Steve’s Real Food Dog Food Review (Freeze-Dried)

Steves Real Chicken Freeze Dried Dog Food

Review of Steve’s Real Food Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Rating:

Steve’s Real Food freeze-dried raw dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Steve’s Real Food product line includes the 6 freeze-dried dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product Rating AAFCO
Steve’s Real Food Beef Diet 5 A
Steve’s Real Food Lamu Diet 5 A
Steve’s Real Food Turkey Diet 5 A
Steve’s Real Food Chicken Diet 5 A
Steve’s Real Food Turducken Diet 5 A
Steve’s Real Food Pork Diet 4.5 A

Recipe and Label Analysis

Steve’s Real Food Pork Diet was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.


Steve's Real Food Pork Diet

Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 53% | Fat = 39% | Carbs = -0%

Ingredients: Pork, pork heart, pork liver, carrots, kale, pork neck bone, broccoli, goat milk, chia seed, flaxseed, kelp, salmon oil, taurine, green lipped mussel, inulin, coconut oil, sesame seeds, ground membrane

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.4%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis51%37%NA
Dry Matter Basis53%39%-0%
Calorie Weighted Basis36%64%-0%
Protein = 36% | Fat = 64% | Carbs = -0%

Ingredient Analysis

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 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 third ingredient is pork liver, an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

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

The fifth ingredient is kale, a type of cabbage in which the central leaves do not form a head. This dark green vegetable is especially rich in beta-carotene, vitamins C, vitamin K and calcium.

And like broccoli, kale contains sulforaphane, a natural chemical believed to possess potent anti-cancer properties.

The sixth ingredient is pork neck bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.

The seventh ingredient is 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 eighth ingredient is goat milk. Goat’s milk is rich in calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. It contains slightly less lactose and can be considered nutritionally similar to cow’s milk.

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 Steve’s Real Food product.

With 6 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.2

Because of its proven safety3 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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Steve’s Real Food freeze-dried dog food looks like an above-average raw product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 53%, a fat level of 39% and estimated carbohydrates of about 0%.

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.

Our Rating of Steve’s Real Food Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Steve’s Real Food is a grain-free freeze-dried raw dog food using an abundance of named meats and organs as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Has Steve’s Real Food Dog Food Been Recalled?

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Steve’s Real Food.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

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More Steve’s Real Food Reviews

The following Steve’s Real Food dog food reviews are also posted on this website:

A Final Word

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Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor from the official definition of meat by the Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. 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
  3. 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.

01/31/2021 Last Update