Steve’s Real Food Raw Frozen Diet receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Steve’s Real Food product line lists 5 raw 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 Pork Diet [A]
- Steve’s Real Food Turkey Diet [A]
- Steve’s Real Food Turducken Diet [A]
- Steve’s Real Food Chicken Diet (2.5 stars) [A]
Steve’s Real Food Beef Diet was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Steve's Real Food Beef Diet
Raw Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Ground beef, beef hearts, broccoli, beef kidney, carrots, beef liver, apples, raw goat’s milk, ground beef bone, flax seed, salmon oil, inulin, taurine, dried kelp, sesame seeds, organic coconut oil, mixed tocopherols, eggshell membrane, dicalcium phosphate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||29%||19%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||33%||53%||14%|
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 heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing to us humans, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.
The third 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 fourth ingredient is beef kidney, an organ meat low in fat and rich in protein and essential minerals.
The fifth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The seventh ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
The eighth ingredient is goat’s milk. Goat’s milk is rich in calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. Although it contains slightly less lactose, in many ways it can be considered nutritionally similar to cow’s milk.
The ninth ingredient is ground beef bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.
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 five 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, this recipe contains salmon oil. 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.
In addition, we find 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, we note the use of 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.
And lastly, although we find no mention of added vitamins or minerals on the ingredients list, we’re reassured to find a detailed list of naturally present nutrients on the company’s website.
Steve’s Real Food
Raw Frozen Diet
Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Steve’s Real 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 52% 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 69%.
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 53% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 33% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.
Steve’s Real Food is a grain-free raw dog food using an abundance of named meats and organs as its main sources 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 this product line. 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)
To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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In any case, it is always our intention to remain objective, impartial and unbiased when conducting our analysis.
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Notes and Updates
04/08/2019 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- 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. ↩