The Scratch Dog Food Review: Tested & Evaluated 2023
Are you considering switching your dog’s food? Have you ever heard of Scratch? If you’re thinking about getting a subscription but are unsure, we’ve got you.
We teamed up with veterinarians, canine nutritionists, and interested dog parents to form an independent team of experts to research everything there is to know about Scratch. After several weeks and plenty of empty dog food bowls later, we were able to render some definite opinions on this Australian dog food brand.
Our experts have reviewed everything you need to know about this company and came up with the ultimate Scratch dog food review. Quick hint, it's one of the best dog food options in Australia:
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 Scratch Dog Food Review
Scratch - 4 Star Rating
- Ingredients: Meat Turkey Meal, Lamb Meal, Beef Liver Digest, Broad Beans, Chick Peas, Beet Pulp, Prebiotic, Alfalfa, Yucca Extract, Carrots, Chia, Omegas, Spinach, Pumpkin, Fibre, Vitamins & Potassium Kelp, Turmeric, Fats & Oils Beef Fat, Sunflower Oil, Salmon Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Coconut Oil, DHA from AlgaeLong-Chain Omega-3s, Salt, DL Methionine & Taurine, Zinc Sulphate Monohydrate, Essential Vitamins & Minerals = More.
- Named Protein First: No, but meal is OK.
- Dog Food Type: Grain free
- Recipe Range: Turkey, Lamb & Beef or Kangaroo or Lamb.
- Suitable For: They have no puppy-specific options, but they do offer different kibble sizes and their recipes are marketed as “great for all ages”.
- Cost: $$
- Australian Owned: Yes
Scratch Pet Food Review
Considering the high proportion of animal protein and the glowing online reviews, it’s easy to see why Scratch is such a popular dog food for many Aussie pups. Even members of our independent expert panel mention their dogs absolutely love the flavours!
On the other hand, sensitive pups seem to also be doing well on Scratch, probably because most recipes are single protein and have a fairly limited ingredient list. This lowers the chances of food allergies and ensures your furry friend stays healthy and nourished!
Overall, we’re giving this food 5 out of 5 stars in the taste category.
Scratch prides itself on sourcing better, sustainable ingredients rather than weird powders from mysterious sources. They list all ingredients and clearly indicate the percentage of each. While this might sound pretty basic, it's something most pet food manufacturers refuse to do. We appreciate companies that try to be straightforward with their formulas, so this is a good sign.
Generally speaking, Scratch dog food has three major components: meat, broad beans and chickpeas. These come in pretty much the same quantities, so a little less than 30% each. All in all, it’s not a bad sight considering many companies only offer dry kibble with the minimum AAFCO recommended protein of 18% .
It’s important to mention both broad beans and chickpeas are legumes. Legumes have recently been involved in some controversy, mainly because a small-scale study found that a grain-free, legume-rich diet might lead to specific nutritional deficiencies that can increase a dog’s risk of suffering from heart conditions .
The research team from the University of California found a strong statistical link between grain-free diets and cardiomyopathy in dogs . Upon further research, this was linked to chronic taurine deficiency.
According to our team of experts, taurine is an essential amino acid and is key for healthy heart function in mammals including dogs and humans. Since your dog’s body can’t make taurine on its own, it has to be supplied through diet. Taurine-rich foods include:
But providing dogs with a diet rich in animal protein isn’t a sure way of ensuring they get enough taurine. This amino acid is delicate and easily denatures (breaks down) with heat. This means the cooking process (including the cooking involved in making kibble) will lower the total amount of taurine.
How taurine relates to grain-free diets isn’t clear as of the writing of the article. What researchers know is that the combination of a grain-free diet with a high proportion of legumes might be causing chronic deficiencies that in turn lead to heart conditions .
So, does this means you should avoid legumes in your dog’s diet altogether? We don’t think so, and many vets don’t agree either . The key lies in rotating your dog’s diet. There is no single brand of dog food that will completely fulfil your dog’s dietary needs for the entirety of their life. We recommend supplementing animal protein sources and switching food brands every once in a while, to ensure balanced nutrition.
PRO TIP: If your dog is especially vulnerable to taurine deficiency, heart disease or you’re concerned, add different proteins and organ meats to their diet. You can use meat and organ meats as toppings on their regular commercial food. If possible, choose organic sources and favour organ meats (brain, liver, heart) since their taurine content is higher.
Overall, we like the composition of this food. We also appreciate that there’s a new recipe with brown rice that swaps the beans for oats and rice. That’s great news for owners that would rather skip legumes!
Because of this, we’re giving 4/5 to this food.
Protein content (5/5)
As we’ve already mentioned, Scratch packs around 28% of meat and organ meats. On top of the meat percentage, it’s important to measure the total meat content. All three current recipes (kangaroo, mixed-protein and lamb) have between 24% and 30% of minimum protein content. Of course, this considers the animal and vegetable protein sources in the food. The nice thing is that if you check on their site, they specifically state where these percentages come from in an easy-to-read format.
As an example, their “hypoallergenic lamb recipe” has lamb meal make up 26.1% of the food, pea protein makes up 6.7% of the food, and “amino acid boost” makes up 5.6% of the total weight. This is different to most commercial food companies that limit themselves to the general protein percentage without mentioning the sources. If you want to check the specifics of every recipe, just hop on their site and click on “recipe” to see a full breakdown of every category .
On the other hand, Scratch is also a good option if you have a dog that’s allergic or sensitive to common animal proteins like poultry. This is the case with one of my dogs, so I was happy to feed my pup some of Scratch's alternatives. While some of their recipes do contain poultry, there are two good options that are single protein. Plus, all proteins are sustainably sourced from Australian producers, which is always good to see.
Overall, we appreciate the transparency in listing the ingredients, and we also like seeing animal protein sources within the main ingredients of the food. Because of this, our team of independent experts are giving Scratch 5 out of 5 in this category.
This is where Scratch shines. They pride themselves on only adding essentials and extra goodies that will actually benefit your dog instead of bulking up the food.
While the specific additives vary according to the recipe, it’s encouraging to see some nice add-ons in many of them. For example, the overall fat content is at a minimum 15% for all recipes. We especially like seeing its sources: all recipes have beef fat and four types of oil (sunflower, salmon, flaxseed and coconut).
Scratch also includes DHA from algae. DHA is short for docosahexaenoic acid, AKA a type of Omega-3. According to our veterinarian researchers, Omega-3 is essential for the normal functioning of dog cells. This specific type also plays a key role in brain and eye development in puppies. For older dogs, Omega-3 could also have a positive effect in keeping them sharp and delaying normal cognitive decay .
Aside from DHA, Scratch also includes some wholefood goodies to round up your pup’s nutrition. We especially like the addition of alfalfa, chia seeds and turmeric in all recipes!
Considering these high-quality additives, we’re giving Scratch 5 out of 5 in this category.
This is a relatively small company, and because of that they have limited recipes. On the one hand, this is a positive because it means they’ve focused more on sustainably sourcing Aussie ingredients. But of course, it also means you might not find exactly what you were looking for.
As of the writing of this article, Scratch has three kibble recipes. Of these, two are grain-free and one is “regular”. One of the grain-free recipes and the kibble with grain are single-protein recipes, meaning it’s a good option for dogs with protein sensitivities. On the flip side, only one grain-free recipe has no poultry, so you might need to look elsewhere if your dog doesn’t like kangaroo.
They also only offer kibble recipes. If you’re looking for wet or canned options, you’ll have to choose another brand. Our team of independent experts appreciated that they do offer some high-quality treats like freeze-dried raw kangaroo, beef jerky and “lamb crunch”. All of these are great options if you want to add some extra protein goodness into your dog’s diet.
Finally, they have no puppy-specific options, but they do offer different kibble sizes and their recipes are marketed as “great for all ages”. Don't worry, we have covered a review on the kibble they market to "large breed puppies" below. Because of these small shortcomings, we’re giving Scratch 3 out of 5 in this category.
This is high-quality dog food, and the price reflects that. Of course, because they only sell online and you can’t buy it from retailers, it’s also slightly cheaper than other premium options. In general, this is great food at a medium-range price, which isn’t too bad if you’re looking to take care of your dog’s long-term health.
We like the subscription system because it ensures you only buy what you need for your dog, and prevents waste. All in all, this is a good option if you want to spice up your dog’s diet, or if you have less than three dogs to feed. We’re giving Scratch 3 out of 5 in this category!
The Scratch Dog Food being tested by our independent expert team.
Scratch Puppy Food Review
Are you looking for a great puppy food option for the newest addition to the family? Then Scratch might be a good option.
While this brand doesn’t offer puppy-specific options, they do have some recipes that might work.
For example, their grain-free turkey lamb and beef kibble recipe is marketed towards large-breed puppies. According to the official site, this recipe has a specific ratio of 1.31:1 calcium to phosphorus, which helps strengthen a large puppy’s growing bones. This, combined with proper portioning, would ensure your dog doesn’t grow too fast and helps concentrate calcium on their bones.
Related: Best Puppy Food
The regular turkey kibble and the kangaroo grain-free recipes are also good for all life stages, so you could easily offer those to your pup. Of course, this would only be possible if they will be medium-sized or smaller!
While they only offer kibble, you could easily mix-and-match with other brands of wet food or use toppings to increase palatability. We think this is a good, well-balanced option for most pups!
Do Not Buy Scratch Dog Food If…
While most dogs generally like Scratch, it’s not for everyone. Our panel of pros say it’s a good idea to rethink signing up for a subscription if you:
If you’re looking into switching your dog’s kibble or just want a little more variety, every member of our team of independent experts think Scratch is a great option! Of course, it has some shortcomings (like the number of legumes), but no single product will be ideal as the only food for your dog. As always, it’s best to mix-and-match, add fresh toppings, and use treats as an opportunity to round up your dog’s diet.
We appreciate that you can easily customise your Scratch subscription and modify the frequency and amounts to accommodate for these feeding changes. We also like the transparency related to the ingredients, allowing consumers to make an informed choice instead of guessing. All in all, we’d recommend this Aussie company for your dog food needs!
Want to read more dog food brand reviews? Check out the below:
- Ivory Coat Dog Food Review
- Canidae Dog Food Review
- Advance Dog Food Review
- Supercoat Dog Food Review
- Black Hawk Dog Food Review
- Farmers Market Dog Food Review
- Optimum Dog Food Review
- Applaws Dog Food Review
- Nature's Gift Dog Food Review
- Royal Canin Dog Food Review
- Baxters Dog Food Review
- Leaps & Bounds Dog Food Review
- Stay Loyal Dog Food Review
- Pedigree Dog Food Review
- Science Diet Dog Food Review
- Petzyo Dog Food Review
- Ziwi Peak Dog Food Review
- Savour Life Dog Food Review
- Nood Dog Food Review
- Woofin Good Dog Food Review
- “Calorie content – Pet Food”. Association of American Feed Control Officials. Retrieved August 29, 2023. https://www.aafco.org/resources/startups/calorie-content/
- Wuest, P. January 31, 2019. "Study: Grain-Free Diet for Dogs Leads to Canine Heart Disease". Today’s Veterinary Practice. Retrieved August 29, 2023. https://todaysveterinarypractice.com/study-grain-free-diet-for-dogs-leads-to-canine-heart-disease/
- Kaplan, J., et al. (2018). "Taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers fed commercial diets". PloS one, 13(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209112
- White, P. "Grain free dog food, taurine deficiency and hearth disease - what's the story?." Atlanta Veterinary Skin & Allergy Clinic. Retrieved August 29, 2023. https://atlantaskinvet.com/the-grain-free-dilemma.pml
- "Pasture-raising lamb with ancient grains". Scratch Pet Food. Retrieved August 29, 2023. https://www.scratchpetfood.com.au/dog-kibble/lamb-with-ancient-grains/
- Arford, K. May 29, 2020. "Fish Oil for Dogs". American Kennel Club. Retrieved August 29, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/fish-oil-for-dogs/