Steve’s Real Food freeze-dried raw dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Steve’s Real Food freeze-dried raw product line includes 6 dry 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.
- Steve’s Real Food Beef Diet [A]
- Steve’s Real Food Lamu Diet [A]
- Steve’s Real Food Turkey Diet [A]
- Steve’s Real Food Chicken Diet [A]
- Steve’s Real Food Turducken Diet [A]
- Steve’s Real Food Pork Diet (4.5 stars) [A]
Steve’s Real Food Pork Diet was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Steve's Real Food Pork Diet
Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Pork, pork liver, pork heart, ground pork bone, broccoli, carrots, apples, romaine lettuce, raw goat milk, flaxseed, kelp, salmon oil, taurine, inulin, organic coconut oil, chia seeds, sesame seeds, mixed tocopherols, dicalcium phosphate, eggshell membrane
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||53%||39%||-0%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||36%||64%||-0%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is pork. Pork can be defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered pork” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Pork is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is pork liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The third ingredient is pork heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.
The fourth ingredient is ground pork bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.
The fifth ingredient includes broccoli. Broccoli is a healthy green vegetable and a member of the kale family. It’s notably rich in vitamin C and fiber and numerous other nutrients.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is believed to provide anti-cancer benefits.
The sixth ingredient lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
The eighth ingredient is lettuce. This green leafy vegetable is naturally rich in vitamins and minerals. In fact, lettuce boasts an exceptionally high nutrient Completeness Score2 of 88.
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 six notable exceptions…
First, 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.
Next, we find coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.3
Because of its proven safety4 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.
In addition, we note the inclusion of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.
Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.
Next, inulin is 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.
We also find chia seed in this recipe. Chia is an edible seed nutritionally similar to flax or sesame. Provided they’re first ground into a meal, chia seeds are rich in both omega-3 fatty acids as well as dietary fiber.
However, chia seeds contain about 17% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
And lastly, we find no added vitamins or minerals on the ingredients list. However, we’re reassured to find a detailed list of naturally present nutrients on the company’s website.
Steve’s Real Food Freeze-Dried Diet
Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Steve’s Real Food freeze-dried 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 54% and a mean fat level of 36%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 3% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and chia seed, this looks like the profile of a raw product containing an abundance of meat.
However, with 64% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 36% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
Steve’s Real Food is a grain-free freeze-dried raw dog food using an abundance of named meats as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
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.
Steve’s Real Food Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Steve’s Real Food. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Steve’s Real Food Recalls Dog and Cat Foods (9/9/2018)
- Steve’s Real Food Recalls Raw Frozen Dog Food (3/3/2018)
- Warning Issued for Bravo! and Steve’s Real Raw Pet Foods (3/13/2013)
- Steve’s Real Food Recalled Due to Salmonella (3/8/2013)
A Final Word
The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.
However, we do receive a referral fee from online retailers (like Chewy or Amazon) when readers click over to their website from ours. This policy helps support the operation of our blog and keeps access to all our content free to the public.
For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.
Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor from the official definition of meat by the Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Completeness Score is a measure of a food’s relative nutrient content and is computed by NutritionData.com from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference ↩
- Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754 ↩
- Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9. ↩
07/28/2019 Last Update