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Best Raw Dog Foods Review

Updated: 3 days ago

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Raw feeding appears to be taking the dog food market by storm.

So is it worth making the switch to raw dog food?

If you’re considering making the change, but are still baffled by how it all works and bewildered by all the different dog food companies, let us help unravel the facts for you.

We’ve tested and reviewed four of the best raw dog foods in the UK. They not only offer a complete diet but come armed with smart, informative websites and understanding customer service at the end of a telephone line (which we've tested). We’ve also explored tried and tested transition plans to take the stress out of making the move to a raw dog food diet.

Four different breeds of dogs with their tongues hanging out

Feel free to read the full article or skip straight to the section which interests you.

Table of Contents

Why Feed Raw ?

Buying Guide for Raw Dog Food

Features to Consider

Our Picks of the Best Raw Dog Foods

1. Pro Dog Raw

2. Paleo Ridge

3. Natures Menu

4. Bella & Duke

Let's Talk Transition

Our Selection Process

Why Feed Raw ?

The principle reason for considering a raw diet is embracing the evolution of the domesticated dog. Their nearest ancestors (before we took them into our homes, groomed and cuddled them and gave them cute names) were wolves. In fact, the human bond with our canine companions dates back centuries, to when nomadic hunters first interacted with wolves and I’m pretty sure their diet didn’t include kibble.

Fundamentally raw is believed to be the closest thing to a wolf diet in the wild. It is therefore considered to be ‘natural’ or biologically appropriate feeding. Very logically these types of diet are often referred to as Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or BARF.

Dog eating raw dog food from a bowl with its tongue out

Buying Guide for Raw Dog Food

The truth is that you can successfully produce a homemade raw diet in your own home, however, long term, the nutrients need to be carefully considered to ensure that you're providing a balanced diet. This is easier said than done!

Alternatively, several companies take out all the guesswork and provide complementary and/or complete raw diets for your dog. There is a fundamental difference between these two:-

  • A complete diet meets all the nutritional requirements of your dog by adding in supplements to create a balanced diet.

  • A complementary diet must be fed in conjunction with other foods or supplements to meet all your dog's nutritional needs.

There are so many raw dog foods on the UK market that sifting your way through all the companies can be a daunting task. Here at Smart Bark we're always on the quest to find the best of the best.

We've tested all four companies featured - ProDog Raw, Nature's Menu, Paleo Ridge Raw and Bella & Duke and our findings are included in this review.

This Buying Guide gives you an overview of your options for a Complete raw diet and helps you decide which features are most important to you. So take a break, relax and read through our guide.

Features to Consider

Before you jump in and make the switch to a raw dog food diet, keep the following points in mind :-

Minimum Order and Tub Size - Our first bit of advice is to be aware that raw dog food arrives frozen and needs to be stored in your freezer until needed. Consider the storage space needed and what's more, take a look at the delivery intervals on offer.

Sample Pack - This is a great way to make sure your dog loves the food before you make a large financial commitment. Also look for transition bundles which can help you manage the move to a raw diet.

Ranges - Do you need to take account of allergies, an older dog's dietary needs or even a puppy ? We've highlighted not just the standard raw range but also any other ranges on offer by each company.

Variety - A balanced and nutritious raw diet should include lots of variety. When selecting your products, ideally you should be aiming to feed at least 5-6 different protein types over a 2-month period. Most bundles offer a wide selection.

Loyalty Scheme & Introductory Offers - Some companies run loyalty schemes so you can save money long term and others offer deep-cut introductory offers. Both are worth considering and we try to provide information on each.

Recommended Daily Food Intake - It's worth mentioning at this stage that the recommended daily food intake varies significantly from company to company featured -

ProDog Raw and Paleo Ridge use a simple 2 -3% of your dog's weight trusting you to make slight alterations to your dog's intake if required.

Natures Menu and Bella & Duke take into consideration more details about your dog including breed, sex, exercise levels etc.

Transition - There are two method to make the move to raw dog food - immediate or gradual. We outline both methods in depth, later in this article.

So let’s cut to the chase and take a closer look at 4 of the best raw dog food companies in the UK and what they have to offer you and your dog - ProDog Raw, Paleo Ridge Raw, Natures Menu and Bella & Duke.

Our Picks of the Best Raw Dog Foods

1. ProDog Raw

Who are ProDog Raw?

The ProDog Raw range has won a number of awards using only human-grade quality meat from DEFRA approved and British Farm Assured sources, they also work alongside the Raw Feeding Veterinary Society.

Prodog raw dog food sample pack and outer packaging

ProDog Raw feature first in this review primarily because of the choice and flexibility they offer both new and existing customers.

Firstly they offer a value 5kg Sample Pack providing new customers with an opportunity for their dogs to trial the food without making a big financial commitment.

The hand picked assortment of meals in the Sample Pack are specially selected to smooth the transition to raw.

Secondly, ProDog Raw work out to be the cheapest of the four raw food companies featured with their range achieving exceptionally high nutritional rating exceeding 95% on AllAboutDogFood.co.uk.

Lastly ProDog Raw provide several different ways for customers to save money - a loyalty scheme for money off vouchers and rewards, Subscribe & Save on regular orders and money-saving bundles.

It's this flexibility ProDog offer their customers which led us to 'dip our toe in the water' and trial their raw dog food first.

We tested ProDog Raw for 12 weeks and recommend it as a great all round raw food if you're looking to make the switch.

What’s in their range ?

Their complete raw dog food forms three ranges - Complete, Pure 80:10:10 and Puppy.

ProDog Raw Dog food in bowl with packaging

The Pure 80:10:10 recipes provide an exact 80:10:10 ratio of meat, bone and organs. This is specifically formulated for dogs with allergies so customers can carefully monitor the additions and ingredients or used as a base for customers wishing to create their own customised dog food.

The Complete range as the name suggests, is a selection of perfectly balanced complete meals. All the necessary health supplements have been incorporated into the food.

The Puppy range is formulated to the same exacting standards but finished to a fine mince consistency which is perfect for young pups developing mouths and teeth.

New to their offering is the Complete Formula Exotic Range. Developed with vets, the unique novel protein meals (pheasant, venison and wild boar) further extend the options available for adding variety to your dog's diet.

If you’re new to raw, a good place to start is their beautifully balanced Complete Range which is available in either 500g or 1kg trays.

Ingredients for chicken recipe dog food

All the hard work has been done for you. The Complete range consists of a range of recipes from chicken and duck to salmon and even rabbit.

Incorporating a selection of fruit and vegetables alongside the main proteins, and sea kelp and Scottish salmon oil (recommended for dogs that suffer from skin allergies, promoting healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat), the recipes read like a Michelin Star Restaurant menu - just need a shaving of black truffle on top!

How do I order and how does the food arrive?

ProDog Complete raw dog food in freezer

The food is delivered frozen, wrapped in wool liners to keep it cold in transit (the wool liners are recyclable - treats are sent out for the wool liners returned).

Place all your trays directly into your freezer. Simply defrost one tray at a time, pop the lid and serve! It's simple to remember because as you empty one tray, you automatically remove another from the freezer.

If you forget and are confronted with a tray of frozen food at meal time, don't worry, it defrosts quickly on the kitchen worktop. The use of a microwave isn't recommended because it can create 'hot spots' in the food. Once defrosted the food lasts 4 days in the fridge.

Their dog food calculator suggested 260g daily for a 12 kg adult dog. We gave half a tray (250g) knowing we could give a few additional treats without overfeeding.

Consider the freezer space you will need to set aside for storage. You can of course, place regular orders through Subscribe & Save to keep frozen stock to a minimum. As you can see, we have a particularly compact (below fridge) freezer but could easily fit in 2-3 weeks worth of trays.

How much does it cost ?

ProDog Raw offer a range of 8 different Raw Food Bundles which reduces the daily cost compared with buying individual trays (savings of 14% - 18% depending on bundle chosen).

Prodog raw dog food recipe selection

For a 12kg dog, the Mixed Bundle costs less than £1.00 a day which is excellent value.

However, bear in mind you will need significant freezer space as the smallest bundles are 15kg.

Purchased individually the 500g trays work out slightly more expensive but there are significant savings to be made by purchasing the 1kg trays. Delivery is charged at a flat £6.50 so larger orders are better value (bundles have free delivery)

Cockapoo and box of proDog Raw dog food

There is so much flexibility in the ordering process, and with 50% off their sample packs and 20% off your first full order, there will be something to suit every dog, paw parent and their freezer capacity!

ProDog Raw was the first raw dog food we tested and reviewed. Freddie adored ProDog Raw (he actually ate it the minute it was served which never happened with kibble).

We found the transition to ProDog Raw was incredibly smooth with no side effects and we noticed some benefits almost immediately (notably his poop which is smaller, firmer and less smelly👍🏽).

Reasons to Buy

+ Great value sample pack

+ Money saving raw bundles

+ Cheapest raw reviewed

+ Loyalty Scheme

Reasons to Avoid

- 15kg min for free delivery

- Freezer Space

2. Paleo Ridge Raw

Who are Paleo Ridge?

Starting life as a small family run business, Paleo Ridge have expanded quickly, recently moving into larger premises in Waterlooville and enhancing their website to meet growing demand.

A multi award-winning business, Paleo Ridge are currently the most accredited Raw Dog Food manufacturer in the UK and have been voted Best Raw Dog Food in the UK. Their range offers complete and complementary raw dog foods for both experienced and those new to raw feeding. We reviewed a selection of their complete and nutritionally balanced range for 8 weeks.

What’s in their Range ?

Their complete raw dog food is available in a choice of two ranges - Classic and Paleo Plus. The Classic range adopts the popular 80-10-10 principle with each meal containing 80% human-grade, outdoor-reared meat, 10% offal and 10% bone.

Paleo Ridge raw dog food packaging

Paleo Plus takes this a step further combining 95% meat, offal and bone with the added bonus of 5% natural superfoods.

High-quality dog foods are increasingly adding natural ‘functional foods’, which may improve your dog’s quality of life as they mature.

Paleo Ridge are no exception with their superfoods chosen for their high nutritional value including wild berries, green leafy veg, organic hemp seed, green lipped mussel and seaweed.

Both ranges offer a wide choice of recipes from surf and turf to lamb and mint so it's easy to make sure your dog is getting lots of variety in their diet.

You have a choice to either purchase the food in a variety bundle (hamper) or select recipes individually. If you choose to select recipes individually, the newly re-designed website shows at-a-glance whether each product is suitable for senior dogs, puppies, sensitive tummies and if it's low in fat.

Paleo ridge raw dog food hampers

To take the guesswork out of the move to raw food, Paleo Ridge offer a Switch to Raw Hamper (bundle) containing everything you need to make the transition if you are new to raw. They even include a useful printed 'switch to raw' guide.

This hamper contains a 8 kg selection from both their Paleo Plus and Classic ranges so seemed the perfect place to start.

The bonus of buying a hamper (or bundle of products) instead of individual trays, is the benefit of free delivery so they work out great value.

Henry our reviewer, trialled this hamper as he switched from a dry kibble diet to raw.

Our reviewer's family had two initial concerns about switching to raw dog food. The first was the transition process itself and possible side effects. I'm happy to report, that there were no side effects and the transition was super smooth.

The second concern was the potential extra preparation time involved with raw feeding. Again, this didn't appear to be an issue, and whilst there is a little more to think about than simply pouring dried kibble into a bowl at tea time, they felt the benefits far outweighed the small increase in preparation time.

How do I order and how does the food arrive?

With excellent eco-credentials, all the product packaging is either compostable, biodegradable or recyclable.

Paleo ridge complete raw dog food in a freezer

The food is wrapped in a woolcool liner to keep it cool in transit.

Paleo Ridge offer a return service for the woolcool liners. Simply save 12 and they will not only arrange free collection but issue you with £5 loyalty points on your account.

The Paleo Plus range is packaged in 500g trays and the Classic range in 1kg trays.

The food arrives frozen so transfer to your freezer then simply defrost a tray at a time.

The 500g Paleo Plus trays have resealable lids, but the Classic range will need transferring to a resealable container. Our tester divided the raw into individual containers and Henry then ate his meal direct from the container - so no dog bowls to wash !

Once defrosted the food will last 4 days in the fridge. As with all the companies featured, it's important to consider the freezer space you will need to set aside for storage.

How much does it cost ?

Their online 'Dog Food Calculator' simply suggests how much to feed based on your dog's weight. Paleo Ridge suggested that Henry should consume approx. 240g - 300g of dog food daily.

paleo ridge raw dog food ingredients

For the Switch to Raw Hamper this worked out at costing between £1.36 (240g) and £1.73 ( 300g) a day.

If you choose to feed entirely from the slightly cheaper Classic range this would reduce the price further.

Whilst the Classic Mini 250g pouches are extremely convenient when travelling or for small dogs, they do work out considerably more expensive per gram than the Classic and Paleo Plus range.

If you're interested, Paleo Ridge also offer a ‘DIY’ complementary range of raw foods for dog lovers looking to further customise their dog's diet or experienced customers creating their own food. It's worth noting that you can purchase their blend of superfoods - Paleo Plus Berry Good to add to your homemade meals.

Our reviewer noticed smaller and firmer dog poo and Henry's coat appeared softer and shinier. They were so pleased with Paleo Ridge that they are continuing to feed a raw diet and have invested in a small freezer for the garage so they can place larger and better value orders.

Reasons to Buy

+ Award winning food

+ Great value

+ 8kg money-saving hampers

+ Wide range of flavours

+ 250g pouch options

Reasons to Avoid

- Freezer space

3. Natures Menu

Who are Natures Menu?

Natures Menu started as a small family business in 1981 and they’ve grown to a state of the art facility in Snetterton, Norfolk. They offer a wide range of raw and natural pet foods for both dogs and cats using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. We tested and reviewed a selection of foods from their Original and Country Hunter range over 8 weeks.

What’s in their range ?

Their complete raw dog food forms two ranges - Original and Country Hunter. Original as the name suggests was the principal range and Country Hunter has been developed with the addition of superfoods and is naturally gentle on digestion, perfect for dogs with sensitivities and allergies.

natures menu raw dog food nuggets and packaging

We decided to trial both ranges to see if Freddie our Cockapoo expressed a preference. We chose the 1kg bags of nuggets.

With the nuggets as shown in the photo, simply count out the number needed. The raw ready meals are served in convenient 300g portions, in both cases just thaw and serve.

As you'd expect there is a range of different recipes with raw fruit and vegetables incorporated with the protein.

They also offer ranges specifically designed for senior dogs and puppies.

How do I order and how does the food arrive?

Natures menu complete raw dog food

The food arrives in frozen bags. Simply count our the nuggets and defrost on the worktop or overnight in the fridge. If you chose the raw ready meals shown in the photo, simply defrost a portion at a time.

Once defrosted the food will last 4 days in the fridge. As with ProDog Raw, consider the freezer space you will need to set aside for storage.

You can of course, place regular orders through subscription to not only keep frozen stock to a minimum, but also take advantage of the 10% subscription saving.

How much does it cost ?

The online questionnaire provides guidance on how much to feed your dog based on breed, sex, age and weight. On the information entered, Natures Menu suggested that Freddie should consume approx. 460g (27 nuggets) of dog food daily.

natures menu original raw dog food

Nearly 1/2 kg of raw food a day seemed a considerable increase on the volume of raw food we had been feeding him.

Clearly there would be no complaints from Freddie, but we decided to reduce this amount to 20 nuggets daily and adjust if necessary.

After 4 weeks we noted that the reduced amount of raw food accompanied by additional training treats maintained his weight comfortably.

This is the most expensive dog food featured, however it is worth noting that Natures Menu suggested a much higher daily intake than the other companies.

Feeding the quantities suggested by Natures Menu from the Original range costs approx. £1.80 a day when ordering 8kg. We opted to feed considerably less than this and still maintained Freddie's weight.

It's worth noting that, Natures Menu also offer a ‘Home Prepare’ range of raw foods which you can mix and match to create your own bespoke dog's diet.

Generally, Freddie enjoyed Natures Menu, but from a storage perspective, I found the trays of ProDog Raw and Paleo Ridge easier to stack and store in the freezer. I also found from a hygiene point of view that that there was less handling involved with the trays as opposed to the Natures Menu nuggets which needed counting out.

Reasons to Buy

+ Subscribe and Save 10%

+ Wide range of flavours

Reasons to Avoid

- £29 spend for free delivery

- Most expensive reviewed

- Freezer space

4. Bella & Duke

Who are Bella & Duke ?

The last company in our review is Bella & Duke. They are the leading pet food subscription company in the UK offering meal plans for dogs and cats.

You can’t buy Bella & Duke in the shops, their raw food is only available as part of a subscription package. But it’s not like the dreaded gym membership! You can cancel or 'paws' your subscription at any time for no cost.

What’s in their range?

Only using the best ingredients, all meats are 100% human-grade and UK sourced while all the fruit and veg are sourced locally. The Bella & Duke range includes five collections:-

Bella and Duke raw dog food and ingredients on a table

The Adult Premium Complete gives your dog everything they need to stay fit and active. Suitable for all dogs

Pure Meat & Bone (80:10:10) a collection of vegetable-free recipes. Perfect for dogs suffering with allergies and the BARF traditionalist.

Superfood Enriched – Packed full of superfoods and anti-inflammatories it's aimed at senior dogs who may need a little extra.

Puppy Food – For dogs less than 12 months.

Working Dog - Exclusively formulated for working dogs with higher protein and fat content.

For this article we ordered and tested the Adult Premium Complete range.

How do I order and how does the food arrive?

The online questionnaire is more in-depth than some other raw foods in-depth. On top of the usual questions there are 5 body types to choose from and 9 levels of activity to help Bella & Duke recommend the correct food amount for your dog.

Bella and Duke raw dog food and packaging

There are additional questions regarding your available freezer space so they can help select suitable delivery sizes. They really have thought of everything!

All food is delivered in 500g trays in multiples of 4kg, 8kg, 16kg or 20kg depending on your storage space.

They stack easily into the freezer and whilst the packaging isn't resealable they send a storage tub to help with the defrosting process.

Rather than selecting individual recipes, a combination of 8 recipes were automatically added to our basket (but this can be altered to suit before finalising the order).

The ordering process is very slick and once you're organised your first delivery, you are taken to a welcome video by the CEO, and a follow-up courtesy call a few days later which is a thoughtful touch.

How much does it cost ?

Dalmatian with head in box of Bella and Dukes raw dog food

The initial plan for Freddie was 308g a day of the Adult Premium Complete food.

Depending on the delivery size selected, the price varied from £1.45 to £1.77 a day.

The deliveries offered between 26 and 40 days worth of food based on freezer capacity.

There are no delivery costs to add on and Bella & Duke have a 50% off your first order, which reduces the costs significantly if you wanted to trial their food.

We tested Bella & Duke for 3 months and Freddie loved the food.

The food was easy to stack in the freezer and although the storage tub provided by Bella & Duke didn't survive the dishwasher, we simply placed any remaining raw food in a tupperware container.

It's worth mentioning Bella & Duke's customer service. In addition to regular information emails, you also receive follow-up phone calls from their customer service department. If you are new to raw feeding this could prove to be very helpful. Personally we found the phone calls unnecessary and a little annoying, but saying that, we were experienced raw feeders.

Reasons to Buy

+ 50% off first order

+ Advice on freezer capacity

+ No additional deliver costs

+ Loyalty Scheme

Reasons to Avoid

- Only available on subscription

- Freezer space

All four companies featured in this article have taken the stress out of raw dog food and can offer an excellent service for you and your dog.

Our last bit of advice would be to consider investing in a small freezer just for raw dog food. It may initially seem like an extravagance, but by taking advantage of the larger order volumes you can save a considerable amount of money - offsetting the initial cost of the freezer.

Let’s Talk Transition

You have two main methods available to change your dog's diet from wet or dry food to a raw diet - Immediate or Gradual.

Immediate Transition

Some experts advocate a straight and immediate swap of foods. As feeding both dry and raw foods together can put unnecessary strain on your dog’s digestive system an immediate swap can be the simplest solution.

Most dogs transitioning on to a raw diet find that they have very few short-term side effects. But it's worth keep a diary of any noticeable differences including weight changes, changes in stools, bad breath and maybe some vomiting. Persevere, but contact your vet if you are concerned.

a terrier dog looking at the camera

Gradual Transition

The second option is to transition gradually. Start by calculating your dog's daily raw food ration using the website feeding calculator.

For the first week, offer 50% existing food and 50% new raw food in separate meals. Don’t mix the raw and dry foods together as they are digested differently. Dry dog food can take up to 16 hours to digest while raw dog food only takes 4-6 hours.

Feeding both together should be avoided. So feed the 50% existing food and 50% new raw food meals as far apart as possible (ideally 12 hours apart), to help digestion.

If after a week your dog's digestive system is happy with the raw food, gradually increase the percentage of raw food over the next week. After 2 weeks you should be feeding 100% raw for each meal.

You know your dog best, so choose a transition method which suits you and your dog.

If you're still unsure about switching to raw, we cover the concept of raw dog food in our article - The Raw Dog Food Diet - Benefits and Risks

Our Selection Process

All the companies featured in our article – ProDog Raw , Paleo Ridge, Natures Menu and Bella & Duke have DEFRA approved factories and source from the human food supply chain.

They offer a beautifully balanced and complete raw dog food which is approved by nutritionists so you don’t need to spend time trying to create a diet from scratch (they’ve done all the hard work so you don’t have to).

All the foods reviewed have a high nutritional rating exceeding 90% on the dog food site - AllAboutDogFood.co.uk.

Lastly, the four companies chosen offer a range of methods to buy raw dog foods. From subscription only to ordering individual packs, our chosen range of companies have something to suit everyone.

Thanks for dropping by and reading our Best Raw Dog Food Review.