I was on a lookout to try a new brand of decent grain-free dog food for my old friend. Being considered as one of the better options available online and recommended to me by multiple dog owners, I went ahead and bought a bag of Nature's Variety Raw Boost, and this is my Instinct raw dog food review.
Some dogs can be very caprice. I know my Labrador sure is! Oftentimes I'm finding myself trying to convince my old friend to eat something, and there are times when he wouldn't eat at all for days. My aim was to get him excited about food that's not treats.
At one point, he was starting to lose weight; I decided that certain changes had to be made and one of those changes was switching to completely grain-free dog food, and that's where Nature's Variety chicken meal formula came to the rescue.
Made in the USA. A naturally preserved product; meets all AAFCO nutrient profiles.
So the first question that pops into your mind is “Is this product any different from other dog foods on the market?” I was pondering over the very same question initially. The answer is “yes, it is different” and my personal experience with it is actually very positive so far: since my first purchase, I've already bought 2 more bags. Raw Boost dog food is the first ever grain-free kibble that has freeze dried raw in the same bag.
Nature’s Variety is a company based in the United States. It specializes in the production of dog and cat food. They have a decent variety of grain-free pet foods and you have more than one option. So far, I've only tried the chicken meal formula because of multiple positive reviews, but I'm about to give their other foods a try (or rather, my dog is). Chicken is still the most popular though, so if you're contemplating on trying the product, I'd recommend to go with the chicken one – it's safest.
Key benefits of Instinct raw dog food
- 100% positive reviews on the manufacturer's website!
- Improves dog's bowel movements: One problem that my dog used to have with cheaper food brands was whatever happened after he consumed the food. I noticed a major improvement in the consistency of his number-two a few weeks after I began feeding him the Instinct raw dog food more often. Now the feces are firm and consistent, and look a lot healthier.
- High quality ingredients: I've grown to be picky about my dog's food choices. Whenever it's possible, excellent quality and decent ingredients are always of great concern.
- Relief from allergies: May provide a relief for your dog from certain kinds of allergies.
- High in protein: It's grain-free and very high in protein, which is always good for any dog. High quality amino acids from proteins supply the necessary stuff to your dogs' fur. My Labs' hair seems healthier right now, and it looks much thicker and shinier too.
- Moderate amounts of carbs: I was never comfortable with giving my dog foods that were too high in carbohydrates because he would then put on a bit of weight. Also, carbs aren't generally as necessary for dogs as they are for humans. Nature's Variety raw boost products pack just enough of them, it would seem.
- Grain free: Many dogs are allergic to foods that contain grains; some veterinarians even say that we shouldn't be feeding our canines any grains whatsoever.
- No smell: Not a major factor, but some dog foods don't really smell like roses, as you may know. However, this one in particular has almost no smell that would make you want to leave the room while your furry friend is devouring the good stuff.
- Helps with dog's weight problems (both ways): As mentioned before, my dog was looking thinner and weaker before (especially during winter time). This could be credited to his occasional disinterest with food. Since I switched over to Nature's Variety stuff, his weight improved and there was also a noticeable improvement in his appearance and activity.
- Freeze-dried pieces: Dogs have an affinity for raw food. Instinct raw dog food has freeze-dried raw pieces which supposedly taste great and are rich in valuable nutrients. It seems that most dogs take an instant liking to this dog food for this very reason.
- Suitable for all dogs: Great for any kind of breed and dogs of all sizes. Make sure you check the ingredients list and know if your dog is allergic to anything on the list. So far, I haven't seen any common pattern for allergic responses.
For some dog owners, their problem is a constant weight increase. In my case, it was different — I really needed my dog to eat properly. I used to use very cheap brands before, and many people recommended that I swap to a different kibble brand at first before doing anything else. I did, and then gave it 1 month to see if I notice any changes. First week was enough – my Lab was devouring the goods. Forward to more weeks, and I believe even his attitude has changed slightly.
Nature’s Variety as a company have built a reputation for themselves and in a way, I also wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Naturally, as we all often are, I was a little skeptical initially, but could you blame me?
After trying the Raw Boost product, I wished that I had bought this a lot sooner. Everything has changed for the better. My dog's appetite improved and he seemed to be finally enjoying his meals, something that should've been happening a long time ago. I love watching and waiting for him to be done with his helping. He then often nudges me for a second serving, which never happens, of course. We have to be responsible!
I can't say if it's really because of the new rations I'm providing him with, but my Labrador is a lot more active these days, and is constantly running around being so full of energy. It's far easier to enjoy your time with a dog who's happy to be alive.
The packaging comes in sizes of 4.1 lb, 12.3 lb and 23.5 lb bags. I'd say don't waste your time with smaller ones unless you want to test the waters first.
Amazon customers' rating
Luce's review (read the full Amazon review): “My lab has been loving this food for about 3 months now. We struggled to find him a food that agreed well with his stomach, he has had chronic loose stools since he was a puppy, he is 2 now. We have tried the following foods and vet recommendations: Blue Buffallo Wilderness Chicken, Blue Buffallo Wilderness Duck, California Natural Lamb […] None of these foods seemed to firm up his stools. After a couple months…” 5 out of 5
Bags' review (read the full Amazon review): “The packing is top notch. The exceptionally quick delivery is so very convenient. I am a rescuer with 15 dogs who have been fed very low quality food by their previous ignorant owners. Instinct is a 5 star product which is not only very healthy but also extraordinary tasty!!!!” 5 out of 5
Huwe's review (read the full Amazon review): “Right now it's mixed with another kind that we won't be buying again because he doesn't like it… so I had to order this one early so he'd eat again (otherwise I was adding chicken broth to get him to eat the other kind lol) Now he gobbled up this one and left the other kind in the bowl! He was fine eating anything until…” 5 out of 5
Nutrition of Instinct raw dog food
Per one cup: 495 kcal
Per 2.2lbs/1kg: 4170 kcal
Crude Protein: 42.0% minimum
Crude Fat: 22.0% minimum
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: 0.3% minimum
Omega 6 Fatty Acids: 2.6% minimum
Crude Fiber: 4.5% maximum
Moisture: 8.0% maximum
Zinc: 271 ppm
Vitamin A: 14567 IU/kg
Vitamin B12: 0.14 ppm
Vitamin B6:8.35 ppm
Vitamin E: 197 IU/kg
Folic Acid: 5.70 ppm
Thiamine: 4.79 ppm
Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Tapioca, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Pumpkinseeds, Menhaden Fish Meal, Sun-Cured Alfalfa Meal, Montmorillonite Clay, Natural Chicken Flavor, Freeze Dried Chicken (including Freeze Dried Ground Chicken Bone), Freeze Dried Turkey, Freeze Dried Turkey Liver, Freeze Dried Turkey Heart, Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Biotin, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Beta Carotene, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Salt, Dried Kelp, Apples, Carrots, Butternut Squash, Inulin, Flaxseed Oil, Peas, Chicken Eggs, Ground Flaxseed, Broccoli, Lettuce, Spinach, Apple Cider Vinegar, Parsley, Honey, Salmon Oil, Rosemary Extract, Olive Oil, Blueberries, Alfalfa Sprouts, Persimmons, Rosemary, Sage, Clove, Yeast Culture (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae), Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Extract.
For the interactive feeding guide and to calculate the amounts of food you're about to give to your dog, try the special system on the manufacturer's website.
What you need to know about Instinct raw dog food
Allergies. Though the chicken meal formula dry dog food is grain-free, some dogs do suffer from allergic reactions. Be sure to do your own research beforehand, and if nothing comes up, definitely monitor your dog’s behavior and health the first few days after you start feeding him with the new stuff.
Addictive. Most dogs tend to get addicted to the product because it tastes good or for whatever other reason. Be aware that your dog might become a picky eater because of this brand, so make sure that you're prepared to either supply him with this food on a regular basis or don't give it to him too often. You can also try mixing this dry dog food with other brands and foods, like Taste of the Wild stuff.
Portions. If you have a large dog, you better get ready to stock up on these. You might find yourself giving away too much food, but the 23.5 lbs bag is more than enough for smaller dogs though. In short – calculate future consumption before purchasing.
Different meal formulas
For this review, I used the Instinct raw boost grain-free Chicken Meal formula dry dog food, but there are other options available too (which I'm soon to try):
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Beef and Lamb Meal
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Rabbit Meal
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Salmon Meal
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Duck and Turkey Meal
I'm mostly excited about Beef and Lamb meal option; hopefully my Lab is too.
And now, here's a nice picture from the manufacturer's website.
Conclusion of Instinct Raw Dog Food Review
I would definitely go so far as to say that Instinct raw dog food by Nature's Variety is the best food our dog has ever tried. Not only does he seem to enjoy it a whole lot, but it's grain-free, high in protein, very nutritious and packs freeze-dried raw in the same bag. All for a reasonable price as well! I don't see how can anybody go wrong with this particular choice.
Based on my own experience with their Chicken Meal formula, I'd say you are likely to see a noticeable improvement in your dogs’ mood, energy levels, hair and appetite. And although I can't vouch for this, but it also apparently relieves dogs from certain allergies and boosts the immune system.
Now trust me when I say this: your dog will want more of it, so be aware of that. Do not overfeed them with this thing, otherwise you'll turn your little friend into a picky eater (you do not want that!) My dog whimpers at me. It’s his way of emotionally blackmailing me into giving him more of that Raw Boost stuff. A larger (than 23.5 lbs) bag would be very convenient, actually.
Anyway, my conclusion of Nature Variety’s Instinct raw dog food is that I'm entirely satisfied with the product, and would definitely recommend it to other dog owners. I like only the best for my dog and I believe that at least this Chicken Meal formula delivered what it has advertised. I think it's time to try out and review other recipes as well.