Healthy food isn’t just for humans anymore; just like you, your dog needs a healthy diet to thrive, too. Finding the ideal food for your dog can be a bit more difficult than finding healthy food for yourself. But, there are a few I would consider as the best raw dog food brands out there that use only natural ingredients.
This ensures your dog isn’t getting a diet that’s filled with meat by-products and artificial flavors, but real raw dog food.
If possible we prefer to give our puppers a raw diet, but this can be pricy for some. That’s why we included a few natural and raw dog food reviews below to give you a choice when selecting an affordable raw dog food brand for your dog:
1. Nature’s Variety Instinct
Instinct’s raw diet has been carefully formulated to mimic the diet your dog would have if he lived in the wild. These raw products are frozen and 95 percent of it is comprised of meat, organs, bones, and fat, which is exactly what a wild dog would eat on a daily basis. The other five percent is made up of fruits and vegetables and contains no grains or gluten.
The best part of this diet is it doesn’t require any measuring, weighing, cutting, or portioning, a common complaint among owners who are dedicated to giving their dogs a raw diet. If you’re worried about bacterial contamination, you’ll be pleased to hear that the company uses High Pressure Processing to kill harmful bacteria. Nature’s Variety also upholds a very strict policy known as “test and hold” to help eliminate any chances of contaminated food leaving the facility.
2. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet
No matter how natural the ingredients are, some allergy-prone dogs require a diet with very minimal ingredients. Unfortunately, many natural diets are still loaded with a wide variety of ingredients that can trigger an allergic reaction. Natural Balance’s limited ingredient diet contains only four actual food ingredients, virtually eliminating the likelihood of your dog suffering a reaction to a hidden ingredient. The company uses only low-allergen foods like sweet potato, duck, and fish while supplementing the diet with the necessary vitamins and minerals for well-rounded nutrition.
3. Wellness CORE
A natural diet doesn’t necessarily mean it’s low calorie, and many overweight dogs are missing out on natural foods and forced to eat diets with unhealthy ingredients. Wellness CORE has created a balanced diet based on the nutritional requirements of wild dogs. Every formula, including their weight management recipe, is brimming with natural, animal-based protein.
The food is 100% percent free of unhealthy fillers and unnecessary grains but supplemented with a variety of minerals and probiotics to aid in nutrient absorption. They even have an FAQ page to address many of the issues regarding storage, shelf life, and transitioning your dog to their food.
4. Only Natural
Many canine nutritionists believe there is nutrient deficiency between a dog’s natural nutritional requirements and the nutrients found in a commercial dog food diet. The company’s PowerFood recipe has only meat as the first three ingredients. If you’ve perused dog food labels, you know how rare this is.
To round out the recipe, the company has put low- glycemic carbohydrates to provide long-lasting energy without creating a blood sugar crash.
Priding itself on being an “ancestral diet”, Evo offers a quality high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet to create a muscular dog without depleting their energy stores. All of the recipes are grain-free, ensuring your dog’s diet mimics their predecessors’ as closely as possible. This is an ideal food if you believe in the benefits of a raw diet but don’t have the time or budget to feed it. All the meat and fruits/vegetables used in these foods are sourced from the United States, guaranteeing food that’s as fresh as it could possibly be.
If feeding natural ingredients to your dog is of the utmost importance, these brands are right up your alley (We also like Diamond and California, but wanted to keep it down to five selections).
The proper ingredients that are fresh and sourced from nearby farms will guarantee your dog is getting the best nutrition possible with minimal chemicals and preservatives, unless you prefer to cook a healthy homemade dog food meal.
Keep in mind that as the popularity of natural food for dogs increases there will be more brands in the market to pick from. We will update this page to keep it as up to date as possible so bare with us.
Lastly, if your dog is on regular dry kibbles, and has been for a few years now, transitioning your pet to raw and natural need to be done gradually (definitely let your veterinarian know about the change you are about to embark as well).
The best way would be to mix the old with the new slowly preferably over a few weeks time period. Start with 25% of new food for the first week, 50% for the second, 25% on the third, then on the fourth and last week, switch to 100% new.
This should give your dog plenty of time to acclimate to the new diet without needing a digestive aid. If you notice you need to stretch the periods a bit longer, do it. Some dogs take longer to adjust their digestive system to the new food and there is no need to rush it.