Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. For more information, read my full affiliate disclosure here.
Commercial raw diets are increasingly popular, but are they an option for big dogs? This is a review of Darwin’s raw dog food.
Tell me if this is you:
“I am interested in raw feeding, but I don’t know where to start.”
“I don’t feel I have the knowledge to balance a raw diet correctly.”
“I do not have the time, nor the desire to put together a whole raw diet.”
“Feeding a raw diet when I travel seems both impractical and impossible.”
If any or all of these sentiments ring true for you, keep reading.
Darwin’s Raw Dog Food – A Possible Solution?
I was introduced to Darwin’s Natural Pet Products earlier this year through my work with Blog Paws. With their mission of providing an easy way for pet owners to feed a nutritious high-quality raw diet, coupled with Big Dog Mom’s mission of informing and empowering big dog owners, the partnership with Darwin’s was a perfect fit.
I knew going into this partnership that Darwin’s raw dog food was not going to be a solution for my dogs as a stand-alone raw diet simply due to my dogs’ size and the cost. But as a whole raw feeder who travels with my dogs for vacation and to dog shows, I am always looking for wholesome, convenient options for me and you.
So, before you dismiss this post as being a biased sales pitch, let me share with you why I absolutely think Darwin’s raw dog food can and should be on your list of options for your raw or partially-raw fed big dog.
Darwin’s sent me a box of their Natural Selections™ Raw Dog Food to trial with Junior and Sulley in exchange for an honest review. In this post are affiliate links from which I may receive a small compensation. There is NO ADDED COST to you should you use these links.
5 Reasons Darwin’s Raw Dog Food is Perfect for Big Dogs
1. Darwin’s Raw Dog Food is Balanced out of the Box
With meat and organ (72-74%), organic vegetables (~24%), and a special nutrient mix (~3%), Darwin’s raw dog food is a balanced raw diet.
Rightly so, however, common concerns among big dog owners are the amount of protein and the calcium/phosphorus ratio.
While it is beyond the scope of this post to dive into whether these concerns are founded on science or not (a future post I promise), for now, I want to show you where Darwin’s raw dog food stands on both.
Here is a snapshot of the ingredient profile for one of the formulas that are Junior’s and Sulley’s favorite; Natural Selections™ Grass-Fed Beef and Organic Vegetables.
In the resources section below you will find several good articles that address the common concern as it relates to protein content in dog food. In addition, read Feeding Giant Breed Puppies for Dummies – The Protein Myth & More.
A bigger issue, in my opinion, is the calcium: phosphorus ratio which is a real issue for large and giant breed puppies and dogs.
While there are a number of factors that affect the absorption of these minerals, too much calcium and phosphorus can lead to developmental orthopedic diseases such as osteochondrosis and hypertrophic osteodystrophy.
Natural Selections™ Grass-Fed Beef has a ratio of approximately 1.2: 1 which is close to the 1: 1 target for large and giant breed dogs.
2. Darwin’s Raw Dog Food Uses the Highest Quality Ingredients
Hands down, one of the hallmarks of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products is the quality of the ingredients.
To illustrate, here are a few of the trademarks of the Natural Selections™ Grass-Fed Beef formula:
- Entirely Grass-Fed Cattle
- USDA Certified Organic Vegetables
- Naturally Sourced, Easily Absorbable Vitamins and Minerals
With the lack of transparency in the quality and sourcing behind the ingredients in the majority of commercial dog foods out there, it is so refreshing to see a company go against the grain in this way.
3. Darwin’s Raw Dog Food is Convenient
Inconvenience is one of the biggest reasons so many big dog owners choose to not feed raw. I get it.
I feed Junior and Sulley a whole raw diet which consists of me ordering in bulk once a month, spending several hours portioning it out, and then twice a day weighing the meat, bone, and organ to achieve a balanced raw diet over time.
Whew! I’m tired just writing that!
While completely manageable, it is work.
A raw diet is an investment. An investment not unlike sending my kids to good schools, making sure they eat their fruits and veggies or sticking to an exercise program.
The benefits justify the cost.
Darwin’s raw dog food provides all of the benefits of a balanced raw diet with the convenience of being commercially prepared for you.
Shipped on dry ice, Darwin’s is kept frozen until you are ready to feed.
Darwin’s raw dog food is packaged in small, easy-to-open 1/2 pound packages. I found it super simple to take a few packages out of the freezer and let them thaw in the refrigerator to be fed over the next couple of days.
But like with handling ANY raw meat, for dogs or humans, good sanitation practices are important.
If you would like my Free Raw Feeders Guide To Preventing Cross Contamination, click here.
4. Darwin’s Raw Dog Food is Perfect for Travel
On our recent trip to Idaho for the Blackfoot Dog Show, I brought some Darwin’s raw dog food on the road with us.
While Junior made the executive decision to fast himself most of the week, when he ate, he enjoyed Darwin’s very much.
It was easy to carry in my cooler on dry ice, thaw in the hotel refrigerator, and prepare as I do at home.
Compared to previous trips with Sulley when I had to make frequent trips to the grocery store, Darwin’s Raw Dog Food provided a super easy, balanced raw alternative for me.
5. Darwin’s Raw Dog Food Tastes Delicious… According to the Dog’s!
As I have done in the past, I like to show videos of the boys being introduced to new products so that you can see their initial reaction to it.
I will let you be the judge as to whether they liked it or not. Here is a short video of the unboxing and first taste.
The latest on Youtube:
BONUS: Little Known Facts About Darwin’s Natural Pet Products
In addition to being balanced, convenient, and delicious, Darwin’s offers several other benefits that I feel compelled to mention.
First, with a prescription from your veterinarian, Darwin’s offers several specialized diets for dogs with unique needs. Darwin’s Intelligent Design™ line includes diets for kidney support, liver support, cancer support, and joint and musculoskeletal support. Definitely check these out if your dog has specific health needs.
Secondly, for those of you who live by the motto “Go green or go home,” you’ll be happy to know Darwin’s is on your side.
As a part of Darwin’s Home Delivery Program, the big cardboard and styrofoam boxes your food comes in comes with a pre-paid label. Just place the label on the empty box and send it back to Darwin’s for re-use or recycle. Easy-peasy.
Last but not least, Darwin’s offers Discounts for Service Dogs and service dog organizations (Guide Dogs, Search and Rescue, K9 Units for police and government security) as well as accredited pet professionals.
As someone who volunteers for a local service dog organization and dreams of one day being a puppy raiser, Darwin’s also offers a discount to foster families of service dogs in training. To read more about Darwin’s commitment to working dogs in service, click here.
Big Dog Mom Rates Darwin’s Raw Dog Food…..(drum roll please)
While Junior and Sulley rate Darwin’s raw dog food with 5 paws, I give Darwin’s 4 1/2 paws.
I am deducting a half a paw due to cost and lack of options for bulk packaging.
Let me explain.
Darwin’s is not alone in the challenge of providing a supremely high quality raw, ground, commercial diet economically for large and giant breed dogs to eat as the bulk of their diet.
That is why I recommend adding Darwin’s raw dog food as a supplement to your whole raw or kibble fed big dog.
One thing you might consider, if you agree with me that adding Darwin’s to your big dog’s diet is a good idea, is taking advantage of their TRIAL OFFER.
With savings of 50-75%, Darwin’s offers new customers a TRIAL for just $14.95 for 10 pounds of food (~$1.50/lb)!
Secondly, while the small half-pound packages were super easy to thaw, open, and serve, offering packages in full-pound or 5-pound servings would be nice for larger dogs.
That said, because I am feeding Darwin’s as a supplement, the 1/2 pound size has worked out well for me overall.
Big Dog Mom’s Conclusion…
When I am looking for companies to support I prioritize things like made in the USA, product quality, and integrity.
How well do the company’s products and services match their mission? When times are tough or mistakes are made, how does the company handle it?
Darwin’s exceeds expectations on all accounts and is a company I am happy to support.
From my perspective, Darwin’s Raw Dog Food is a TRIPLE WIN.
Convenience is a WIN for you. Quality, balance, and taste are a WIN for your big dog.
And support for one of the few “good guys” in the commercial pet food space is a WIN for all of us.
Take advantage of your TRIAL OFFER today!