Raw dog food has taken off in popularity with dog owners over the past few years. Many believe it’s a better, healthier alternative to kibble and other conventional dog foods. If you’re looking at switching your dog to a raw or partially raw diet, these products are great ones to try.
We reviewed dozens of types of raw dog food to identify the best of the best. We looked at the ease of use, the cost, and (most importantly!) how likely dogs were to enjoy them.
Our top pick, Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Dog Food Mixers, was a clear winner. Not only does it meet with the approval of plenty of dogs (and their humans), there’s a range of flavors available, and it’s super easy to use. It even comes with a special Hot Spots pet bowl.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Raw Dog Foods
|Best Overall||Stella & Chewy's Freeze Dried Dog Food Mixers||4.6|
|Runner Up||Natural Ultramix Grain Free Red Meat Recipe With Raw Bites||4.2|
|Best Budget Buy||Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Nuggets||4.1|
|Best Raw Puppy Food||ORIJEN Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free||4.3|
|Best Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food||Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Grain Free Dog Food||4.2|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Dog Food Mixers
While there are plenty of great raw dog foods out there on the market, one option stood out: Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Dog Food Mixers. Hugely popular with dog owners, and available in six different varieties – beef, chicken, lamb, salmon, turkey, and “duck duck goose” – it’s made in the USA, in small batches, to provide the best-quality nutrition for your dog.
Unlike many raw dog foods, these mixers aren’t intended to replace entire meals. Instead, you simply add them to your dog’s regular kibble – or use the mixes as an occasional treat. (There’s guidance on the back of the bag on how much to use, depending on the size of your dog.) While they’re not particularly cheap, at $39.99 for 18 ounces, they’re likely to prove a huge hit with your dog, and could be a great way to introduce them to eating raw. They come in a bag with a strong zip close, so they’ll stay fresh, too.
Stella & Chewy’s dog foods are all free from hormones, antibiotics, grains, or fillers, so you don’t have to worry about any nasties in your pet’s food. All fruits and vegetables used in their recipes are certified organic, too. As a bonus, the mixers come with a free Hot Spots Pets collapsible bowl – great for feeding your pooch when you’re out and about or traveling.
Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Dog Food Mixers Key Features:
- Easy to use – just scoop, mix, and serve
- Six different varieties available
- Free from hormones, antibiotics, grains, and fillers
- All fruit and veg used is certified organic
- Bag has a strong zip close to keep the contents fresh
- Great tasting, high quality food that’s sure to be a hit with your dog
Our Runner Up Pick: Natural Ultramix Grain Free Red Meat Recipe With Raw Bites
While Natural Ultramix Grain Free Red Meat Recipe With Raw Bites isn’t entirely raw, it’s a very convenient way to feed your pet a kibble that’s been enriched by the addition of raw food. It comes in two different sizes – a four-pound bag for $18.99, and a 12-pound bag for $35.09 – and is prepared in the USA. You’ll likely find that it works out better value from Amazon than from your local pet store.
It’s designed to be high in protein (38%), with fruits and vegetables to add insoluble fiber that aids your dog’s digestion. There’s no corn, soy, or wheat in this, so it’s a great choice if you’re avoiding grains. Many owners said that their dogs loved this and far preferred it over other brands of food – and several reviewers said that their very picky eaters gobbled it down happily. The raw bits in the mix were especially popular.
There’s no chicken in the “red meat” recipe, which you might find particularly helpful if you have a dog who’s sensitive to chicken/poultry, as many raw dog foods use chicken as a key ingredient.
Natural Ultramix Grain Free Red Meat Recipe With Raw Bites Key Features:
- Ready-mixed kibble with raw bites (and fruits and veggies) included
- Very popular with dogs who are picky eaters
- Doesn’t contain any chicken/poultry
- Free from corn, soy, or wheat
- High quality food, produced in the USA
- Easy to serve – no mixing or rehydrating needed, just pour it in your dog’s bowl
Best Budget Pick: Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Nuggets
Raw dog food isn’t particularly cheap, especially if you want to opt for something high-quality. Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Nuggets are designed to be used as treats, so if you want to start introducing raw food without spending too much, a 12-ounce bag of them could last you for quite a long time. You can easily break the treats into pieces, so you could break each one into two or even four bits to make them last longer.
Some reviewers preferred to use the nuggets as a complete meal – which is fine too, as they’re designed to provide a complete, balanced diet for your dog. You can crumble them up and add water, or even mix them with meat and veggies: they’re a really versatile option.
Several reviewers said that their dogs absolutely loved these, even those who were very picky eaters. If you want to give raw a try for a few weeks without spending too much, and without any hassle, this is a great option to go for.
Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Nuggets Key Features:
- Great for use as a treat (can easily be broken into pieces)
- Healthy, balanced, complete food that you can mix with water to form a meal
- Very popular with dogs, including picky eaters
- Includes fruits and veggies
- Particularly good for small dogs and for older dogs with dental issues
- Versatile option that you can use in a variety of different ways
Best Raw Puppy Food: ORIJEN Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free
Unlike most raw dog foods, ORIJEN Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free, is a kibble designed specifically for puppies rather than older dogs. It’s made up of 85% meat/animal ingredients and 15% fruits and veggies, providing a high-protein diet (38% protein and 16% carbohydrates). There’s a detailed feeding guide on the back of the pack to help you choose the appropriate amount to feed your puppy, based on their weight and their expected adult size.
The raw animal ingredients include chicken, turkey, cage-free eggs, herring, flounder, and mackerel, to help provide your puppy with all the nutrients they need. ORIJEN uses a “WholePrey” philosophy, which means that their food includes appropriate ratios of bones, organs, and cartilage, as well as meat.
It’s worth being aware that some reviewers said that this puppy food has a strong smell, so you’ll probably want to store it in a sealed container.
ORIJEN Dry Dog Food, Puppy, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free Key Features:
- Specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of puppies
- Includes a detailed feeding guide for puppies of different weights and different expected adult sizes
- High in protein (38%) and low in carbohydrate (16%)
- Includes bones, organs, and cartilage, as well as meat
- Made in the USA from fresh local ingredients
Best Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food: Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Grain Free Dog Food
Freeze drying is a way to dehydrate food, and freeze dried raw dog foods are a popular option because they’re less likely to open you up to the risk of cross-contamination than fresh food. They’re shelf-stable, so don’t need to stay in your freezer (like frozen dog foods). One of the best options out there is the Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Grain Free Dog Food.
As well as being grain-free, which is a common feature of many raw dog foods, Open Farm promises that the meats used in their recipes are all from humanely raised animals. There are no antibiotics or hormones here, either.
Open Farm’s foods include organic fruits and veggies, plus “superfood” ingredients like coconut oil and turmeric. They’re designed to be easy to use: scoop, add water, and serve. Like most raw dog foods, they’re not especially cheap, but they’re suitable for use as a treat and as an addition to other meals.
Open Farm Freeze Dried Raw Grain Free Dog Food Top Features:
- All meat uses comes from humanely raised animals from family farms
- Free from antibiotics, hormones, and grain
- Includes organic fruits and veggies, plus superfoods
- Versatile option that you can use as a treat, mix with water, or add to other dog food
- Has a minimum of 30% protein, most of which is derived from animal sources
Who Should Buy Raw Dog Food
Perhaps you’ve come across other dog owners praising the benefits of raw dog food, or maybe you’ve heard of it and you’re curious to give it a try. You might have a dog who is a particularly picky eater, or one who doesn’t seem to be in the best of health – and you may be wondering if raw dog food might help.
It could also be the case that your interest in raw dog food has been sparked by a switch in your own eating habits (perhaps you’ve become vegetarian, for instance, or you’re seeking to buy organic foods wherever possible). Understandably, you might want to opt for something that you consider a healthier option for your dog, too.
Whatever your reason for being interested in raw dog food, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try. It’s always best to consult your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet … but so long as they’re happy with it, you can go ahead.
Important Features to Consider
Raw dog food should have several important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting which raw dog food to buy:
- Straightforward to use. If you have limited time, or want to avoid excessive handling of raw meat, then it’s a good idea to select a raw dog food that won’t require lots of preparation. A ready-made kibble, for instance, might be a better option than food that needs to be added to water or a mixer that should be stirred through your dog’s regular food.
- Safely handled and stored. Obviously, feeding your dog raw meat comes with some potential risks to you (and other people and pets in your household). It’s important to choose raw dog food that’s been carefully handled and stored before it reaches you, to minimize the risk of any sort of contamination. If the food is frozen (rather than freeze dried), then it’s particularly crucial to ensure that it’s handled correctly during shipping. This means buying from a reputable company.
- Affordable for you. Raw dog foods don’t generally come cheap, and if you do want to opt for a raw food diet, you probably don’t want to bankrupt yourself in the process! Don’t compromise on quality, but do look for cheaper options, such as using raw dog food treats rather than replacing every meal with raw food.
- Enjoyable for your dog. There’s no point paying for a huge bag of pricy raw dog food that your dog won’t eat! It’s worth asking other dog owners, or looking at reviews, to find a variety of raw dog food that seems to prove popular with even the pickiest of pooches.
- Grain-free. While you don’t have to opt for a grain-free diet just because you’re choosing to give your dog raw foods, in practice, many dog owners do want to go grain-free as they consider it to be more natural. The vast majority of raw dog foods are grain-free, but if this is a particularly important feature for you, do check the packaging and the manufacturer’s description.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is raw dog food?
Raw dog food is food for dogs that’s prepared from raw, rather than cooked, meat. Over the past couple of decades, feeding pet dogs a raw food diet has become increasingly popular. Proponents of the raw dog food trend emphasize that it’s closer to the natural way dogs would have eaten before becoming domesticated.
Raw dog foods will often avoid grain, which fans of a raw dog food diet often consider to be bad for dogs – many standard dog foods are grain-based. A raw diet will normally contain much more protein, and much less carbohydrate, than a standard dog food diet.
There are a number of different types of raw dog food available, from “toppers” that you add to regular dog food to complete meals.
Is raw dog food safe?
The jury is still out on this one! Opting for a raw diet for pet dogs is becoming more popular, but some experts say that there are a number of risks, including:
- The potential for dog owners to become ill from raw meat being handled incorrectly.
- The imbalanced nature of a raw dog food diet, particularly if the food is being prepared at home rather than commercially (e.g. there may not be enough calcium in the diet to support proper bone development, which can be a particular problem for puppies).
Lots of pet owners and advocates, though, believe that raw dog food is perfectly safe, so long as owners take care with washing their hands after handling it – just as they would after preparing raw meat for a family meal. Make sure you wash down preparation surfaces, too, and items like your dog’s feeding mat.
If you’re in doubt, it’s definitely best to consult your veterinarian before switching your dog to a raw food diet.
Is frozen raw dog food safe?
Yes – but again, it’s important to handle it sensibly, just as you would with any raw meat. For instance, you should only defrost the amount you need at any given time, and you should defrost it in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature.
If you’re purchasing frozen raw dog food by mail, it’s particularly important to ensure that the seller is going to ship it in an appropriate way: you definitely don’t want it defrosting en route to you. This may also mean planning carefully to ensure you’re at home to receive the delivery, so you can put it straight into your freezer.
How much raw should I feed my dog?
Some dog owners opt for a fully raw diet; others simply add in a little raw food to their dog’s existing diet. There’s no “rule” about how much raw food you should go for, but keep in mind that it’s important to ensure your dog has the correct balance of nutrients, whatever their exact diet.
If you’re feeding your dog on a fully raw diet, most people suggest feeding between 2% and 3% of your dog’s full adult weight per day. (E.g. if your dog should weigh around 50lbs, then you’d feed between 1lbs and 1.5lbs of raw food each day.) Go for the lower end of the scale if your dog isn’t especially active and the higher end if they’re very active. Most packets of raw dog food will have advice on the back, too, to indicate how much you should serve.
You should normally avoid switching from a conventional dog food diet to a high percentage of raw food overnight. Instead, let your dog’s digestive system get used to raw food more gradually. Again, most commercial raw dog food will come with guidance on this … but if you’re unsure or concerned at all, always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.
Other Raw Dog Foods We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other types of raw dog food. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best raw dog foods list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your dog. We’ve included their key features below, in case one of them is just right for you.
Raw Dog Food Complete Meals
This human grade dog food is made in America by a family-owned company. Simply rehydrate it by mixing it with warm water, and serve.
- Uses human grade ingredients that meet strict standards
- All meats used by the Dapper Dog company come from the USA; veggies come from the USA and Canada
- Company is responsive to customer queries on Amazon
- Quick and simple to rehydrate the food
- Variety of different flavors available
- Includes potato (which some dog owners prefer to avoid)
This 100% raw dog food is protein-rich (22% protein) and includes added superfoods. Just add water, mix, and serve.
- Gently dehydrated to keep ingredients raw
- Grain-free (and avoids common allergens and fillers)
- Can be pre-prepared and stored in the fridge overnight, or even for several days
- Good option for dogs with allergies
- Takes a while (at least 15 minutes) for it to fully absorb water
- Company donates meals to a different rescue charity that they partner with each month
This high-protein kibble includes raw pieces for your dog to enjoy. If you want to introduce raw in a simple, easy way, this is a great option.
- High-protein kibble that’s grain-free
- No grain, corn, wheat, soy, or potato
- Freeze-dried bites of raw included in the mix
- Made in the USA, with high-quality ingredients sourced from around the world
- Some owners report issues with a recent formula change
These nuggets can be used as a complete diet for dogs of all ages: just add water. They’re free from antibiotics, hormones, and grains.
- Complete freeze dried meal, but could be mixed into regular dog food if you prefer
- Small pieces of the nuggets can be used as treats
- Great for dogs with allergies that get sick easily
- Minimum of 37% protein
- Range of different formulas/flavors available
These patties are crafted in small batches in the USA to provide protein-rich (and grain-free) food for your pet. They’re formulated to provide a complete, balanced meal that’s fortified with vitamins and minerals.
- Can be used as a complete meal or can be crumbled on top of kibble
- Wide range of varieties available (including some unusual options like venison and “surf ‘n turf”
- Meat used is from grass-fed, cage-free, and wild-caught animals
- Great for picky eaters
- Fairly expensive option if you do want to use them as complete meals
If you want to try some of the benefits of raw without switching completely to a raw diet, this raw-coated kibble could be a great option.
- Kibble itself is oven-baked, but coated with freeze-dried raw meat
- Ducks used are cage-free
- Designed to be protein-rich
- Enhanced with probiotics
- Different meats also available
This American-made dog food is free from grains and hypoallergenic, and contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
- Beef is the key ingredient (80% single source protein)
- Made in the Midwest using American, USDA-certified ingredients
- Food is gently processed to retain flavor and nutrients
- Great option for dogs with food allergies
- Available in a range of flavors
- Popular with picky dogs
If you’ve got a puppy, this is a good option for them as it’s specifically designed for dogs up to 12 months, with detailed feeding instructions on the back based on your puppy’s age and weight.
- Can be pre-prepared and kept in the fridge for up to four days
- Contains 28% or more protein
- Includes fruits and veggies
- Free from grains, soy, and fillers
- No artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors
- Shake the bag before use to distribute ingredients evenly
- Different versions available for “Adult” and “Senior” dogs
Like many others, this freeze dried dog food simply needs mixing with water so you can serve it. It’s made up of 99% meat.
- Made from UDSA grass-fed beef from Wisconsin
- No grains, sugar, fillers, etc
- No artificial preservatives
- Suitable for dogs of all ages and breeds
- Made in the USA
- Can be served dry or used as treats if you prefer
- Quite expensive (per serving) compared with some other meal options
These grain-free nibs are ideal for dogs who have allergies or sensitivities, as they’re made with a minimal number of ingredients.
- Very few ingredients compared with other raw dog foods
- Comes in an easy-to-reseal pouch
- Five different types available (beef, duck, rabbit, salmon, and turkey)
- Free from grains and gluten
- Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids
- Designed to be used as a complete meal, but could also be used as a treat
This huge bag contains high-protein kibble mixed with raw bites, as a convenient full meal for your dog.
- Not 100% raw, but a great way to try out a raw diet conveniently
- Straightforward option that doesn’t need rehydrating
- Recipe is grain and gluten-free
- Designed to support whole-body health and good digestion
- Made in the USA
Raw Dog Food Mixers
If you want to prepare your own dog food at home, this mixer is made from 100% human grade ingredients. Simply add raw meat and water.
- Makes 15lbs of food
- Suitable for puppies, adult dogs, and seniors
- Good option for “DIY” raw meals for your dog
- Much cheaper per pound of nutrition than other options
- Can be mixed with any raw meat you want
- Ensures the correct balance of nutrients when feeding a raw food diet
This blend includes 24 different whole foods and makes 28 one-pound meals if you add hot water, protein (raw or cooked meat) plus oil.
- Great way to make meals from your choice of raw meats
- Ideal for dogs with allergies or digestion issues
- Easy to prepare – add water, mix, add raw protein, and add oil
- Includes dehydrated raw foods (note these don’t include meat)
- Can’t be used as a complete meal on its own, only as a mixer
This topper is a great way to add raw to your dog’s diet – simply use it to top kibble or whatever else you’re serving.
- Can also be used as a treat
- Great way to add variety plus the benefits of raw to your dog’s regular diet
- Made in the USA
- No need to rehydrate
- Company is responsive to questions on Amazon
This mixer includes freeze-dried raw beef plus nutrient rich superfoods, and is made in the USA from responsibly sourced ingredients.
- Beef comes from grass-fed beef
- Can simply be mixed into kibble (or other dog food)
- Scoop provided so you can easily measure it out
- Easy way to try out a raw diet without committing
- Can also be used as a complete raw diet, if you mix it with water
- Feeding guidance provided for different sizes of dogs
These handy meal mixers come as a three-pack (each is 3.5 oz) so they’re a great option if you’re traveling.
- Made from 95% meat, organs, and bones
- Enhanced with probiotics and antioxidents
- No grains, hormones, antibiotics or artificial preservatives
- Simply add a scoop to your dog’s regular food
- Variety of other flavors available (including beef, turkey, lamb, and more)
- Can be mixed with water and served as a complete meal if you prefer
These nuggets come in a range of flavors and are fortified with raw goats’ milk. You can use it as a topper or even as a complete meal (if you rehydrate it).
- Made from free-range meats
- Fortified with raw goats’ milk
- Can be used as a complete, balanced meal if rehydrated
- Eco-friendly, with low-emission manufacturing
- High in lean protein
Raw Dog Food Treats
These handy training treats can be used dry or reconstituted with water to become a meal topper, and have no added hormones or antibiotics.
- Suitable for both dogs and cats
- Made using high-quality meats and fresh fruits and veggies
- All ingredients come from the USA, and they’re manufactured in the USA
- Single protein treats – great if your dog has allergies
Designed for small breed dogs, these raw bites make great treats. They’re high-protein and made from 95% meat, organ, and bone.
- Specifically designed and optimized for small breeds
- Ingredients are human-grade quality and carefully sourced and handled
- Crafted in the USA
- Great way to introduce raw to your dog’s diet as a treat
- Can also be used as a full balanced meal, either as-is or rehydrated
This convenient set of 100% raw treats includes three different 4oz bags: one beef, one lamb, and one turkey.
- Great sampler if you want to try out small bags of treats before committing
- Raw meat pieces that are gently freeze-dried to preserve nutrients
- No preservatives or fillers
- Dogs love them – even dogs who aren’t normally motivated by food
- Pieces differ slightly in size, but are no larger than 1 inch