There is a lot to love about raw dog food.
Because it has never been exposed to heat or other damaging processing methods, the enzymes and nutrients in it are more likely to remain intact than in other types of dog food. It also tends to be higher in animal protein than many other commercial brands, which means more healthy fuel for your pup.
Plus, eating raw is what canines evolved to do! Their systems are better able to digest and utilize ingredients that are presented in this form.
Raw meat diets are great for maintaining canine health, but making your own can be time-consuming. Luckily, there are a number of great commercial raw diets now available.
But just because a food is advertised as being “raw” does not automatically make it the right choice for your dog.
Like with any other type of dog food, there are good raw brands and less good brands.
To help you navigate this quickly growing market, we have picked and reviewed the top 5 best raw dog food brands to help you find the one that is right for your pooch.
Our Top Pick: Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Patties
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- High protein
- 95% animal-sourced ingredients
- Multiple flavors and life-stages
- Organic ingredients
Ingredients in Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties
This awesome freeze-dried raw food comes in a variety of flavors. Here are the first ten ingredients in the popular Duck Duck Goose recipe:
- Duck with ground bone
- Turkey Liver
- Turkey Gizzard
- Pumpkin seeds
- Organic cranberries
- Organic spinach
- Organic broccoli
- Organic beets
Why we like Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties
This premier freeze-dried raw dog food is packed with meat and animal ingredients that dogs instinctively crave. The long list of fresh, healthy ingredients always includes a number of nutrient-dense organs and bone-meals to assure your pup is getting all the vitamins and minerals they need in a form they can easily digest.
>>>Like freeze-dried diets, dehydrated foods are a great alternative to dry kibble for your pup. Here are our choices of the best dehydrated dog foods.
But even beyond that, this food assures your dog is getting what they need for lasting health. Superfood ingredients like blueberries and spinach provide a heaping dose of antioxidants and trace minerals to help your pooch thrive.
But being the best raw dog food also means providing options. And that is where Stella & Chewy’s really shines. This food comes in twelve flavors and includes recipes just for puppies.
What dogs will benefit from Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties
With an average protein level of around 38% and a fat level about the same, this food is perfect for energetic dogs. All that fuel will help aid working and competition dogs in getting the job done with energy to spare.
The long list of recipe options and life-stage formulas means there is plenty of variety to find something for your dog no matter their taste. Plus, you can easily rotate recipes to assure your pup is getting all the nutrients they need.
Raw bones are a great source of minerals for your pup. Many raw diets contain ground-up bones that are easier to digest and don’t pose the same choking hazard as whole bones.
What dogs should avoid Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties
All that protein and fat may be too calorie-heavy for older and less active dogs. But in most cases, cutting down on the portion size will allow dogs that need fewer calories to still enjoy the many benefits of this food without gaining too much weight.
>>>Not sure what a freeze-dried diet is? This article will tell you everything you need to know about these diets and how healthy they are for your dog.
However, this food may be too rich for dogs with certain digestive issues and pancreatic or kidney problems. If this is the case for your pup, it is best to talk to your veterinarian before switching to this raw dog food.
Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties recall history
In 2015, Stella & Chewy’s experienced one mandated recall and issued two voluntary follow up recalls of its frozen and dehydrated foods due to listeria contamination.
Listeria bacteria are not harmful to dogs and the consumption of contaminated food would not lead to illness. However, this bacteria can be deadly to small children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.
Last word on Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties
This freeze-dried option tops our list of the best raw dog food because of the superior animal-based and superfood ingredients and the wide array of recipe choices available.
2. TruDog: Feed Me: Freeze Dried Raw Superfood
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- 99% animal-based ingredients
- 41% protein
- USA sourced ingredients
- Limited to two recipes
TruDog Freeze-Dried Raw Superfood Ingredients
TruDog raw comes in two flavors: Beef and Turkey. The ingredients for the beef flavor are:
- Beef tripe
- Beef lung
- Ground beef bone
- Beef liver
- Beef heart
- Beef kidney
- Beef blood
- Beef fat
- Mixed tocopherols
- B-alpha tocopherols
- Herring oil
Why we like TruDog Freeze-Dried Raw Superfood
Like all carnivores, dogs have evolved to get all of their nutrients and calories from meat. But for them, eating a balanced diet that will help them thrive means getting plenty of organ meat, bone meal, and animal fat. Because these ingredients are more expensive than plant-based ingredients, most dog foods supplement their nutritional profile with vegetarian ingredients.
>>>Wondering what the best type of dog food is? We have your answers right here.
TruDog is different. Ninety-nine percent of their ingredients come from animals. Their nutrient-dense raw foods include things like muscle meat, tripe, and liver to assure your dog gets everything they need, without substituting in hard-to-digest plant ingredients.
What dogs will benefit from TruDog Freeze-Dried Raw Superfood
With all that super-charged animal protein and fat, this diet is perfect for hard-working pups. Whether they spend their day chasing cattle on the ranch, chasing bad guys on the streets, or just running laps around you in the agility ring, this food will provide all the fuel they need.
But TruDog isn’t just reserved for working and competition dogs. Most companion animals will also benefit from this biologically appropriate, no-filler food. Just make sure you transition your pup slowly to give their body time to adjust to this nutrient-rich diet.
Eggs are a great source of fat and protein for dogs. Many raw recipes utilize whole eggs not just for what is on the inside, but for the added calcium found in the shell.
What dogs should avoid TruDog Freeze-Dried Raw Superfood
Like with many foods on this list, the high protein and fat content could be troublesome to dogs with certain digestive conditions. If your pup struggles with kidney issues or pancreatitis, only transition to a high protein food like this with help from your veterinarian.
>>>Here are the best dog foods for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
TruDog Freeze-Dried Raw Superfood recall history
TruDog has issued two recalls in the past, both in 2018 due to potential salmonella contamination. One was for their freeze-dried toppers and one for their treats. No recalls have been issued for their food.
Salmonella is dangerous to humans but rarely causes illness in healthy dogs.
Last word on TruDog Freeze-Dried Raw Superfood
We chose TruDog raw food for our best raw dog food list due to its inclusion of animal-sourced only ingredients. This food is as close to a wild carnivore diet as you will get in a commercial freeze-dried product.
3. Primal Freeze Dried Dog Food
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- Organic ingredients
- 78% animal ingredients
- High protein
- Multiple recipes
- Large bricks take longer to soak
Primal Freeze-Dried Dog Food Ingredients
This brand offers multiple recipes. Here are the top ten ingredients in their popular chicken recipe:
- Chicken necks
- Chicken gizzards
- Organic Kale
- Organic Carrots
- Organic Yams
- Chicken livers
- Organic broccoli
- Organic apples
>>>Wondering what foods your dog shouldn’t eat? Here are 31 foods that are dangerous for dogs.
Why we like Primal Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Like our top choice, this premier freeze-dried raw dog food is one of the best if having lots of options is important to you. With ten flavors, not only will you be able to find one your dog loves, but you will easily be able to switch between recipes to keep your pup interested.
Switching meat sources also helps guarantee your pup is getting a variety of nutrients. And since all of Primal’s foods are made with high-quality meats and organic veggies, you can be sure that whatever the flavor, this raw food will help your pup thrive.
What dogs will benefit from Primal Freeze-Dried Dog Food
At 37% protein, this food is well suited for a variety of dogs, from working pups to companion animals.
This brand is especially great for picky eaters. The meat-forward ingredients and variety of flavors mean that you are likely to find something your pup loves even if they turn their muzzle up at most other types of commercial food. The texture–something like thin wet food–also lends itself well to enticing picky pups to have a bite.
Kibble makes for an easy meal to feed, but how it is processed leaves fewer nutrients available to your pup. Freeze-dried foods are almost as easy to serve as dry kibble, but are much more nutrient-dense and a healthier choice for your carnivore.
What dogs should avoid Primal Freeze-Dried Dog Food
At 37% fat, this food does contain more calories than other choices here. If your pup struggles with weight or is on the lazier side, you will need to be especially careful when dishing out their portions.
The feeding directions on the back of the bag give amounts based on what is appropriate for unneutered male dogs. Neutered and spayed dogs will need smaller meals, especially if they are not overly active.
Primal Freeze-Dried Dog Food recall history
In 2017, Primal recalled some lots of their freeze-dried meals because they contained large coarsely ground bone chunks that presented a hazard.
Fine-ground bones are safe for doggy digestion, but larger chunks can pose a choking risk to small animals and may cause some digestive upset in dogs of any size.
Last word on Primal Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Primal earns a spot on our best raw dog food list thanks to their focus on organic, plant-based superfoods and quality meats. The number of recipes available also means your dog won’t get bored with this brand anytime soon.
4. Sojos Complete Natural Freeze-Dried Natural Raw
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- Available in bulk
- Quality ingredients
- Lower protein
- More plant-based ingredients
Sojos Complete Freeze-Dried Ingredients
Sojos is available in six different flavors and three different life-stage recipes. Here are the first ten ingredients in their chicken formula:
- Yellow split peas
- Whole eggs
- Ginger root
>>>Coconut and cranberries? Find out which fruits dogs can eat.
Why we like Sojos Complete Freeze-Dried
We are all about high-meat content and quality ingredients, but those don’t matter if you can’t afford the food. Sojos provides higher-than-average animal protein and healthy, superfood ingredients in a package that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Plus, this food is available in quantities up to seven pounds. Buying in bulk means fewer trips to the store and more money saved. Despite the lower price tag, Sojos still provides all the nutrition you would expect in a raw diet.
You will especially appreciate this affordable diet if you own a large dog that eats a lot.
What dogs will benefit from Sojos Complete Freeze-Dried
At 28% protein and only 14% fat, this food is perfectly suited for the average companion dog. All recipes include meat-first ingredients and a plethora of antioxidant-rich superfoods, but because they contain less fat and more fiber, these recipes aren’t as rich as others on this list.
Dogs who struggle with weight gain and who are less active are more likely to maintain a fit weight on this food. Plus, Sojos makes formulas specifically for senior dogs who often struggle more with weight, and for puppies, who need more fat and protein to grow.
Organ meats, such as these bovine kidneys, contain a lot of nutrients and amino acids not found in muscle meat. Well-rounded raw diets will contain muscle, organ, and ground bone to better emulate what wild canines eat.
What dogs should avoid Sojos Complete Freeze-Dried
Due to the different formulas available, it is fairly easy to find something for everyone with this brand. Still, not even the most calorie-rich puppy variety is likely to be enough to sustain top-tear canine athletes and working dogs.
These types of dogs would be better off on one of the high-fat, high-protein brands toward the top of our best raw dog food list.
Sojos Complete Freeze-Dried recall history
One more thing to love about Sojos, they have yet to undergo any pet food recalls.
The last word on Sojos Complete Freeze-Dried
Sojos provides quality, dependable nutrition for your companion dog at a fraction of the cost of most other raw foods. It is that fact and the long list of formulas and flavors available under this brand that has landed Sojos Complete on our list of the best raw dog foods.
5. Stir & Boom Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food by “I and love and you”
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- Quality ingredients
- Formulated for all life stages
- Lower in meat
- Limited sizes available
I and Love and You Freeze-Dried Raw Ingredients
This raw diet from I and Love and You comes in four flavors. Here are the first ten ingredients in their popular beef recipe.
- Sweet potatoes
- Yellow split peas
- Dried egg product
- Tricalcium phosphate
- Dried kelp
Why we like I and Love and You Freeze-Dried Raw
Like Sojos, I and Love and You offers quality raw freeze-dried diets at a fraction of the price of others on the market. These meals include less meat than more expensive brands, but they still deliver all the nutrients your dog needs to thrive.
Plus, added superfoods like dried kelp and flaxseeds pack a lot of antioxidants and omegas to help keep your dog feeling their best. And the four available flavors–beef, chicken, turkey, and lamb–make it simple to find a flavor your dog will love.
What dogs will benefit from I and Love and You Freeze-Dried Raw
With 28% protein, this food offers more biologically appropriate energy than most dry foods and in a form that your dog is better able to utilize. This combined with an average amount of fat–15%–makes this food a great choice for the average dog.
More active pups may require slightly larger portions to maintain a good weight, while the canine couch potato will do well with less in their bowl.
Want a happy, healthy dog? Feeding a quality raw diet is sure to get you both!
What dogs should avoid I and Love and You Freeze-Dried Raw
An average amount of fat means this food has fewer calories overall than other choices. It also has more fiber due to the extra plant-based ingredients. These facts may make this food not the right choice for really active dogs or those in need of a lot of easy-to-digest energy.
While this food is available in four different flavors, they all utilize common meat ingredients. For this reason, this brand may not be the best choice for dogs with multiple protein allergies.
I and Love and You Freeze-Dried Raw recall history
I and Love and You has only experienced one recall event.
In 2015, the company voluntarily pulled lots of Cow-Boom treats from the shelf for potential salmonella contamination. Salmonella is unlikely to be dangerous to healthy dogs but can cause illness in people.
The company has never recalled their freeze-dried meals, however.
Last word on I and Love and You Freeze-Dried Raw
While it may be last on our list of the best raw dog food, there is still a lot to love about I and Love and You’s freeze-dried raw option. All recipes include meat as the first ingredient, are free from fillers, and are packed with superfoods.
Sara Seitz has spent most of her life in the pet industry and has a bachelors in animal behavior from Colorado State University. Sara started working with dogs and cats as a high schooler at a rural boarding kennel. There she learned a lot about the bad and the ugly of the pet service industry. But not even the toughest day at that job would dissuade Sara from following her dream of working with animals.
In college, Sara got a job at a dog daycare and boarding facility in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her new career provided even more opportunities for learning about dog behavior than her classes did. As general manager of the daycare, Sara helped the company launch a new in-home pet sitting branch and trained to become a certified dog trainer. Between shifts taking care of peoples pets in-home and supervising dogs during playtime at the daycare, Sara organized and taught obedience classes.
Sara has always been passionate about bettering the lives of our canine companions. She soon found that advocating for and educating owners in the power of positive reinforcement training was one of the best ways to help dogs and their owners live happier lives.