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Steve’s Real Food Dog Food Review (Raw Frozen)

Mike Sagman  Karan French

By

Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

Founder

Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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&
Karan French
Karan French

Karan French

Senior Researcher

Karan is a senior researcher at the Dog Food Advisor, working closely with our in-house pet nutritionist, Laura Ward, to give pet parents all the information they need to find the best food for their dog.

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Updated: June 10, 2024

Verified by Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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Laura Ward

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Rating:
star
star
star
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Which Steve’s Real Food Recipes Get
Our Best Ratings?

Steve’s Real Food Raw Frozen Diet receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Steve’s Real Food product line includes the 7 raw frozen 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 White Fish Diet 5 A
Steve’s Real Food Beef Diet 5 A
Steve’s Real Food Chicken Diet 5 A
Steve’s Real Food Turkey Diet 5 A
Steve’s Real Food Turducken Diet 5 A
Steve’s Real Food Pork Diet 5 A
Steve’s Real Food Lamu Diet 5 A

Recipe and Label Analysis

Steve’s Real Food Beef 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 Beef Diet

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

48%

Protein

32%

Fat

12%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Ground beef, beef heart, beef liver, beef kidney, broccoli, ground beef bone, carrots, apples, romaine lettuce, goat’s milk, coconut oil, sesame seeds, salmon oil, flaxseed, dried kelp, taurine, New Zealand green lipped mussel, inulin, ground eggshell


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 0.3%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 12% 8% NA
Dry Matter Basis 48% 32% 12%
Calorie Weighted Basis 35% 56% 9%

Ingredient Analysis

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 beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fourth ingredient is beef kidney, an organ meat low in fat and rich in protein and essential minerals.

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 is beef bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.

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

The eighth ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.

The ninth 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 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, this recipe contains 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 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 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.

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.

Nutrient Analysis

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

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 48%, a fat level of 32% and estimated carbohydrates of about 12%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 51% and a mean fat level of 30%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 10% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.

Above-average protein. near-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 56% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 35% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.

Our Rating of Steve’s Real Food

Steve’s Real Food is a grain-free raw frozen 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.

Steve’s Real Food Recall History

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

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

Get Free Recall Alerts

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More Steve’s Real Food Reviews

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

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

2: 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

3: 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

4: 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.

A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor does 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) and from sellers of perishable pet food when readers click over to their websites from ours. This helps cover the cost of operation of our free blog. Thanks for your support.

For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

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