The Big Dog Raw Food Review: Tested & Evaluated 2023
Looking for a convenient raw food for your dog? This might be a good choice! In today’s Big Dog raw food review our experts go over everything you need to know about this BARF-suitable cuisine.
We teamed up with veterinarians, canine nutritionists and dog parents alike to form an independent team of experts worthy of the task. We then spent several weeks researching and testing every offering from the Big Dog raw food line. Ahead, we share everything we learned about Big Dog raw food so you can make the best decision for your dog.
Related: The Best Dog Food Australia.
Related: How To Choose The Right Dog Food?
Related: How Is Australia’s Dog Food Industry Regulated?
Related: What is AAFCO? The Association of American Feed Control Officials.
Related: What Is the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA)?
Related: AAFCO vs PFIAA: Dog Food Standards Comparison Australia.
Related: Understanding Guaranteed Analysis Levels in Dog Food.
Related: Real Meat vs Meat Meal.
Quick Pick - Our Best Rated Dog Food
Our Number 1 Pick -
Petzyo Dog Food
- Ethically sourced Kangaroo, Chicken or Salmon, sweet potato & superfood extras
- Iron-rich & low fat proteins
- Three Omega 3 and 6 rich oils with a well balanced 11% fat content
- Made in Australia
Australia's Big Dog Raw Food Review
Big Dog Raw Food - 4.5 Star Rating
- Ingredients: Chicken patties: Chicken, finely ground chicken bone and cartilage, beef and lamb heart, beef and lamb liver, beef and lamb kidney, whole fish (salmon and sardines), seasonal fruits, vege and herbs (including but not limited to kale, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, silver beet, carrots, celery, beetroot, lettuce, cucumber, capsicum, apple, orange, pear, tomato, strawberry, blueberry, ginger and parsley), cold pressed ground flaxseed, whole egg, alfalfa powder, kelp powder (brown seaweed), brewers yeast, wheatgrass, live probiotics, prebiotics, garlic.
- Named Protein First: Yes.
- Dog Food Type: Raw, BARF dog food
- Recipe Range: Tasmanian, lamb, beef, chicken.
- Suitable For: Adult dogs
- Cost: $$$
- Australian Owned: Yes.
Big Dog food is an Australian brand that sells chilled patties made of raw protein and a small number of vegetables. This food follows the BARF diet, which stands for “Biologically Appropriate Raw Food”, or Bones and Raw Food. This style of eating was invented by an Australian vet Ian Billinghurst, and was supposed to imitate an evolutionary diet from before canines became domesticated. This diet is based on raw, meaty bones and veggie scraps.
Compared with traditional kibble and other kinds of processed foods, this diet is high in fat and proteins, while keeping carbs to a minimum. Should your dog make the switch? Here’s what our team of independent experts think you should know:
According to most members of our panel, dogs love this food. The adaptation from kibble to raw patties can be difficult for picky eaters, especially if your dog has never been on a raw diet. Nevertheless, once the first few days are over, most dogs thoroughly enjoy the food.
Some picky eaters even do better with raw patties than with kibble, since it smells better and the taste is meatier. Considering the high fat, high meat content in these recipes, it’s likely most dogs than not will enjoy Big Dog patties.
PRO TIP: You can use raw patties as toppers for your picky eater! If you want to make another food more enticing, crumbling raw patties on top of it can make it more attractive for picky dogs.
Because picky dogs tend to happily eat Big Dog patties, we’re giving this brand 5 out of 5 in this category.
A great ingredient list is the main selling point of these patties. For starters, the typical analysis looks great: 12.5% protein and 14% fat per serving. Consider these are wet foods, so the protein is lower than the concentrated protein found in kibble. The proteins and fats are well above the minimum AAFCO requirements for adult dogs, given they are healthy. According to Big Dog, these recipes are also fit for puppies .
As for the ingredients, this brand starts strong with “chicken” as the first ingredient, followed by “finely ground chicken bone and cartilage”. A majority of the ingredients are raw meats, which is great to see. We can assume “chicken” includes mostly muscle meat and some bones.
Ground bone and cartilage add calcium and phosphorus to your dog’s diet, which is essential to keep their bones healthy in the long term. By adding them raw, your dog can get the nutritional benefits without the risk of choking that can happen with whole, cooked bones.
After those two ingredients, the chicken recipe features heart, liver and kidney from lamb and beef, as well as fish. We’ll go deeper into the protein choices in the next category, but these are all great additions!
Fruits, vegetables and some herbs round up these recipes and add some micronutrients without excessive carbs. These vegetables are included as a macro-category, although we appreciate there is some sort of list indicating what type of veggies are used. Keep in mind this list isn’t exhaustive and the food might contain other veggies on top of the ones mentioned. If your dog is sensitive or needs to stay away from specific vegetables, this might not be a good choice.
It’s important to note this food has zero fillers. There are no gelling agents, stabilisers or thickeners, which can cause sensitivities in some dogs . On top of it, this is a chilled dog food packaged individually so there are no artificial preservatives added, which is great if you're like me and want to avoid artificial compounds in your dog’s food.
Overall, we like the ingredients in these recipes so we’re giving this brand 4 out of 5 in this category. We’re taking off one star because of the changing vegetables that might not fit all dogs.
Protein content 5/5
Big Dog offers raw patties, so it’s no surprise that these recipes are built around animal protein. We like that a majority of the protein comes from meat, and there are no protein-heavy extras like peas or other legumes.
We’ve already mentioned all recipes have meat as the first ingredient. Depending on the chosen recipe, the main protein source will change. Just below this ingredient, there are animal innards and ground raw bone. All recipes include liver, heart and at least one or two more internal organs. We love seeing internal organs in our dog food!
According to our team of independent experts, these ingredients are very nutrient-dense and come packed with vitamin B, D and A, as well as minerals like iron, selenium and magnesium  and essential amino acids like thiamine. Adding internal organs also falls in line with the BARF philosophy. If your pup were to chase “in the wild”, they would eat the organs of their prey on top of muscle meats. As this is raw food, all these nutrients are preserved and are readily absorbed by your pup’s body.
Our team also liked the addition of fish meal in the core recipes, regardless of the flavour. Fish add several essential amino acids, healthy fats and micronutrients that keep your dog healthy.
Another positive about Big Dog patties is their use of human-grade ingredients. Due to Australian laws, there is very little control of pet food facilities and industrial processes. Pet-grade ingredients have some overview, but in general, those standards are significantly lower than for human food. Unfortunately, unless otherwise specified, dog food uses pet-grade ingredients.
We appreciate that this brand uses human-grade food, which ensures a lower chance of contamination. This is especially important considering this is raw food, where hygiene should be particularly strict.
PRO TIP: High-protein foods are great for most dogs, but ask your vet before switching. Senior dogs, as well as those with chronic liver or kidney issues, should be carefully monitored if switching to a high-protein diet.
Finally, we wouldn’t be able to do a Big Dog dog food review without mentioning their single-protein range. This brand has a small range centred around unique proteins, specially created for dogs like mine that are allergic or intolerant to the more normal options. You have the choice between goat, turkey or kangaroo, so most dogs should be covered.
Our team liked the protein choices and the addition of innards to these recipes, so we agreed to give this brand 5 out of 5 in this category.
As we’ve mentioned above, this brand prides itself in using zero fillers or additives. We like that about these recipes! However, even in the short ingredient lists, there are some nice goodies worth mentioning:
We like the extras included in this food and are taking one star off because of the change in vegetables from one batch to the next.
For being a relatively small brand, Big Dog has plenty of options to choose from. For starters, there are three different lines: the core range, their low-allergy range and their scientific line.
The core line includes mixed-protein recipes built around the main ingredient (lamb, chicken, beef, Tasmanian salmon). There are also two “combo” options, that include patties of different flavours to keep your dog interested. One of the combos is tailored for small dogs, meaning the patties are smaller to avoid waste and keep food fresh.
In contrast, the low-allergy line only has uncommon proteins and is made for dogs with intolerances to common meats. This was great for my sensitive dog, and I had the choice between goat, turkey and kangaroo in regular-sized patties.
Finally, there's a “scientific range” tailored to the nutritional needs of senior dogs, as well as those with chronic conditions. This line is also lower in protein than the other recipes, to account for dogs that have chronic kidney or liver issues.
We would say there’s something for everyone here, so we’re giving this brand 5 out of 5 in this category.
Compared to traditional kibble, Big Dog food is pricier. But as far as other raw patties go, it’s pretty mid-range. We appreciate that there are larger rolls for those with big dogs or several pups, which can be less expensive than individual patties.
In our opinion, even if raw is more expensive, the long-term health benefits are worth it. We’re giving this brand 4 out of 5 in this category.
Do Not Buy If…
This is a great option for many dogs, but our panel of independent experts say you might want to look elsewhere if you:
Everyone on our team of independent experts liked this food, particularly since it has all-natural ingredients and low-carb recipes. The different flavours make it easy to feed even picky dogs, especially if you’re trying to avoid common proteins like chicken or beef. Of course, the price is slightly higher than regular kibble, but that is expected of raw food. We would give them a go!
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- Big Dog Pet Foods. Chicken patties for dogs. https://www.bigdogpetfoods.com/product/chicken-raw-dog-food
- All about dog food. Gelling agents. https://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/dog-food-ingredients/0138/gelling-agents-and-thickeners
- Can I give my dog? Read this before feeding your dog innards (internal organs). https://canigivemydog.com/internal-organs
- Great Pet Care. Kelp for dogs. https://www.greatpetcare.com/dog-nutrition/kelp-for-dogs/