Venison

From time to time I do an allergy-friendly food roundup here, mostly as a way to keep track of things for myself. Here’s what I found when I was scoping out venison foods for Silas. I’ve made some notes about ingredients that may be dodgy, but if you’re interested in this I’m sure you’re already a compulsive label reader. Silas’s allergies are exclusively protein, as far as I can tell, so I may have missed something. Please note that these foods vary wildly in quality and in price. I’ve tried to be pretty thorough, but I’m sure something escaped me. That’s especially true of the treats, where I just put things that jumped out at me. If you know a single-protein venison food that isn’t on the list, please let me know.

Kibble
Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Venison (note, this one contains “natural flavor,” which has bitten me in the rear before.)
California Naturals Grain-Free Venison Meal Formula
California Natural Grain-Free Venison & Green Lentils
Pioneer Naturals Grain & Potato Free Venison
Pioneer Naturals Venison (brown rice, barley)

Canned
Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato and Venison (contains salmon oil)
Wellness Complete Health Venison and Sweet Potato Canned (barley)
EVO 95% Venison Canned (herring oil, natural flavors)
Canine Caviar 95% Venison (This does not appear to be a complete diet.)
ZiwiPeak Daily-Dog Cuisine Venison Canned Dog Food (green-lipped mussel)
PetKind That’s It! Venison (Interesting–venison and quinoa.)
Addiction New Zealand Venison & Apples Entree Canned
Addiction Hunter’s Venison Stew. (contains “liver;” I’d e-mail their customer service before I fed it.)

Raw, Dehydrated, Freeze Dried, etc
Stella and Chewy’s Simply Venison Freeze Dried
Stella and Chewy’s Simply Venison Frozen
ZiwiPeak Daily Dog Venison (green lipped mussel)–review forthcoming
Grandma Lucy’s Artisan Grain-Free Venison Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Addiction Grain-Free Fig’Licious Venison Feast Dehydrated
Addiction Homestyle Venison & Cranberry Dehydrated (oats)
Primal Canine Venison Frozen
K9 Natural Venison Freeze-Dried (egg, green-lipped mussel)

I’ll also mention my “as cheap as it’s going to get” workaround, for those of you more experienced with raw food, which is to mix Blue Ridge Beef’s Ground Venison with Bone into Honest Kitchen’s Preference. Or, for that matter, so serve it plain (as part of an overall balanced raw diet)–the Preference just bulks it up a little.

Treats
Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Venison (this appears to be a very nominal amount of venison.)
Wellness Pure Rewards Venison Jerky
Ziwipeak Good Dog Venison Jerky
Bravo! Bonus Bites Venison Liver
Nature’s Recipe Venison Recipe Oven Baked Chewy Dog Treats
Primal Venison Lung Puffs
Addiction Meaty Bites Venison Dog Treats
Whole Life Pure Venison Freeze-Dried Dog Treats
Chasing Our Tails Venison & Sweet Potato

Honorable mention goes to Addiction’s Viva La Venison kibble. It does contain chicken fat, but they swear it’s protein free. Silas has historically been okay with chicken fat from reputable companies. Since it’s the best quality of the kibbles and easily available, I’d personally risk it if I really NEEDED a kibble.

First place on the walk of shame goes to Nature’s Variety, who puts one or more additional proteins in every venison food they make, including their frozen raw.

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15 thoughts on “Venison

  1. I am a raw feeder. I LOVE feeding my dogs venison, preferably wild. I still have one venison liver and a few ribs in the freezer, but I fed the last of this past season’s meat the other night. Sad face. Having said that, I ordered some of the Blue Ridge Beef venison and bone with my coOp order for next month. I have fed it before, and I swear I read last night on the coOp’s FB group that BRB told them it contains 10 percent bone. I cannot imagine having to deal with such allergies, and good for you for searching around for acceptable foods as opposed to putting Silas on some horrid Rx/hypoallergenic diet.

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    1. I just don’t have a good source for plain raw venison. My cousin is a big time hunter and sent me the heart and liver from the two deer he shot this winter, but they eat the rest of it themselves. The Blue Ridge is pretty economical (I think I pay about $10 for a two pound chub. That’s marked up over the prices I saw online, but I’m a long way from their home base and buy at a retail store.), but plain venison is about $10 a pound. For that price, I can buy something like Primal’s frozen raw, so why bother?

      I have a friend whose dog really *needs* the hypoallergenic kibble. For those people, it’s a godsend. But it’s a terrible food. My veterinarian told me that she wasn’t willing to put a dog as young as Silas on the allergy food even if I’d wanted it. Bless her heart, she is so wigged out by raw food, but every visit she sighs and says “Well, it seems to work for him, so…”

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      1. Not to be too nosy, but where do you live? The coOp I belong to http://www.rawpaws.org, sells BRB products, and deliver throughout the midwest if you are nearby. The venison is $4.08 for a two pound chub, and you don’t have to “join” the coOp if only purchasing BRB products. Just something to consider.

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  2. That’s too bad about Nature’s Variety, they have a high rating on Dog Food Advisor. Ruby seems to be able to eat anything, so their kibble is in her rotation. You might be interested to know that Fromm is releasing a bunch of new recipes this spring – so far there has been Lamb & Lentil and I think a beef one that I’ve forgotten. I’ll let you know if I see venison come up! I’m interested in a local company I just found out about, Wild Calling. They do a turkey single-protein, but I see it has chicken fat. http://wildcalling.com/products/turkey-recipe/

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    1. The single-protein dog food seems to be really taking off. I don’t know if it’s being driven by people like me, or if it’s catering to people who just want variety. Pork this bag, lamb the next. (I wish this was how everyone fed their dogs. Silas’s kibble had about eight proteins in it, which made figuring out his allergies hell on wheels.) Acana is putting out a new line of “Singles,” Fromm is expanding their single-protein line, and there are a couple of others. I’m glad that it’s getting easier to manage food allergies with regular store-bought kibble. I’m not eager to switch back (I keep one on hand for cheap treats), but a lot of people don’t have the resources to do raw food with a protein other than chicken or beef.

      The chicken fat thing is nearly omnipresent in kibbles. It’s honestly a grey area. For a dog who is strictly allergic to protein, it really may be okay. Silas is allergic to salmon but eats salmon oil nearly every day. It’s a cross-contamination risk, though, especially in something as slap-dash as a dog food factory. I wouldn’t do it unless I just had to.

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  3. There seem to be more dogs with food allergies (or more owners who are aware of it?) and, as you say, one of the #1 culprits is chicken as a protein. As a result, I do hope more companies get it together and leave chicken, turkey, etc. out of food that is ostensibly Other.

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    1. Turkey is actually not a common allergen at all–it still baffles me that you can be allergic to one poultry and not another. Still, why go to all the trouble of making a “novel” protein dog food, and then put a non-novel protein in it? People shelling out for rabbit or kangaroo or venison are likely doing it for a good reason. In my experience, canned food and treats are the worst offenders. Treats are terrible about having “natural flavors,” which almost always means “chicken.”

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  4. I feed all the dogs Nature’s Variety and love the quality so sorry to hear they added another protein to the venison formula! We feed the LID which comes in lamb or turkey, not because of allergies but because it has less protein.

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    1. There are lots of good–and even great–dog foods out there that are bad for allergy dogs. I don’t begrudge them to anyone, although I am so relieved to see more allergy-friendly foods popping up all the time. ANYTHING is better than the prescription hypoallergenic food.

      Silas could actually eat that turkey food, it looks like, which is good to know. I need to do one of these posts for turkey, but raw turkey is economical enough that I don’t feel the same pressure.

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  5. We have Freighter on a food with bison as main the protein. He wasn’t doing as well as he should on a fish based food and we were getting soft stools now and again. His new food is working very well for him, but I do wish companies would offer more single protein foods that don’t break the bank. 🙂

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    1. I can’t seem to figure out exactly what PetKind means for that food–I assume that it’s supposed to be mixed because there aren’t any added vitamins or minerals. If you can physically look at the can, you may see something on the label like “For Intermittent or Supplemental Feeding Only.” Usually with these “incomplete” foods, they don’t have to be mixed every time; they just need to be part of a balanced diet overall.

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    2. Yes – I use the PetKind salmon, duck and venison as a mix-in with high-quality kibble. My dogs both really like the salmon, Ruby isn’t a big fan of venison. Jessica is correct that it is to be used to supplement a balanced raw or prepared diet since there are no added vitamins/minerals. I tend to feel good about things with a short ingredient list, and these have protein, quinoa and fruits/veggies.

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