Are you thinking about changing up your dog’s diet? Whether it’s to help them lose weight or to regain vitality, there are plenty of tasty, healthy food choices out there. That, of course, can make picking between brands a little complex at times – what is the best frozen raw dog food brand, for example?
There’s been a boom in raw dog food over the past few years, and that’s mainly thanks to pet owners taking advantage of more information available online. Raw dog food takes your dog’s meals back to basics – meaning there’s no filler, no added sugars, and certainly nothing artificial. However, the actual definition of raw dog food goes a little bit deeper than that!
In this guide, we’ll take you through what you need to know about raw dog food and whether or not it’s a good idea to introduce it to your own doggy dishes. We’ll also take a look at our top four raw dog food picks available for you to buy online right now – and why we think they really hit the spot.
Please note that unlike our typical product reviews, we have not provide one “Top Pick” product here as there are simply too many factors at play. A product that might be good for one dog may not be suitable for another one. This may mean that you have to try out a number of different options before settling one that works best for your pup!
What is raw dog food?
Raw dog food is nutrition for your pets that harks back to the food their ancestors would normally enjoy in the wild. Yes – the squeamish readers amongst you may wish to skip this bit!
Raw dog food typically takes doggy nosh back to meat, bones, and organs – with very little processing (apart from to help with digestibility). Modern raw dog food providers understand that the pups of today have very different digestion systems to the wolves of centuries past, which is why the raw food you’ll find in tins today is perhaps more ‘inspired’ by ancestral feasting!
In any case, buying raw dog food means you’re buying natural nutrition. Modern, highly processed dog food can contain high levels of carbohydrate and filler, which can cause digestion issues for our dogs. Beyond this, protein and fat levels in some dry dog food is negligible compared to that of a raw alternative.
For that reason alone, it’s clear why many dog owners are investing in the raw trend. Of course, there are further benefits and drawbacks to consider before changing your dog’s diet completely. A little further down in our guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know before taking your pets’ food back to basics.
Raw food is not something to be taken lightly, so we have done the work for you and come up with our recommendation for the top 4 raw foods for dogs in the UK. Check out the details below!
Please note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach with raw dog food, so for that reason, we have not provided a “Top Pick”. It is entirely possible that your dog does not find raw food to be suitable. In that case, you may want to examine the “natural” food option instead, which is close to raw food in concept. If that too is not an option, then please check out our reviews on other food products that may work better:
1. Nutriment Enhanced Raw Diet Working Puppy Food
- B.A.R.F. RAW DIET TO PROMOTE HEALTHY GROWTH: Carefully selected natural ingredients. Recipes...
- QUICK & EASY TO USE: Each tray is a complete meal with all the regular dietary requirements,...
- HIGHLY DIGESTIBLE: Nutriment is consumed raw. Nutrients are naturally preserved and easily digested....
Formulated specifically for puppies and young dogs, Nutriment’s raw food produce contains everything your growing pooch needs – human-standard ingredients certainly help!
We love the fact that Nutriment’s food contains ingredients that are ethically and sustainably sourced, and that you can easily keep it in the freezer to defrost when you’re ready.
The frozen meals provided arrive in a variety of poultry, fish and meat flavours (it’s a ten-pack starter kit), boasting healthy oils, vitamins, seeds and antioxidants. It’s completely free from grain, gluten and other added nastiness – and apparently, production is even overseen by a nutritionist!
- Lots of different flavours to try
- Really easy to freeze and defrost when needed
- Simple to portion out depending on age and/or size of dog
- Exceptional nutritional balance
- Very popular with dog owners
- Quite expensive compared to some competing brands and products
- Brand: Nutriment
- Flavour: Various
- Pet Life Stage: Puppy
- Number of Items: 10
- Item Weight: 5kg
2. ProDog Sample Raw Food Packs
- Nutritionally Complete Food For Dogs
- 100% Premium British Meat & Ingredients
- DEFRA & Vet Approved Dog Food
ProDog’s sample pack of raw food is towards the premium end of the market, but promises genuine meat and balanced nutrition. This sample pack provides 10kg of food, with beef, rabbit, duck, chicken and more available for your pup to sample. Many of the sachets also arrive with pure offal included – tasty for pets, but we’ll pass!
What we really like about ProDog’s sample pack (and their wider range) is that they care deeply about sensitivities. One of the downsides to raw dog food diets can be that our pets are simply too sensitive to adapt to them. Thankfully, it’s easy to get in touch with ProDog to arrange a specifically bundled pack based on your pet’s needs.
This sample pack is vet approved, arrives without grain, sugar, gluten and wheat – and the packaging’s recyclable, too.
- Lots of genuine meat sources for your pets to try
- Approved by DEFRA
- High-grade ingredients, 100% British meat
- Developed to provide a complete balance
- Expensive on the whole
- Brand: ProDog
- Flavour: Various
- Pet Life Stage: All
- Number of Items: Unclear
- Item Weight: 10kg
3. Bella & Duke Working Dog Raw Food 8kg Variety Box
- For Working Dogs Only
- Up to 8 flavours
Bella & Duke is an appealing brand that seems to offer a more affordable raw food alternative compared to the wider market. Their 8kg variety box provides dogs with a lovely selection of meals such as genuine beef, chicken, white fish, tripe, turkey and game – and more besides.
This raw food selection is marketed towards owners of working dogs only – and the ingredients are all certified as human grade, too! There’s a balance of bones, organs and cartilage, too, helping to add up to the perfect raw food formula.
Bella & Duke food is finely minced to help support ease of digestion, and to help prevent choking during eating. You’ll also find complete breakdowns on different vegetables included in their meals, as well as all-important macros to help you balance your pup’s diet.
When it comes to getting a raw food diet perfect for your dog, more information is better than a little – so we’re really impressed by what’s on offer.
- Very low price per kg
- Lots of different flavour choices
- Minced for ease of digestion
- Human-grade ingredients
- Hypoallergenic blend
- Formulated for working dogs only
- Brand: Bella & Duke
- Flavour: Various
- Pet Life Stage: N/A (working dogs only)
- Number of Items: 16
- Item Weight: 8kg
4. 4PAWSRAW Raw Dog Food
- Improved digestion
- Harder, smaller, less smelly stools
- Reduction of allergy symptoms
4PAWSRAW is a raw dog food brand that serves up plenty of different choices when it comes to mixing up your pup’s diet, and for this guide, we’re focusing on their mixed meat variety box. This selection provides you with 11.2kg of meat, total, comprising 20 different flavours for your pooch to get into.
Flavours and styles include chicken mince, beef mince, turkey mince, pure green tripe, and chicken and beef. It’s freezable food, which means you can keep it for longer and simply defrost when it comes time for dinner.
We love the fact this food is not only affordable per kg, but also provides a fine mince at top quality. It’s really easy to serve, and most dogs should have no trouble getting into their nosh. The fresh meat packaged by 4PAWSRAW is produced with a keen eye on quality – the brand outwardly states they stand apart from ‘cheap’ meats elsewhere on Amazon.
- Very affordable per kg
- Easy to freeze and defrost
- Quick to serve
- Easy to digest
- Top-quality produce
- May not have the broadest brand appeal
- Brand: 4PAWSRAW
- Flavour: Various
- Pet Life Stage: N/A
- Number of Items: 20
- Item Weight: 11.2kg
Why consider raw dog food?
Raw dog food has gained a lot of positive attention over the past few years, and much of this is thanks to dog owners looking deeper into the nutrition statistics of their pup’s regular nosh.
As mentioned earlier in our guide, there are many cheaply-made and highly-processed dog foods on supermarket shelves that simply aren’t nutritious for our pets. Grain, for example, is a type of filler that gained notoriety for a spate of allergies arising in dogs a few years ago.
Fillers do exactly what they suggest – they’re used to fill up dog food to increase bulk in tins and packets. Instead of investing money in high-quality food produce, some dog brands take the cheaper shortcut to simply filling out their cans.
Various studies are split on whether grain is good or bad – but there are a host of benefits to a raw-based diet that are hard to ignore.
For example, many dog owners report that switching to a raw dog food diet has helped to aid their pets’ digestion. It can, in some cases, help to make poop firmer and prevent stomach upsets.
Research also suggests that a raw dog food diet may help to promote healthier coats, and may even boost canine immune systems. If your dog is particularly prone to illness or allergies, it may therefore be a step you wish to take.
Ultimately, we all want the best for our dogs, and while mass-produced and processed dog food may seem cheap and easy to come by, it’s not always going to be the healthiest option.
But, is raw dog food perfect for every pup? Not always.
Disadvantages to raw dog food diets
Before you go ahead and make any big changes to how you feed your dog, always make sure to discuss your plans with your vet. They can tell you whether or not a raw diet is best for your pet’s specific needs, and will take into account age, weight, activity level and more.
While raw dog food boasts huge benefits for many canines, there have been some cases where owners have noticed digestive and gastrointestinal problems. Raw food is high in bacteria – which, for extremely sensitive dogs, can cause a variety of illnesses.
On the same note, preparing and serving raw dog food also carries risks for owners. While processed dog food and kibble carries low risk of contamination across the home, raw food can prove harmful to humans. We’re not suggesting for a moment that you try sharing a dish with your dog! However, you need to be exceptionally careful with where you feed your dog, and where you prepare their meals (i.e. in the kitchen, near your own food and utensils).
Many dogs simply can’t adjust to raw dog food, either. For example, some pups may struggle to swallow larger pieces of meat or gristle in the mix. This applies to leftover bone, too – your vet will offer more advice on this matter depending on your dog’s health and profile.
It’s never a good idea to serve raw dog food to a poorly pet. Dogs undergoing treatment for diseases and cancers, for example, will be more susceptible to bacteria. It’s therefore likely to be a recipe for disaster!
Always remember to consider your dog’s needs before your own – that goes for ideological purposes as well as financial means. More often than not, it pays to opt for dog food that costs a little more than the cheap, filler-heavy tins at your local supermarket.
What to look for in raw dog food
One raw dog food brand is not going to be the same as its competitors! There’s actually quite a lot that separates different types of raw food, so let’s run through what you need to look out for.
Bone is an essential part of any good raw dog food. Without it, your dog may suffer from calcium deficiencies – made all the more likely if you are feeding them on pure meat alone!
Look for a raw dog food that balances meat and bone. Too much bone can cause digestive blockage. If opting for the full raw food diet, it’s generally safe to feed without bones for some of the time – but not all.
Quality of Meat
The meat should make up most of the raw dog food you buy! Therefore, it’s important to look carefully at the content on packets or cans that you purchase. A quick way to judge meat quality is fat content.
Fat is crucial to your dog’s diet, but too much of it leads to loose poop – and in some cases, it can lead to sickness in sensitive animals. The lower the fat, the leaner the meat, which is generally a good marker of quality.
In most cases, 15% fat or lower is indicative of meat you can rely on! It’s likely to be higher in some bird meat, however, so be cautious when shopping around.
Yes! Vegetables make up an important part of a raw food diet, despite the fact that wolves likely subsisted on a diet dominant in meat some millennia ago. If you can find raw dog food that contains a healthy blend of meat, bone, vegetables and some carbohydrates, you’re looking at a very balanced meal.
With veggies, it pays to be careful with regard to how they are produced and presented. Finely ground or minced vegetables is a must to avoid the risk of your dog choking and/or developing digestion problems.
Above all, the major benefit to switching your dog over to a raw food diet is to focus on protein. It’s this element that many find is sorely lacking in dry kibble and processed food. Up to 19% tends to be a good marker to aim for, so, as always, read the ingredients and breakdown of macros before you buy.
A good indicator that your chosen raw dog food is high in protein will be a variety of organs present in the feed, as well as meat itself. Kidneys, hearts, livers – all provide incredible protein and vital nutrition for your dog.
As you may see from our list of top raw dog food brands above, pricing really can vary from case to case. That’s largely because you can expect to pay more when buying raw, unprocessed meat from a butcher. Therefore, it stands to reason that tinned or packet dog food made with raw meat will carry these costs to your shopping basket.
A good tip is to look carefully at the price per kg of raw dog food – as many suppliers will ship in bulk, it’s not always easy to compare pricing. We’ve listed the per kg prices in our buying guide above for your reference.
The best frozen raw dog food on the market holds tons of fantastic, healthy benefits for your pup. After all, in many cases, we really don’t know for sure what’s going into that supermarket kibble! Even though many brands are being more open about their ingredients listings, it’s plain to see why so many of us have swung towards raw food.
Raw food diets may be popular, but you’ll still need to be careful in how you approach feeding your dog in this way. Some pets won’t react well to high-protein or high-bacteria diets – do consult your vet before making any major changes.
Remember, too, that changing your dog’s diet should be for the sake of their health – not for your lifestyle, and certainly not for the sake of saving a few pounds.
What is the difference between natural and raw dog food?
Both natural and raw dog food diets aim to mimic the diet that dogs would eat in the wild, but there are some key differences between the two. Natural dog food is made with ingredients that are minimally processed and do not contain any artificial preservatives or flavors. In addition, natural dog foods often contain added vitamins and minerals to ensure that your pet gets all the nutrients they need. Raw dog food, on the other hand, is made with raw meat, bones, and organs that have not been cooked or processed in any way. Many raw food advocates believe that this diet is mimics what dogs would eat in the wild and that it provides more nutrients than a diet of processed kibble. Some dogs may simply prefer the taste and texture of raw dog food, as it is often more moist and flavorful than its cooked counterpart. Note that unlike other types of dog food, raw dog food is frozen and must therefore be defrosted or thawed out before serving.
There are always risks associated with feeding a dog a raw diet, such as the risk of contamination from bacteria which can result in illness. As a result, pet owners should do their research before deciding whether a natural or raw diet is right for their dog.