What Are Some Popular Raw Dog Food Brands?
Raw dog food is a popular and growing segment of the dog food market. According to a recent New York Times article, sales of commercially-prepared raw pet foods reached $100 million in 2011. While this is only a fraction of the $19 billion pet food market in the U.S., sales of raw food diets are growing rapidly.
Many dog owners like the simpler ingredients in raw pet food. They like the fact that there is less processing. Feeding their dog a raw food diet can seem more natural. Plus, most dogs seem to love the food.
Here is a good resource for recipes on making your own homemade raw dog food.
Are there drawbacks? There can be. As with other pet food manufacturers, some companies have better quality control and use better ingredients than others. Just as with kibble and canned food, raw foods can be recalled. Feeding your dog raw food is not a guarantee that the food is healthy or free of salmonella or other common pet food issues. And, as always, you still need to read the labels so you know exactly what’s in the food.
There are some raw food brands that are consistently praised by dog owners and which score high marks based on their ingredients and other factors. Here are a few we like:
Nature’s Variety makes both conventional pet food and raw foods. Their raw foods include both raw and freeze-dried foods. Their foods are 100 percent free of corn, wheat, soy, chemical preservatives, and artificial colors and flavors and some of their foods are organic. Their raw frozen diets are high pressure pasteurized (HPP). They have eight raw frozen formulas in the Instinct Raw line and three formulas in the Instinct Freeze-Dried line. They also have Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Kibble (five products) which is a grain free kibble that includes some freeze-dried raw chunks. They even have raw and freeze-dried treats and raw frozen bones. They have a great selection.
Primal has a long-time excellent reputation among people who raw feed their dogs. They specialize in raw food diets based on the BARF model. They make raw frozen formulas (complete diets), raw frozen mixes, raw frozen grinds, raw meaty bones, recreational bones, and primal treats. They have a large selection in each of these categories. Their diets are high in protein and typically contain lots of organ meat such as hearts and livers. They also use lots of organic ingredients in their formulas. One of the best raw food companies.
Other companies that we have heard good things about from dog owners include:
- Bravo! Balance Raw Food Diet
- Darwin’s Natural Pet Products
- K-9 Kraving
- Northwest Naturals
- Stella & Chewy’s
- Steve’s Real Food for Dogs.
One thing you need to watch for when you are considering raw food diets for your dog is what the food is formulated for. Just as with kibble and canned foods, raw and freeze dried foods are generally submitted for AAFCO testing. They can be approved for maintenance, all life stages, or growth and lactation. In some cases a formula is only approved as a supplement. This means that it lacks the nutrition to be a complete and balanced diet for your dog, though you still might want to add it to your dog’s diet. This is true with quite a few raw foods. They can be very high in protein, for example, but they are not balanced to meet all of your dog’s nutritional needs. Some raw food products make this distinction more clear than others but it’s something that you should look for when you are considering what raw food products to feed your dog. Remember that even if you are feeding your dog a raw food diet, it’s important for your dog’s nutrition to be balanced. He needs more than meat and fat and bone in his food.