Here’s my personal list winnowed down after extensive research:
Nature’s Variety, Darwin’s Natural Selections, Bravo, Stella and Chewy’s, Primal Raw, OC Raw Dog, Vital Essentials, Northwest Naturals, Steve’s Real Food (maybe Answers if I can get past the weird packaging).
My criteria is:
—Freeze dried versions available (for travel)
—Consistently rated 4.5 or above for all formulas (I’m amazed that one Primal formula for example will be five stars, and then the very next one is only 2.5, yeesh)
—Widely available at my local pet boutiques (or convenient packages purchased online)
—Not insanely expensive
Anyone have favorites I might have overlooked?
I save money & order grinds from Hare Today. Other good companies are Reel Raw, Raw Feeding Miami, My Pet Carnivore.
InkedMarie, bookmarking your suggestions to research further. Thanks!
Do you have a suggestion as to ordering any of these online? I live in a very rural area, I must drive 140 miles round trip for raw food. I have a BC and an Aussie and feed mostly primal, OC, and Vital Essentials, my raw food bill is very high. One dog has food triggers, so really have to watch ingredients. Also use Honest Kitchen.
Shela, all those I mentioned are ordered online & shipped directly to your door.
I’ve looked at a lot of commercial raw diets including Darwins, Primal, Natures Variety, Answers. Natures Variety as a company was able to correctly answer my nutritional inquiries to them and they HPP their diets. In general when I’ve looked at the nutrient profiles of other raw diets I’ve found self reported deficiencies. When I contact the company to inquire about the self reported deficiency they don’t reply.
Some providers simply grind up animal parts and sell it as dog food. Personally I wouldn’t use that type of product at all. In order to balance such a product you’d need a full nutrient analysis and I’ve never seen this type of information provided. Dogs can look great on highly unbalanced/improper diets but eventually they cause problems.
Thanks aimee, I’ve been gravitating to Nature’s Variety in fact because they’re so widely available, and their frozen raw is one of the few that don’t include synthetic vitamins (or very little).
If you live in Toronto Ontario Canada which is called the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) check out http://www.foodfurlove.com
I really have to recommend Love Your Pet Bakery. Their website is http://www.loveyourpetbakery.com and they have a lot of different kinds of frozen raw foods. What I really like is that a) their stuff is all-natural so there are no preservatives or anything b) they also sell bones so your dog can get their needed calciums and c) they also sell treats that my guys really love!
I recently switched to Primal (freeze dried) bc Acana just isn’t the same since they left Canada. My chi mix absolutely loves it! We have been using the duck. I think some of the Primal formulas got 2.5 stars due to fat content or ratio of protein.
My vet actually recommended Natures Variety when I told her I had switched from Acana to Primal. I have done a TON of research and that is one that wasn’t on my list. I make sure to look at recalls in addition to everything else. Primal is definitely pricey and I will most likely use it as a topper if I decide to go with them.
Stella and Chewy’s is the 3rd on my list in addition to Primal and Natures variety. Their meal mixers look good in addition to the patties. In addition to freeze dried raw, Natures Variety makes a kibble with pieces of freeze dried raw mixed in called Instinct Raw Boost. They make a small dog version which smaller kibble which is enticing. I am leaning towards Fromm (small pieces) and using a raw topper. I have tried everything except the Instinct raw boost. Once I try that, I will make my final decision. However, for a raw food, I really love Primal.
Does anyone else have a small dog and use kibble with a topper?
I’m having good success with Nature’s Variety frozen raw so far. The patties are the cheapest, and their frozen lineup has no synthetic vitamins. For freeze dried, I would only opt for the Nature’s Variety Raw Boost Mixers which is good as a topper (I plan to use this for travel when frozen raw isn’t viable).
Personally one of my criterion is food with no synthetic vitamins (or very little maybe one or two), and because so few brands have options without synthetics, it makes choosing out of hundreds of brands a lot easier. Some say synthetics are unhealthy, and it might be, but for me it’s just a good indicator of how overly processed the dog food was when they literally have to spray synthetic vitamins back on to it just to make it complete and balanced.
Unfortunately Stella and Chewy’s uses synthetics, so I’ve had to drop them from my list, which is fine because I still have plenty of options. For raw I plan to cycle through Nature’s Variety, Primal, Vital Essentials, Answers and Nature’s Logic (frozen raw). Nature’s Variety is the most widely available next to Primal, but there’s a few pet boutiques that carry the other brands at competitive prices where I live, so I’m happy.
Right now I have my doggie on Nature’s Variety raw and her stools are the best I’ve seen, that is, if stool could ever look good. X__X (firm but not too firm, and a nice brown color).
Thanks for the info! I will be dropping Stella and Chewy’s off my list. That leaves me with Natures Variety Instinct. I’m thinking of doing Natures Variety Instinct with a topper of Primal. I will only use freeze dried raw. I need to compare the original Instincts to the Raw Boost. If I remember correctly, one of them only has small bites in chicken. My dog isn’t allergic but I’ve never fed her chicken.
How many patties do You have to feed your pup A-day? I am looking to go freeze dried for some of my puppies meals but I can’t tell it seems like you have to feed so much and only so much comes in a bag and the fat Content looks so high.
I have a 35 pound dog, so for frozen raw I feed 1 patty a day (roughly 400 calories) for 50% raw/kibble mix. I haven’t tried freeze dried yet, but Ive had to eliminate a few options from some of my favorite brands because the ingredients don’t match their frozen raw counterparts (namely natures variety freeze dried complete meal versions, the supplemental though is great even if it’s not complete)
My freeze dried list is pretty short: natures variety raw booster mix (supplemental only), vital essentials and OC Raw. Vital essentials is the one brand I found where the frozen raw ingredient list is identical to the freeze dried versions. OC raw has a good ingredient list as well with no synthetics as well, so they also made the cut.
Hope this helps!
It does help, thank you! So are you using the patty with the kibbble together as a meal? Or raw as 1 meal, kibble as another ?
I use the patty with the kibble together. I don’t know whether it’s better to alternate, but the kibble/raw combo seems to work out well in my case. 🙂
This is all such valuable information for me. I have followed this website for years but just joined up.
I have had our two dogs, a vizsla and a lab on amended Orijen kibble for years. Between a combination of information gained from: this website, Dog Naturally Magazine, Orijen (USA) rather than Orijen (Canada) and then Chewy.com losing a few lines (Orijen/Acana, Fromm) because Chewy.com decided to buy PetsMart AND the brew Ha Ha with the CleanLabel folk (but I digress).
All of the reasons above have brought me to the decision to eliminate kibble either all together, which is my preference or at the very most 1/4 to 1/2 kibble and mix with either freeze-dried raw or raw frozen (when we get a stand alone freezer).
I am a rookie to the BARF diet for our dogs. Historically, the vizsla transitions easily to new diets/foods (7 to 10 days) but our labrador has to transition more slowly 2-3 weeks for his GI system to tolerate the change without upset. To date he continues to get a tbsp of organic pumpkin mixed in his Six Fish kibble.
With our vizsla, I have been scaling back his amount of kibble and introduced Stella & Chewy’s freezes-dried patties (mostly 5 stars except for 4 star Duck Duck-he loves it), just ordered the Vital Essentials since it does not have all the additives.
I just have begun to explore the Darwin’s Natural Selection website. The name has a peticularily personal meaning for our vizsla. His sire’s registered name was “Darwin’s Natural Selection”, aka.”Darwin” .
I certainly need and want to increase my knowledge of what is best for our dogs. Looking forward to your input and exchange of ideas. Also the information about online websites for ordering their raw frozen and/or freeze-dried food as well as the kibble, now that Orijen and Chewy.com split the sheets.
Thanks to all.
Since I have just begun to explore the world of raw food diets for our two dogs I really appreciate your recommendations on frozen and freeze-dried raw patties for dogs. Stella & Chewy’s was the first brand that I tried but I do have concerns about the additional additives in particular. Just got some Vital Essentials Beef to try as it does not contain additives although I see some will fault the company for not including any additional vitamins other than Vitamin E.
I will give Nature’s Variety (our Vizsla is on their Rabbit kibble), Primal and OC Raw a try as well. Thanks for your suggestions!
You’re welcome Anne!
Really sucks to hear about Chewy.com selling out to Petsmart. I was going to be use their auto shipping to save a few extra dollars too since they had some of the best prices. Oh well!
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