Let’s take a look at some of the best raw dog foods in Australia, but before we do that we need to cover some gotchas with raw dog food products and address some feeding strategies!
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Different types of raw food
There are different ways to feed raw to your dog. Let’s take a look at the two main options – home made raw and commercial raw dog food:
Home made raw
A common way to feed your dog raw is to make it at home using fresh whole-prey ingredients. This is absolutely great if you know what you’re doing, but unfortunately if you don’t there can be long term health risks for your dog. There are many intricacies with canine nutrition and it’s vital to cover all nutrient requirements for long term health.
To offer an obvious example – feeding your pooch chicken breast or minced beef every day doesn’t address all nutritional requirements. The richest nutrition comes from organs, bones, and hard to get stinky stuff like green tripe.
Another less obvious example is feeding an excess of liver. It’s a wonderfully nutritious and essential organ, but as liver has such a high level of vitamin A it can lead to vitamin A toxicity, otherwise known as hypervitaminosis A.
Commercial raw dog food
Thankfully many home grown Australian companies have sprung up to offer raw dog food products already formulated with the correct ratios of meat, organs, and bones, so you don’t need to think about it.
Commercial raw dog food is often called BARF, which stands for “Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding”.
Unfortunately with lax regulations in Australia, and many small raw dog food companies not adhering to standards, there’s a vast range in quality between different brands of raw dog food.
Even some of the better brands don’t adhere to standards, but it’s a rather moot point as the standards are mostly in favour of the manufacturer rather than the consumer, merely offering ways to hide the truth. The reason for this is the Australian standard for pet food marketing, AS-5812, is heavily influenced by pet food manufacturers.
Thankfully there are some really good brands, some of which are covered in the best raw dog food list down below.
A caution on feeding raw dog food products / BARF
A concern I often have with many commercial pet foods, particularly wet dog foods and BARF, is they don’t address dental health, plaque, or tartar control. The reason for this is they’re soft foods with no abrasive qualities.
Wet dog foods are arguably worse given many are made from sub-standard ingredients, some not even species appropriate. At least with commercial raw dog foods they’re made with ingredients more appropriate to your dog as a facultative carnivore.
The dangers of dental health are very overlooked, even in veterinary health, yet rotting teeth is only the tip of the iceberg with a condition which can culminate in organ failure or heart disease. No matter what you feed your dog, always monitor their teeth. If there’s plaque build up, you’re doing something wrong.
Options for dental health are varied, from dental treats (yeah, nah), to regular brushing (some credibility), or chewing on a raw meaty bone (which is how wild animals retain excellent dental health).
If you consider chewing on bones as an excellent option for dental health (which they are), and you feed a BARF product with ground bones, it’s also worth considering you’re doubling calcium intake and throwing the balance out of whack – answer me that conundrum.
Human grade vs pet grade
One of the best metrics for assessing the quality of a raw dog food / BARF product is whether the ingredients used are human grade or pet grade. In Australia there is a vast difference in quality between the two, with the latter proving harmful in many cases over the years.
The last incident with pet grade meat was the toxic horse meat scandal of 2021, when a consignment of poisoned horses was sold by a knackery in Victoria as “beef” for dogs.
There have been a plethora of other issues over the years such as plastic and metal contaminants and excessive sulphite preservatives leading to renal failure in some dogs.
Needless to say, if a raw dog food product is made from human grade ingredients, then that’s a very good thing.
However, with lax pet food regulations and no accountability, some Australian pet food companies make claims such as “contains human grade ingredients” which doesn’t necessarily mean all are human grade, or “made with meats from a human grade facility” which doesn’t necessarily mean the meats in their product are human grade – many pet grade meats come from a human grade facility.
Some of these companies, and I won’t mention names, have a loyal following in Australian dog groups.
Raw dog food delivery
One of the biggest problems with raw dog food is knowing where to buy it or how to get it delivered. The “best raw dog food” list below only contains brands which are easily accessible to most Australians (including regional areas), but if you live in a city you’ll likely have options specific to you.
There’s a list of raw dog food delivery per city here.
Best raw dog food (Australia)
Here you go! Here are some of the best raw dog foods in Australia! They aren’t ordered in a particular way, so don’t work on a first in best basis.
I work on the philosophy variety is the best policy, and I see no reason not to rotate between different brands or styles of food. After all, we don’t eat the same thing every day, do we?
This list is inclusive of “dried raw”, which is a very convenient way to feed raw dog food without the problems with filling up the fridge with fresh meats with a short use by date.
For all dog food reviews click here.
Frontier Pets dog food is rated one of the highest on this website. It’s freeze-dried raw so can be kept in a bag like regular dog biscuits, and you reconstitute it with water a few minutes prior to serving.
It’s formulated with free-range meat, organs, and tripe, with a range of organic vegetables, eggs, and rounded off with nutrients and inclusions like turmeric which you won’t find in many products.
Frontier Pets are an Australian company, using human grade meats ethically farmed from Australian sources. They have a mandate to end factory farming in Australia.
Lyka has shown to be up there with the best, and the best thing about it is it’s delivered right to your door, fresh, tailored to your dog.
I’ll mention Lyka dog food is “slightly cooked” rather than full raw, but it’s very well formulated from meat, organs, veggies, and chelated minerals (which to you and me are much more readily absorbed by your dog than cheaper inclusions found in other dog foods).
Lyka dog food has some really nice inclusions such as psyllium husk for fibre, fish oil for skin, coat, and heart health, as well as kelp, spirulina, and ginger.
Read the full Lyka dog food review.
Big Dog BARF
Big Dog has been around longer than you’d think, dating back to the early 2000s as one of the first Australian BARF foods. The other original BARF brand was Dr B’s BARF which was subsequently bought up by a larger manufacturer and makes no claims about human grade meats – not the case for Big Dog which does use human grade ingredients.
The main ingredients are a range of meats, ground bone, cartilage, heart, liver, kidney, combined with whole fish, fruits, veggies, and a range of smaller inclusions which each add their own nutritional benefits.
Read the full Big Dog BARF review.
Just like Big Dog, Proudi is another great option in terms of frozen BARF patties. The two are very similar, but Proudi is slightly more “full-carnivore” in that it doesn’t have the same fruit and veg content as Big Dog. Whether that’s a good or bad thing will be debated by raw feeders for years to come, and I’ll sit on the fence with that one.
Proudi is an Australian company using 100% Australian ingredients, and best yet all of them are human grade.
Read the full Proudi review.
Quick-fire feeding tips
To round off this list of best raw dog foods in Australia I’ll also through in some quick fire tips:
Feed a variety
Firstly, I personally see more issues arise with dogs fed a single brand of dog food than I do with those fed a variety. It’s perhaps common sense when you translate it to our diets, and common knowledge that we can easily become intolerant of a food we either don’t have in our diet for a long time, or also if we eat something all the time. This is in stark contrast to what pet food manufacturers tell us, which probably has more to do with them wanting you to feed their product for the life of your dog.
Don’t be afraid to feed other foods
Kibble is a convenience food. A lot of “science” goes into ensuring all nutrients are catered for to ensure your dog has everything they need, but there’s also a lot of “marketing” – it’s a product after all.
Most of us depend on convenience, especially with our busy lives. Feeding a decent kibble over a poor one will go a long way, but there’s no reason it should be the only food you feed.
Personally I feed kibble, wet, barf, raw, and all manner of fresh foods and scraps which are species appropriate. I feed raw meaty bones for nutrition and dental health. I don’t feed anything to my dog which is unhealthy or unnecessary, especially given fresh meat will be appreciated the most.
I realise books have fallen by the wayside in these days of instant gratification from social media and YouTube videos, but when it comes to feeding the dog you love a diet of raw, it’s well worth researching as much as possible.
I’ve compiled a list of great reading material which should really help, and I highly recommend the first book on the list, “Work Wonders” by Australian vet Tom Lonsdale, which despite being a short and enjoyable read contains the most powerful information to understand commercial dog food vs raw dog food (and the importance of raw meaty bones).
Take advantage of deals
There are a number of large pet food retailers in Australia, and almost always they have a deal on one brand or other. Keep an eye out. Most of our reviews have a price comparison “Where to buy” which can point you in the right direction.
Most retailers, and also some mail-order dog foods, offer a repeat delivery discount. You can tailor the delivery to suit you, not have to worry about running out, and save some $ in the process.
Your local independent may also offer a similar service, so if in doubt ask them. In recent years many independents have also started to stock all manner of fresh meats, offal, and bones. A good question to ask is “is it human grade or pet grade meat”, or check customer reviews.
Best raw dog food Australia – originally compiled April 2022.