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Visit the latest Top Raw Food Brands list Today!
Visit the latest Top Raw Food Brands list Today!
I receive questions weekly asking my thoughts on various commercial raw food brands. Although 99% of my dogs' raw meals are made in our kitchen, I have fed my dogs several premade raw brands and have a long list that I'd recommend.
With the growing number of people jumping into the pet industry to offer raw food, I wanted to share the brands that I would recommend as well as share a warning about the brands you may see being promoted on social media. I've spoken to the people behind many of the raw brands on the market, and I learned one thing: Not all raw food brands are created equal. And not all are safe for our dogs.
What I Look for in a Raw Food Brand
I will only feed brands that are offered through our raw food co-op because I know the couple who manages our co-op has high standards. The co-op members a secondary source of information because they regularly share their experience with the various brands we can order.
When I'm considering a new pre-made raw food brand, I look for the following:
- High praise from raw feeders I trust. Beware of only accepting the word of bloggers (even me). If someone is being paid to promote food, they may be spotlighting all of the positives and downplaying the negatives. This isn't done to fool people into buying the food; it's done because some bloggers have trouble saying anything that can be deemed as negative about a brand if they're being paid. So only follow the recommendations of people you trust.
- Do they offer more than chicken? Chicken is the cheapest protein on the market, and many raw feeders will launch their brand offering a chicken or chicken blend (chicken and duck, chicken and beef) recipe.
- Years of experience in producing raw meals for dogs. I strongly warn dog parents against buying from raw food brands that are brand new to the market. Give them time to work out the kinks and find good sources for their meat and other ingredients. I tried a new brand a couple of years ago, and when the box arrived, there was no dry ice (to keep the food frozen), everything was thawed (it was 80+ degrees outside), and half the food had spilled from the packages.
- Do not buy from raw food brands that aren't transparent. While I understand brands having a proprietary recipe that they'd prefer not to share, if they won't answer questions about their food, run for the hills. They should be able to tell you if they use a vitamin mix and where it's sourced (it's China, not the US like some claim) and where their ingredients are sourced (country of origin at least).
Top Frozen Raw Dog Food Brands of 2016
This list is in alphabetical order and is based on a combination of my experience with feeding the raw meals created by these brands to my dogs, their customer service, and feedback from other raw feeders.
Answers Detailed Dog Food – I order their fermented fish stock, which is great for digestive health. It stinks like a motha, but the dogs love it (of course). I also order kefir by Answers. I tried making my own, and it's a pain in the butt. Much easier to order it through the co-op, 5 pints at a time.
BARF World Dog Food – I had the honor of meeting Robert Mueller at SuperZoo this past summer. To me, it was like meeting a celebrity because I spent a lot of time visiting BARFWorld.com to learn more about the benefits of raw feeding when I was researching the diet. Shortly after that meeting, our dogs received a care package of raw dog food – every raw feeder's dream – and they loved it.
Darwin’s Natural Selections and Zoologics – this is the first time in a while that I haven't had a monthly order from Darwin's Pet. Once I was able to keep the freezer filled with raw meals, I was able to cancel my Darwin's monthly order because there was no room. I still place orders here and there because our dogs do well on their bison green tripe.
OC Raw Dog Food – despite a tense interaction with a rep from OC Raw at SuperZoo, I still love their food for my dogs. They offer a fish and vegetable recipe that my dogs do well on and it's a lot easier to feed than whole sardines. I've tried whole sardines and mackerel a few times and found that my dogs can only have it in the summer when they can eat it whole outside. Sometimes they're not feeling whole fish, so I have to grind it up (outside because of the smell), and it only stays good for a short time. It's either waste the fish or go with a premade brand and OC Raw Dog Food is my choice.
Raw Bistro Dog Food – I have never fed my dogs food from Raw Bistro, but they make a list because the people behind this brand are amazing. I make a point of stopping by their booth at SuperZoo because these are my people. If you're a raw feeder, then you know what it's like to have a passionate conversation about dog nutrition – you can do that with Justin Magnuson and his team.
Raw Paws Pet Food – if you're having trouble adding protein variety to your dog's raw diet, Raw Paws Pet Food is where to go. While I can source 99% of the ingredients locally (through the raw food co-op and farmer's market), there are several proteins that are out of my reach: goat, lamb, quail to name a few. The bonus of Raw Paws Pet Food is that the site offers one-stop shopping – you can buy raw food, treats, raw bones, and chews from one spot and you get free shipping, and they offer specials. Cool, right?
Steve’s Real Food – this is going to sound weird, but I love Steve's Real Food because it smells fresh; like the food I make for my dogs. You're probably wondering how good raw meat can smell, but as you delve deeper into raw feeding, this will make better sense to you. I order the pork recipe for my dogs. Steve's Real Food also has some amazing new products, including Enhance products (CannaGurt, DogNog, and CarnaForage). My dogs LOVE CannaGurt (which has cannabis).
Tucker's Raw Frozen – I've never fed Tucker's Raw food to my dogs; they made the list because they're always innovating. At SuperZoo, they showed me their new dehydrated bones which are a response to people's fear of feeding raw bones to their dogs. They tested the bones, and they aren't hard like cooked bones and Tucker's Raw shared that they're perfectly safe to give to dogs.
Vital Essentials Dog Food – I'm a HUGE fan of Vital Essentials Raw. This was the first raw food brand that I reviewed for a blog post, and I was so excited. A ton of food – their entire line except for chicken – was delivered to a local pet store. I remember that the pet store owner was pissed off at having to hold the food for a couple of hours until I could pick it up. Since that day, I've fed our dogs and cats their food, treats, and raw bones.
Top Freeze-Dried & Dehydrated Raw of 2016
I've fed all of the below freeze-dried and dehydrated raw brands to my dogs or cat. Today, I only buy NRG (for my dogs), Vital Essentials Raw (for my cat), and Addiction Raw Dehydrated Foods (for my dogs). The NRG is great for when I forget to thaw food for my dogs. The Vital Essentials allows me to add a version of raw to my cat's diet. And Addiction allows me to add novelty proteins to my dogs' diet like Kangaroo and Brushtail.
- NRG Dog Food – I order this one for my dogs as a backup for when I forget to thaw raw.
- Vital Essentials Dog Food – I order this one for my cat.
- Addiction Raw Dehydrated Foods – another food that I keep on hand for my dogs.
- Stella & Chewy's
- The Honest Kitchen
- TruDog Dog Food
- Bravo Freeze Dried
- K9 Natural Freeze Dried Raw
- Northwest Naturals