but, fatty acids converted to amino acids? What am I forgetting or missing?

  399. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Hi Shawna –

    I just got a response and it is what I thought (skin) and I do not agree with their reasoning for including so much skin.



    The chicken skin is used in the chicken because we want the fat as high as possible. Chicken skin is mostly fat. This question comes up often because people think of how fat interacts with people, We’re not feeding people, dogs are a totally different species than people, have different needs and process different foods differently than people.. Simply put, peopleconvert fat to fat, dogs convert fat to protein. It’s similar to a bear getting ready for hibernation, they load up on fat even more so than protein. Let me know if you have any additional questions.

    Michel Lander


    I’m all for higher fat foods (as you know) but unless a dog is a true endurance athlete, I don’t think it’s appropriate for the level of fat to be higher than the level of protein. I also can’t help but assume that the real reason so much skin is included is for cost reasons. The beef formula is not high in fat, so if it were true that they feel fat levels should be as high as possible the beef would have more fat as well.

  400. I am disappointed because he loves the beef formula.Once I took him off the chicken his stool was a lot less. I live in NYC (apt) and I used to grind all his food and organs. I just got so sick of it. 5 years every Sunday night for a couple of hours. Then all this pre packaged stuff started coming out so I started buying it.

    I am assuming with the above answer its safe to say that what they say they are putting in their food is not believable?

  401. Pattyvaughn says:

    And this is “Healthy” Pet Products! Obviously they know absolutely nothing. I have crossed them off my list of products to try with exclaimation points. Along with all their other idiocy, they must not have heard that there is and epidemic of canine obesity. I’m sorry, but saying fat is converted to protein ranks right up there with someone thinling their dog got worms from kibble. No, it’s worse, because as a dog food company they ought to know better.

    That is exactly what I meant about their answer should tell you all you need to know.

  402. Did you hear back from them HDM?

  403. NO!! NO?? Are you serious? WOW!!

  404. Wow I cannot believe they just emailed me this answer. This actually makes me really nervous about their product. Here is what they said

    This question comes up often because people think of how fat interacts with people, We’re not feeding people, dogs are a totally different species than people, have different needs and process different foods differently than people.. Simply put, people convert fat to fat, dogs convert fat to protein. It’s similar to a bear getting ready for hibernation, they load up on fat more so than protein. Thank you for asking and thank you for feeding HPP. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

  405. When I’m comparing different formulas from one brand whether wet, raw or kibble, I change it to dry matter so I can compare them to each other as the different foods have different moisture content. Also the % of protein and fat are minimums only which means there could be more.

  406. Pattyvaughn says:

    Then I think that as long as you use wet % to come up with wet % or dry % to come up with dry %, you should get good numbers. You may want to email the company for the ash %, raw food often has higher ash on a dry matter basis, wet would be much lower numbers.

  407. Hi Liz,

    Our carbs figure is only an estimate based upon the company’s posted Guaranteed Analysis numbers for protein, fat and moisture.

    If a company lists its actual carb content on its label or its website, then you should go by their figure. It’s most likely significantly more accurate than ours.

    Hope this helps.

  408. So should I break everything down to dry matter and then figure carbs?

  409. I got my number from the NV website and I am using the standard 8% ash.

  410. Pattyvaughn says:

    Where did you get any of your numbers? I’m not positive about this either, but protein should be 13%, fat should be 8%, moisture I don’t know. And do you have an actual ash figure or are you using Dr Mike’s standard 8% which is for kibble and I have no idea what it should be for raw with moisture included?

  411. This article was last done on 4/2012 when the beef formula was different. Take a look at the dashboard above (the yellow box). The 26% carb is also in dry matter. The new beef formula is approximately 15% carbs in dry matter with a fat-to-protein ratio of 80%.

  412. I’m new to all this so please bare with me but I figured the carbs in the beef formula and I don’t come up with estimated 26% that the dashboard is showing. How I figured was 100-15 protein-12 fat-65 moisture- 8 ash= 0. So where are they getting 26% carbs???

  413. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Okay I just emailed them and inquired about why the fat level in the chicken formula is so high. I will post their response when I get one. I’m hoping it’s a typo because I would like to try the chicken formula.

  414. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Hmm…about a month ago I fed the beef formula to all three of my hounds for about a week (they ate the beef mix for breakfast and poultry RMBs for dinner) and I didn’t see any change in their stool in terms or consistency or volume.

  415. Hound Dog Mom says:

    I don’t know – that’s all I can come up with. It could very well be a typo on their part though. I may actually email them about it because I liked the beef formula a lot and would consider using their brand again in the future.

  416. That still seems excessive even with the skin??

  417. You could always add it to his rotation if he likes it so well.. Or use it as a topper to a lower protein food — like rabbit.
    This food doesn’t appear to be pasteurized (didn’t see anything on their site at least). That may be why he likes it better than NV.

    Hmmm, maybe you can educate the raw guru!! 🙂

    And you’re welcome.. Sorry we missed it the first time you posted!!!

  418. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Hi RevNyc –

    I’ve fed my dogs the Beef formula. It seemed like a good product and is definitely reasonably priced as far as pre-made raw goes – didn’t try the chicken because of the fat content though. I like to keep my dogs’ meals rather high in fat, but I never feed foods where the % fat exceeds the % protein. It’s definitely possible for chicken to be higher in fat than beef if the chicken they’re using contains the skin.

  419. Oh and Shawna thanks for the replies!!

  420. I got the originals numbers I posted above from the packaging. I bought this from a retailer and she had no idea that the % of fat should not be more then the protein. She is just selling what she thinks is better then kibble just because it has the word raw on it. I may just go back to Nature Variety Raw patties and throw in some k-9 cravings 5 star food here and there. My dog loves this food though. Ive never seen him so excited before when eating this stuff.

  421. It should be on the packaging too..
    What do you mean she had no idea what you were talking about — meaning fat to protein ratio or meaning the food being high?

  422. Yeah, me too.. I think every line I can think of has more fat in the beef than in the chicken..

    If the food is truly organic and grass fed (and more importantly finished) I suppose you could see a mild detox (the runny eye) but poop size still seems odd imo..

  423. I started writing them asking them this question but I figured they would not tell me what I need to hear. However you are right I should ask anyone. The women I bought it from swears she is raw guru and when I mentioned the fat vs protein content she had no idea what I was talking about.

  424. I am a gym rat and there is no beef that I have ever eaten that has less fat then chicken. Even 96% lean beef still has more fat and its def not being feed to dogs.

    My dogs stool has tripled in size since feeding him this stuff. One of his eyes started tearing since the switch. I cant imagine everything being a 100% true when my dogs poop size resembles and elephants!

  425. Pattyvaughn says:

    Go to the website, click on contact us, and ask them if the fat level really is that high. Their answer should tell you all you need to know.

  426. I have to wonder if the high fat amount shown is not a typo?? That seems VERY high for organically raised, free range chicken. It’s usually the beef that is high in fat and chicken is lower..

    The beef looks good. I like that they use the kidneys, lungs and tripe as well as the more frequently used heart and liver. I do prefer whole foods over synthetic and/or isolated vitamins and minerals but it wouldn’t be a deal breaker when used in rotation with other foods.

  427. anyone???

  428. gmcbogger says:

    Thank you so much! I will definitely look into doing that.

  429. That’s actually a myth. It is true that the two foods digest at different rates but as the food is digested to chime the chime leaves the stomach and moves on to the small intestines for further processing. What is left in the stomach continues to digest.

    My guess is that it is actually beneficial to add some raw (or lightly cooked) protein to the kibble diet as the extra protein would cause more hydrochloric acid production which in turn activates pepsin which digests protein.

    Certified Nutritionist Monica Segal says this “So, if you feed kibble every day, maybe you want to think about adding a bit of fresh food as well.”

    “Supplementing the dry food with fresh, unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruit, yogurt, meat or a bit of canned food is also safe and healthy.”

  430. Pattyvaughn says:

    My self and several others here do that every meal and have been for quite some time. In case you haven’t noticed, dogs can also handle kibble and canned in the same meal, and they digest at different rates too. People have been doing this for centuries in their own diets. I’m sure that somewhere there is actually a dog that needs its raw and kibble seperate, but I believe the vast majority don’t.

  431. Pattyvaughn says:

    I think most raw feeders will agree that any small amount of raw is better than no raw. I’d rather see you give a raw meaty bone a couple time a week than the expense of NVI as far as band for the buck. Don’t get me wrong, I like NVI, but as long as you are sticking to 20% or less of the diet, you don’t have to worry about it being balanced and you will see a huge benefit in dental health if you feed an RMB occassionally. If you could do both, that would be even better.

  432. crazy4cats says:

    LETHAL? That seems a bit extreme!

  433. DO NOT MIX RAW DIET AND KIBBLE IN SAME MEAL. They digest at different rates and can cause lethal results.

  434. has anyone heard about this company I bought there beek and chicken thinking it was k-9 kravings brand. When I got home I realized the fat content in the chicken what 25% vs 14% for protein which I know is a no no. However their beef looks alright

  435. gmcbogger says:

    I have a question about raw food for anyone who is knowledgeable about it. I currently feed ACANA dry to my dogs and they are doing well on it. I was thinking of mixing in a few of the Natures Variety raw nuggets into their food every day. Will this have a positive impact on them or will it be worthless to do?

  436. crosswind says:

    Bugs in the house can have parasites too. They are all around us. i saw a youtube video one where a lady killed a spider and she thought it came back to life, but it was a parasite coming OUT of the spider that kept it’s body moving. Eww.

  437. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Primal only uses HPP on their poultry formulas, NV uses HPP on all their raw formulas.

  438. Thank you for trying anyway. Guess I can’t keep her in a bubble.

  439. Pattyvaughn says:

    Since they can get worms even as much as a year before showing signs, you may never know. A visitor that didn’t remove shoes, something that was sat down before opening the door and coming in, a bug or lizard that got in the house. You won’t necessarily see signs of tapeworms in the litterbox BTW, especially if they have the kind that they get from lizards instead of fleas.
    Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  440. I was aware their poultry raw foods were HPP but wasn’t aware the lamb was. If you could suggest where they would have come from, please do so! I really want to eliminate all possibilities so I don’t have a wormy kitty again. The vet mostly shrugged it off as commonplace.

  441. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Freezing meat for a least two weeks should kill any parasites if they were in the meat prior to freezing and a commercial food must’ve been frozen at least two weeks prior to purchasing. NV is also HPP so I highly doubt the worms came from the food.

  442. The vet did not say. I haven’t noticed any “rice” in the litter box so I’m thinking its not tape worms.

  443. Melissaandcrew says:

    What kind of worms..

  444. Our shoes don’t come into the house, they are left in the porch. Where do you think they would have come from? I am at a loss to explain it.

  445. Pattyvaughn says:

    If you ever track dirt in on your shoes your cat is more likely to get worms from that than it is to get then from a frozen food. And they have worms for a while before the worms are bad enough for the cat to get sick from them.

  446. I’m a little suspicious of NV now. About 2.5 weeks ago I bought some raw lamb medallions to try with my cat. She has been on their raw bites duck for about 3 months with no issues. A few days after we started the lamb she started getting greasy fur and losing weight like crazy. I thought maybe she was just adjusting (even though she’s had lamb before), but I finally figured out it was worms!! She’s an indoor cat with no contact with other animals; I have no idea where she would have gotten them otherwise, and the timing is a little too perfect. This makes me nervous about trying their other products.

  447. InkedMarie says:

    When I got Darwin’s, it came frozen solid with no ice crystals. Right now, I’m feeding grinds fom Hare Today to one dog completely; the other two get one meal of kibble, other of raw

  448. InkedMarie says:

    I use fb! How do I find you?

  449. Hound Dog Mom says:

    I don’t use facebook. 🙁

  450. I feed a mixture also. No one feeds raw but me so there’s plenty of back-up foods. I feed kibble, canned, freeze dried and raw. I use Brothers Complete, Nutrisca, Nutrisource (kibbles), for canned I also use a variety – Merrick, Weruva, Wellness, Tripett, Nutrisca, Addiction and then there’s freeze dried in Vital Essentials and Nutrisca and Instinct. I’d also like to try Ziwipeak but I’m pretty stocked up right now. If no one has told you yet, stools from raw foods are small and turn ashy and will crumble. Didn’t want that to alarm you.

  451. also lilo

  452. also Patty HDM, Marie, if u wanna be FB friends, too, lmk

  453. Thanks, Betsy. your CKCS is adorable (my favorite breed) I went to your facebook page listed on your profile to see mmore pics of your CKCS, but I guess I need to be your “friend to see more pics. If you wanna be friends, lmk. I actually got my little dog Tillie by making a donation to and them they sent me all the CKCS mixes they got into rescue. Tillie is a CKCS/Mini Eskimo mix (called a Cav-a-Mo by some) Her mom was taken into rescue pregnant, and I had her reserved before she was even born. She has all the wonderful carachteristics of eskies and CKCS, sweet, agile, cuddly, smart, fun loving

  454. Thank you so much, Patty, HoundDogMom, Inked Marie, Betsy, and anyone else who replied to my endless questions…It realy has helped a lot 🙂 After I finish my bargain NV purchase, I will try Steves with the free shipping for 20 lb (hope I have that detail right this time) and will also try Darwins and probably try a rotation of different raw brands

  455. Pattyvaughn says:

    I keep mine on some kibble, because my family can’t handle feeding raw if something happens to me or if I take a trip. I change up what I feed every meal so I change up my kibbles too. I use Darwins, grinds from Hare Today, and homemade raw. My dogs get beef, chicken, turkey, duck, goat, mutton, rabbit, sardine, herring, and soon venison. Variety helps to keep their systems strong.

  456. Hi Judy,

    That $14.95 introductory offer is a fantastic deal and yes, it includes shipping. Darwin’s has great customer service, have you called them to see what type of quantitiy you’d need for future orders? They can quickly put a quantity and shipping costs together to tell you the cost of future orders. There is a weight point (40 lbs if I recall correctly where you get a 10% price break). Once your dog tries it and you see how you both like it, you’ll determine if it’s a good value for you. The Zoologics are less expensive than the Natural Selections and different proteins are different prices with chicken being least expensive. I presume you found this page on their site:

  457. InkedMarie says:

    I prefer Darwins over Steve’s but its all personal choice.

  458. Yes Patty you were right, I was mistaken (see above) Thx Judy

  459. NO, I was wrong-There is NOT free shipping on auto [email protected] Darwin’s-
    I just saw the replies to my post and you guys are all correct and I
    was wrong. I just went to the Darwin’s website to read morecarefully
    about the auto shipment shipping. I had gottten confused by the 14.95
    Introductory offer with free shipping, and impulsively assumed
    incorrectly that if you sign up for auto-ship that shipping would be
    free- Incorrect- Please forgive me (a newbie) …is it still worth it
    to go with Darwin’s? Or is there a way to get free shipping from a
    comparable quality raw frozen brand ? Again, I’m sorry I
    mis-stated.this & Glad u guys caught it so quickly so that I could
    correct my post

  460. InkedMarie says:

    Really? The Steve’s was pinkish/grey, can’t remember the NV, the S&C was really light.

  461. Hound Dog Mom says:

    I know I’m in the minority here, but I can honestly say I didn’t find Darwin’s to look any more like “meat” than any other pre-made raw I’ve fed.

  462. lilo'smom says:

    Steve’s. Always Steve’s. Never had a problem with it. And it comes in plenty of different flavors. Plus I enjoy supporting a local Business that has the recycling on it’s mind. Their 5lb bags are completely decomposable. And in the food, there are no additives, everything comes from the ingredients they put into it.

  463. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Hi Judy –

    Darwin’s Zoologics would be fine. It really depends on your budget. The Zoologics are made with conventionally raised meats and produce (hence the cheaper price) and the Natural Selections are made with free range meat and organic produce. All of the Steve’s formulas are made from free range, hormone and antibiotic free meats. If you can afford organic/free range that’s obviously preferable, but if you can’t even raw food made with conventionally raised meats and produce is far superior to kibble.

    Honestly, as I just explained to Marie in a previous post, the recent recall doesn’t bother me. Many of the highest quality and most reputable brands have had past recalls (The Honest Kitchen, Orijen, Natura, etc.). To me whether or not a recall deters me from purchasing that company’s product again depends on how the company handles the recall – I like companies that pull the product before there are any associated sicknesses and companies that are open and honest about the recall and don’t try to hide it. Recalls can happen to any company at any time. On the other hand, if a company has repeated recalls (i.e. Diamond) and/or waits until there have been several illnesses/deaths and attempts to downplay the recall (i.e. Blue Buffalo) – I wouldn’t use their products.

    I just got the Steve’s today. It’s my first time ordering so I can’t say anything about the smell yet. It arrived fully frozen. The food comes in nuggets and they are in see through bags – there weren’t any ice crystals or discoloration visible to me just from looking through the packaging (but I haven’t opened it yet). I really like the looks of the ingredients and the protein/fat levels are perfect for my active crew of hounds so I wanted to give it a try.

    Also, it’s not like you have to stick with one brand. Order some Darwin’s, order some Steve’s and whatever else you can find. Find which brands you like and switch things up once in awhile.

  464. InkedMarie says:

    Hi Judy, I’m not HDM but I can answer a few questions. I fed the Zoologics. It’s the same meat you and I probably eat. Is the other better? Probably. Can you afford it? If yes then that’s great! If you can’t, buy the Zoologics.
    I fed a Bag of Steve’s. I saw on the website that they have burgers but the distributor didn’t have them. They have nuggets. I admit, the Steve’s looked nothing like the Darwin’s. Darwin’s looks like meat, to me, the Steve’s didn’t. My dogs don’t need the higher fat of Steve’s.

  465. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Yeah – I like the fat content, perfect for my crew. The recall doesn’t bother me. I don’t judge companies based on recalls as many reputable companies have had recalls (i.e. Honest Kitchen, Orijen, Bravo, Natura, etc.). The recalls only bother me if they aren’t handled well and/or are repetitive (i.e. Diamond). A recall can happen to any company at any time – and with how stringent the FDA is getting with testing for salmonella, I wouldn’t be surprised is we start seeing a lot more of the “top” companies pulling products for contamination.

  466. InkedMarie says:

    I got one Steve’s but mine don’t need the high fat (I know yours o well on higher fat). They also had a recent recall too.

  467. sounds like that would be a good business decision to me- wonder if they will ever test that- maybe someone should suggest it to them lol

    – do you folks prefer Darwins over Steves if shipping was equal (free on 20 lb thru

    I am never sure where to post a reply–is it right here under the comment we are replying to or up at top? I also am never sure where to look to read comments, still tying to igure out how to navigate here; been asorbing all this wonderful info here for at least a month now, so you would think I woulda figured it out by now /…

  468. Thanks, HDM, that was quick, will print out that info for my comparison of where to buy from.

    Now aout Zoologic type– would that be not recommended? how much less desirable would that version be? (certainly better than the NB LID kibble my dog has been on)
    The Steves free shipping on 20 lb sounds great, especially in light of the higher cost of raw, at least free shipping is a way to afford it if being shipped.
    I’m thinking that no matter how much the cost, that it is worth it to keep a beloved dog healthy and vet bills are more costly and also if not switching to raw, the beloved dog probably would have a shorter life span and lower quality of health as well as ore vet costs, so all the way around, no matter the higher cost, that the higher cost of raw is well worth it.

    I’m assuming that the past recall of Steve’s is not something to be concerned about, right? (can happen anywhere, right?), and the main thing is that the manufacturer is honest and responsible, and makes any needed corrections, and I’m guessing they did) I really like the free shipping part, cuz with the higher cost of prepared raw (no, I don’t have the time and energy to do it myself at this time-maybe in the future)
    Does the Steve’s raw ever arrive with ice crystals? and are there ever any discolorations or weird smells on Steve’s raw frozen food when you receive your delivery? Is it vacuum sealed like I think I read Darwins is? and does it come in the same expensive dry ice packaging like Darwin’s does?

    As you can see, I am still pondering where to purchase from, and when I saw the NV freezer in Petco last nite, I couldn’t help myself to pick up some to sample raw frozen for the first time. I now see that it is different than I was anticipating, not like palain bloody raw meat, but instead lookks to be meat gound up along with all the other needed ingredients, and the formed into patties or medallions. Is that what Steves and Darwins is also like (ground up raw mead with other ingredients and then formed?)
    Sorry for so many (long) questions. Thank you all so much for our guidance. I am SO glad to have found this site, which will surely improve my little dogs quality of life and lifespan. If only our beloved dogs could live as long as we do…but in the absense of that, at least they will live a better and longer life, now that these diet changes made. Wish I had understood all of this five years ago when she was a baby. Better late than never…

  469. InkedMarie says:

    Hi Judy, no harm! I was thinking if Darwin’s is doing free shipping, their business is going to skyrocket!

  470. Now that I have corrected my mis-assumption about Darwin’s auto ship, (again NO Darwin’s does NOT give free shipping on orders EXCEPT for the Introductory offer shipment)

    I now have one more question: HGM, InkedMarie, PattyVaughn, and others, you have all been so helpful to me, and I am now making the switch to raw, and would like to know, do you now avoid dry kibble completely, or IF you do supplement with any dry kibble, which brand do you favor? I only have about 2 lb left of my small dog’s kibble that she has been on for 5 years (Natural Balance Limited Ingredients Diet (in my earlier post I named my dog’s prior food inorrectly as “Natures Select-which is incorrect)
    Anyway, for transition purposes, since I don’t have much of her old (dry) food left to use for transitioning, would you recommend that I get a little more of what she has already been using (although she does not like it and has always been kind of a grazer, or more accuratly, waits until the end of day(when she is sure nothing ore tasty is coming) to eat her NB L.I.D. If I do need to get another bag of dry kibble to use fro transition purposes, I was thinking about getting a bag of BB Wilderness (I have a $5 off coupon for that, but the persona at Petco said that unless my dog is a very active dog, that it has too much protein (although my 22 pound dog has lenty of energy and runs faster than any dog in the neighborhood and jumps high, if there is no one to play with, and if I’m to busy for a long walk, she can be a couch potato)

    She LOVED the raw I gave her last night for the first time (NV Instinct Beef medallions, so I was wondering if I even need to slowlu decreas the kible at all since appetitize-wise she took to it quickly, but for other transitioning purposes ( to be an easie transition to her system, etc), She doen’t have any health issues, nor any stomach sensitivities.

    So, Just for transitioning pruposes, should I bother getting aother small bag of her old kibble (NB LID) or preferably try BB Wilderness (or would that just be adding one more new brand to the undesirable dry food mis?)
    OR should I just go completely raw after the week’s worth of her old kibble runs out, just go completely to raw and supplement possibly with a 5 star canned food when on the go and can’t carry frozen food. OR, do you guys keep your dogs on a little bit of kibble for that _on -the -go purpose? And what do you think about buying the frozen NV Instinct that has a sell by April 19 (today) that was half price, I bought last night? It was frozen solid, pink in color, no odor of any kind, although there were a bit of ice crystals on some of the medallions, which I scraped off with a knife) (the burgers don’t seem to have as much icy crystals, just a bit of ice crumble at bottom of the bag) I was concerned that I don’t want to gamble with my dog’s health for a good deal, even if it is a huge 50% discount, but I did inspect it when opening and it looks and smells fine, and she ate it immediately and has had NO problems, and didn’t even need to go potty again until this morning, so I am guessing that all is well on the freshness front, and the transitioning front. I would like to keep on the lookout for these type deals,(since prepared raw feeding is so costly) but ONLY if I can be sure they are safe for my dog. The Petco salesperson said the the NV rep had just been to the store that morning and marked those packages with the reduced price when she brought more to refil the NV freezer at the Petco store. I am guessing that he Darwin’s is always received by the purchased without any ice crystals—can each of you wwho get Darwin’s confirm this? I’m guesings ice crystals would only affect flavor (didn’t seem to be so with my dog, who devoured it quickly) and I am also guessing ice crystals aren’t dangerous (assuming it hasn’t been defrosted and re-frozen) But if I am buying at top price, I will want there to be no ice cystals (and it sounds like Darwin’s if also vacuum-packed, which I am thinking would eliminate the condensation and air that probably cause ice crystals.. Even the farther dated packaged in the Petco freezer seemed to feel crunchy at the bottom of the bag where ice crystals had formed on my bag of Venison patties. I’m thinking that for the future, the safest practice would be to purchase the vacuum packaged Darwin’s, that I can rely upon the certainty of freshness (albeit more expensive) I do want the vey best for my one and only small dog, in fact my dog will be eating more healthy than me…… Maybe it will inspire me to go more natural and organic for myself than I currently do …
    Anyway, pleas let me know if you all use a little bit of kibble ( and/r canned) and if so which brand(s) do you recommend?

  471. Hound Dog Mom says: sells Steve’s Real Food (frozen raw) and they offer free shipping on orders over 20 lbs. They have an autoship option, but you don’t have to sign up for autoship to get the free shipping. The food is $4.45/lb – Darwin’s Natural Selections average $4.53/lb. and the Zoologics average $3.15/lb + shipping ($0.50 – $0.99/lb.). I ordered some of the Steve’s but I haven’t gotten a chance to try it yet, I really like the ingredients though.

  472. NO, WAIT–I was wrong-There is NOT free shipping on auto [email protected] Darwin’s-
    I just saw the replies to my post and you guys are all correct and I
    was wrong. I just went to the Darwin’s website to read more carefully
    about the auto shipment shipping. I had gottten confused by the 14.95
    Introductory offer with free shipping, and impulsively assumed
    incorrectly that if you sign up for auto-ship that shipping would be
    free- Incorrect- Please forgive me (a newbie) …is it still worth it
    to go with Darwin’s? Or is there a way to get free shipping from a
    comparable quality raw frozen brand ? Again, I’m sorry I
    mis-stated.this & Glad u guys caught it so quickly so that I could
    correct my post

  473. NO, I was wrong-There is NOT free shipping on auto [email protected] Darwin’s-
    Gosh, I just saw the replies to my post and you guys are all correct and I was wrong. I just went to the Darwin’s website to read morecarefully about the auto shipment shipping. I had gottten confused by the 14.95 Introductory offer with free shipping, and impulsively assumed incorrectly that if you sign up for auto-ship that shipping would be free- Incorrect- Please forgive me (a newbie) …is it still worth it to go with Darwin’s? Or is there a way to get free shipping from a comparable quality raw frozen brand ? Again, I’m sorry I mis-stated.this & Glad u guys caught it so quickly so that I could correct my post

  474. Pattyvaughn says:

    I think Judy is mistaken.

  475. Me too. What’s up with that?

  476. Pattyvaughn says:

    I pay shipping too.

  477. InkedMarie says:

    Judy, Darwins does free shipping? I got Darwins but paid for the shipping and yes, I did set up a delivery schedule

  478. I just today purchased some NV Instinct raw 2 different varieties from Petco”s NV Instinct freezer ( I was suprised s=to see this at Petco) Beef medallions (bag says Crude Protein min 13%.; Crude Fat min 8%, Crude Fiber max 2% and Moisture max 68 %)and also some Venison patties bag says:Crude Protein min 13%.; Crude Fat min 8%, Crude Fiber max 3% and Moisture max 68 %(today that have an expiration date of tomorrow and were marked 1/2 off – opened the bag and defrosted medallion of beef and my never before raw feeder 5 year old (see my avitar) 22-pound Cav-a-Mo hybrid devoured it (after I opened the bag of the beef medallions and micro defrosted it for 10 seconds in a small bowl (I won’t typically micro defrost– but she knew there was something for her in the bag and I wanted to try it out for her dinner, mixing in some chicken broth soaked of her prior dry kibble (which is Natures Select LID which she has been on for years., which I will be eventually discontinuing in favor of raw )… when I gave her the bowl, she couldn’t get enuf-she kept licking the empty bowl, (and looking to me for more) so I gave her one more. (bag says for her wt that she can have 4-6 medallions if inactive or 6-9 if active adult (which she is when there is opportunity and playmates-but when I am busy and no playmates she can be a couch potato but always ready for jumping, running and playing I plan to continue only raw ( )I am now beginning to transition to raw (and will mixing in some chicken broth soaked of her prior dry kibble (Natures Select LID which she has been on for years prolly get set up with Darwin’s auto delivery to get free shipping after I get their trial 14.95 deal), and have requested a consult for menu selection with Darwin’s) but I couldn’t pass this up at half price. It was pink and had no odor or any kind. The Venison says Crude Protein min 13%.; Crude Fat min 8%, Crude Fiber max 3% and Moisture max 68 %

  479. InkedMarie says:

    I’m just a “wee” bit tattooed, PugsonRaw. Well, maybe a little more than wee LOL.
    Funny what you learn here, such as the fat to protein ratio for pre made raws. The Hare Today that I got is just meat/bone/organs and in the case of beef, tripe. That’s it. No fruits or veggies. It’s not that dogs can’t eat those, they can but if I can get the above for less than Darwins, why pay for it?
    I understand about some being grey. When I got a sleeve of S&C’s once, I was surprised at what it looked like. I then got Darwins and it looks so much better.

  480. Pugsonraw says:

    Hi Inked Marie!

    Love the name….Yes, I was quite surprised on the % of fat in this. I normally try keep the fat to protein ratio in the 50-60% range for my pugs. I ended up taking this back as I didn’t want to feed it.

    I have used pretty much every pre-made raw food out there. I’ve tried Pawnaturaw, Darwin, Lotus, Primal, Bravo, Natures Variety, Stella and Chewys, OCraw and smallbatch.

    If I throw cost to the wind, my faves are Darwin’s, Lotus, and smallbatch…..just because the meat is normally a pinkish red color rather than some that are gray or greenish on the outside.

    I feed kibble occasionally, canned, dehydrated and mostly raw.

    Will have to check out Hare Today….

  481. InkedMarie says:

    I didn’t know about the fact that the fat should be roughly half the protein, in pre made raws, til I read it here, then I read it in a few other places! It’s one reason I never tried Stella & Chewys. Have you used other pre mades? I’ve used Darwins for quite awhile but just changed to grinds from Hare Today, today was the first meal of just their grinds.

  482. Pugsonraw says:

    When did NV change their protein/fat content on the medallions? I picked p a bag of lamb today and when I got it home it showed 13%protein, 12%fat. The old product used to be 11.5 %protein, 6%fat….I went tontheir website and looks like all the varieties changed with the venison and rabbit staying at about a 60 %FTP range…..-all the others are pretty high.

    Lesson learned….read the bag even if it is a product I normally buy.

  483. thanks
    problem is, these foods you mentioned i can’t here in calgary alberta what dry food do you suggest – she like natural balance and acana
    but i have been told that with natural balance it is too high in carbs and won’t lose weight and acana is too high in protein and fat and supposedly it’ not good for a little dog.

  484. Hound Dog Mom says:

    There are raw foods that are lower in fat – Primal has some low fat varieties (pheasant, quail, rabbit, turkey & sardine and venison), all of the Bravo Balance formulas are pretty low in fat, Aunti Jeni’s turkey, beef and goat formulas are low in fat and all of Darwin’s formulas are fairly low in fat.

  485. hi and thanks
    yes it does make sense and from what you said i won’t be feeding her this food – she doesn’t need a high fat food
    it doesn’t help her with her weight no matter how little of it i feed her – i’m going to start giving her again the natural balance duck and potato – i suppose this is high in carbs too because of the potatoes – is there any regular food that would be appropriate for her other than what the vet wants me to keep feeding her that she won’t eat because it’s so bland – she 2 lbs overweight – should be 8-8.5 lbs.

  486. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Hi sharron –

    I don’t think the food actually has the estimated 26% carbohydrates. I think the food is actually much higher in fat than stated on the label and that’s where the “extra” percentages that are being attributed to carbohydrates are coming from. Food is made up of fat, protein and carbohydrates. The problem with accurately estimating the levels of each is that pet food manufacturers are only required to report guaranteed minimum levels of fat and protein and they aren’t required to report carbohydrate levels at all. The carbohydrate levels can be roughly estimated using the stated minimum protein and fat levels along with ash levels (this is what Dr. Mike does) but unless the exact levels of protein, fat and ash are known the resulting carbohydrate estimate is going to be inaccurate. A good way to determine whether or not the fat content is higher than stated is by the calorie content of the food – NV Instinct contains 65 kcal. per oz. this is very high meaning the food is high in fat (much higher than what they state). Also, this review needs updating. NV has updated their guaranteed analysis and now lists the minimum protein level as 15% and the minimum fat level as 12% for their beef formula (probably closer to the actual values) – this would equate to 43% protein and 34% fat on a dry matter basis. I hope that makes sense.

  487. the review for this food says above average carbs – where do the carbs come from – reading the ingredient list i don’t see anything that could be carb related that’s because i’m learning about all of this

  488. hi kelly and thanks for your reply
    lexee is a yorkie/chihuahua and 2 lbs overweight – should weigh 8 lbs – been told that this food will help with her losing weight – is this true – it has to be either can or premade raw – she really dislikes dry

  489. Yes. When I started our Bichon/Shihtzu on the Duck Bites, she seemed so hungry, I felt bad. It only lasted a few days until her metabolism got used to it. Also she had a bit of diahrrea for the first week or so. I bought pureed pumpkin (organic, for dogs at the pet food store) and added a tblsp or so every feeding until they firmed up.

  490. Hi – i started lexee on the medallions chicken this morning
    1 at breakfast and 1 at dinner – this dog is hungry!!!!!
    will she adjust to the new serving amts.

  491. I have an epi shepherd as well he stopped eating his kibble innova prime so I switched to grandma lucys but he keeps loosing weight even so he gets b12 shots and pills . Poop is fine but a lot of it …increased enzymes …no luck ….I started him on the nature raw and lucys 50 /50 right now ….how much raw do you feed to maintain ? My boy is at 93 lbs trying to get him back to 100. I cant afford 100% raw so I plan to feed the raw for breakfast and introduce acana grasslands for dinner . Any help and thoughts be great .

  492. disqus_3bTgMVQhkU says:

    What is a raw diet and how do I prepare it?

  493. Nature’s Variety has recently upped the fat content in their frozen raw foods. This is not reflected (yet?) on their packaging but can be found on their website. For instance, lamb frozen raw patties now have a min fat level of 12% (up from 6%) despite the fact that their packaging – at least that which is on my neighbourhood shelves – still says the fat level is 6%. The protein levels in the lamb formula increased by a mere .85% in comparison. That’s a lot of fat and a huge jump in the ratio.

  494. HMMM, put my sphynx cats on this food, all varieties in addition to a home made raw diet. His skin became very mottled and he had rings of red on his stomach. Vet said it was a yeast infection. A mess. Bought two different medicated shampoos, one for yeast and one antibacterial.Also slobbered him with anti fungal cream, have a spray too. All these are available without a prescription. Three weeks later his rings are gone, skin is clearing up .  I’m using a homemade raw diet most days, just using this if I’m away and someone else feeds them.I’ll pay more attention to the days I give him this food.

  495. Kelly, your comment about the tearing and red paws caught my attention!!
    We started feeding our old English bulldog the natures variety raw chicken along with Pinnacle’s dry chicken formula (about 6-7 months ago).  Let me say our dog LOVES this food!!

    However, 2 weeks ago his eyes started tearing; we thought it was allergies due to the change in weather (it’s been windy in So CAL). Also the underneath part of his paws had changed color – they are now a reddish brown.
    We took him to the vet and he doesn’t think it’s the food but a yeast infection because his paws (thru the licking) have been wet and was a breeding ground for the infection.
    I’m not sure I’m buying that diagnosis…he prescribed a topical powder and we’ll know in a week if that is correcting the problem.

    Anyone else notice the tearing and red paws after changing to this food?

  496. I started my bichon/shitzu on the natures variety raw duck, a few months ago, because of her severe skin allergies. Her red, itchy, inflamed skin went away, but she started tearing red gunk and her white chest and paws fur have turned reddish. I’m not too concerned about that BUT I’ve noticed numerous pieces of bone and other hard pieces in the medallions. I am looking at other brands now because recently she was sick for a day throwing up the pieces and also diarrhea. Anyone else have this problem?

  497. Pattyvaughn says:

    I know what you mean.  If this was still June, I could say I lost 3 in the last year.  It doesn’t get easier, only different.  Hopefully, they will give you a long time before you have to go through this again.

  498. Hound Dog Mom says:

     *our dogs

  499. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Sorry to hear this Melissa. Hang in there, it’s tough. Our become such a big part of our lives but are only with us for such a short period of time.

  500. Melissaandcrew says:

    Thanks guys-

    Its never easy to lose one, even when we know we signed up for it each and every time we choose to share our lives with a fur kid. We still have quite a few old timers, so guessing next year and the year after will not get much better.

  501. Toxed2loss says:

    🙁 so sorry for your loss.

  502. Disqus wouldn’t let me edit original comment, so I add;

    Sardines or other oily fish, preferably the fish instead of the oils, are good to add to either beef or chicken.


    Steve Brown is VERY much into the importance of well balanced fats, but he accentuates 

    1)start with very lean meats. This means (at least 90%+ lean beef, or poultry with all/most the skin and most visible fat removed.)

    2) Balance the fats

    3) Balance the vitamins/minerals. Calcium/phosphorus ratio especially important, and also the calcium and phosphorous in total.

  503. InkedMarie says:

    I used a product called Plaque Off but made by someone else. We had shelties & smooth fox terriers at the time and it didn’t do anything for them.

  504. InkedMarie says:

    oh Melissa, I am so sorry about your recent loss. I hope things get easier for you. While it’s not the same, I have been in your shoes and know how hard it is.  

  505. Wow that’s quite a long list of supplements. Not sure at all about so many of the herb/spice ingredients such as carob, rosemary, sage, etc., but the fats appear well balanced, and the anti-oxidant super foods are good, provided you are supplementing a combination of both red and white proteins such as beef/lamb and chicken/poultry, becuase of the varying amounts of SFA’s, MUFA’s, and PUFA’s in these. For example, beef is high in saturated fats (especially grain fed) , low in polyunsaturated, low in linoleic acid LA, and low in ALA alpha-linolenic acid. So hempseed is a good  fat to bring beef into better balance, whereas flaxseed can throw it even more out of whack. Chicken is high in PUFA, and LA, so flaxseed is a good additive whereas oils like hempseed, safflower, sunflower, walnut, canola, etc. are not.

    referenced from Steve Brown’s “Unlocking The Canine Ancestral Diet”

    Steve Brown is VERY much into the importance of well balanced fats.

  506. So sorry for your loss!

  507. Sorry to hear that Melissa. I keep all my past ones around.  Either their ashes or buried in the yard.  MissyPoo just left us in October but we’re reminded everyday of her as all the dog pictures are the screensaver on the laptop.

  508. I was told brisket bones are softer.  Maybe give those a try.  I was told those were ribs from the breast bone area and are softer and consumable.

    Eating ground meat doesn’t necessarily clean teeth although it does contain raw enzymes.  It is just not in the mouth long enough to clean teeth.  It keeps the teeth cleaner than eating kibble though.

    I’m currently using the  ProDen PlaqueOff dental powder (seaweed) on some of the dogs.  Seems to be starting to work.  One of my fosters had the worst breath.  Had to open the windows when driving him home.  Now after a month of using the product, I don’t notice his breath if he’s in the same room with me.|Pet+Type=Dogs&avs|Health+Condition=Dental+%26+Oral

  509. I’m so sorry for your loss Melissa!! Any time of year is difficult to lose a fur baby but I think the holidays are the worst. We lost my daughter’s Chi last Christmas. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers..

  510. thank you sandy but i have a very good mix of vitamins I am on canine caviar right now but i am only allowed to use 25% raw with this food to keep my dogs diet balanced and proper so 3 cups of canine cavair plus 1 cup of raw i was thinking with lots of ground bone. The canine cavier is good for my dogs diguestion and stools.

    This is the vitamin/herbal mix i mix with raw if i get it:

    2 big table spoons of this

    powder, ground sunflower seed, dried parsley leaf, kelp
    flakes, alfalfa greens, ground almond, hulled oil rich hemp
    seeds, hemp seed flour, dried red and green pepper, dried
    celery leaf, dried blueberry, dried cranberry, dried dandelion leaf,
    ground pumpkin seed, powdered carrot, stinging nettle, barley
    grass powder, dried mint leaf, powdered rosehip, paprika,
    burdock root powder, garlic powder, ground walnut, ground
    flax seed, sesame seed, Prozyme, glucosamine, MSM, dried dill
    weed, coriander, anise, fennel, goat milk whey powder,
    powdered marshmallow root, blue Hawaii spirulina, rosemary,
    ascorbic acid, Primal Defense probiotic, oregano, ginger,
    cumin, marjoram, thyme, savory, basil, sage, cayenne, powdered
    yucca, turmeric, fenugreek, bilberry, vegetal silica.On top of this i add a teaspoon of cold water bottom feeding fish oil. I prefer prey bottom feeding fish cause they dont eat other fish so we know they are clean at least.

  511. For starters I would do some reading.  I use the Mercola book currently.  It gives raw and cooked recipes and bone and boneless recipes.  And it gives a vitamin mix.  It seems difficult at first, but once you put everything together and make a batch, it is actually easy.  I have found that heart/gizzards/necks/liver are widely available at Asian and Mexican supermarkets.  You can also purchase organ mixes from Bravo if you prefer.

    I’m using Dr Harvey’s green multivitamin/herbs right now and also give krill oil.  But there’s also many brands of multivitamin.  I also have Super Daily Greens by OnlyNaturalPet (dot) com that I will use after the Dr Harvey’s is gone.

    I vary the meats and the veg/fruit with every homemade batch.

    Also in the forums section, there’s a homemade food thread and a raw feeding thread.

    The initial investment of a meat grinder is well worth it if you decide to make homemade raw.

  512. doggonefedup says:

    Sorry to hear of your loss. We lost a GSD about 3yrs ago to cancer. We still get sad thinking about him.

  513. doggonefedup says:

    My GSD’s love meaty beef rib bones. In the summer they get them straight from the freezer still frozen as their “beefsicle” treats. In the winter I sometimes soak them in very hot water for 3-5 minutes. I use the water to moisten their kibble with later.

  514. Pattyvaughn says:

    Sorry to hear that, Melissa.  That’s so hard to go through even when you know they had a good long life.  Your crew sounds exciting.  I hope they help to brighten your day.  Take care and be good to yourself.

  515.  i was hoping to give something on a reg basis that would keep them very clean wont ground chicken bone work or ground lamb ?

  516.  the problem is my dog is not allowed to have full or hard bones now because she bites way to hard and wears her canines down the vet said her canines are a bit worn down from chewing

  517. For teeth cleaning for a large dog, try a femur bone. It can be split lenghtwise or left whole. She should be able to gnaw on it and scrape her teeth on it and floss her teeth with the meat/tendons still left on the the bone as she tries to remove the meat from the bone.

  518. Melissaandcrew says:

     We have a varied crew of different breeds that consist of-doberman, rottie, schnauzer, standard poodle, shihtzu, Iggy, wheaten, cocker,doxie  and several mixes : ) Smallest is 5.9lbs, largest is 110. Ages are about 2 yrs old to 15yrs. Most are special needs rescues, though not all-We were asked to adopt a special needs doxie/yorkie mix the other day, but its much too soon. We just lost our 14 year old on friday to atypical sarcoma of the jaw, a mere 5 weeks after diagnosis. It was unfortunately a very aggressive cancer with no treatment options and we are devastated.

  519.  for a a german shepherd what kind of raw meat should i give with teeth? i was going to ask my butcher to just ground some lamb up and then feed it to her 1 cup a day with kibble and a mixture of herbals she has

  520. Pattyvaughn says:

    Oh man!!  I really gotta get a grinder!!  I thought I was the only one who remembered Witchie-Poo:-)

  521. Hey I’m a pug over too we feed commercial raw and I haven’t transitioned to prey I’m nervous in how to feed and supplements any suggestions?

  522. here is the “Raw feeding picture thread” from  Now that’s a bit crazy!!!!

  523. Grinder!  Grinder!  Grinder!!!  Vrooommm!  Crackle!  Crackle! Pop! Snap goes a spine!!  Crunch goes a neck!!
    and me cackling like a witchie-poo!
    Let me rub it in some more:

  524. If you haven’t been to the new dfa forum yet, there’s a raw feeding section and a homemade dog food section.  Check them out.  You can also start your own thread.

  525. Taking it out of the package and feeding it to them is about as close to non-processed as you can go (other than what happened to the chicken at the packaging plant!)

    I keep mine frozen.  Take out what they might consume in 2 or 3 days.

    They eat it right up. No left overs. No bowls to clean as they eat outside.  Normally they don’t need to touch it with their front paws unless it’s something big like a neck or rib. 

    It’s safe for them. For me, I don’t kiss them or let them lick me for about 30 minutes. As for their paws, they can be cleaned but I haven’t ever done that either.

    Just remember a raw chicken leg/wing is not a complete and balanced diet. I feed kibble and canned food also and a homemade ground raw mixture with supplements.

    The raw chicken parts and other raw meaty bones is an occasional thing they do to clean their teeth.

    For teeth I also give roasted trachea and raw chicken feet.

  526.  is that safe? my dog does not do well on kibble chicken but i dont know about raw to be honest might make my dog better. I had no idea you can just take it out of the package and give like that though that is a bit crazy lol

  527. InkedMarie says:

    I had no idea you had so many dogs! What breeds do you have?

  528. Oh yeah, it’s produced in China for an American Co. Even so, the quality seems to be very good, along with the warranty, and especially for the money involved.

  529. Melissaandcrew says:


    I have 15 dogs, lol. Just the poodle gets the medallions daily-the rest get a rotating basis : )I find that by feeding a variety, I am able to offer a varied diet and keep the cost lower. Somedays they get the frozen for am, and then dry with canned for Pm. Other times it may be Grandma Lucy for am, then dry with raw in pm. Perhaps I will look into making some grinds over the winter, but I tend to loose interst  in things very quickly with my schedule, : )

  530. This is the grinder i just purchased about a month ago. I wouldn’t call it a commercial grinder, but for the money,  it’s very good. I’ve ground chicken and turkey bones w/the meat on the bones, but no way would I put beef or pork bones in it. With Bone or not, the pieces still have to be cut up in about 1 1/2 inch cubes. We’ve been also grinding our own human hamburger with it, yummy, much better than pre-ground, and no pink slime or who knows what.

  531. Pattyvaughn says:

    They never listen.

  532. Pattyvaughn says:

    I’ve also got a chest freezer out in the garage, but it’s still not enough.  It is packed top to bottom and about 1/3 of it is dog food.  if I could just remember what is on the bottom of the human side, maybe I would use it.

  533. I have a dog who’s going to be dog food soon if he doesn’t shape up. I told him last night to pack his bags and go and this morning… he’s still here.

  534. InkedMarie says:

    Yes, we have an upright freezer. Two shelves have Darwins, the basket has Darwins bones. There’s a little human food in there too

  535. Pattyvaughn says:

    Every time you mention your grinder I get this pang of grinder envy.  That’s my long term goal, a grinder and a bigger freezer.

  536. Pattyvaughn says:

    I don’t have a grinder.  I use regular ground beef/turkey/chicken/pork etc. sometimes, and sometimes I feed them chunks.  You should have seen me last month, the first time I ever used a meat clever and I was hacking apart a turkey!  I started out holding the chunks until I was satisfied that they understood that they had to chew it.  That was yucky.  I feed beef and pork ribs.  I get rabbit, sheep, and goat grinds from Hare Today, oh and tripe,sardines and herring.  My Pet Carnivore has amazing super mixes that I’m going to try next.  And I have a goat that is going to be dog food very soon if he doesn’t shape up!

    In some cases making my own is definitely cheaper, but sometimes I pay a little more to get a different protein in their diet.  I’ve been looking at different premixes because they all have different things in them.  Some are a good deal and some are more expensive.  I’ll use the cheaper ones more often, but I will use the more expensive ones sometimes just to get different stuff in their diet.

  537. If you have the freezer space, the initial investment of a commercial grade grinder and/or freezer is worth it! I can grind duck, goose, pork ribs, necks, turkey, backs, organs, etc, bones and all.  Between the Asian and the Mexican markets, you can find all sorts of organ meats too.

  538. InkedMarie says:

    I just found that link…..I decided to go through the millions of links I have and make a dog food folder. Well, maybe not a million but it sure seems like it. Found that link and saved it!

  539. InkedMarie says:

    I admit, I love the Darwins and it’s totally worth it but I can’t feed it to both dogs daily, just due to the cost. Do you find making your own as you do above is cheaper? I have not read the link above, saved it for later but do you grind your own meat or buy it ground from there?

  540. Pattyvaughn says:

    My Pet Carnivore also has some really good grinds.

  541. Pattyvaughn says:

    I started out with and their yeast starvation diet after someone else had asked about it here, but I listened to what the great mind here said about it, and modified it.  They have their own line of supplements, that I used for the recipe and when I got more comfortable I started rotating supplements too.  My recipe calls for 9 lbs of ground beef, 1/2 lbs of liver, 1/2 lbs of whatever other organ meat I can get, 18 hardboiled eggs(I change that up too, because I give them some as raw eggs), 2 cups of Dinovite powder, 1 cup of Superomega fish oil, I added 8000mg of a good bone meal because the consensus here was that it was lacking in calcium.  I made that a couple times while I was reading Steve Brown, Dr Karen Becker and a couple others.  Obviously, I also worry about missing something, I am feeding Darwin’s too, and Brothers.

  542. InkedMarie says:

    One of mine can’t have chicken and my husband is grossed out by prey model raw. Maybe someday he’ll be okay with it, he’s not opposed to grinding our own but I’m afraid showing him some photos of dogs eating pmr did not help sway him at all LOL. Thats why I wonder about either buying from Hare Today or grinding my own. 

  543. Pattyvaughn says:

    By the way, I love Hare Today.  They have several grinds that are muscle/bones/organs and even have a few that are whole animal!

  544. InkedMarie says:

    Thats what I’m afraid of, the balancing part. I can’t use chicken for Boone so Ginger gets none, except in her new kibble. Where did you get the recipe from?

  545. Have you tried just plain chicken drumsticks or wings?? Pretty cheap and easy to find! Or can your dogs not have chicken?

  546. Pattyvaughn says:

    I started with a recipe and kept reading.  I feed raw in the morning and about half the time it’s Darwin’s, the rest of the time it’s homemade.  Now I try to feed whole prey model except that mine get 1/2 a pound a day so it takes a few days to feed a whole chicken.  And last month, it took all month to feed a turkey.  I add in extra liver but not much, and pre/probiotics, digestive enzymes, some kind of super food, fish/salmon/krill oil, a fruit/veg antioxidant mix I make myself.  Plus I give eggs and fish.  Once I got comfortable with the idea of balancing over time, it was a lot easier.  I kind of plan what I want them to have for the week and then work on portioning it out.

  547. InkedMarie says:

    I’m afraid to try real raw myself….wondering if getting some stuff from Hare Today would be more reasonable.

  548. Pattyvaughn says:

    It cost you more a month for your dogs than it costs me to keep 4 horses, if I don’t count the morgage payment.

  549. Pattyvaughn says:

    I used to have large dogs and I do miss that sense of presence and the not having to bend over to pet, but I’m not missing the feed bill.  All three of my dogs on excellent food only cost what one of my GSDs used to eat.

  550. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Easy keepers? Maybe I’ll have to look into a border collie next time I get a dog. These hounds of mine are braking the bank with their grocery bills lol!

  551. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Just give your dog a turkey neck or a chicken back a couple times a week, that will help keep his teeth clean. The ground pre-made stuff doesn’t do anything for dental health.

  552. Pattyvaughn says:

    You should have gotten a Border Collie.  They are wockaholics and easy keepers besides.  I haven’t given mine enough jobs so he is constantly going out looking for more.  He looks really impressive in his suit and tie.  Even in this economy, I don’t think it will be long before he has another job.

  553. I would love to feed commercial raw because I am to stupid to do raw on my own.My dog is a working breed but still has not found any work.She refuses to even look for work.Wow HDM only 400 to 500 a month! Maybe if she gets her lazy stub off the couch and at least goes part time somewhere we could go your route.I’m not thinking that will happen anytime soon.These kids of today…No work ethic

  554.  mine is 90 i wanted to use it to keep my dogs teeth clean

  555. Pattyvaughn says:

    I wanted to try the rabbit too, but also found it too expensive, so I went to Hare Today and ordered rabbit to make my own.  Much cheaper.

  556. Melissaandcrew says:


    Many people here feed the commercial raw products as toppers or for one of the two daily meals-which gives the dog benefit w/out breaking the bank. How much does your dog weigh? My 45 lb standard poodle eats only raw and eats 8 medallions per day-the chicken is $16.75 for a bag of 48 medallions.

  557. Hound Dog Mom says:

    Hi Exotica –

    If you have large dogs I’d strongly recommend doing some research and making your raw from scratch. Pre-made is ridiculously overpriced and it’s not as high quality as what you can make yourself. I have three lathe bloodhounds – 110 lb. male, 70
    lb. female and a 50 lb. puppy. They all eat 2 lbs. pf meat per day + extras like cottage cheese, eggs, veggies and fruit + supplements. Pre-made would
    not be possible for me, most brands would cost me $800-$1,000 per month to feed. I got in contact with a wholesale meat supplier that supplies grocery stores, restaurants and large kennels, invested in some freezers and I get meat delivered in bulk. Meat, extras and supplements together I’m
    spending about $400-$500 a month. Saves a ton of money doing it this way.

  558. So are you guys all filthy rich? or do you own toy dogs? I wanted to put my dog on the rabbit but it costs 40 dollars for 3 days!!!!!

  559. I have not been on here in quite awhile, but I feel compelled to comment on the Nature’s Variety Raw Bites.  Our Bichon loves them, and has no issues with them at all.  He is eating the bites for his evening meal mixed with Weruva canned.  We may transition away from the canned for one meal; as he picks the bites out first as best he can.  He has had the duck, and he will be moving on to the lamb next.  He used to throw up the medallions; so I am excited about this food.  Very convenient, and appears to agree with an allergic and sensitive pup.

  560. Jgeddes223 says:

    I use this as a “topper” on my pit-lab pup’s Earthborne Holistic food. And they love it!! It is grain free which keeps plaque away, stools smaller because the body is absorbing all the nutrients, and shinier coats! They are also very trim compared to their sister who eats Eubanka dog food (gross!).

  561. For those who feed Nature’s Variety Raw Frozen food or are interested in trying, if your PetCo carries this brand they are offering a manufacturer’s coupon for $3 off any size, any variety. I got $3 off a trial bag (.65 lb) originally priced at 4.99

    I don’t normally partake in all the Black Friday hoopla (not a fan of crowds) but I got off an overnight shift and had a little energy left so…what stores do I hit? A Pet store, that’s right. lol. Can you tell how high my dogs rank in my life? 😉 I normally buy my food at a local feed store but was impressed with Petco’s deal of 9.99 for certain brands of (4-6 lb) bags of dog food including Solid Gold, Nutro, Wellness, Avoderm among others. and I think the deal goes on through the weekend.

    I’m contemplating putting my dogs on raw but I prefer to do a little more research and invest in a decent size freezer before I proceed. I’ll probably prepare myself but it’s always nice to have some prepackaged raw available for when I’m time crunched. BTW, thanks to everyone (you know who you are) on here that’s contributed to my expanding knowledge of dog food…raw included!

  562. I forgot to mention – at first, I sprinkled “digestive enzymes” for a couple of months until he got really used to the food. That might have helped, too.

  563. My dog had allergies before he went on this food. I only feed him Venison and Bison – he threw up beef, and I heard the chicken and duck were more prone to cause allergies. He was ok on the Lamb, but it made him smell! So we stick to venison and Bison, and he’s perfect on it.

  564. My dog has had kidney disease from birth.  She started showing symptoms at about 6 weeks of age and was officially diagnosed with chronic kidney disease at her 1 year blood eval/check up. 

    I can tell for absolute certainty that “protein” (quality protein) does not cause kidney disease.  It can increase BUN but only if the kidneys are already not functioning properly.  Creatinine is made from the body (muscle breakdown). 

    It is very possible that your dog got into something that caused a mild case of acute kidney disease.  But lowering protein does not reverse chronic kidney disease.  In fact they KNOW from more current research that lowering protein in a kd dogs diet can cause more harm then good.  The kidneys (and liver) need the amino acids in quality protein to stay healthy.

    If you research this further, you will find that I am right.  Nutritionist Lew Olsen and Nutritionist Mary Straus both have excellent info (including research references) on their websites and are (are were) both moderators on the Yahoo kidney forum.  They have also both had dogs with chronic kidney disease on higher protein diets.  Vets, some vets, are treating kidney disease all wrong.

    My dog Audrey, the one born with kidney disease, has been on raw her whole life — HIGH protein raw.  The food she eats ranges in protein from about 45 to 54% — much higher then in most kibbles.  Audrey is 6 and 1/2 years old and still in excellent health.  She is unmedicated except extra vitamins and nutraceuticals.  She has never required sub-q fluids, she never has to go to the vet cause she is never sick etc. 

    Infections and even dehydration can temporarily elevate BUN and creatinine.

  565. My dog was having too much protein on this diet. His BUN and creatin level went to those of a 13 yr old dog in early kidney failure. He was 3 yrs old. After one week on another lower protein food his numbers decreased by 50%

  566. Looking4rubi says:

    Hi. My dog had a similar issue 3 years ago. First I took her to a vet that did herbal acupuncture which really helped and then when I brought her home I used the products from She bounced back amazingly and actually seemed to act younger than she had for a long time. Three years later (at the age of 15) she is still healthy and young at heart!

    If you ever have issues with runny stool or diarrhea give your dog 100% pumpkin! It settles their digestive system and firms up their stool. Plus it is loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals.

    Hope this helps.

  567. Hound Dog Mom says:

    DH –

    Don’t be intimidated by homemade raw. 🙂

    Once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult to make balanced meals. Just think of it this way, do you worry about whether or not every single one of your nutrient needs are met at each meal? Probably not and dogs don’t need to have every nutrient need met at each meal either. If you feed a wide variety of species appropriate foods in roughly the correct proportions all of their nutrient needs will be met over time. The most important thing is getting the calcium to phosphorus ratio correct and getting the right amount of organ meat – approximately 80% muscle meat, 10% organ meat, 10% bone. This muscle meat, organ meat, bone portion should account for between 70% and 90% of the meal overall. You then add cooked, pureed veggies which should be 10% – 30% of the meal, supplements (omega 3’s in the form of fish oil or tinned sardines, vitamin e and whole foods trace nutrient supplements like kelp and alfalfa), extras such as cottage cheese, eggs (I recommend feeding at least 1 egg per week), yogurt, or goat’s milk can be added at up to 10% of the meal. It’s important to rotate proteins (feed both red meat and poultry). And remember the percentages are rough, don’t worry about getting everything exact. has some great information about formulating homemade diets. Some great books to check out are Steve Brown’s book “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” and Dr. Becker’s “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats Cookbook.”

    I really prefer homemade because I know I’m in control of the quality of every ingredient and my dogs can get more variety.

  568. Oops, their not there…

  569. If there tummies are still rumbling after eating then it is possible that their nutrient needs are not being met by the food they eat.  Green beans add bulk/fiber but not a lot of nutrients.  The pups could, over time, become deficient in certain nutrients…

  570. In some dogs it definitely can cause issues.  However, I wouldn’t consider those dogs healthy to begin with..  I’ve been feeding my foster dogs (some of them NOT healthy at all) kibble with canned and raw topper for many many years and I’ve never had one have digestive issues from doing this.  (We’re talking over 30 dogs over the years.)  In my opinion, the raw likely helps the body digest the kibbled food.  By increasing the amount of hydrochloric acid (which then activates the pepsin enzyme that digests protein). 

    However if you can feed an entire meal as raw, there is no reason not to do so… 🙂

  571.  If you hear their tummies rumble… Add a lil organic green beans to the NV raw… it will help w/ the “Seem “Hungry”… Mine get the Organic GB as a treat during day as well as Organic Carrots…

  572.  I just learned NV Rabbit is from China… I gave that one to my pups awhile ago… I’m glad I don’t now. I’ve been doing organic chicken.

    I am getting close to all homemade raw as well.. I am really concerned about getting them the appropriate amounts of vitamins/minerals etc.. I don’t want them to  be lacking in something.

  573.  I have two Schnauzers that I give 4 medallions a day…. I add organic green beans to help them feel full and not have their tummies rumble.

  574. Carrie Cowardin says:

    Anyone know why this is? Doesn’t seem to make sense.

  575. My vet says dont mix aw with kibble as it causes gastric problems. must be separate meals.

  576. You can email them and they will tell you.  It’s been a while since I got that kind of info.  The rabbit for the frozen raw and the kibble and canned come from different places.  China, Italy or France.  But that was over a year ago.

    From an old email:

    “Our ingredients are sourced from different locations, depending on the time of year and batch. The rabbit protein we use in our raw diet is from China. The rabbit in our canned is sourced from Italy and China, while the rabbit in our kibble is from France.”

  577. What website did you use to find the meat source for the NV raw?

  578. Just a comment on the new NV Instinct raw bites. Bought a 4lb bag of the chicken the other day to try out as a topper and for treats. These are little tiny cylinder shaped pieces.

    Dogs of course loved them, but I was amazed at how quick they defrosted. About 8 mins on the counter top, and they were good to go!  Since I have to be careful with fat content for some of the crew, these worked really well to toss a few pieces on the kibble as a topper, w/out being “too much” Definitely going to keep a bag in the freezer from now on for those days I forget to defrost medallions for the dober gal.

  579. Lamb has a higher fat content, and would definately make stools messier/looser.  Pork eaten raw when not previously frozen a week or longer (salmon also) runs the risk of a particular type of parasite that is known to affect dogs very strongly.  It may be a texture problem with the organs/liver, etc, and you could try chopping/blending up your own concoction of beef organs/liver and blending it with a raw egg and some pumpkin/sweet potato and freezing the batch into patties.  Raw canned pumpkin puree is great for helping with doggie stool problems.  I would just pay attention to your dog’s particular tummy habits and if she only wants a few beef hooves or an additional beef bone now and then, then stick with the chicken and some occassional organ patties you made.  Organs are so rich that they would only be needed about once a week (like fish). 

  580. melissa says:


    Why would you want to cook it? I think if cooking is an issue for you, then home made would be more appropriate-at least this way, you are not cooking the bone in it. I am not a “raw feeder” but do give the medallions as “treats” and to one dog whom seems to have firmer stool by having 2-4 added daily to her meals.

  581. Paulmacs4005 says:

    You don’t want to cook the medalions before feeding, it defeats the purpose of feeding raw.  you’ll destroy vital nutrients and alter the consistency of the bone. 

  582. Ja43wilson says:

    what about cooking the medallions before feeding

  583. Lsmith257 says:

    Is this dog food safe for dogs with kidney disease? Are protein and phosphorus levels too high? I have a 13 year old dog with kidney disease and I am trying desperately to save her.

  584.  Their raw food is no longer treated as hasn’t been for a while. They use very high pressure to kill the bacteria. Their raw bones go through an acid dip, but they only use citric and lactic acid (both which are fit for humans, for example is common for pre-sliced apples to  have a citric acid dip)
    They use a USA manufacturer and it is a top quality manufacturer. All the meat is inspected and comes from USDA inspected facilities.

  585. neezerfan says:

    Thanks LA. I’m surprised to hear that, too. Looks like we’ll be sticking to Primal. And thank you too Hounddogmom

  586. hounddogmom12 says:

    Wow, I always thought of Nature’s Variety as a high-quality raw food – it’s certainly pricey enough! I occasionally use primal mixes in my rotation and have never had any issues, I’ve never actually used NV. And Primal is Human-Grade – it’s states on their website, everything in their formulas is human-grade.

  587. Hey just found this on a Yorkie Forum – kind of scary – a rather disturbing discovery
    Nature’s Varity uses a denaturant in their raw products. It’s not so much the fact that they USE a denaturant; the denaturant itself is harmless. It’s the fact that they NEED to use a denaturant. For those of you who aren’t familiar, a denaturant is used in meat that is not approved for human consumption. I think this is extremely deceptive for consumers who believe they are doing what is best for their dogs when in reality, they could be feeding the same quality meat that’s thrown into Iams or other grocery store brands. I know I get MOST of our dog food from the grocery store so I expect anything else I feed to be human grade as well.I’ve checked with two other popular pre-made raw brands, Primal and Bravo, and they both claim to use human grade meat (Bravo claims that their meat is USDA inspected, Primal doesn’t say). I will be emailing them to see if this really is the case.Not to mention that I have a bag that I keep on hand for when I forget to buy food or whatnot and I always feel so GUILTY feeding it. I fed some NV medallions to them tonight and the meat looked, felt (the consistency), and smelled SO unnatural. I know part of it is that they grind bone, organs, meat, and vegetables all together but I still think it’s sub-par for my dogs. After I finish this bag we will only buy Primal or Bravo pre-made from now on.

  588. hounddogmom12 says:


    You should feed your dog based on their ideal weight, not current weight. If she needs to loose weight feed her the amount based on what she should weigh. As a general rule the average adult dog should eat 2% of their IDEAL body weight in raw food. I would suggest using this formula or the feeding suggestion on the product packaging for her ideal weight. Also, if you are feeding kibble in addition to the raw don’t forget to factor that in and reduce the amount of raw being fed accordingly. If the dog still seems ver hungry try adding in some fruits and vegetables, they add bulk without adding a lot of calories. And remember dogs generally will want to eat more than they really need. I know it’s hard not to feel bad for them when they’re acting hungry but it’s very important to keep them at a healthy weight.

  589. sharron says:

    hi – i started my 3 yr old yorkie/chihuahua on NV lamb raw medallions yesterday. She is about a 1 – 1 1/2 lbs overweight.
    The NV calculator says i should feed her 2.9 medallions/day
    That’s not going to work. She is hungrier in the morning. So i gave her 2 for breakfast this am. My concern is that she is going to gain more weight. Her vet figured out that she should get 218 cal./per day. this dog does not like dry food and if i give her other food plus the NV (not at the same time) it really throws her digestive system into a whirlwind. when she was on dry i gave her 1/2 cup/day. So that’s 4 oz/per day.
    Can i give her 4 medallions/per day since each medallion is an oz. without her gaining weight.

  590. Purchased a bag of the Rabbit variety of NV along with a couple other brands to see our dogs reaction to different raw meats/brands. Did a ton of searching for best products available here before shopping…it wasn’t random guessing. That night, I happened to stumble onto another site and discovered the Rabbit in NV comes from CHINA. WTF? I posted a picture on FB of the Made in USA flag on the front of their bag. Exchanged it the next day for another brand.
    We are switching to a raw/homecooked diet because of the lack of integrity from food companies. Can’t even buy an expensive bag of raw food without encountering ingredients from China. I have more peace of mind knowing what’s in the food we prepare for our crew. It’s friggin DOG FOOD! It shouldn’t be so friggin complicated and difficult to identify an acceptable and safe brand/formula. Thanks to the greedy punks who make the food, that’s not the case. I’m done. We’ll provide raw or homecooked meals with the support of a nutritionalist until we’re more confident with this new way of life. Screw the food companies and screw the big box stores who refuse to pull the tainted china jerky treats from their shelves. We no longer have to give them a dime of our money…and that feels pretty damn good!

  591. I bought a bag of the Chicken and Turkey. I haven’t tried it yet. Is this food balanced? I wanted to add in some raw chicken and turkey necks with this, but I don’t know if I should be supplementing as well. Any input is greatly appreciated. Thanks. 

  592. neezerfan says:

    That’s absolutely fine, no problems with that.

  593. Does anyone know if it is okay to feed raw food without fully thawing it? I feed my dog one medallion with his kibble because it’s too expensive for me to feed only raw, and he munches it down without a problem whether it is frozen or not. 

  594. If the Orijen is working for her, why not continue?  Have you tried topping if off with a little freeze dried food, like the Instinct Raw Boost sprinkles?  I was also going to suggest some raw tripe, but I think it’s mainly beef.  But Tripett makes a canned venison tripe you might could try out as a topper.  And I think ZiwiPeak also has a venison canned tripe.

  595. PoochDad says:

    I know there are quite a few raw feeders on here and I have a question. My biggest dog is a lab…adopted and senior. She seems to be very adapted to whatever junk she was on before we started living with her. We’ve been attempting to get her on a raw diet for a year but she seems to be a bit intolerant to red meats. Specifically the organs. She generally regurgitates lamb and beef and if it stays down she gets VERY loose stools. Pork stays down for only a few moments. She does a great job with raw meaty poultry of all kinds. Rabbit seems to give her loose stools and gas. I attempted to give her lamb and pork in wet foods and she still has a sick tummy. Same when we tried the Addiction Rabbit canned formula. I haven’t tried bison or venison because they’re very expensive and I don’t want her to throw them up too. I know the poultry alone doesn’t cover enough ground to give her all the amino acids she really needs. Our other dog does great on her raw diet accept she hates liver. I can’t blame her. What do I do? Should I let her keep eating the Orijen if she does well and looks great for her age? This is our third failed red meat attempt with her. And she won’t eat fish canned, cooked or raw. She has always been a very slow eater…like she never really enjoys anything.

  596. Breanne Long says:

    I started feeding Nature’s Variety Raw Frozen a few months ago. I got Dr. Marty Goldstein’s book for Christmas and as soon as I read the chapter on dog food I switched for my 8 year old Papillon. I’ve also fed above average kibble (Blue, Wellness, etc), but felt that it was worth the extra effort and money.
    My Papillon’s coat is shinier, his eyes are brighter and more clear, he’s peppier (we compete in obedience) and he LOVES this food. I free-fed the kibble and he would pick at it every once in a while, but never get excited about it.
    However, I found that he had some digestive upset when feeding the raw beef. He’s been fine on chicken and lamb so I stick to those. He also occasionally doesn’t feel like eating and won’t eat his meal, so I put it back in the fridge and give it to him for his next meal and he’s always ravenous when that happens.
    If I had a large dog I don’t think I could afford to feed this food (I’m a college student), but luckily I go through one of the small bags every two weeks, so it’s do-able. I would definitely recommend this food!

  597. Sparky1263 says:

    Has anyone heard of Spring Meadows Natural dog food made in Sask. Canada

  598.  Rottie Mom-

    Someone posted here a while ago that their raw had black tarry stuff mixed in with it, and when they asked NV, they were told it was  an edible denaturent. Since you seem to have a close relationship with this company, can you tell us what the denaturant is, and why they use it? Thanks

  599. Rottie_rescue_mom says:

    natures variety is the best food you can buy..they have donated to rescue for years..we have done food studies on our rescue dogs for them and the results have been fantastic..the health of the rescue dogs have improved and we had 19 dogs ages 10-14 yr that were in perfect health and for a rottie to live over the age of 11 is a good thing…feeding this food has added 3 yrs to my dogs lives……

  600. Did you mean bison?

  601. Rabbit is very VERY low in fat naturally. That’s why they add in extra fat just to raise the fat content to an acceptable level.

  602. There are two things that bother me about NV. 1- rabbit from china, their sales representative told me the rabbit comes from china is shipped to France where it is butcher and turned into meal because it has no mositure content when it arrives in the states. I ask why she said because north American rabbit is lesser quality. Hmm did she really means it costs to much, #2 fat content, why is the fat lower in the chicken & beef formula than the bison. My only guess and it is a guess, is that they add extra fat to offset the high price of bison. I love feeding my dogs raw but will stay away from NV for these reasons

  603. I also use Nature’s Variety and Primal and occasionally Natures Logic raw.  I used Stella & Chewy’s before but it has more fat and I prefer a little less.

  604.  I believe the beef, lamb and poultry are US based and the venison is from New Zealand.

  605.  I Purchased my first bag for my Min Pin. Venison in the medallion form. Of course it is too early to see anything, but I am hoping that I might see improvement soon in her skin and coat. She has dandruff, and her coat is thin in some areas, mostly her underside. I’ve had a lot of people discuss with me the benefits of grain free and raw, and so this was my choice first. I do not know enough, and really, do not have the time, to start my own raw diet from scratch, and it is more affordable in this form. But I chose NV based on word of mouth, lot of people I know or had asked at places like dog sporting evens and conformation shows, recommended this. Hopefully it will provide the results they promise. BUt at least if I am not happy with it, I can get my money back.

  606. What are you feeding now instead of the rabbit?

  607. I’ve seen here that the rabbit is sourced from China, does anyone know about the other raw meat sources? 

  608. Sew ~~ I have 8 dogs right now. Five eat exclusively raw and the remaining three get kibble topped with canned and raw with every meal. I have Dr Beckers bok as well. Look at the fourth page (not page 4 but the fourth page 🙂 of the book). I am a regular on her forum too. I go by swinn. Toxed is a regular too.. 🙂

  609. Shawna,
    Thanks for all the info. As it happens, I just recently purchased Dr. Becker’s book but it’s always good to be able to talk to someone that’s already had success with raw feeding. It’s proving to be quite tricky trying to convert several animals instead of just one.

  610. Sew ~~ Here’s a few ideas.

    1. is a website run by raw feed and nutritionist Mary Straus.  Mary is a balance over time feeder.

    2. is run by Nutritionist Lew Olsen.  She is also a balance over time feeder.

    3.  My fave source of info is Dr. Karen Becker and nutritionist Beth Taylor and Dr. Becker’s site is then click on pets.  She does articles and videos but also has a forum where you can ask questions.  Dr. Becker and Beth also wrote a book called “Dr. Becker’s Raw Food for Healhty Dogs and Cats” which is a guaranteed complete and balanced raw food recipe book.

    4.  Nutritionist Steve Brown owns the website and co-wrote See Spot Live Longer with Beth Taylor.  Also wrote the book “Unocking the Canine Ancestral Diet”.  Doesn’t really have recipes etc but has GREAT info on the ancestral diet.

    5.  Dr. Jeannie Thomason is a Veterinary Naturopath, breeder and raw feeder.  She has lots of articles on her site which is

    Hope something there helps..  I started this almost an hour ago but got side tracked on misinformation spewed by “skeptivet” about garlic and had to post there.. 🙂  Not sure if anyone else has already posted some of this info now..  Sorry if duplicating anything.

  611. Can anyone direct me to some good raw feeding websites? I am just starting the transition to raw for my dog and cats and could use some ideas and advice. It would be nice to find some helpful discussions on the topic.

  612. Alyson Sharron says:

    I started feeding my dog Nature’s Variety Instinct raw frozen rabbit about a year ago. I couldn’t find the meat source on the packaging or NV website, so I asked my local pet store where the rabbit was sourced and they advised me within the US. About 6 weeks ago, my local pet store was out of rabbit, and they told me NV was having a supplier problem. They also told me they had just learned the rabbit supplier was in China. I immediately stopped feeding NV.

  613. Their rabbit is imported from China.  It was anyways as of a discusion we had on this sometime early last year.

  614. Jeannie,

    I sent an email to NV to ask about the source of their meats and they responded with the URL that contains the information.

    From the page:
    Ingredients are sourced from USDA inspected facilities Chicken is certified organic or certified antibiotic-free with no added growth hormones* Beef and Bison are pasture-fed Lamb and Venison are pasture-fed and antibiotic-free with no added growth hormones; Venison is imported from New Zealand Rabbit is antibiotic-free with no added growth hormones
    *Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in poultry.


    Also, the email I recieved indicates that they do not claim that the beef has never been raised without hormones nor antibiotics because there is a small number of cattle raised in that fashion. What they do with the beef is require they go through a withdrawl period and testing to ensure the drugs are out of their system before slaughter.

  615. I have been feeding my Westie the NV Instinct Raw in Beef, Lamb, and Venison for about 6 months. He went from loving it and devouring it to turning his nose up to it about a month ago. 

    Based on the last comment from Shawna about the change to the verbiage about the source of their meats on the website (which I also recall reading when I started feeding NV about 6 months ago), I dropped them an email to see if they did change something with their formulation and/or meat source.

    I will report back to this thread with any response I recieve.

  616. Jeannie ~~ Nature’s Varietys website used to say that the meats they used were hormone and antibiotic free and many were sourced from free ranging fed animals.

    I can no longer find that info on their website..  The poultry products do say that they are “hormone” free but that doesn’t mean anything as it is illegal to add hormones to poultry feed in the US..  So a worthless statement when applied to poultry products…

    NV was bought out by an investment firm called Catterton Partners over a year ago.  My guess is that they changed the source of their meats after the buy out..

  617. is the meat they use antibiotic-free?  thanks.

  618. You’re welcome!! Glad I found what you were looking for.

  619. Toxed2loss says:

    Thank you very much, aimee! That was very helpful. I see now what Dr. Smith was trying to get at. 🙂 Shawna and I had a very in depth offline discussion about hygienic practice. I notice that the abstracts for these articles mentioned proactive measures as well. (I do wish I could have seen the whole article so I could review exactly which ones they tracked.) Apparently I hold an above average level of asepsis, on a day to day basis. Very interesting perspective I hadn’t considered.

  620. Toxed2loss,
    I took a quick look in pub med and found these studies that compare feeding methods and incidence rate. Is this more along the lines of what you are looking for??
    I thought the last study in which the vacuum cleaner bag material was cultured is interesting 4.5% of non raw fed dog homes were positive and 10.5% of raw fed dog homes. Bacteria does get transferred a lot.
    The incidence rate of Salmonella shedding in the raw meat-fed dogs was 0.61 cases/dog-year, compared with 0.08 cases/dog-year in dogs that were not fed raw meat (P<0.001)….. Statistically significant risk factors for a dog testing positive included … feeding a commercial or homemade raw food diet, feeding raw meat and eggs, feeding a homemade cooked diet, and having more than one dog in the household…..  These results highlight the potential public health risk of including raw animal products in canine diets. jejuni was isolated from 1/42 (2.6%) raw meat-fed dogs. Salmonella enterica was isolated from 2/40 (5%) of the raw meat feeds, 6/42 (14%) raw meat-fed dog feces, none of the dogs that did not receive raw meat (P = 0.001), 4/38 (10.5%) of the vacuum cleaner waste samples from households where raw meat was fed, and 2/44 (4.5%) of vacuum cleaner waste samples from households where raw meat was not fed to dogs (P = 0.41).

  621. Toxed2loss says:

    Thank you Dr. Smith,
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but this just says that if fed contaminated food, they poop it out. It also says when they fed uncontaminated meat, there wasn’t any passed through pathogen. Here’s the quote,

    “Sixteen dogs were exposed to Salmonella-contaminated commercial raw food diets and 12 to Salmonella-free commercial raw food diets. Seven of the exposed dogs shed salmonellae 1–7 days after consumption of Salmonella-contaminated raw food diets. None of the dogs fed Salmonella-free diets shed salmonellae. No clinical signs were observed in either group.”

    So, do you have comparable research on kibble? If salmonella contaminated kibble is fed, won’t they shed salmonella into the environment as well? Wouldn’t salmonella contaminated kibble be as much a problem as salmonella contaminated anything else?
    I would think so. So how is one better than the other, in light of these facts?

  622. Here is just one article

  623. Toxed2loss says:

    Shawna, I agree with everything you are saying. And there’s more. Calcium magnesium balance is critical, too. I took a s*** load of cal, mag zinc, those first years. The cal to mag ratio is backwards. Most people get dietary calcium, but very few eat well enough to get sufficient dietary magnesium…I ended up with major heart attacks – coronary muscle spasms due to too much calcium… So yes that’s all important.

    But, I’m just saying that we’re not exposed to any more pathogens from raw meat when we feed our dogs raw, then when we are feeding our selves, handling raw eat. I and a great many people with immune deficiencies don’t need to do any different hygiene practices than what everybody else should do. I don’t wash the dog dish out every day either. I do wash before handling things in the kitchen, and after handling meat, etc… I don’t go digging thru drawers and cupboards with bloody hands. I don’t cut other items on the same cutting board or with the same knife… Normal people who practice good hygiene, do the same things. Those things are sufficient to prevent food born illnesses, immune compromised or not, love.

    My vet told me to treat that lambie’s necrosis and screw worm infestation with soap and water. It killed the parasites and the bad bacteria. No infection. That poor little guy’s butt was like Swiss cheese. He completely recovered. Soap and water kills a lot of pathogens.

  624. So much for trying to keep it short 🙂

    Probiotics are a wonderful start but really only half the battle.  Because of your illness you eat much better then most.  You have to.  Because of that you get adequate calcium, vitamin D etc.

    These nutrients (plus the neutrophils stimulated by the probiotics) and other immune system players, like macrophages, are important in maintaining health.

    One percent of calcium is in the blood/tissue as calcium bicarbonate.  This type of calcium patrols the blood in search of pathogens and once found surrounds them til the neutrophils can get there — the calcium wave.  This is why we (esp kids) get fevers — not enough calcium bicarbone so the body leaches calcium from the bone to fight the invader.  This paper discusses how calcium (as well as C and vitamin F (also known as essential fatty acids)) play a role in the immune system.  I first learned of this several years ago at a seminar called “Back to School for Doctors” that I attended with my dad :).. 

    Here’s a quick quote from the above mentioned paper  “High speed imaging techniques revealed that it is in fact a “cloud” of calcium surrounding cooties in the cell that issues a “callto-arms” for the warriors of the immune system to attack.  How cool is that?  Without sufficient levels of calcium bicarbonate, or ionizable calcium in the tissue, immunity is compromised and viruses and bacteria of all kinds have the opportunity to flourish.”

    Vitamin D plays an integral role in the bodies immune system.  This is why we get the flu and colds in the winter — less sun exposure and natural vitamin D.  Well, in those people that don’t get enough utilizable D from their foods.

    The whole point of eating raw is to get these immune enhancers naturally.  However, how many times (on Mercola and elsewhere) have you seen people feeding raw that don’t add any liver or other organs (where the vitamin D is).  Their pets could become immune compromised in time.  Or they don’t give any calcium or inappropriate forms — in humans (not sure about dogs though) calcium carbonate is digested better but utilized worse by the body — is harder to convert to bicarbonate then lactate or citrate. 

    Okay, I’m done.. 🙂

  625. I started out with this horribly long rebuttal but deleted and started over 🙂

    Everything you are saying is true.  But not everyone immune compromised person (like my daughter’s best friends child) is as health minded as you.  Try talking probiotics with Steph’s friend and you might as well be talking in a foreign language.  Her child (same age as Phoenie) is always sick and what does she do — take her to the doctor for another antibiotic or immunization.

    Can they still feed their dog raw (not that they probably would) — sure but extra precautions might not hurt.  Like feeding Answer’s foods.  They add fermented tea (kombucha) to increase the acid and kill pathogens.  If feeding meat from the grocery store it could be dipped in lemon juice or spritzed with apple cider vinegar etc.  Bowls washed after feeding.  And not by dog tongues like happens in my house.  That’s all I’m sayin. 🙂

    One more thing — these same immune compromised people should be taking the same precautions with the kibbled food they feed.  ESP if they free feed.

  626. Toxed2loss says:

    Dr. Smith,
    You keep saying this, “The reason is your dog sheds more colonies of bacteria into the environment when fed a raw product. Therefore, the environment is more contaminated increasing your chances of infection.” Would you mind posting those links/citations? I’m really having trouble seeing how that is relevant. I don’t eat where my dogs eliminate. I don’t wear shoes in the house. I use basic hygiene and wash my hands when handling raw meat, or after working outside. I would like to know the details of this scientific literature to know Exactly which variables they took into consideration and how the conclusions were reached.

  627. Toxed2loss says:

    Shawna, LAWY No, my body is so toxic viruses haven’t been able to survive. I think I may have reached a turning point, though. I think I may have had a virus this last week. In which case, Yay for me!

    As far as the bacterial and parasite pathogens, even before all the stuff I’ve learned from you about healthy gut systems being the basis of a healthy immune system, (thank you again!!) I have never contracted a pathogen from from handling raw meat, wild or domestic, or from handling raw feces… I once had a lamb that was born so large that the tail band, (@ 3 days) split the skin and flies laid eggs in his flesh. I cleaned and treated that with out problems… I assist with lambing and calving, poo, goo & blood. No problems. I can say this, one exposure to a chlorothalonil spill on a neighboring farm and it caused so much internal damage that it lacerated my kidneys, and caused a massive bacterial die off. I had a systemic e. Coli infection from my own resident e. Coli survivors, in a few short hours. We have just as many pathogens in our bodies as the raw meat that we are feeding. I think they get out of balance and cause disease states due to chemical poisoning.

    Fortifying the gut with probiotics keeps the “bad bacteria” in check. I know that probiotics are now “standard protocol” for TIs. That’s somewhere around 140 million “immune compromised” individuals, doin what I’m doin. We cook from scratch. We handle raw meat. It doesn’t give us e. Coli. We eat raw egg yolk. That doesn’t give us salmonella. That’s why I keep asking Dr. Smith my question. We’re not seeing it. If we aren’t, why are the rest of you getting those things. Why are there pathogen problems with dogs, including parasites? I think it comes back to my chemical poisoning event, that caused an over growth of e. Coli. My sheep never had parasites until they got repeatedly exposed to massive amounts of pesticides from adjacent farms!! I think it has more to due with toxic exposures than commonly realized. Toxic exposures stress and weaken the immune system more than any other factor. This discussion ties right in with the fluke discussion. Food for thought.

  628. Ntvs-Dr. Smith says:

    I am relaying info based on science from both the medical and veterinary community. Regarding your question: The reason is your dog sheds more colonies of bacteria into the environment when fed a raw product. Therefore, the environment is more contaminated increasing your chances of infection. Whether you get sick or not is a totally different issue!!

  629. LOL 🙂  If you got a bug, I think you could keep it in check with sheer willpower, if you wanted to, alone!!!  You are da woman!!!!!!

  630. Toxed ~~ on the #2 point.  I do agree with Dr. Smith about immune compromised persons.  As I mentioned in my previous post — it can be done but there are more considerations.  You have to admit that you, my dear, are not the “average” immune compromised person :)…

  631. Depends on your definition of constipated 🙂

    If she can’t poop at all — BAD.  If the poop comes out looking like gum balls — not so good.  But if she is just straining a bit more then before and the poo is coming out small and firm — normal.

    The NV Venison has 3% fiber so its not low in fiber.  Pretty average if not on the high side of normal for a raw diet. 

  632. hi shawna

    been feeding lexee the raw medallions and now she is constipated – is this normal

  633. Toxed2loss says:

    Dr. Smith,
    I’m am an immune compromised individual. I feed raw. I have no pathogen contamination from my dogs, or from my livestock. LOL I even clean the chicken house and am not made sick. Volatizing chicken poo, with all of its bacterial contaminants. Now, that must set your theories on end! With all due respect, I must disagree with you on # 2. Both I and my dogs take probiotics. Good bacteria holds bad bacteria in check. I’m sure you know that e.coli exists in human systems, as well as numerous other “bad” bacteria. Every bacteria has its purpose…

    You still haven’t answered my question. How are we exposed to anymore pathogens feeding raw, than preparing meat for our own meals?

  634. In Response 2.  I agree immune compromised people and pets need to be cautious but it can still be done.  Dr. Martin Goldstein mentions in his book “The Nature of Animal Healing” that he converts most cancer dogs he sees to raw.  5.  I completely agree!! 🙂  High pressure pasteurized is not truly raw 🙂  6.  Thanks for clarifying that 🙂

  635. I’m wondering if the issue with the Greyhounds was due to raw fed 4D meats.  The FDA has a paper implying it is a practice to feed kenneled Greyhounds 4D meats.  Which, of course, is going to be problematic.

    Most companion animal raw feeders try to avoid 4D meats at all cost.

  636. More recalls have been done on kibble then raw foods though?  A different vets opinion.

    “Kibble Fed Pets at Risk of Spreading Salmonella?

    Th majority of pet food recalls this summer have been of processed/kibble and canned foods because they feared contamination with Salmonella. The Delta Society says they are concerned about raw fed pets spreading salmonella to the patients and people they visit. Really?? Funny thing – there appears to be more risk of salmonella contamination in cooked/kibble diets then raw meat and bones for our pets. Is anyone else out there smelling something fishy? Putting two and two together here?”

    She goes on to list the kibble/canned recalls of 2010 — there were many if her list is accurate..

  637. I  converted them to dry matter to compare them all as I was looking for lower fat as their moisture content varies a bit.

  638. Sandy ~~ are you reporting the number as dry matter or as fed.  On an as fed basis the current numbers for Primal Rabbit, as an example, are 19% protein and 4% fat

    Primal Venison is reported on an as fed basis as 16% protein and 4% fat.  Admittedly the lamb is still high at 12% protein and 10% fat..

    NV raw Venison isn’t as bad as I remember but still a bit high (proportionately to protein) in fat.  Protein is 13% and fat is 8% equalling more calories from fat then protein (worse with Primal lamb obviously).

    It is the NV Buffalo that is high (for a normally lean meat)?  Buffalo is 11.5% protein and 10% fat.  I swear the venison was too but I am getting more senile with these years adding up 🙂  I’m 45 now, imagine how I’ll be in 20 years…  Ughhh 🙂

  639. In response: 1. I agree 2. What about animals or people that are immune-compromised? 3. I agree 4. I agree yet it depends on amount of pathogens present! 5. These are not Raw foods if they are pasteurized in any fashion. They are just marketed that way! 6. agree! Again, i am not against raw feeding, just clarifying the arguments!

  640. Actually, vets play an important role in preventing zoonotic diseases, disease transmission from animals to people. Examples include rabies, ascarid infection, toxoplasmosis and salmonella!

  641. I am not telling you my personal opinion! I am telling you an argument based on science as to why some vets oppose raw feeding. When pets ingest raw meats, they shed more fecal bacteria into the environment thereby increasing the risk of exposure to people. For instance, a common practice in a kennel situation is spraying down dog runs when cleaning. In a kennel feeding raw, this practice aerosolizes more food borne pathogens increasing transmission/risk of disease to people, especially kids or immune-compromised individuals.  This is one of the main arguments that some veterinarians embrace. There is a reputable study elucidating this in Greyhounds that can be accessed via google search. 

  642. Unless they’ve reformulated their old recipes these are the fat numbers I have written down:

    Primal Rabbit 15
    Primal Venison 18
    Natures Variety Chicken and Lamb 18
    Primal Turkey Sardine 20
    Primal Quail 22
    Primal Chicken 25
    NV Venison, Beef and Rabbit 25
    Stellas Chicken 30
    Primal Lamb 33

  643. The venison is one higher in fat.  I would definitely rotate for this reason but it is good to rotate anyway!!  I have fed ostrich, venison, quail, pheasant, buffalo, beef, chicken, turkey, elk, rabbit, salmon, duck and pork.  You certainly don’t have to rotate this much but I would pick at least 3 proteins (at least two lower in fat) and rotate between the 3.  Different proteins supply different nutrients/amino acids.  Variety creates better health 🙂

    Vets are against raw feeding because 1. it cuts into their profit margin (those that sell food) 2. they are not educated to the benefits of raw.  And, not all vets are against raw.  Here’s some that are raw feeders – Dr. Martin Goldstein, Dr. Karen Becker, Dr. Jeannie Thomason, Dr. Andrew Jones, Dr. Kim Bloomer, Dr. Tom Lonsdale, Dr. Ian Billinghurst plus many many many more.  Those listed previously can all be found online..  My two holistic vets both are raw feeders and one took 3 years of nutrition after getting her veterinary degree. 🙂  Her name is Dr. Stacy Curro – not my vet any longer however because she moved out of state 🙁

    Go Lexee 🙂  Hee hee hee 🙂  Lexee should not gain wait on raw if not overfeeding (AND if feeding the lower fat raw foods — Bravo and Primal are add’l options).  One problem with commercial raw foods is that they add too much fat to the diet to help keep costs in check.  However many dogs will stop eating when they are full and will not gain weight even from the higher fat foods.  Still better to feed appropriate amounts of fat so pup gets all the protein her little body needs for proper health though 🙂

    PS — I use a little, very accurate, tea scale that I bought from a tea shop for $16.00.  I weigh eat dogs food for each meal so I know EXACTLY how much they are getting.  That way if they gain or start to lose I know it and can adjust the amount of food and if necessary take them to the vet to try to find out why the weight change — parasites possibly (which can be picked up from the great outdoors while on daily walks)??

  644. Good morning Ntvs-Dr. Smith ~~ Your point is one many regard as an issue but it really is not.
    1. Salmonella can contaminate any food and has often been the reason of recalled kibbled foods.

    2. Additionally, a healthy immune system is capable of handling small amounts of pathogens. That is the whole point of feeding raw, to increase the health of the animal – and person.

    3. Salmonella is a common and native pathogen of the canine digestive tract per an article written by Stanley L. Marks, BVSc, PhD, DACVIM (Internal Medicine, Oncology), DACVN, Davis, CA, for the Veterinary Information Network. It reads “”The clinical significance of bacteria such as clostridium and salmonella causing diarrhea or illness in dogs and cats is clouded by the existence of many of these organisms as normal constituents of the indigenous intestinal flora.”

    4. Humans, like canines, can handle small amounts of pathogens if they have strong immune systems. Eating species appropriate, nutrient rich foods is one of the aspects needed to create a healthy immune system. I’ve been feeding raw for a long time and we don’t clean out the dog food bowels after the dogs eat. My 2 year old grand daughter collects the bowels for me after the dogs have eaten (or before their next meal) and has not once been sick in her two years of life – not even a cold. Those small exposures to pathogens will train her immune system for future exposure. A healthy and strong immune system is less likely to be achieved by synthetic nutrients.

    5. Many of the raw, commercial products are subjected to processes or ingredients that kill pathogens making them safer then grocery store foods. Natures Variety, Stella & Chewys and Primal are all subjected to high pressure pastuerization. Others, like Answers, add acid products to the food (like kombucha tea or apple cider vinegar) which have also been proven to prevent the reasonable growth of bacteria bacteria.

    6. Dogs are designed, by nature, to be able to handle bacteria. A short digestive tract and very acidic stomach as well as the bile in the small intestine and good bacteria in small and large intestine all contribute to this ability.

  645. Richard ~~ OH MY GOSH!!  That was FUNNY!!!!!! 🙂

  646. Toxed

    I think what I’ve heard in the past is they are worried that your dog will eat raw food then lick you or your child’s face. Any pathogens in the raw might be transferred.

    My Marisa likes her burgers raw and juicy, and she is fond of sushi, so am I supposed to wait at least an hour after she eats before kissing her?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  647. I don’t feed my dogs raw (yet) but there was still raw chicken all over my kitchen this weekend. That is just a lame excuse, why would vets be looking out for the humans? I’m pretty sure most people still know how to cook and handle raw meat. Your job is to look out for our pets best interest, not look out for us.

  648. Toxed2loss says:

    Ntvs-Dr. Smith
    Would you please elaborate on “food borne pathogens to people…”

    I can’t see how people would be any more exposed while feeding raw to dogs than they would be cooking. Can you pease explain?

  649. Because of the potential for transmission of food borne pathogens to people and pets

  650. thought i would give you an update
    switching to raw – lexee won’t eat the dry, holding out for the raw – going to give her 1 in the morning, 1 late afternoon and 1 late evening – hope this doesn’t cause to gain extra weight again

  651. why are a lot of vets against feeding raw

  652. thanks again you are so helpful

    do i have to rotate the formulas or can i keep her on just one – currently i have the nv frozen vension

  653. Kibble is unnatural, dry, processed, lacks living enzymes, has too many carbs. has chemicals, has an excess of things dogs don’t need like fillers to actually make a kibble.

    Raw foods are moist, still has some living enzymes, and is very low in carbs, less fillers.

    I use Brothers kibble.  It’s the best. I also use Great Life Grain Free, and Merrick cans, Weruva cans, Addiction cans, commercial raw from Natures Variety and Primal and plain raw chicken thighs and drumsticks and wings and turkey necks.  Sometimes I serve scrambled eggs, sardines, fresh fruit/cooked veggies.

  654. Excellent question Sharron!!  There are many reasons why it is better.  I’ll list some of them 🙂

    1.  Dry foods are dehydrating and put an extra strain on the kidneys.
    2.  They are too high in carbs and not high enough in protein.
    3.  Nutrients are damaged in the heating process and many are not added back in.  There are actually 8 forms of vitamin e.  Not all eight (not even half of them) are added back in.
    4.  When proteins and carbs are heated too high they can acutally become a cancer risk.  Many kibbled foods are cooked at temperatures that can do this.  Not all are but it should be considered when deciding on a kibbled food.

    There are additional reasons but this is a good place to start..  I typed this out once and decided it was too in depth and deleted and retyped.  If you want any more info or more info on any one of the above reasons please do ask :)..

  655. thanks
    exactly why is it better to feed your dog raw rather than a 5*
    dry dog food

  656. I have my own and foster dogs.  The canned is more for the fosters but I don’t want my own to feel left out 🙂  hee hee hee

    I use Merrick (grain free varieties), Weruva (Love this line), Nature’s Variety Instinct pork and Lotus (these have rice but you can actually see the meat (like Weruva) and looks very high quality… Everything else I feed is grain free so I figured every once in a while in rotation was okay.. 🙂  I’ve been upset with the beef variety the last two cans so will probably not feed that one any longer..

  657. hi shawna
    thanks for your input
    what do you use as a topper?


  658. I too will feed one raw meal, then a kibble meal.  The kibble takes longer to digest but is not as  good as the raw.  And my pugs are vaccuums.  They can always eat – anything, anytime, always act hungry, but their outputs, weights, muscle mass, their physique look great.

  659. When I first put my pugs on raw I gave them one bite as a treat during the day.  This occurred for several days.  Then I put a bite or 2 in their kibble and mushed it up together.  This went on for several days.  Then I slowly increased the raw amount.  Then they would eat one old food meal, one raw meal.  Have you tried just putting a bite into the wellness can food?  Have you tried introducing a marrow bone to your dog or a real raw rib bone?  Those might help introduce you dog to raw.

  660. Has anyone had a rough time switching their dog to NV Instinct?  I am transitioning from Wellness Canned food and my dog wants to have nothing to do with the raw food.  He is not eating, and for the past day has been vomitting.  I’m taking him to the Vet today to make sure all is okay, but is it possible that he will just not eat Raw?  I’ve heard many times that “all dogs love raw”, but this doesn’t seem to be the case with mine.  I was also thinking about Ziwi and Honest Kitchen, but from researching it doesn’t seem as beneficial as NV.

  661. I agree with the others.  You are feeding less quantity of food but much more nutrition.  As her body adjusts she will also adjust to the smaller quantity. 

    Also consider that she may need more then the average dog her size.  Example my 9 pound Chihuahua mix eats 1.5 ounces of food plus a teaspoon of canned topper twice per day during the winter and about 1.2 ounces plus the canned topper in the summer.

    I also have a 5 pound Pom that eats 1.3 ounces plus canned and another that would get fat fast on 1.3.  She gets .95 ounces plus canned topper.  My senior 5 pound Chihuahua eats 2 ounces per meal plus canned topper.. 

  662. Jan_Mom2Cavs says:

    sharron, after reading your post where you said that you had to feed her some dry, I just wanted to add…..there is also more of a benefit to feeding raw one meal and dry another than if you were to feed just dry.  Maybe that would be something to consider.  I fed all premade for a little while, but really had to stop doing that considering other people may be feeding them (and I don’t trust they’d clean everything properly lol) or they might be boarded occasionally.  After that, I would feed one meal raw and one meal kibble w/canned topper.  I still felt the were benefiting from doing this.  Some people also use raw as a topper to the kibble (I’ve done this some), but some people say you shouldn’t do this.  Nature’s Variety as a company says it should be fine to add raw to kibble.  You’d have to make your own decision regarding that.

  663. Jan_Mom2Cavs says:

    I agree with Amy, but you could also try doing 2 meals and see how that goes.  See if it “lasts” longer with her (feels fuller longer, I mean lol).  I’m glad she likes it and I hope she does well with it!

  664. Amy DeStefanis says:

    We have been feeding our dogs this (chicken) for a little over a year.  Their poops are smaller and less stinky, and they are doing great.  Our dogs are ALWAYS willing to eat!  So sure, they “seem hungry” after eating, but if we let them eat what they wanted, they’d be very overweight.  They will get used to it.  

  665. Jan_mom2cavs

    I don’t think the raw is going to work – like i said earlier,
    she had an oz. medallion and that didn’t fill her up. I had to give her dry food that was about 1/2 hr ago and she was hungry!

  666. hi again

    well, i gave lexee a medallion about an hour ago
    and she is looking for more. Is it that she really likes it and wants more or she is still hungry?
    thanks again

  667. Jan_Mom2Cavs says:

    You are so very welcome!  Sure, why not feed her 3 times a day with a medallion each meal, if that suits your schedule.  Let us know how it works out.

  668. thankyou so much for your help!!!!
    i’m wondering if i could feed her 3 x day giving 1 medallion at each feeding

  669. Jan_Mom2Cavs says:

    I actually did the food guide for you myself from NV, and they say for an average activity, 9 lb. dog using a variety of their raw products you should feed 3.4 medallions a day.  A medallion weights 1 ounce.  So, I’d probably feed 3 and a half patties a day (round up for convenience) divided into 2 meals.  If your dog is more active they’ll say feed more or less active they’ll say to feed less, of course.

  670. Jan_Mom2Cavs says:

    Although I think it might be higher in fat than some premade raw food, it would (imho) be better than kibble in maintaining your dog’s weight as it is high in moisture and protein and low in carbs.  It is all in the portion control and calories.  Nature’s Variety has on their website a food calculator that helps determine how much raw to feed a 9 lb. dog.  I would check it out and start from there.  If your dog starts gaining, then cut back.  I think 2.5% of the body weight is used for normal activity dogs to maintain, but not really sure.  I have couch potatoes and like to use 1.5-2.0% for mine.  I would also think the medallions would make it quite easy to portion.  This is just an example, of course, so let’s say you would feed 2-2.25 medallions a day.  I’d divide it between two meals a day, as well, so your dog would around 1 medallion to a little more in a meal.  Doesn’t sound like much, I know, but remember this is just an example.  Go to their feeding calculator and see what they say.  Hope this helped. 

  671. Hi

    can anyone answer my question?

    is nv frozen raw suitable for maintaing my dog’s weight (9 lbs)
    is it high in fat and will it cause her to gain weight again


  672. I am new to raw feeding and found that Natures Variety is great! I was stuck on Stella & Chewy’s since my pup has loved the freeze dried as a topping on her kibble since she was 12 weeks old but found that S&C are wayyyy too overpriced for a 55 pound pup. 

    The thing that sucks about S&C is their 6 pound bag comes with 12 patties.. And of those 12 patties they recommend feeding 4.5 to my pup a day.. So I would be spending $30.00 every three days on Stella’s. 
    Natures Variety only recommends 3 patties a day with their 6 pound bag.. I am starting to feed her in rotations so she will only be getting half of that.

    So far she is doing great and absolutely LOVES raw.

  673. Melissa (in Canada) says:

    I feed NV raw to my two Italian Greyhounds. Our breeder is a strong raw proponent, and my pups were weaned from their mother to raw food. I can’t say enough for it… no smelly poo, they have LOVELY coats and skin… I show my female and get complimented often on how shiny and glossy she is. 

  674. what about Bold Raw’s Raw food? anyone heard about it?

  675. 🙂 yes, I must admit, it doesn’t set well with me either, but I’m guessing, everyone uses it – industry standard. It just happened to not get mixed in. I figure it’s some kind of enzyme paste. If Joker doesn’t make that call, I just might… 🙂

  676. Nope-I will concede that I have no freaking clue as to what type of denaturant would be considered “edible”. A black tarry substance brings to mind charcoal in some form,and by my standards, not something I consider edible for my puppers : )

  677. Thanks Melissa!
    I have a suspicion as to what it may be now.

    Joker, do call, like Melissa mentioned. And, please let us know what they say. Be sure to ask them for the name of the denaturant.

    Melissa, Do you want to play a game of “guess and Check?” 🙂

  678. Joker-

    Call the company and ask what the denaturant IS-and then let us know!

  679. Toxed-

    If you scroll back a bit, a poster mentioned a black sticky substance showing up in the raw. She stated she called the company and they told her it was an edible denaturant, and she should not worry about it-that she could see it because for some reason it did not get “mixed” in completely.

  680. anyone can confirm this?

  681. Anonymous says:

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Instead of just repeating your statement, why don’t you tell me where you think that it is added?

  682. im sure they added “denaturant” but just want to know how it affect my dogs health

  683. Anonymous says:

    Hi Joker111

    Where did you come up with that? What “denaturant?”

  684. So the denaturant in NV raw is toxic/bad for dogs? should i switch to primal premade raw?

  685. Alexandra says:

    To any experienced raw feeders,

    I have been dealing with an extremely sensitive German Shepherd who had skin lesions, hair loss, a ton of issues with loose stool. This was while feeding mostly Orijen. Turns out eliminating the potato seemed to stabilize. Him after he had 5 courses of antibiotics. Now for about 8 weeks he has formed stools, the ear and hair issues are gone. He still sesms to itchy. I have started. Giving him a medallion of NV Instinct Lamb and the itching seems to go away. Is it keep combining this with his Brothers allergy?

  686. Gillian,

    There’s lots of info out there, believe me! There’s lots to learn. Here’s a video for starters. also this one (be sure to read over the dog and cat nutrition articles listed on the left)

    I’m not sure how others transition their dogs to raw but I did mine gradually. I just gave my dogs a “bite” as a treat one day and then the next day gave them 2 bites and so on. I might have even squashed a small amount onto their kibble too, I don’t remember, it’s been a long time! They did well that way. On the other hand, one of my fosters that I gave 2 bites to vomited it back up. Maybe another way to transition your dog to raw is to feed him canned food for a while so he gets used to the wetness/gooeyness. My dogs love raw and their coats and health have never been better. I thought they were “fine” before, but there was room for improvement apparently. I use gloves when preparing their food. Sometimes I can just hand feed it to them and not use dishes at all. Now they eat raw meals 3 days a week (my off days).

  687. Hi guys,

    I just purchased Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw food today. I went into the store to get a natural dog food and came out with this. I had never heard of Raw dog food before and am not sure if I should have allowed the salesperson to talk me into buying it. Im very hesitent and scared to feed this to my dog who has always been on an intestinal diet for a very sensitive stomach. Lately she has been displaying signs of food allergies, so today I decided to make changes in her diet. Was anyone else hesitant with starting Raw food? It just seems scary to me. I would hate for pets to get salmonella or some other horrible type of food poisoning from eating this food. Also, why are Vets so against this food? The saleperson told me that Vets never like their patients to be on raw food. Why would this be if this Raw diets meet AAFCO food guidelines?

  688. I have started to feed my English Bulldog the Nature’s Variety Instinct RAW, Bison forumula, which he loves! I think because of all the skin/allergy issues my dog has this is the best route to take and I’m delighted he likes the food so much! I rotate this and also add the NV Instinct LID kibble, so I think in time I will see a big difference in his overall health.

  689. Got a free trial pack of this the other day….I can’t believe my finicky cats actually ate it! Hoping it works out in the long run.

  690. Sharron,

    Prepared raw would be a suitable food whether or not weight loss is the goal. Raw is a much better food than kibble, no matter how good the kibble.

  691. i’m seriously thinking of switching lexee, a 2 1/2 yr old yorkie/chihuahua from orijen to nature’s variety raw medallions. would this be a suitable food considering about a 1 1/2 lbs overweight.


  692. kk,

    My Pom has this occassionally, too. I think it’s when the bone/bone meal ratio gets too high for their particular metabolism. Feeding her extra raw meat helps soften her stools. A little puréed pumpkin or cooked broccoli help, too. Because she’s only 6 lbs. part of a raw egg gives her a boost in nutrition and loosens stool. I rotate the extras to give her a wider range of nutrition.

  693. I switched to NV raw and now my yorkie’s stools are dry,crumble and looks like really hard to pass. He had the same problem when we feed him Orijen kibbles, wts wrong? Does he need more fiber or wt?

  694. Hi Mark… The number of calories per serving (by weight) isn’t just determined by the nutrient content but by the water content, too. Our figures have mathematically removed 100% of the water from each product (known as dry matter basis).

    If one recipe contains more water per ounce than another, its caloric content per ounce will be less.

    So, if after checking the moisture content for each product you can’t see a reason for the disparity, you’ll need to call the company. Hope this makes sense.

  695. I’ve been rotating Nature’s Variety, Primal and some Bravo products. Will probably be going with Steve’s Real Food as well.

    Nature’s Variety Instinct seems to be twice the calories per ounce than all the others. It’s listed on here at 40’s % for protein, 20’s% for fat. How is it twice the calories for the beef formula ounce per ounce to the other brands? Only other way is for the fat content to be super high… any idea here or am I missing something?

  696. Jan (Mom to Cavs) says:

    kk, I’ve used NV since they had the recall on the chicken. I use the chicken/turkey, the beef, the rabbit and the organic chicken for my girls. They are fine with it. Hope this helps.

  697. Looking to switch to NV raw but i remember the chicken one was being recalled last year so should i still trust it ? or use other flavor instead? Is chicken the best beginning flavor to switch to?

  698. Hi Joel… I understand this can be confusing. But before you can accurately compare the nutrient content of any food, it’s critical to first understand the importance of mathematically removing 100% of the water from every product. Doing that allows two or more foods with radically different moisture contents to be fairly compared.

    This standard concept is known as dry matter basis.

    There is a link to an article explaining dry matter basis in The Bottom Line section of every review on The Dog Food Advisor website.

    Hope this helps.

  699. Hi Mike, I’m a bit confused or maybe I just don’t understand this fully. When I look at the dog food packaging, the percentage of protein, fats and carbs are not the same as the one you have posted. They seem higher. For example, Natures Variety Raw – Beef says 13% protein but you have it listed as 41%. Am I not understanding it?

  700. I’ve been thinking about serving this to my JRT for a while now because my local pet shop sells it. I’ve been looking to move away from EVO for a while now because I fear an ingredient change I might miss. Plus sources now concern me for pretty much everyone in my family. I recently noticed NV was involved in a “leveraged buyout” by Catterton Partners last winter. Last week our local PetCo began selling their foods. So it seems another fine, indy pet company has been lost to us. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do to make sure everyone in our house (human or furry) should be doing to get better foods. We already use the local co-op for everything other than meat. There only seem to be a few local meat farmers where I live though. I know times are tough for that group but we simply can’t afford their prices for it. I feed half raw already but I’ve been uncomfortable with that for many years now because of how misused the “organic” label is on packaging. It seems like I’m running out of ideas for healthy food I can trust. Independent companies and farmers are being bought out or put out of business. Grumble!

  701. Good question, melissa. Seems Natures Variety and the companies they contract companies to make their foods for, and using most probably, the same PhD animal nutritionist, may be not be using fresh meats fir for human consumption.

    Agree with Jan (Mom to Cavs), to be maintain vigilance, also a degree of skepticism is also in order.

  702. Why would there is a denaturant in the food???? I was under the impression that the meat meals used in NV and others produced by this manufactorer were “human grade” so to speak? Richard, do you know the answer to this question??

    Nature’s Variety has identified the substance as a denaturant applied to the meat by their supplier. I read that a denaturant is any substance that is applied to “mark” the product as unfit for human consumption. Nature’s Variety assures me that the denaturant is edible. I don’t doubt that, however I did not see

  703. Jan (Mom to Cavs) says:

    @Mary Jo….I’m sorry to hear this. I can’t speak for the venison, as I do not feed that flavor, but I feed the beef, chicken/turkey and the organic chicken flavors and have not noticed anything amiss so far. I hope to continue feeding this food. Like your experience, mine has also been a good one. Reduced tear/mouth stains, smaller stool, better weight. It was nice that NV responded to you and told you it was of no concern, but I would still be vigilant, of course.

  704. Mary Jo Benedetti says:

    I started my 2 Norwegian Elkhounds on Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw in January 2011. The dogs both love it and it has resolved terrible digestive issues for one, and enabled the other to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, their coats are thicker, weepy eyes have cleared up, stools are smaller and dryer, and they remain in love with their food. I brag about the value of this raw diet to everyone. Just in the past few weeks, I notice that the Venison patties have black streaks and pockets of black goo. Nature’s Variety has identified the substance as a denaturant applied to the meat by their supplier. I read that a denaturant is any substance that is applied to “mark” the product as unfit for human consumption. Nature’s Variety assures me that the denaturant is edible. I don’t doubt that, however I did not see this on their raw food until now and even if it is not harmful, seems it should be mixed in and not visible. I am disappointed in the lack of consistency in quality – particularly so given the high cost of feeding this frozen raw diet. I wonder if anyone else has noticed black streaks and spots, and whether others continue feeding this diet despite the black streaks. The “use by” dates on the bags with the black streaks seem to be from July 28, 2012 forward. Thank you for any insight. . . Mary Jo

  705. I have a 9 month old Australian Shepherd with a really sensitive stomach. We tried high quality kibble like Origin and eventually got to Natural Balance. Although his stool stabilized, he didn’t like it and his stool was huge (because of the potato and filler). We made the switch to Nature’s Variety Raw last week, 100% commitment. His first couple of stools were soft but he has been fine for a week now and he loves it. I wish that we would have tried this diet earlier.

  706. Jan (Mom to Cavs) says:

    @Tami…remember also that you can switch between proteins (rotate) with the raw food, too, unless of course your little puppy has intolerances.

  707. Jan (Mom to Cavs) says:

    @Tami…I’m so glad you found the NV raw. Btw, no dog needs to eat kibble. Remember, it hasn’t been around forever. Fresher foods and raw foods are actually way better anyway due to less/no processing. I’m sure your puppy will do wonderfully on raw food!

  708. I just started by 5 month puppy on a raw diet. She was very picky and refused to eat kibble. Currently I feed her frozen beef from the instinct line and my puppy loves it. She is 50% raw and 50% wet dog food. It seems to be working pretty well. I asked the vet if she had to eat dry kibble and he said that the raw frozen meet with substitute for the kibble. Good luck

  709. Our dog is 9 years old and ppl constantly think he is still a pup. He has been on RAW for 2 years and we personally would not go back to grain. RAW works for our dog and we are seeing great results, more energy, no burning the lawn when peeing, no smelly breath and no weight gain. He gets rewarded with RAW bones which he LOVES!

  710. ShamelessRawFoodie says:

    Carol asks “If a bone can nick the skin on my finger can it really be safe for a dog?”
    Yes, Carol, as long as the bone is RAW, it really can be safe for a dog.
    A wolf in the wild eats raw bones.
    Do some research on feeding raw meat and raw bones to a dog and you’ll likely be quite amazed at what you learn.
    I know I was amazed. I learned a lot. My dog is fortunate that I learned. His meals are mostly meat, but also some fat and a good portion of bones – all RAW.

  711. Hi,
    I first posted in march 2011, about nature’s variety raw.
    I had asked if you could recheck their food. I myself e-mailed them with my concerns. Unfortunately their response could be called terse at best.

    They have greatly reduced the bones in all but the chicken variety. I buy it I the two pound chubs and have cut my finger pulling out chips as large as the tip of my small finger. They also seem to be using mostly chicken necks. You will not see the bones unless you check. I found one and than with a spoon found quite large pieces. If a bone can nick the skin on my finger can it really be safe for a dog?

  712. Thanks Shamless and Gordon,
    I forgot to mention that I also received Dr. Becker’s book and have some reading to do. I will also do some more research into some of the raw food companies I have available, I prefer to get something from a company that has been around for at least 10 years, with a good rating. You are both lucky to have such a wide variety to choose from.
    Take care,

  713. Yeah true Shameless. But I think Sheila’s problem as she has mentioned numerous times, is that she is restricted in choice with the limited commercial raw products in her area.

    Yeah Bill Jac is a joke. Why bother with raw in the first place, lol.

  714. ShamelessRawFoodie says:

    Agree Gordon – any raw is better than any kibble. Except maybe BilJac Raw Frozen – what’s up with that?
    But why support a company that clearly seems to get on the raw marketing bandwagon by having 50%+ carb recipes? For not much more $, a Real Raw (with low carbs / high meat) can be purchased.
    Example of Raw Bandwagon:
    Only Natural Pet EasyRaw (Dehydrated) Turkey and Sweet Potato…
    is 61% carbs, 23% protein, 8% fat

    Sheila – Your 12 lb dog would appreciate more meat, less carbs! IMO

  715. I agree that HPP would be the same regardless.

    Sheila – 3 times a week in raw even if commerical raw like Nature’s Variety despite HPP is still way better than any kibble on the market. Rotation with dehydrated raw is fantastic and I’d encourage that at least if not raw full time. Stay away from kibble as much as possible. I’m in the process myself of phasing it out entirely. No matter how much marketing and science goes into making kibble with marketing niche like grain or potato free etc etc or encapsulated probiotics and enzymes etc, same can never match Nature no matter how much “talk” is out there. Your feeding raw including dehydrated / air-dried raw even if the carbs (At least better raw and uncooked carbs) is a little high, is still better than any kibble, guaranteed!!

  716. ShamelessRawFoodie says:

    Hi Sandy – I think HPP is the same, or at least very similar, for Stella & Chewy’s and Nature’s Variety raw food products.
    Also, Primal has HPP on their raw ‘poultry products only’:
    “Primal will be implementing HPP into our product line beginning the week of June 6th, 2011 for poultry products only.”

  717. What’s the difference between HHP that Stella & Chewy’s uses vs NV HPP? They sound the same.

  718. ShamelessRawFoodie says:

    Hi Sheila – I have only brief experience using commercial pre-made frozen raw and have never used dehydrated raw.
    Raw Advantage
    is the only commercial frozen raw product that I used for a couple of months last year. I was pleased with the product (primarily organic) and customer service. Hopefully Mike will be reviewing it soon. 🙂
    I realize Raw Advantage isn’t available to you in Canada.

    For my own personal preference, I would not feed HK or NRG because they are both high in unnecessary carbs.

    I would personally hesitate on Nature’s Variety raw because they use HPP High Pressure Processing (which we know little about):
    “As of 2/11/10, all Nature’s Variety Raw Frozen Diets and Freeze Dried Raw foods utilize High Pressure Processing.”

    What other raw brands to you have access to? I would get high protein, moderate fat, and low low low carbs. You will pay more, but you’ll have less poop and more untilized nutrients.

  719. Shamless and Gordon, If you are tuned in.
    I am thinking of doing raw along with the dehydrated, not together in the same meal, but as 3 times a week or seomthing like that.
    Since you have alot of experience, does this sound like a plan?
    So far she is eating the NRG rotation of Salmon, Bison and Chicken (Norwich Terrier, 12lbs.) I switched because the HK was a little too expensive and NRG is much more available to me. I can get NV, local raw (all sorts of different combos made up), RedDog/BlueKat (my cats love this as well as my own mixed with a premiX)several other raw food companies, but not many from USA, mostly ones that are made in Canada, of course.
    Any comments are welcomed from all.

  720. ShamelessRawFoodie says:

    More info for D, above comment – In addition to Paw Naturaw having raw certified organic dog food diets, Nature’s Variety has one raw diet that is certified organic:

    A potential negative to the Nature’s Variety Raw Frozen Organic Chicken formula is that it has been processed with HPP High Pressure Processing.

    Also, I wonder how successful a dog food manufacturing facility is at keeping the organic ingredients separate from the non-organic ingredients since they manufacture both organic and non-organic in the same facility.
    •Our manufacturing facility is a USDA Certified Organic Processing Facility and adheres to USDA and EU standards

  721. ShamelessRawFoodie says:

    Kim – It’s fascinating that your dogs “totally turned their noses at” the Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Frozen. Maybe that is because their ‘raw’ frozen diets have been processed and adulterated by HPP. As of 2/11/10, all Nature’s Variety Raw Frozen Diets and Freeze Dried Raw foods utilize High Pressure Processing, per the company website.
    Raw food is the most natural form of nutrition for your dog
    In addition to the industry best practices previously mentioned, Nature’s Variety has implemented a progressive new food safety protocol called High Pressure Processing for use on all Nature’s Variety Raw Frozen Diets.

    More info on Nature’s Variety HPP –
    “… HPP effectively inactivated a human norovirus surrogate in fresh produce with a minimal impact on food quality..”

  722. Kim Millard – When thawed, a lot of these raw foods still remain cold and emit less smell. Sometimes, it’s an idea to place the food (after thawing) in the microwave for just 15 seconds, so that it heats a little to allow some aroma to escape. Just an idea. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

    Also, if your dogs have been so used to just processed food, and all of a sudden you’ve just presented a completely different food preparation, then it makes sense that even dogs can give its owner that “quizzical look”. It would be better to transition your dogs slowly from processed to raw over a period of a week or so. Not forgetting to bring out the smell somewhat more, by microwaving as mentioned above.

  723. Kim Millard says:

    I was really excited when I purchased this product at the whole food store (The rabbit product under the manufacturer’s “Instinct” line.) My dogs absolutely love the dry product and the canned product. I thought Violet and Lyla would not be able to resist the raw product. However, when I out the thawed-out medallions, they gave me this quizzical look like “WHAT is THIS???” and totally turned their noses at it. When I sniffed the medallions myself, I couldn’t pick up any scent whatsoever and I’m thinking my girls (not exactly bloodhounds) weren’t able to smell the food either. It was a stark reminder that it won’t matter how many stars a food earned or how enthusiastically veterinarians may recommend a product if your dogs simply won’t eat it.

  724. ShamelessRawFoodie says:

    D – The only raw certified organic commercial dog food that I am aware of is Paw Naturaw,
    Welcome to PAW NATURAW: America’s First Lines of USDA Certified Organic, Raw, Frozen or Dehydrated Diets for Dogs & Cats.

    Unfortunately, Paw Naturaw seems to have poor customer service. I was disappointed with their customer service, and therefore have never ordered any of their food. But, I have yet to find more than a handful of disgruntled customer comments floating around the internet. Most internet comments I’ve found are positive about Paw Naturaw.

    Paw Naturaw appears to have a superior organic human-grade product line, all high protein and low carb.
    And it’s 5* on this website:

  725. Hi,
    I’m looking forward to feeding my dog raw food. I’m having trouble finding the right one. I need a low carb diet, any suggestions? I’d prefer to stay within your ‘5 star’ list.

    Also, are any raw foods/meats, organic?

  726. I just switched my dog to the raw diet. Does anyone have a recommendation on which meat recipes is best for the dog? I’ve been only buying beef so far since the concept of eating raw chicken still freaks me out a little. I would also like my dog to try bison, unfortunately, the store I buy it from don’t carry them.

    Also, I’ve been slightly overfeeding my dog (according to the feeding guide), but my dog always seems to be hungry after her meal and her stools are significantly less. My dog is 7 lbs with moderate energy level, is feeding her 5 pieces a day too much or too little?

  727. Adam Clive says:

    Het Sheila. Gordos advice is right on. Why you bothering with kible at all Sandy. Hang on, you got permission from the board? woops i dont think ur the same Sandy lmao. Stay with raw all the way Sandy. ur pugs will love you forevaaaaaaa! arghh i gotta go before my mrs blows her fuse.

  728. Sheila,

    I tried to give one of my fat fosters 3 bites of raw and he just threw it back up 10 minutes later. He had never had raw before.

    My personal pugs, did not have that reaction. I gave them a couple bites for a few days as a treat. Then started putting some raw in with their kibble. And now they can eat it plain or with kibble.

    Although after all this time, I’m not sure if I should be feeding raw according to body weight vs calorie count like I do the kibble. Their weights have been stable for the most part so I just keep doing what I’m doing.

  729. Gordon,
    Thanks as always, most helpful. SZ

  730. A slow transition of about a week is always the best course of weening action. However, when it comes to raw, it is probably the safest of all food types to give it outright with out weening. Usually, the worst thing that can happen is an upset stomach for no more than 24 to 48 hours.

    Hope this helps.

  731. Hi all,
    I have commented a few time, especially on the HK review area, and presently my Norwich is eating a rotation of Honest Kitchen.( Doing well so far).( She is finally a good weight), lost most of it on Acana L&F over several months. I want to add some raw to this and am unsure if I should just give it to her “cold Turkey”, so to speak or just add a little bit at a time to the HK. I was planning to use Natures Variety as it is complete.I cannot get some of the others as I live on the Westcoast in Canada and their not available. We do have a local place that does a whole gammit of varied meat and veggies (not complete) with supplements.
    Or is it best to do the HK several days a week and then raw a few days in between. She also gets yogurt, some other fruit when I am eating bananas, apple, she loves Mango and some cooked veggies a couple of times a week. I usually give her a few kibbles of Amicus (5 or 6) before bed. Ony GI upsets she had were awile back when I tried to introduce Acana red meat kibble, she vomited bile two mornings in a row, probably too much acidic meat. Since then (I did not give it any more), all is okay. She is okay with Acana chicken and Lamb & Apple.
    Suggestions anyone? Or is slow transition as I have previously done the best way.
    Thanks SZ

  732. When I first started raw food, I would share one 8 oz patty between the 4 of my dogs as a treat for a while. Then I would share a raw patty between the 4 of them with their kibble for a while. No GI upsets with that. Now they eat maybe every 3rd meal as raw, with or without some kibble without issue. I use 2 or 3 different flavors of raw at the same time. Now, when I feed raw, they split 2 patties of different flavors.

  733. Thank you Shameless! Excellent information. I would like to eventually feed my dog 50% raw, 50% Kibble. I plan to proceed slowly. I like your idea of generally feeding raw and Kibble separately. Thanks again!

  734. ShamelessRawFoodie says:

    Hi Jami – The RAW diet doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I feed mostly raw, some kibble. I usually feed raw separate from kibble, but sometimes I mix them. My philosophy is this – Nutrition Isn’t Rocket Science.

    I don’t know of any ‘rule’ regarding mixing raw/kibble vs. feeding them at separate meals. I have read that the pH level in the dog’s digestive tract changes depending on the type of food ingested. Here is some information from 2 different raw food websites, and then you can decide:

    K9 Natural –
    Is it safe to feed my dog some K9 Natural and some kibble? At K9 we say you must feed either one or the other do not mix, your dogs stomach naturally has an acidity level of PH1, so highly acidic, if you feed cooked kibble you reduce this level to PH 4 or 5 this means your dog will struggle to digest raw food and raw meaty bones…hence if you feed bones to a dog on a kibble diet they get the runs…..they do not get the runs with a raw bone if they are eating a raw diet a sure sign the 2 do not mix.

    BARF –

    There are three basic ways to go about the slow switch.

    1) You can offer one meal of the BARF DIET™ followed by one meal of the old food, and gradually feed fewer meals of the old type. If your pet accepts this method with no problems it is a fair indication that he has a very robust digestive system and would have handled the rapid switch extremely well.

    2) The second way to go about it is to offer both types of food at the same time, and gradually offer less and less of the old food and more of the new food. E.g. some kibble and a chicken wing in the same bowl. Twenty five percent of the new food for a few days, fifty percent for a few days, seventy five percent for a few days then one hundred percent. On the other hand, some pets may develop gastrointestinal upset as they cannot tolerate these two vastly different types of food in their digestive system at the same time.

    3) Those pet owners who have always fed a home made but cooked diet may decide to introduce the new food in a cooked state, and gradually feed it in a more raw state. Dog owners whose dog is suffering from some an immune deficient state can cook the BARF DIET™. Cooking is not recommended for normal, healthy dogs.

  735. Thanks, Mike! I’ll stay tuned for raw feeding tips from other readers.

  736. Hi Jami… I have also heard this same advice for years. But I can’t seem to find any scientific studies that can verify this raw feeding “rule”. Maybe one of our other raw feeders can provide the studies to support this suggestion.

  737. I want to introduce raw food as part of my dog’s Kibble/canned topper diet. I understand from the EVO thread that kibble and raw should not be mixed. Is the raw diet all or nothing? What are the raw diet “rules”? Please advise!

  738. Thanks Mike,

    I went to their websites and did the dry matter calculations on ALL the formulas so I know which ones I’ll be using now!

  739. Hi Sandy… Unfortunately, many raw foods can be notably higher in fats than kibbles or even canned products. I can’t tell you what might be the “healthiest” fat level for a raw food. But I can tell you the average (dry matter) fat for all raw products in our database is currently 26.93%. Hope this helps.

  740. Mike,
    What is a good fat level for raw foods? I’m used to feeding my dogs kibble with 10-18% fat. Then I also feed NV raw beef and Primal Duck and just noticed the high fat levels. And then I bought some Stella & Chewys duck duck goose which is even higher in fat!

  741. Hi Audi… Since most manufacturers do not provide any carb information on their labels, every review on my website has a link to the page that explains how we calculate the carbohydrate content of a dog food. These numbers are only estimates based upon the Guaranteed Analysis provided by the company according to government requirements. Since in this case, the carb content is reported by the company as 2.05% (actual) for the chicken recipe, you should use that figure rather than ours.

    By the way, Guaranteed Analysis includes the amount the company is willing to “guarantee” is in the product. In many cases, like this example, the numbers reported by the company are notably conservative. If the company significantly under reports the actual amount of protein and fat in a product (as I believe NV has done here), our carb figures will compensate and be significantly higher. Hope this helps.

  742. When you calculate dry matter basis how do you read a label like the Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Food?
    On their website they actually list carbs as 2.05% (chicken), but you have the carb content as 26%.
    How did you calculate 26%?
    Also, when vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are listed is this already included in the overall protein/fat percentage?

  743. Phil Martin says:

    Hi! I’m planning on feeding my puppy Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw when I get him in a little over a couple weeks. He’s a pure bred Ibizan hound. My breeder fully supports the raw diet (i.e. supermarket meats with additional nutrition, eggs, salmon oil, etc.) I’m kind of going between whether I want to go fully raw head on or do as the company recommends, doing a rotational diet between raw/kibble/wet. Does anyone have any insight to offer in light of this? Also, are there any folks out there who have fed this product for more than 10 years with GOOD and POSITIVE results? I have read the couple of unfortunate cases on this thread with people linking Nature’s Variety raw with early deaths in their dogs, and am just slightly concerned regarding this. Also, does anyone have experience using RMBs as a dental supplement to this as well? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading!

  744. Hi Kim… Any dog actually diagnosed with kidney failure may need to avoid a high protein diet. Unfortunately, since I’m not a veterinarian, it would be inappropriate for me to provide specific health advice or product recommendations. Please check with a licensed vet before changing your dog’s diet. Wish I could be more help.

  745. I am looking for a raw meat dog foot that will help a dog with kidney failure. I have tried nutrisca (not raw); and now am feeding her nature’s variety raw organic chicken. She loves it and I am so glad libby is happy. I want something to help her kidney’s survive a long while longer.

  746. Hi Peggy… I’ve seen similar warnings against mixing raw and kibble. But I’ve never been able to find a scientific study published in a peer-reviewed professional journal to prove this claim. It seems to me that any time you add real food to an otherwise lifeless kibble, you’re certainly improving its nutritional value.

  747. Hi Mike. I’m currently feeding my 14mo. old Amer. Bulldog mix BB Wilderness Salmon and my 5mo. old Min. Schnauzer BB Small Breed Chicken/Oatmeal. Having spent the last 6mos battling Demodex with my AB, adding raw to her diet on a more permanent basis, seems like a great way to boost her immune system -vs- adding a bunch of different supplements. I am thinking of feeding my schnauzer ONLY raw but it’s cost prohibitive to do the same with my AB. I read that if feeding raw, kibble shouldn’t be fed within 12 hours of the raw. If I can mix kibble & canned at the same meal, why not the same with raw patties?

  748. ShamelessRawFoodie says:

    Rose – It’s refreshing to hear from another person on this website that promotes voting with your wallet. It’s revolting that something as simple as REAL FOOD has become such a complex topic with Rocket Science status. And that the average consumer keeps relying on a chemical Rx from the medical experts, which often only masks symptoms or alleviates pain.
    I view nutritional excellence as the single most important issue that we consumers have the most control of. While the organic and whole foods industry has continued to grow steadily, it’s unfortunate that many people don’t value REAL FOOD until they, or their pet, has suffered ill health.
    It’s also sad that instinct and common sense have taken a back seat to quick and convenient. People will sit for hours daily at their computer, tv, phone or other personal gadget, and spend valuable time and money on tattoos and manicures, big etc., but won’t manage some of their time and money to purchase nutrient dense whole foods and spend quality family time in their kitchen.

  749. Hi! I have 2 chihuahuas (brothers). I have raised my pups form 8 weeks old. They grew a lot, and when they stopped growing up they kept growing fat. I brought them to the vet regularly and she herself had a chihuahua about 3 or weeks older than mine. She would always joke about how fat they were. Everybody harassed me for feeding them too much. I did not think I was. She never broached the subject of an illness causing my pups to be so fat.
    I put them on a homemade diet for a few weeks until they developed bad diarrhea. I took them to a new vet who tested them for hypothyroid and guess what, they had it!
    My new vet suggested a raw food diet. It grossed me out so I did not do it. Finally i did start giving them NV raw food mixed with a sprinkle of Fromm Dried food (for their teeth). They are like new puppies again. I strongly suggest this food for dogs. I think one of my chihuahuas has food allergies, because before I started this diet he had tear stains and would get cherry eye. He also smelled a little stinky (like yeast). I do also give him a teaspoon of yogurt about 1 time a week. Now no more smell, tear stains or cherry eye. I find it weird that they actually do surgery on cherry eye. I agree that a lot of vets don’t do much research about dog food, just like human doctors don’t care much about human diet and prevention. They were trained for medicine, not nutrition, you have to really dig around for a progressive vet to find on that keeps up with nutrition/preventative health. I love my new vet & hope others find one as great and caring as mine!
    Corporations will continue to lie to us consumers until we stand up for ourselves by not buying their substandard products. Money is power, use your cash to drive these crappy companies out of business! An example “High fructose corn syrup” need I say more?

  750. Rebecca Lofton says:

    Thanks so much for all the great information… This has certainly opened up a whole new world for us when selecting the types of food we feed our miniature dachshund and german shorthaired pointer. This whole time, we thought we were feeding them “good” food; it’s frustrating and almost embarassing to realize that we weren’t. Thanks again.

  751. Hi Cindy… Please see our FAQ page and look for the topic, “How We Rate Dog Food”. Also, you may wish to check out my article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews“. Hope this helps.

  752. Hi Mike,
    Great website! Can you clarify how the reviews are created? Are you the sole reviewer based on personal research, or are others involved in developing the content? What resources do you primarily rely upon?
    Thanks for the additional information and for providing such a great site for dog lovers to make good food choices for their pets!

  753. Hi,
    I recently wrote you about quality concerns. I wrote the company about the big bones. I received a terse e-mail. They claimed they fixed the problem 3 months ago. I checked with the store owner with whom I do business. She checked with the company about when the batch was made before I bought it. Once again I found large bones. This batch was made after they said they fixed the screens. Anyone buying this product should use a spoon or fork and check for bones, before feeding their dogs

  754. RJF – REAL FOOD is best. You might find a vet who shares your philosophy and supports the idea of REAL FOOD for dogs. Novel idea, huh? REAL FOOD! Eating isn’t rocket science, but the food industry and government has successfully manipulated the masses into believing that basic nutrition is a complex formula. Nature IS best. Hurraw for RAW!

  755. RFJ,
    I understand your confusion and appreicate your desire to do what’s right for your dogs nutritional needs and yet still follow the advice of your local vet. However, please understand that vets are business people and they often have very limited and norrow training regarding many of the various pet food brands being introduced to the market. Unfortunately an overwhelming percentage of vets simply follow what two or three of the largest kibble (prescription) companies tell them. These companies (like Science Diet, Iams, etc) have done a great over the decades learning to speak the “vet language” and have very convincing scientific ways to getting the vets support. Only a small but growing number of vets actually go out of their way to continue their own education about nutrition.
    In my experience and opinion, you should make the switch to a raw diet for your puppies sooner than later. A true raw diet will not harm your puppies. A raw diet is based on the natural food sources that would be available in the wild if your dog had a choice and access to what they would eat on their own. While past manufacturing practices and safe handling issues may have cause alarm for some vets this is a very rare occurrence and certainly not a real issue any more than the problems caused my manufactured kibble foods. The simple truth is that you don’t need a vet or even this great blog to tell you what you already know……ask yourself; “if you put a bowl of raw steak, bowl of fresh veg, bowl of brown rice, bowl or corn and a bowl of wheat in front of your dog (or any dog), what would they choose? Why?”
    Dogs are opportunistic carnivores, they are designed by nature to eat meat, blood, bone, organs, tripe, etc.
    Nature doesn’t get it wrong. Trust your dog (and puppies). Check out for more info.
    All the best!

  756. Hi Mike,

    I have a 5 year old creme/fawn female French Bulldog that has been eating Natures Variety Raw frozen diet since she was a puppy. I dont feed her anything else but that and she really looks amazing. Her coat, and skin look incredible.

    I recently purchased a blue brindle male. Unfortunately all 4 puppies in the litter were exposed to parvo after their first visit to the vet (this was disclosed to me by the breeder, and I decided to purchase him anyway once he had recovered).

    The breeder was feeding him nutrisource puppy formula kibble and sent me some with the puppy. I noticed that, when he ate, he would take a few bites, throw up, and then eat it again (he kept it down the second time). While reading up on puppies with parvo I saw some literature which advised against kibble because it was abrasive and would irritate the digestive system (which was still raw and healing from the parvo exposure).

    I gave the puppy one of the Natures Logic Raw pellets that I had for my other dog, he loved it, and didn’t get sick. I’m a huge fan of their Raw frozen, and would have given it 5 stars as well.

    My vet however, thought it was a terrible idea and advised against it. He said even in healthy dogs, the RAW diet is unsafe and talked about salmonella. I reminded him that many dog food recalls from kibble and canned food were salmonella related too and as far as I knew Natures Variety only had 1 recall and it was from the chicken variety, and that the company called all of their retailers and had them pull it off the shelf and even had the recall info on the front page of their website.

    My vet wasn’t impressed with any of this and disagreed with what I read about kibble irritating a parvo puppy. He agreed that a soft food would be fine but felt I should have kibble available as well.

    The next thing that happened was pretty shocking. He said he had a “prescription canned food” and I purchased a case from him along with some probiotics. When I got home to see what he sold me, it was Eukanuba Entree with Fresh Chicken & Rice (which scored a 2 on your site). Didn’t realize I needed a “prescription” to buy that 🙂

    So now I don’t know what to do. I really dont want to feed my puppy this stuff that the vet sold me after reading your review, but I’m not sure if I should be worried about RAW for the new puppy at least until he gets through all his shots and has built up a strong immunity.

    Maybe I should try one of your 5 star canned foods??? No matter what, this puppy will be going RAW eventually, just not sure when…

  757. Is anyone’s dog experiencing problems eating any of the Nature’s Variety frozen beef or chicken medallions? My pet has recently been having gastric issues after using this product for almost 10 years with great results. I know that the company had a recall of some of its products last year and I’m wondering if they have reformulated it in some way.

  758. Hi Carol… I try to update each food (when I have time- ha!) about once or twice each year. And especially when a reader reports a recipe change or a new product in the line. If you look at the bottom of each review, you can find the history of my rechecks and updates.

  759. My dogs loved this for 5 years, but I feel I must now switch food. I am finding large chucks of bone. I had been buying the chubs. Sometimes the bones were in the Lamb, than they were in the Chicken. I have tried leaving e-mails with the company but they are not responding. Is any one else having this happen? Also I feel their fat content has increased. I would love for you to do a check of this and see what you find. Your findings seem to be based on findings of a year or more ago.

  760. Craig mentions The Honest Kitchen…great great food, also Dr. Harveys. I want to add some frozen raw and am researching it. If I understand correctly from reading on another site frozen raw is not supposed to be fed as a stand alone diet. Tho I see here it says approved by AAFCO as complete and balanced. I was going to order some Natures Variety until I came across a recall in 2010…..does anyone know about this and if they have improved?

  761. Hi Monty… Thanks for sharing your thoughtful website. I found it very interesting. And I especially respect the way you defended your feeding philosophy with your vet. There’s a place for nearly every type of dog food. But I continue to be amazed at just how much passionate support there is for (what I like to think of as) our nutritionist-engineered, factory-assembled, food-like pellets we affectionately know as kibble. Even the best kibble is simply no substitute for real food. 🙂

  762. i argued with my vet because she was telling me about how harmful bacteria can be. but i told her that dogs have a lot of stomach acids that kills e-coli and salmonella and they have a shorter digestive tract to pass things quickly. i told her that i respect her profession and she’s most likely an expert in taking care of an animal with medication and fixing them if they have cuts or anything, but she is NOT an expert in dog nutrition.

    it explains the benefits of feeding raw meat/bones to a dog, the vitamins and nutrients you get from various animals and organs they can eat, and also different supplements you can give them.

  763. Random Thoughts says:

    I was reading this and thought I’d pass along a bit of information that might be useful.

    It is my personal belief that some cancers happen because of a deficiency of vitamin B-17. It might not have been that the raw food diet was “bad”, just that it was lacking in this one nutrient. Here is a link to a site in the UK that talks about it:
    They even refer to one dog food manufacturer that makes sure to have this vitamin in their food, in the UK.

    More sites can be found if you put “dog eating grass b17” into your favorite search engines. I actually give my dog a crushed apricot pit every day with his treat, or a couple of crushed apple seeds (both rich in B17).

    I know some people will disagree with me, but that is okay. Oh, I also think that B17 is good for humans, for the same reasons…

    Have a great day… RT

  764. Cathy Schneir says:

    My Cairn Terrier, now eleven, has been sick since he was a puppy. He had allergies, seizures, was hypo-throid and he had period bouts of pancreatitis. Five years ago, we started feediing Nature’s Variety chicken, and he hasn’t had pancreatitis since. His coat is shiny, his energy level is better now than when he was a puppy and he doesn’t scratch. I admit, I don’t like handling the raw food, but I do it anyway because it has been such a great help for our dog. Highly recommend.

  765. Hi Jen… I know things like this can be frustrating. However, since each dog responds to a particular food in its own unique way, it would be impossible for me to assure you feeding any specific product would acceptable to your dog. Unfortunately, choosing the right dog food still involves some trial and error. Wish I could be more help.

  766. Due to my pets food allergies (chicken and grains) my vet recommended a raw diet, and Natures Variety was one on the list. I decided to try it and bought the Bison medallions. My dog is only 8 months old and in that time I have never seen her be a picky eater. She will eat anything, even the stuff that makes her sick, but for whatever reason she refuses to eat this food. I am wondering if you have any advice. If she will not eat this will she likely refuse another protein. I was thinking to try the beef since its a protein she is used to eating though it is cooked. But I don’t want to spend the money if she refuses to eat it too. Have you heard of dogs refusing to eat say Bison but they don’t mind a different protein from the same food line?

  767. Patricia Schaefer says:

    Thank you for being such a big help to all the dog owners who care about their dogs getting the best nutrition. Healthy owners and healthy dogs Thanks

  768. I fed Nature’s Variety Raw as the primary diet for my dog. My thought was similar to the other reviewer that she would live a long life. Unfortunately she got very bad cancer last year at about 9 years old and passed away. I now won’t fed it at all as I have lost complete faith in it. I mostly feed Nature’s Logic Raw. Sometimes the other raw foods but never ever again Nature’s Variety. I want my dogs to have the best health and supplement with veggies, whole meats, sweet potatoes etc. off a list that my vet gave me for home made diets. I’ve got my finger’s crossed for my current dogs.

  769. Craig Dembek says:

    Thanks so much for the quick response! For anyone interested, I contacted Nature’s Variety and they stated that all products used in their frozen raw diets are human grade. However, after being processed through their factory they are considered pet grade even though their facilities are run by FDA standards. That answer was sufficient for me because I know it’s difficult for most manufacturer’s to get that human grade stamp on their outgoing products; a notable exception being The Honest Kitchen’s products.

  770. Mari Bailey says:

    Although Nature’s Variety raw frozen diets had come highly recommended to me, my young Australian Cattle Dog male had diarrhea from the very onset of gradual feeding of the NV. When I later tried to “use the rest of the patties up” by feeding them at the rate of 1 per day early in the day (then the dog’s regular meal late in the day), the result on the above dog’s sire was very surprising, to say the least. At age 10 1/2+, this dog mutilated a terrible hot spot on the outside of a rear leg – the first time he had EVER done anything even REMOTELY like that! I stopped feeding the NV to both dogs – natch. And I still have about 8 patties in the freezer because I am afraid to feed them to anything, even the wandering ‘varmints’/ wildlife out here in the country, lest they become ill too!

  771. Hi Craig… Not sure about whether or not NV’s raw ingredients are human grade. You may want to check their website or contact the company’s customer service department. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  772. Craig Dembek says:

    Dr. Sagman,

    I was wondering if you or anyone else knew if the ingredients used in Nature’s Variety Raw Organic Chicken Formula are human grade. I know that Nature’s Variety tells you that their finish product is indeed not human grade because the whole factory is a pet food manufacturer, which is unfortunate. However, just because the finished product can’t be considered human grade after processing doesn’t mean ingredients can’t start out as human grade. Any information in regards to this would be greatly appreciated!



  773. I have just recently started adding NV raw to our dogs diets and they love it. The only reason I decided to try this raw product is because they now use a process called high pressure pasteurization. I have always been fearful of the bacteria in raw and this process kills all the bacteria and leaves the product nutritionally in tact. Quote from NV – “Essentially, this technology “puts the squeeze” on food pathogens without cooking out vital nutrients or changing the fresh characteristics of food. During High Pressure Pasteurization, pressure is uniformly applied around and throughout the food product. High Pressure Pasteurization can be conducted at refrigerated temperatures, which means the temperature starts low and stays low – High Pressure Pasteurization does not cause the heat degradation that happens during cooking. Because of this, High Pressure Pasteurization is known for being especially beneficial for heat-sensitive products, like meats, fruits, and vegetables.”

    You can read more on their site.. but I am pretty happy with it.


  774. Hi Vicki… Your dogs are lucky to have you. Unfortunately, we do not keep this information in our database (for the same reason you’re finding it difficult yourself). Many of the companies do not post this information, so it would require making hundreds of phone calls. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  775. Vicki Armstrong says:

    I have been feeding part raw foods to my dogs for several years now, in hopes of having healthier dogs. Since I like natural things for them, they have bones to chew on, ect. I’m wondering on how to find out what the copper content on foods are without having to call each company and asking what part per million they are at for their food. I bred into a line which I didn’t know are carriers for copper toxosis, and have lost one of that litter at 11 months 22 days. There are 4 more in that litter that I have to be very careful of as I know they also have this. So I have to keep their food less than 9% parts per million. Most dog food company’s I’ve talked with they ADD more copper into the food, some get as high as 49%!! Since meat proteins have natural copper in it, when I’m feeding raw I’m never sure how much or what part of the meat is safe to have my dogs eat. Any help in this department would be wonderful. This litter is now 5 years old, with 2 of them passed on, and 1 who struggles.
    Thanks for any and all help!

  776. Hi Peggy… Thanks for your interesting and in-depth history regarding your dogs and for sharing your personal feeding regimen. I agree with your thoughts and your line of reasoning regarding natural feeding. And I truly wish there was some way to explain why your dogs suffered such uncommon deaths.

    Many of the better raw food manufacturers appear to supply species (canine) specific products. One of the better documents confirming the approach you appear to be after is covered in a well-written white paper entitled “The Biologically Appropriate Food Concept and the Dietary Needs of Dogs and Cats“. This article is published by Champion Petfoods… the makers of Orijen and Acana dog foods. I believe you’ll find this white paper very reassuring regarding these types of foods.

    Even though the company produces dry kibbles (the furthest thing in the world from raw food), their presentation is excellent. Hope you find this interesting.

  777. Peggy Flint says:

    I used Nature’s Variety for a period of over 6 years. I had, at the time, 8 shih-tzus, some of whom were rescues that we kept because we couldn’t find homes that would agree to feed raw. I had been preparing my own food for a year or so prior to switching to Nature’s Variey (mostly venison), but as my dog family grew, it became too time consuming. I thought that the expensive cost was well worth it as I believed that my dogs would live to a ripe old age on a proper diet. In the last two years, I lost three of my babies. Buddy, at age 9 died of a nasal tumor, Maypo, age 10, died of “old dog vestibular syndrome” (and impaction!), and Honey, age 11, died of cushings disease. This is far too young for this breed. I do not believe in overvaccination, other than the required puppy shots and dreaded rabies vaccine. I use all natural products on them and in cleaning my environment. I don’t use any flea medications or give commercial treats. My dogs should be the picture of good health. I believe we are what we eat (or don’t eat) and obviously, something was missing (or added) to this food that did not foster longevity. I do believe that feeding raw is the way to go. I would love to find a company who uses free range meats, no grains and (fermented) organic vegetables as I believe that these are foods that dogs can digest well. Also, I believe that most dogs suffer from yeast overgrowth from many years of too many carbs/grains. The sugar in fruits contributes to this condition. Please let me know if there are any companies who make a species appropriate diet. In the meantime, I’ll have to continue to prepare my own. Thank you so much. It’s great to have such a valuable resource.

  778. Hi Libby… There are many dog foods that don’t contain chicken. Look through our 3, 4 and 5-star foods and choose a few links. When you read each review, I list the products in each line near to top. To start your search, look for foods that do not mention chicken in their names. Hope this helps.

  779. I am looking for a food without chicken of any sorts as my lab is allergic….any suggestions?

  780. Michelle Danna-Christian, DVM says:

    Well, it is so good to see some informative and complete information about commercial diets that are unbias and from someone other than a dog food company representative. I have been trying to convince my employers to recommend feeding grain-free and raw diets to our clients for many months now. They asked me to review your website and I can say, which isn’t very often, that I am impressed with your research and knowledge of all the foods available out there. Great job! I think your website just may change the minds of my employers, so we may really start offering some of these diets in our practice. Thank you for providing this website, I will definately be referring my clients to overview all your information and to rank thier current diet on your lists. Maybe this will just be enough to push my clients to feeding the appropriate diets, since they don’t always listen to thier veterinarian, until they see it written by someone on the Internet!! 🙂 Thank you!
    Michelle Danna-Christian, DVM

  781. Hi Michele… Nature’s Variety makes two different raw diets. Freeze Dried Raw is not a complete and balanced dog food The product is designed for supplemental or intermittent feeding only. However, the Raw Frozen Diets are complete and balanced “for all life stages” which means they can be used for all dogs (even puppies) right out of the package. Hope this helps.

  782. Hi again,

    I am buying a Yorkie puppy in the next week or so. Can you recommend a food to add to the Natures Variety Raw food to supplement and create a more appropriate-complete puppy food. The owner is currently feeding the puppies Eukanuba-saw you gave this a low score.

  783. I love this website-so very helpful and informative!
    My Yorkie-Maltese began her life w/compromised health.
    She was diagnosed with Demodex Mites (mange mites) soon after I bought her. The breeders and her parents were not the best. It took us 15 months for her to begin the road to health with lots of treatments that compromised her already fragile immune system. When she was 14 months old she almost died from an Addisonian episode-but fortunately she was diagnosed pretty quickly and treatment worked almost immediately. It has been an emotional and financially expensive journey, but because of her Raw food diet she is better than ever. The vet is amazed that this is the same dog I brought in (almost dead, with patches of missing hair, and open and infected sores) about 18 months ago. I am a big advocate for a Raw food diet and can only imagine what it can do for an already healthy dog. We use the Venison and Beef by Natures Variety. I also use Healthy Kitchen once in awhile-especially when traveling-for convenience. We don’t use chicken-because our holistic vet recommended we don’t because of her past skin and inflammation issues-it’s a yin-yang thing. Anyway, I wish I could find Turkey Raw food-she is allowed this. I might try the Bison-I don’t recall seeing this choice though.
    Thank you for this web site.

  784. Hi Judie… As we understand this Raw Frozen Diets product line, the foods appear to be available in either chubs, patties or medallions. However, we have no idea what part of the animal they use to make the products themselves. Since we only review dog foods (and don’t sell them), your questions would probably be best answered by going to the Nature’s Variety website or calling the company’s customer service department. Hope this helps.

  785. Judie Cosmo says:

    I would like more information on nature variety raw chicken patties. What part of the chicken is used in the product? Also is there a raw turkey patty product for dogs?
    Thank you for more info. Judie Cosmo

  786. erin arvin says:

    i love useing the frozen as treats but i do stay away from the rabbit since they told me that their rabbit comes from china.