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A couple of weeks ago I came home to a surprise. A box of Darwin's new lamb recipe on my porch. Oh Joy, Oh Joy. The dogs had been eating their staple, duck, for a little too long and they wouldn't be getting their rabbit or venison for another month. I was happy to see a protein to break up the mix.
Why This is a Biased Review
I call reviews about commercial dog food and supplements biased because I’m a crazy, obsessive dog mom. I go into a review expecting to love a product simply because it's raw, or natural, or safe. I will share my thoughts and experiences, even if they seem nutty because I think my readers are intelligent and can decide for themselves if one of my “cons” would be a negative for them. I also want to save my readers time and money by pointing them in the direction of the best products, because I know they're nutty about their dogs too.
So this review will be fair.
My Experience with Darwin's Pet
When I transitioned my dogs to raw, I failed miserably with their first meal. I made the mistake of following a stranger's recipe for a raw meal – $100 and four dogs with diarrhea later, I realized that feeding raw wasn't as easy as everyone wanted me to believe. In walks Darwin's Pet. Their customer service team set me up with monthly deliveries for my dogs, and I became a raw feeder.
That was four years ago, and today I make 99% of my dogs' food, having turned away from premade raw, preferring to source, grind, and mix up raw meals for my dogs at home. Despite my evolution as a raw feeder, I still place periodic orders with Darwin's Pet and continue to recommend them to dog parents. If you're interested in starting as a raw feeder, the Darwin's team will help you get started and ship frozen meals directly to your door.
Adding Lamb to a Raw Diet for Dogs
Lamb is an excellent protein for dogs; especially when you're having trouble finding alternative proteins. As a raw feeder, I've been taught to alternate the proteins I feed to my dogs regularly (I try to do it weekly when I can) because each protein provides different nutrients and works the digestive tract in its unique way. Lamb, for instance, is an excellent source of niacin, vitamins B1, B2, B6, and B12, folate, biotin, choline, and pantothenic acid.
While I like to keep meals interesting for dogs, hence the different proteins, others may be looking for alternatives for a dog with a food intolerance. While lamb may be perfect for some dogs, it's important to know that lamb may not be the right food for a dog with allergies because it's a “hot” food.
Warming and Cooling Proteins for Dogs
When trying to figure out Rodrigo's allergies, I learned about the temperature of foods. I focus on the proteins because that's the main part of Rodrigo's diet. After doing some reading, I learned that Rodrigo is considered a “hot” dog.
Dogs that are “Hot”
Dogs that are hot…
- seek cool places (Rodrigo has a favorite spot by our side and back doors to nap)
- pants even when the room isn't cool
Dogs that have allergies or are anxious fall into the classification of “hot.”
Rodrigo's diet is primarily cooling or neutral proteins. I've been warned that feeding him warming or hot proteins will aggravate his allergies and I found this to be true when his GI system was still compromised from a diet of kibble. When I got his gut under control thanks to a species appropriate diet and a digestive supplement, his immune system became stronger. Today, he can enjoy venison, a “hot” protein, with no issues. So I wasn't worried about giving him lamb from Darwin's.
Dogs that are “Cold”
Before I move on with the review of Darwin's lamb recipe, I wanted to give you a complete picture of hot and cold dogs. Dogs that are “cold” should be fed warming foods. A “cold” dog may…
- tire easily
- have a finicky appetite
- move slowly
- be short of breath
- be a couch potato
- have stiff joints in the winter or after a nap
Sydney, I think, is a cold dog. She does great on warming foods like turkey and chicken (I prefer to feed guinea hen). And during the winter, Sydney's joint issues get worse, so she's on an effective joint supplement regimen.
Feeding Hot and Cold Dogs
Keeping on top of my dogs' needs is a fun game and exhausting at times. I feel like a short order cook some weeks, but I don't mind because my dogs are healthy and happy. When I'm having trouble securing the right proteins, I go for neutral foods.
The chart below lists examples of proteins in each category. Source: HerbSmith.com
- Beef liver
- Pork Liver
- Pork kidneys
- Pork feet
- Chicken liver
- Sheep kidney
About Darwin's Lamb Recipe
The lamb is sourced from farms in New Zealand, Australia, and the US. The protein is hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and grain-free; exactly what I want for my dogs. The Natural Selections lamb recipe is made with a selection of organic vegetables, including yellow squash, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, parsley, and celery. It also includes lamb meat, lamb heart, and lamb liver. And there is a nutrient mix to create a balanced raw diet for dogs.
The only question I have about the ingredients is the iceberg lettuce. I've always thought lettuce had zero nutrients; it's just heavy in water, right? I was wrong. Iceberg lettuce contains copper, zinc, vitamins A, K and C, thiamin, vitamin B6 and B9, and it's a good source of fiber. Go figure.
Once again, Darwin's has created a healthy, balanced, raw meal for our dogs.
My Thoughts on Darwin's Lamb Recipe
So given what I shared about warming and cooling foods, you're probably wondering how my dogs did on the lamb? We received enough for a full day of raw lamb, which is plenty to tell if the dogs will do okay on the protein. And they did. No one had a reaction. Yayyy!!!
I would love to add this to my dogs' diet to give them something new. Although Rodrigo did well on his meal, I would give him half the recommended feeding amount due to its “hot” nature, slowly introducing him to this protein. The other dogs will happily enjoy a full meal.
When you visit DarwinsPet.com, you may be dismayed by the price of the lamb; it's the most expensive of Darwin's recipes at $5.95/pound (in 2017), each package is two pounds. However, when I checked my other raw brands, I saw that the Natural Selections lamb is more affordable than my other sources, all of which are only providing lamb meat – I'd have to mix up the ingredients to make it a balanced meal, adding to the cost.
Recommending Darwin's new lamb recipe is a no brainer for me. They have always created food that my dogs do very well on and I'm excited about this new option for our dogs!
- CLICK HERE to visit DarwinsPet.com to check out what they have to offer.