Which Steve’s Real Food Freeze-Dried Recipes Get
Our Best Ratings?
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.
|Steve’s Real Food Beef Diet
|Steve’s Real Food Lamu Diet
|Steve’s Real Food Turkey Diet
|Steve’s Real Food Chicken Diet
|Steve’s Real Food Turducken Diet
|Steve’s Real Food Pork Diet
Recipe and Label Analysis
Steve’s Real Food Chicken 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 Chicken Diet
Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Ground chicken, ground chicken bone, chicken livers, chicken gizzards, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, cantaloupe, goat’s milk, flaxseed, dried kelp, salmon oil, coconut oil, inulin, New Zealand green lipped mussel, taurine, ground eggshell
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.5%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content
|Dry Matter Basis
|Calorie Weighted Basis
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 is chicken liver, an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient includes 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.
The fifth 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 sixth ingredient includes carrots, which are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh 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 Steve’s Real Food product.
With 5 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.
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.
Based on its ingredients alone, Steve’s Real Food freeze-dried dog food looks like an above-average raw product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 51% and a mean fat level of 36%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 5% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 72%.
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 an abundance of meat.
However, with 60% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 37% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for dogs on a low fat diet.
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.
Steve’s Real Food Dog Food Recall History
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Steve’s through March 2024.
- 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)
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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- 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. ↩