Introduce a more natural diet to your doggie with our selection of the best raw dog food available
We all want the best for our beloved pets, so finding the best raw dog food is essential for the health and wellbeing of your dog. With raw feeding a relatively recent trend, though, it can be something of a minefield when you’re looking for a new provider, as raw feeding can be slightly more complicated than giving your dog standard kibble or even processed wet food.
Despite the challenges of raw feeding, though – such as storing it, travelling with it and preparing it safely – it’s becoming a hugely popular way to offer nutrition to our dogs. In the USA, where the trend really took off, the raw pet food market is expected to reach $176.96 million by 2027. In the UK, a study by Mintel showed that almost half (47%) of people prefer to give their pets “a natural diet based on what they would be eating in the wild”, which could well mean raw food.
For this article, we’ve scoured the market to find the four best raw dog food brands in the UK right now, exploring their convenience, costs and nutritional makeup.
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Best raw dog food: At a glance
- Best subscription-based raw dog food: Bella & Duke | From £23 (per delivery)
- Best incomplete raw dog food: Durham Animal Feeds | From £16
- Best complete raw dog food: Nature’s Menu | From £20
- Best raw dog food for variety: ProDog Raw | From £2.15
- Best freeze dried raw dog food: Nature’s Variety | From £4.15
How to choose the best raw dog food for your pet
Is raw dog food better than kibble?
Various claims are being made about raw dog food and its benefits, such as fewer and firmer stools, glossier coats, fewer allergies and increased gut health. But as raw dog food is a relatively recent trend on the dog food market, there have been very few studies relating to its nutritional value and overall effect of raw feeding over using standard kibble or other processed wet foods, and most of these “benefits” are simply anecdotal. In fact, a 2018 study in the US – albeit with a relatively small sample size – showed very little difference between traditional processed foods and raw foods, with kibble actually coming out on top of raw for certain things, such as gut health.
“You have good quality kibble or wet food and you have poor quality kibble and wet food, so there is no blanket answer to say that raw is either better or worse, as it depends what you’re comparing it to,” says qualified dog behaviourist Emma Barnett at So Help Me Dog.
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Is raw dog food safe?
“Not all the time,” says veterinarian Melissa Brock of Pango Pets. “Raw meat can carry bacteria like E. coli and listeria (a type of bacteria that causes symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea). These are both harmful to humans and animals alike. Raw meat can also contain parasites like tapeworms and ticks that can cause illness in humans and dogs alike.” These bacteria can be spread during preparation of raw food, or even through touching things your dog picks up or licks, so it can be incredibly difficult to keep everyone safe from illness.
Another concern from vet Kirsten Ronngren is that many raw dog food meals are not providing balanced diets. “This means that they may not actually meet the nutrient requirements of the animal that is eating it, for example, the diet does not provide the appropriate nutrient profile needed for daily requirements,” she says. “This is by no means a complete blanket statement for all of what’s out there, but I think is a good representation of the veterinary community’s concerns. I have no problem with people who want to do homemade diets for their pet so they have more control over what goes into it, however, I strongly encourage this be done under the direction of a veterinary nutritionist to ensure the diet is balanced and that the protein source is cooked appropriately.”
The best raw dog food you can buy in 2024
1. Bella & Duke: Best subscription-based raw dog food
Price when reviewed: From £27 (per delivery) | Check prices at Bella & Duke
Bella & Duke are one of the pioneers of raw dog food in the UK, making it easy to feed raw with their complete meals delivered on a subscription basis. Using their online forms, their tech will calculate how much your dog needs to eat based on their current health, size and activity levels, and they’ll deliver it to your door on a regular basis so your dog will never go hungry.
Bella & Duke’s raw food comes in compact 500g tubs which contain a raw protein – either beef, chicken, duck, tripe, lamb, salmon or white fish – from BRC accredited human-grade factories, plus British fruit and vegetables for balance. It’s grain-free and all natural, and as with all raw dog food it needs to be kept in the freezer and defrosted before serving. Bella & Duke offer boxes of 4kg, 8kg, 12kg, 16kg and 20kg – therefore while the price of each individual tub is displayed, you have to remember to calculate the price against the size of your delivery box.
Key details – Ingredients breakdown: Raw meat/fish, fruit, seasonal vegetables; Dog age: Adult/Puppy; Grain-free: Yes; Form: Loose mince
2. Durham Animal Feeds: Best complementary raw dog food
Price when reviewed: From £16 | Check prices at Durham Animal Feeds
If you prefer flexibility in your dog’s diet, opting for complementary raw food could be a better bet. Durham Animal Feeds has been making food for dogs since the late 1960s and they now have a vast range of options, from pure minced meat 454g tubs (sold in boxes of 14) to meals that act as a complementary dog food. They also sell raw bones with meat on, boneless chunks of meat and other animal parts such as chicken feet.
Of course, Durham’s food needs to be paired with other ingredients such as fruit, vegetables or perhaps even supplements to ensure your dog gets a well-rounded nutritional diet. As vet Kirsten Ronngren points out, pet nutrition is complex so opting for this kind of diet might not be right for everyone and should be done in collaboration with a professional animal nutritionist.
Key details – Ingredients breakdown: Raw meat and offal; Dog age: Adult; Grain-free: Yes; Form: Loose mince or whole pieces
3. Natures Menu: Best complete raw dog food
Price when reviewed: From £20 | Check prices at Pets At Home
For complete raw dog food, Natures Menu has the best range, with complete meals that come in minced meat packs or “nuggets”, which are slightly easier to serve. The complete meals come with 80% animal protein, blended with various superfoods and vegetables including carrots, swede and blackberries, as well as wholegrain rice.
Options include grass-fed beef, chicken with tripe, wild venison, rabbit, duck or lamb, and there are a range of meals with added extras such as liver, salmon and white fish. You can buy one-off packs, but Natures Menu also has a subscription option for added convenience and lower costs.
Key details – Ingredients breakdown: Raw meat/fish, tripe, peas, swede, carrots; Dog age: Adult/Puppy; Grain-free: No; Form: Loose mince or minced “nuggets”
4. ProDog Raw: Best raw dog food for variety
Price when reviewed: From £2.15 per 500g | Check prices at ProDog Raw
For something a little different, ProDog Raw offers complete meals with some pretty interesting meats. Forget boring chicken and introduce your dog to wild boar, venison, pheasant and rabbit, as well as the usual beef, salmon, and lamb options. Each complete raw dog food meal is made up of the meat protein, bones and offal, plus leafy greens, kelp and flaxseed and hemp oils for extra nutrients.
ProDog Raw offers both puppy and adult dog food, as well as single protein ranges and a complementary range of pure animal meat, plus offal such as liver, tripe and kidney. All ingredients are British and DEFRA approved, and the meat comes minced for easy eating.
Key details – Ingredients breakdown: Raw meat/fish, offal, flaxseed oil, hemp oil, kelp, inulin, leafy greens; Dog age: Adult; Grain-free: Yes; Form: Loose mince
5. Nature’s Variety: Best freeze dried raw dog food
Price when reviewed: £4.49 (per 120g) | Check prices at Pets at Home
If you’re unsure about handling raw meat and worried about the bacteria it could spread around your home, Natures Variety is a great alternative to raw dog food. This is also an excellent option for anyone who travels with their dog and will find it hard to keep raw dog food frozen on holiday. Natures Variety is essentially freeze-dried from raw, which means it retains all the nutrients of the raw meat, but ensures most bacteria cannot be transferred through the food.
Their food comes in “nugget” form and can be kept in the cupboard, and includes flavours such as chicken, lamb, beef and turkey. They also have a range of freeze-dried chunks of meat for healthy training treats, too. It’s all grain free and completely natural, and the only processed element is the freeze-drying itself.
Key details – Ingredients breakdown: Raw meat/fish, carrots, apples, butternut squash, sweet potato; Dog age: Adult; Grain-free: Yes; Form: Dry chunks