Reviewed: Darwin’s Natural Pet Products

What do you see when you look at your dog? Whether your dog is a fluffy little Pomeranian or a giant Golden Retriever, he comes from wild roots.

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All domestic dogs are descended from wild wolves, and their bodies are adapted to follow a meat-based diet. While dogs may be able to digest a wider variety of foods more easily than cats, they still do best on a diet that mimics what they’d eat in the wild. That’s where raw dog food comes into play.

The idea of feeding your dog raw meat might sound strange or even dangerous. The fact is, however, it’s the closest thing to your dog’s natural evolutionary diet and it is actually very nutritious. There’s little risk involved in feeding a raw dog food diet and the benefits are significant. We don’t expect you to take our word for it, however. We’re here to give you the info you need to make your own choice.

In this article, we’ll explore one of the most popular raw dog food companies on the market: Darwin’s Natural Pet Products. Read on to learn everything you need to know about this company and their food.

Why You’ll Love Darwin’s: They make raw feeding easy and affordable.

Darwin’s takes all the guesswork out of feeding your pup a raw food diet. With a wide variety of recipes to choose from, all made with premium animal proteins and wholesome veggies, Darwin’s supports optimal nutrition for dogs of all ages. Simply provide some basic information about your dog to get started and you’ll received a detailed meal plan with recommendations catered to your dog’s needs. 

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Darwin’s raw dog food recipes.

History of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products

The history of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products all goes back to a dog named Max and his owner Gary Tashjian. Gary became concerned when his sheepdog Max started suffering from severe arthritis and traditional treatments like steroids and anti-inflammatory medications simply weren’t working.

Desperate for an answer, Gary turned to a holistic veterinarian who suggested part of the issue might be Max’s diet. From there, Gary started feeding Max a raw food diet of raw meat and veggies.

Within 30 days of switching to a raw dog food diet, Max was transformed. He was acting like a puppy again. Not only was Max feeling great, but Gary’s other dog Casey who had chronic skin issues started to improve as well. Gary couldn’t believe it and couldn’t wait to share his experience with others.

Thus, Darwin’s Natural Pet Products was born.

The name Darwin’s comes from Charles Darwin, whose work was “inspired by nature, informed by science.” Gary Tashjian founded his raw dog food company with the goal of combining the latest scientific knowledge about pet nutrition with the highest quality natural ingredients to create healthy, wholesome meals for pets to support optimal health and nutrition.

What Should You Know About Darwin’s?

Now that you know where Darwin’s came from, you’re probably eager to know what they have to offer. Here’s everything you need to know about Darwin’s raw dog food recipes:

What Products Do They Offer?

Darwin’s Natural Pet Products currently offers raw food products for both dogs and cats. There are three product lines in total, though only two of these product lines are available in cat food formulas.

Here is an overview of the three product lines of Darwin’s raw dog food:

  • Natural Selections – The premium line of raw dog food, these recipes are made with free-range meats and organic vegetables. All of the meat used in these raw dog food recipes is raised cage-free, grass-fed, or pasture-raised and are free from steroids, antibiotics, and growth hormones.
  • BioLogics – Made with the same formula as the Natural Selections line, these recipes are more economical. The BioLogics line is made with conventionally raised meats and veggies but still provides the same quality and balanced nutrition.
  • Intelligent Design – A limited line of veterinary meals for dogs, these products are specially formulated to provide nutritional support for dogs suffering from certain health issues like kidney disease or cancer. Recipes are made with hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and pesticide-free meats and organic veggies with no grains or preservatives.

Every recipe Darwin’s sells is formulated by veterinary nutritionists and tested to meet or exceed AAFCO nutrient profiles for dogs. These recipes are made with 75% real meat and 25% fresh vegetables, made entirely without grains or fillers. Each recipe contains trace minerals and essential vitamins to ensure complete and balanced nutrition for optimal health and wellness.

Where is it Made?

The headquarters for Darwin’s Pet Products is in Seattle, Washington. Darwin’s manufactures their products in company-owned facilities with additional shipping facilities in Pennsylvania and Utah.

Darwin’s home delivery program is designed to ensure that your food arrives fresh and frozen each and every time. They ship to customers across the United States and shipping is completely free. Darwin’s uses dry ice and insulated coolers to keep their products frozen during shipping and everything is shipped as quickly as possible.

When you receive your order, simply transfer the food to the freezer and place one package in the refrigerator to thaw for 24 hours before feeding.

How Much Does It Cost?

This is one of the primary concerns pet owners have about raw dog food, or even fresh dog food. When it comes to pricing dog food, cost equates to quality. The higher the quality of the ingredients, the more expensive the dog food is likely to be. Darwins uses premium-quality USDA meats and organic veggies, so you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that it costs more than the average dry food.

That being said, Darwin’s may not be the most expensive option for your dog. Using a 30-pound male test dog, we ended up with a weekly price of $42.60 for the Natural Selections line and just $35.13 for the BioLogics line. Monthly, you’re looking at a price around $170 for a 30-pound dog.

While that may be more than you’re used to spending for dog food, think about it in comparison to similar options for premium dry food and wet food. Orijen, one of the top brands of dry dog food, would cost about $30 per month for a 30-pound dog. If you look at one of the top wet food brands like Ziwi Peak, however, your monthly cost would be closer to $175.

In the end, you should feed your dog the highest quality food you can consistently afford. If you already know your budget, choose the best product you can that fits within your ideal price range.

Does Darwin’s Have Any Recalls?

When considering a new pet food brand, it’s always a good idea to check for recalls. A product recall happens when a company notices an issue with a product or when the FDA receives customer complaints and the product has to be removed from production and distribution.

Having a product recall isn’t always an indication of a bad brand, considering recalls can be made for things as simple as a labeling error. The bigger concerns are when products are recalled for contaminated ingredients. Food-borne pathogens like salmonella are of particular concern.

Darwin’s has had several recalls in its history, both voluntary and FDA-issued. All of these recalls were due to traces of food-borne pathogens found in testing. What you need to keep in mind, however, is that Darwin’s food is raw and that salmonella is common in raw meats, especially chicken. Healthy dogs and cats generally don’t have a problem with salmonella and other food-borne pathogens the same way people do, and these recalls don’t specific the actual amount found in testing.

If you’re concerned about the safety of raw dog food, do some research on your own and talk to your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist.

How Do You Order Darwin’s?

The process to order Darwin’s raw dog food delivery is very easy. One option is to simply call the number on the website to speak to a Pet Food Advisor. You’ll answer some basic questions about your dog’s size to determine his calorie needs and Darwin’s will determine how much food you need on a monthly basis. From there, you simply choose a product line and select your recipes.

If you prefer to go through the process yourself, simply click the “Try Now” button on the top of the home page. From there, you’ll provide your dog’s name and weight then select from the Natural Selections or BioLogics product line. Next, choose from the available recipes and put in your shipping and payment information. It’s really as simple as that!

The best news is you’ll receive a promotional 10-pound first order for just $14.95. On the checkout page you’ll also see your recurring cost for deliveries every 3 weeks after your promo order.

Darwin’s Raw Dog Food Pros and Cons

Every dog food brand has its pros and cons, so you need to think about these things before making your final decision. We’re firm believers that raw dog food and fresh dog food are some of the best options for dogs in general, but we understand that different dog owners have different preferences.

We encourage you to do some research of your own when it comes to raw food for dogs and to see whether Darwin’s is the right fit. To help you on your way, here are a couple pros and cons:

Here are some of the pros for Darwin’s dog food:

  • Raw food made with real meat and wholesome veggies delivers digestible nutrition
  • Recipes crafted by veterinary nutritionists to be complete and balanced
  • Receive custom nutritional advice and recurring monthly deliveries of raw dog food
  • Choose from premium or economical to make it affordable for your budget

Here are some of the cons for Darwin’s dog food:

  • May cost more than feeding commercial kibble, especially for larger dogs
  • Orders come with a significant amount of packaging, less eco-friendly than some brands
  • Meals are pre-portioned according to your dog’s calorie needs like some fresh foods
  • Raw foods should be handled with basic food safety precautions

In the end, it’s your responsibility to make a smart decision for your dog. We recommend Darwin’s frozen raw dog food for any dog, but it may not be the right choice for everyone. We respect the fact that you have your own budget and preferences, and no one knows your dog better than you do.

We wish you and your dog the very best and hope you find a recipe both of you can love!

Darwin’s Raw Dog Food FAQs

Is raw food dangerous for dogs?

We’ve already mentioned the benefits of feeding your dog a raw food diet, but what are the risks? The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) discourages raw dog food diets because they contain harmful pathogens that can make pets sick and could be transmitted to humans. There are also some risks for bacteria in raw meat affecting your dog’s health and the risk of whole bones breaking or posing a choking hazard. The truth is these risks do exist, but most veterinarians seem to agree they are minimal. As long as you follow safe food handling protocols and monitor your dog as you would on any diet, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Does Darwin’s offer any grain-inclusive recipes?

No, all of Darwin’s dog food recipes are grain-free. Both the BioLogics and Natural Selections lines include vegetables, but they are generally root vegetables and leafy greens.

What is the calorie content of Darwin’s raw dog food?

The calorie content of Darwin’s raw dog food differs depending on the recipe. The Natural Selections product line ranges from 31 to 44 calories per ounce while the BioLogics line ranges from 31 to 36 calories per ounce. The poultry recipes tend to be lower in calories than the beef and lamb.

Is Darwin’s dog food organic?

Not all of Darwin’s products are organic, but some are made with organic ingredients. The Natural Selections line is made with grass-fed or pasture-raised meat and cage-free poultry as well as organic vegetables. The BioLogics line, on the other hand, is made with conventionally raised meats and veggies.

Why does Darwin’s include vegetables in their food?

While Darwin’s raw dog food recipes are made with 75% real meat, the other 25% comes from fresh vegetables and a small amount of nutrient mix. While dogs are classified as carnivores, they have some ability to digest and absorb nutrition from plant products – more than cats, who are classified as obligate carnivores. Darwin’s includes vegetables in their recipes as natural sources for key nutrients to help limit the amount of supplemented needed to achieve balanced nutrition.

 

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