Northwest Naturals (Raw Frozen)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Northwest Naturals raw frozen dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Northwest Naturals product line includes 7 frozen dog foods.

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.

The products are available as either Chubs, Dinner Bars and/or Nuggets.

  • Northwest Naturals Turkey [A]
  • Northwest Naturals Chicken [A]
  • Northwest Naturals Lamb (4 stars) [A]
  • Northwest Naturals Beef (3.5 stars) [A]
  • Northwest Naturals Chicken and Salmon [A]
  • Northwest Naturals Whitefish and Salmon [A]
  • Northwest Naturals Bison and Beef (4 stars) [A]

Northwest Naturals Chicken Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Northwest Naturals Chicken Formula

Raw Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 43% | Fat = 36% | Carbs = 13%

Ingredients: Chicken, ground chicken bone, chicken liver, chicken gizzard, cantaloupe, carrots, broccoli, romaine lettuce, egg, ground flaxseed, fish oil, apple cider vinegar, blueberry, cranberry, inulin, dried kelp, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, ginger, parsley, garlic, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, mixed tocopherols (as preservative), vitamin D supplement

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.1%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis12%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis43%36%13%
Calorie Weighted Basis30%61%9%
Protein = 30% | Fat = 61% | Carbs = 9%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

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

The second ingredient is ground chicken bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.

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

The fourth ingredient is chicken gizzard. The gizzard is a low-fat, meaty organ found in the digestive tract of birds and assists in grinding up a consumed food. This item is considered a canine dietary delicacy.

Next is a series of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables

  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Romaine lettuce

The ninth ingredient includes whole eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The tenth ingredient is flaxseed, 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.

The next ingredient is fish oil. Fish 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, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With three notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

Next, garlic can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.2

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

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.

Northwest Naturals
Raw Frozen Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Northwest Naturals Dog Food looks like an above-average raw product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 50%, a fat level of 29% and estimated carbohydrates of about 13%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 50% and a mean fat level of 31%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 12% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 62%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a raw product containing a significant amount of meat.

However, with 61% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 30% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.

Bottom line?

Northwest Naturals is a meat-based raw dog food using a generous amount of named meats and organs as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

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

Northwest Naturals 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.

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A Final Word

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

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes and Updates

08/04/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)
  • Steve O

    I switched to Northwest Naturals 3 months ago for my 8 adult and senior papillons . I use the nuggets and rotateforvariety ofsour es for bo e and organ meats. Iparticularly like theirresponse to Beef and Bison, Chicken and Salmon, and Whitefish and Salmon. Becausethe dogs are small with smalldigestive systems, I like to either thW o er ight in the fridge or covered on the counter for an hour. Absokutely no stool issues.

  • Liv

    One of the things that’s nice about NWN is the 25lb boxes because its less costly. I find it quite readily available throughout CA. Some stores will special order it for you. I would also check the NWN websites to find a store in your area that may carry the bigger boxes. Good luck!

  • Jed Mathison

    I just added a review above you may find helpful. We use the beef version. I think the issue you are running in to may be related to the food not thawing enough. They say 10-20 minutes but it is not enough. We started putting the next meal in a tupperware in the fridge a few hours before. That solved the watery issue. Poops are kind of hard still, but not bad. Also, I live in Seattle too!

  • Jed Mathison

    Our Golden Retriever puppy Maui had Giardia when we got him from our breeder ๐Ÿ™ and was eating Purina Puppy Chow. Needless to say, poop was not fun. it took a few rounds of antiparasite meds to get the Giardia gone for good, so his stomach was not in good shape even after it was gone. He didnt really tolerate anything besides Chicken and rice or prescription GI food. Once we had the Giardia treated, the quest for the right dog food started. We tried 4 different mid-high end foods (both wet and dry) and Maui didnt really eat any of them with enthusiam and had the runs occasionally with all of them (we phased food and gave 30 days) before landing on NW Naturals. NW Naturals, Raw completely cured the runs. Maui has more energy, seems much happier, and his poops are perfect now! He also crushes every bite of his food. The only drawback, you cannot get it direct from the company and it is only available in small portions from local stores. Not to mention it is very expensive. I’ll have a hard time leaving NW Naturals, its just a game changer for us and worth the money. I will say to the point below, we use the Beef version and the poops are pretty dry and hard. I noticed the water thing too, so we tried thawing the food longer (in the fridge) and it did the trick. We also use probiotics a few times a week to help with this. Since the water is gone, I dont mind the hard poops , he goes 2-3 times a day and is not constipated or gassy so I think its fine!

  • Steph Wong

    There are also ingredients like garlic which has been associated with health problems

  • msheff

    Thanks, I miss understood you. I’m checking them out.

  • InkedMarie

    The companies I mentioned all have grinds: meat/bone/organ/some have tripe. It’s what I use.

  • msheff

    This is true and we have a company like that out of north Texas that comes down this way once a month. The only problem then is that I need a meat grinder to grind it all together (bones and all) and I don’t have that kind of money right now.

  • InkedMarie

    You should look at buying grinds from places like Hare Today, Raw Feeding Miami, Reel Raw, My Pet Carnivore. They’ll be cheaper than what you’re currently using.

  • msheff

    I’m just trying NW Natural for the 1st time. I have been using Bravo for the past 6 yrs. Never had a problem except now with their beef. Too much bloody water, but their chicken is fine. They are cheaper than NW. Give the pumpkin a bit longer try. I use one soup spoon in every meal. I have a 15 yr old lab and a 7 yr old weim.

  • msheff

    Wish I lived that close. I buy 12 5-lb chubs a month for my lab and weim.

  • Crazy4cats

    ***GO HAWKS!***

  • Kathy Niskala

    I also rotate with Frozen raw Natures Variety..but NW is the most cost effective too..also I special order OC raw sometimes..I don’t care for some of the Primal,because of the high fat content it has…do try the digestive enzymes and probiotics too. Does help with GI health….

  • Jesse

    Thanks Kathy! What other brands do you use? I have access to almost all big (and local, smaller brands) but I found NWN to be cost effective and fuss-free, and my girl does well on it. I live in Seattle.

  • Kathy Niskala

    I also use NA Naturals raw..but only the chicken or Turkey..Beef is harder to digest and causes different stools with my boy too..but on the super soft side”…could be having harder stools on beef ,,because of the bone content..I rotate between the proteins and different brands..but avoid beef with my dogs issues…I do use probiotics and digestive enzymes also….

  • Jesse

    Hi everyone, my Charlie is a 1.5-year-old Field Golden. I switched her from Acana to NW Naturals Frozen Chicken about a month ago, and she has been doing so well on it.

    A week ago I started on the beef formula to switch things up a bit, and I noticed her stool is a lot drier sometimes almost rock solid. It is also sometimes accompanied by a little bit of mucous, which can be a normal occurrence. I started incorporating pumpkin but that doesn’t seem to do the trick.

    Does anyone have similar experience with the beef formula? Any suggestions and feedback would be greatly appreciated!

  • FakingShock

    Love this food and love that it’s local! Both of our dogs eat it along
    with Annamaet kibble. Best thing we ever did for our dogs. Made a huge
    improvement in our rescue and our pup has been raised on it since he
    was weaned. Easy to use, easy to store and I don’t worry about
    additives my dogs don’t need. We also buy the freeze dried and the treats. Makes it easy when we go camping with the dogs.

  • This article is due to be updated in February. The rating could change.

  • Kathy Niskala

    the meat content or protein to fat ratio….I also get very confused by this too…..that’s why I rotate between the different commercial raws….

  • Patrice Baker

    Why does the beef only have a rating of 4.5

  • John

    The bison I just bought said the source of the fish oil is wild Alaska caught salmon, herring and pollock.

  • Jarvis Sloghan

    They changed their formula to now include *fish oil instead of Salmon oil. Any unidentified fish oil should be avoided. There may be more changes as well.

  • karen

    I just switched my 50lb border collie/lab mix to NW naturals. Because she eats 2 pounds a day, I use the 2lb Chubs. I can just cut it in half, once it’s thawed and give her half in the morning and half at night. Did a cost analysis on this versus the Now! Senior dry dog food she was eating and the cost difference was minimal. To feed her the dry dog food it was $18.13 per week, and to feed NW Naturals it is $20.94 per week. Granted I live in Portland near where this is made, but it’s really easy to use the chubs if you have a medium-larger dog. The local raw food pet store gives a discount when you buy any combo of 10lbs or more of raw pet food, so that helps. But a little over $2.00 a week difference convinced me to switch! They also sell a 5lb chub and that’s even cheaper.

  • SP

    The one thing that really stops me from throwing my dog a chicken carcass is that I read where someone’s dog cracked a tooth on a whole bone.
    Since the dog can’t tell you he cracked a tooth, he suffered silently until it became infected.

  • SP

    Not sure if you aware that the Vitamin E / Mixed Tocopherols listed in the ingredients at the very top of this brand’s review is likely GMO
    From this website
    http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/database/e-numbers/203.vitamin_e.html
    “Vitamin E or tocopherol can be produced by chemical synthesis or extracted from maize, soy beans, cottonseeds, rice or wheat germ oil.

    …also mentioned in this website…
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/18/dangers-of-vitamins.aspx

  • Cav

    Buyer beware this website is highly manipulated. 1000s of people have been unfairly blocked and posts dissappeared that challenged his subversive agenda

  • Catchpen

    “We apologize if you feel that we did not provide
    adequate information regarding the use of GMOs in our products. Northwest
    Naturals does use GMO-free produce (Produce grown locally,using only Non GMO
    Seeds, starts or fields) and, as I explained during our phone call, we are in
    the process of confirming that the sources we use for our meats use GMO-free
    feed or are in the process of converting to all GMO-free feed. This is an issue
    that some companies are taking advantage of, stating that they are GMO Free
    when in truth with their ingredients they cannot be. There is no clear definition
    of โ€œWhat is GMO Freeโ€ Though you had asked for a letter from each of our
    sources confirming this information; this is not something that is provided at
    this time by these companies. However, please see below for information on each
    of farms where our proteins are sourced. Each of these farms has been contacted
    by us personally and the following information was provided:

    Draper (Chicken) โ€“-They raise organic chicken that is GMO
    Free. Some of their other chickens are finished on grains that are not GMO
    Free. They are working towards having all of their flocks fed GMO-free grain in
    the near future. We get a variety of Chicken from them, and while some is
    organic, I will not make any claims until I know it is 100%.

    Deistel Farms (Turkey) โ€“- They raise organic turkeys that
    are fed a specific GMO Free grain; others are fed a grains that are not GMO
    Free. They are a sustainable company working on becoming GMO-free with all of
    their flocks. Again, we source a variety of turkey from them–some of the
    turkey we receive is organic, but I will not make any claims until I know it is
    100%.

    Superior (Lamb) โ€“ They have farms in the US and New
    Zealand. US stock could be grain finished, New Zealand is all grass fed.

    Bartel (Beef) โ€“ The majority of our beef is grass-fed,
    free-range, and finished with grain. They are working on making sure their
    grain is GMO-free but cannot guarantee it yet. In the winter months, most
    livestock is brought into lots and fed both hay and grain.

    Trident (Fish) โ€“ All of the fish we receive from Trident
    is wild-caught in Alaska.

    North American Bison Co-Op (Bison) โ€“ All Bison is
    grass-fed and free-range, per the US standards for raising Bison.

    Our company is very aware of the importance of GMO-free
    products and we appreciate that the above companies are also aware and are
    working towards providing all GMO-free products. Although we do not include any
    GMOs in our formulas, to be truly GMO-free, the meats used in the food must
    also be fed a GMO-free diet(Organic Meats are suppose to be GMO Free but the
    rules are changing on that too.) It is for that reason that we do not yet make
    the claim to be 100% GMO-free.

    I apologize that you feel that I was short with you on
    the phone. That was certainly not my intent, and it is my goal to make sure you
    receive all of the correct information you need to make an informed decision.

    Thank you,

    Patti

  • Crazy4cats

    I have been feeding the NW Naturals beef nuggets to my dogs as a topper with their Victor Grain Free dry food. So far, really great results with this combination. The nuggets are so easy to count out and they thaw very quickly. I just put them in a little warm water first if I forget to take some out. The boys really don’t care if they are completely thawed anyway. Lol!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I wasn’t impressed with the customer service at Northwest Naturals either. I got a bad vibe – like they weren’t being very transparent with me. I asked for some information regarding a “rumored” relationship they had with another pet food company and was told the information was proprietary.

  • InkedMarie

    THK is a great product from a great company.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    NV Instinct only offers one organic formula – chicken. The rest are not organic.

  • Janette

    That’s because Instinct Raw is organic meaning the farm animals feed did not contain pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, or GMO’s. I would rather pay extra at the time of purchase for preventative measures rather than later at the vet.

  • Janette and Roger St Pierre

    I have been feeding my dogs Northwest Naturals frozen meats and vegie nugs for years however Patty was short tempered and vague when I called with questions regarding GMO’s so I will now switch to “The Honest Kitchen” where they label that their product is not genetically modified. Bye Northwest Naturals!

  • Steven Barton

    I think it would definitely be cost prohibitive for many people with large dogs. And in those cases, feeding the prey model raw diet might be cheeper because you can shop for deals on meat at local markets. With the Northwest Naturals you are partially paying for the convenience. Imagine throwing your dog a chicken carcass when you don’t have a backyard patch of lawn. Logistically, the NW Naturals is easier.

  • Tom Mefford

    I foster Beagles, My last one came to me not able to walk, was thought have have Bloat,cushings, all blood work came back as if this poor dog was dying, and really bad teeth. after 4 months on this food the vet said it could NOT have been the same dog she seen when we got him. His teeth cleaned up ( We feed raw chicken bone and all at night) and all his blood work came back as if he was a much younger dog than he truly is. I credit this food for all this. My pack LOVES this stuff and I am soooo happy I found it as this will help my loved ones do more than survive, they will THRIVE!!!

  • Margaret Behr

    still not a deal. Local stores sell the bulk NWN chicken for 25# at 72.00.

  • Steven Barton

    What I like about this food is that it thaws very quickly in the dog bowls. (Actually, we serve it on plates that are used only once and then washed in the dishwasher with a sanitize cycle.) It is also very easy to count the small medallions so as to portion correctly for each dog. We have three Poms, each weighing around 8-9 pounds and our monthly expense for this product is about $100. (So if you have one 25 pound dog, you can plan on about that cost with this food.) We also discovered that the price can vary significantly from store to store, so shop around for the best price.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Yes, the protein level should be sufficient for cats and you can buy taurine supplements(my cats wouldn’t eat them). If they say the taurine level aren’t high enough, I would believe them, many raw foods do not contain enough taurine for cats.

  • Laney

    I asked the company if it would be appropriate to recommend the food to cats as well, since the nuggets are small enough. They said the protein and taurine levels did not meet the AAFCO standard. I knew that the Chicken and Chicken/Salmon formulas did not contain heart, but I figured that raw food has high protein sufficient for cats and dogs. Any thoughts?

  • Laney

    It’s so much cheaper than Instinct raw.

  • Trevor

    That’s great to hear. My wife particularly is wary of doing anything that could affect him now that we’re learning more about food. She’ll be happy to know others haven’t had any issue doing so.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Disqus ate my reply the first time, so here goes again. Many of us add raw to our kibble and our dogs do great.

  • Trevor

    I want to switch to this as a better quality food for my Chihuahua, who’s both diabetic and has allergies. We still have a fair amount of kibble after buying a big bag last time so want to be able to feed it alongside the raw. The one thing the boutique store nearby mentioned when we were checking out the raw was to not feed it at the same time as raw for digestion issues. Is it really an issue to do so even if we initially feed it in very small amounts just as a coating almost for the dry?

  • Karen Patterson

    cant afford it. Period. Wow. I don’t eat that well myself.

  • Laney

    NWN is way cheaper than Instinct Raw by the way. A 2.5# Instinct bag is about $21-22 but a 6# bag of nugget NWN raw is $20 for the non-rare meats.

  • Ntromler

    I feed this product exclusively to my 2 pugs. One of them has a high sensitivity to grain and this product has been the only successful option we have tried. Both were rescue pugs, fed the typical kibble diet prior to living with us. The difference in their health and appearance is remarkable! With 2 pugs eating approx. 8oz of food/day we spend about $25 per week on food and save hundreds on vet bills per year because of it. Definitely worth the cost!

  • Tktroma

    I have been feeding my two Boxers this food for over a year. They are doing very well with it. One of the Boxers has never done well with poultry, so I have had to stop using those bars, but they continue to do well on the beef, lamb and bison they are 60 lbs dogs and get 2 bars/day each. The fact that they are easy to defrost is a huge plus

  • monkey

    Anyone feeding this? I’m thinking about trying out the nuggets if the price is right.

  • InkedMarie

    I know someone who has been feeding this for quite awhile, to her french bulldog. He seems to be doing well on it.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’m still going to pass on that.ย  OK, it takes me a moment to do math in my head.ย  That’s actually pretty good with the free shipping!!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    lol no, $165 for a 6 lb. bag of each flavor – so 30 lbs.

  • Yow! $165 for six pounds!? I’ll definitely have to pass on this one.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    If anyone is interested in trying this food they sell a sampler on thedogmaonline.com with a 6 lb. bag of nuggets of the beef, chicken, lamb, bison and turkey variety for $164.95 with free shipping.

  • losul

    Ah, a new one to look into. Thnx Mike