Big Dog Dog Food Review

Country of originAustralia
Available fromPetbarn

It gets tricky when a brand name ends in “dog” because I never know whether to title it “Big Dog Dog Food Review” or simply “Big Dog Review”.

Big Dog fall into the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) category and are found in the freezers of many Australian pet shops, coming in a range of different meats from regular stuff like Chicken or Beef through to more novel Tasmanian Salmon or Goat.

They have a small dog patty as well which is smaller, plus a range for cats.

Big Dog Dog Food Review

Being readily available is a great thing as these raw food patties are really good, and being frozen means they’ll last a long time too.

Read on…

Related: A Guide to BARF

Big Dog review

What the marketing says

With raw dog food patties there are two distinct categories – the ones which use human grade ingredients, and the ones which don’t (i.e. the ones which don’t specify).

Australia has fallen fowl to numerous issues with pet grade and knackery meats, so opting for human grade should always be a preference even if it means paying a little more.

With that in mind, here’s a little snippet from the Big Dog website:

As well as the 100% Australian human grade ingredients we use, our processing facility is also top class.
In fact, our facility meets the same standards required for human-consumption meat manufacturing.

That sounds good to me. Does it sound good to you?

Big Dog also boast no artificial colours or flavours, no preservatives, no fillers, no chemicals, no irradiation (a process more associated with imported products), no synthetic vitamins, minerals, or additives.

Last but not least, as a raw food there’s no cooking involved either, meaning nutrients are as they would naturally be.

What the ingredients really say

We’ll take a look at the “Chicken Raw Dog Food” variety as most of our reviews use the chicken formula as a benchmark. If your dog has a chicken intolerance, then opt for Goat, Kangaroo, Turkey, or better yet the Wellness or Sensitive Skin formulas from their Scientific range – they cater for all!

Most dry dog foods are made mostly from grain or grain-free ingredients, so either corn or rice, or something like potato or tapioca. If you consider your dog more a carnivore like their ancestors (with good reasoning here), then you’d question why their diet would be made from either of those two high-carbohydrate choices.

If this is your way of thinking then Big Dog does it right, and you won’t find any of high-carbohydrate grain or non-grain ingredients in their dog foods.

Big Dog Dog Food Review

The first ingredient is chicken, from Australian human-grade RSPCA-approved chicken.


Ingredient number two is also chicken, with this one being finely ground chicken bone and cartilage. Bones provide essential vitamins such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous, as well vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids. Cartilage is great for joints.

There’s no clarification the second chicken ingredient is from the same RSPCA-approved source, but it’s probably a minor point.

It’s all sounding good so far, but I must note a general problem I find with patties. Not with Big Dog par se, but soft foods in general.

Just keep in mind dogs are very prone to dental decay and plaque build up, so if this is occurring with your dog then you will need to maintain their dental health with regular cleaning, brushing, or raw meaty bones. If you opt for raw meaty bones, which would be my preference, then note you will be feeding bone with Big Dog as well.

Dry foods are exempt from this issue either, so it’s always worth considering.

The next three ingredients are heart, liver, and kidney, all from beef or lamb. This is expected in a raw diet and the best source of nutrients in a canine diet. If you get really investigative with one of those expensive science diets at the vet you’ll find reams of complicated ingredient names which are actually found naturally in organ meats and bone.

There’s one more significant ingredient in Big Dog patties before we get onto the smaller stuff, and that’s whole fish (salmon and sardines). It’s an excellent source of numerous nutrients and omega fatty acids for coat health, joint health, and wellbeing.

The rest of the food amounts to a small portion of the formula but all ingredients are well considered, nutritious, and in some way mimic the gut content of prey. We find a range of veggies, fruits, herbs, and egg.

To end on yet another positive note – they’ve included probiotics and prebiotics for gut health.

So, should you feed Big Dog to your dog?

To summarise, the answer is very likely a yes. Big Dog has a lot to rave about as a high-quality dog food made of ingredients which will really benefit the health of your pet.

There is no reason why you couldn’t feed your dog Big Dog alongside other forms of diet, such as dry food or homemade, and raw meaty bones are a worthy consideration for dental health at the very least.

As a raw product you will need to take precautions such as washing your hands after handling. Don’t worry about your dog though, they thrive on raw.

Has our Big Dog review been useful, or have you had experience with this dog food? Let us know in the comments!

Where to buy Big Dog dog food

Good news for those who prefer their dog food delivered right to the door – Petbarn offer same delivery on Big Dog frozen patties.

You can alternatively buy Big Dog in most pet stores given it’s popularity.

Big Dog Pet Food interviewed by Pooches at Play

Here’s a great interview of Big Dog founder Chris Essex interviewed by Lara Shannon from Pooches at Play. Chris speaks of how Big Dog was created in 2020 as the first Australian raw pet food company, as well as how the food is made.

They even grow their own wheatgrass and barley!

Big Dog vs Dr B’s Barf

We don’t often have a Tekken-style This vs That battle, but Big Dog Pet Food and Dr B’s Barf have been rivals since Australian BARF began.

As a quick summary, Dr B’s Barf was a brainchild of well known veterinarian and animal nutritionist Dr Ian Billinghurst BVSc BScAgr, and one of his books is mentioned in our recommended reading material, but Dr B’s Barf is now a product of infamous Australian pet food bigwig The Real Pet Food Co.

So how do they compare?

At first glance the ingredients appear similar, but what isn’t clarified with Dr B’s Barf is the grade of meat. Big Dog use human grade meats, and we can assume Dr B’s Barf use pet grade ingredients. That’s a big different in quality, and would make Big Dog the clear winner.

There are small signs of Big Dog being better than Dr B’s Barf, and that’s the specific mention of a range of organ meats (heart, liver, kidney), as well as whole fish compared to the “frames” used in Dr B’s.

Those blows alone make Big Dog dog food the clear winner.

Common questions about Big Dog raw food

Is Big Dog AAFCO compliant?

Yes, Big Dog is complete and balanced by AAFCO standards. For further information on individual products please refer to the Big Dog website.

Is Big Dog suitable for puppies?

Yes, Big Dog raw foods meet AAFCO nutritional guidelines to support both the puppy growth phase and maintaining health in adult dogs. For further information on individual products please refer to the Big Dog website.


Big Dog raw food ingredients (Chicken Raw Dog Food 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 (kale, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, silver beet, carrots, celery, beetroot, lettuce, cucumber, capsicum, apple, orange, pear, tomato, strawberry, ginger and parsley), cold pressed ground flaxseed, whole egg, alfalfa powder, kelp powder (brown seaweed), brewers yeast, wheatgrass, live probiotics, prebiotics, garlic.

Typical analysis

Big Dog state a typical analysis which means the following composition may vary. Usually a guaranteed analysis would be preferable, but given there are minimal carbohydrates in Big Dog patties it’s only a minor point.

Big Dog raw food typical analysis (Chicken Raw Dog Food patties):

Crude Fibre1%
Carbohydrates *2.5% estimated
* May be estimated. Read how to calculate carbohydrates in a pet food.

Big Dog dog food recalls

There are no known recalls at the current time.

Previous recalls:

  • We are not aware of any recalls.

Calling Aussie pet lovers – join the mailing list!

9.3 Total Score
Big Dog Dog Food Review

An excellent frozen raw diet for dogs, readily available in pet shops and stores.

  • A raw diet with the convenience of being formulated and frozen


David D'Angelo

David D'Angelo has worked as a scientist since graduating with a BSc (Hons) in 2000. In addition, David holds a CPD accredited Diploma in Pet Nutrition as well as being CPD accredited VSA (Veterinary Support Assistant). However, his experience and involvement in the pet food industry for 15+ years has given true insight into pet food, formulations, science, research, and pet food marketing. Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Pinterest

  1. We have a 9 year old greyhound – he won’t eat Big Dog patties – they seem fine, maybe smell a little oxidized due to the presence of fruit (the Wellness formula smelled like citrus peel – a polarizing addition to Christmas cake, even for humans!) so we tried the Goat, really hoping it would work out because we love the ingredients and the company ethos. Unfortunately, dog will not eat it – he will eat raw meat of any kind so it is likely a fruit causing the lack of interest. We hope the company considers a vegetable only approach where pet parents can offer FRESH fruit of their choice (or their canine’s preferred variety) to make this brand more palatable. We would definitely like to feed this as our main meal because on paper, it seems fantastic. Also, the pieces of bone are no larger than if a dog was chomping them up then swallowing so for those worried about bone fragments, they are not an issue.

    • Update… our greyhound is now eating Bigdog goat…. to our immense satisfaction! We persisted with this food because we love the ingredients and know how beneficial they are. We also feed Lyka (cooked, albeit gently) and we get Raw and Fresh delivered (kangaroo bulk pack to which we add our own veggies). Would recommend continuing to offer a really healthy food such as this in small quantities if your dog refuses it initially.

  2. When using the big dog pet raw food for weight loss, Wondering do you still feed your dog dry food also and the recommend amount or lower it ?
    My border collie is 4.5years old and 30kg

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) October 2, 2023 at 11:48 pm

      Hi Tess, you would need to reduce the dry. A good way is to feed kibble in the morning, and the Big Dog at night, or vice versa. 30kg sounds a bit overweight for a collie, but it depends on how big they are. My collies have been between 20kg and 28kg.

  3. Any opinion on their freeze dried bites? Or does it all look the same. The ingredients seem good.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) August 4, 2023 at 10:33 pm

      Hi Amanda, the ingredients are very similar, so the freeze dried bites look just as good. The caveat is the price, but then again they make very convenient, very healthy treats.

  4. Do the Big Dog (chilled) rolls contain preservatives?

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) July 17, 2023 at 4:41 pm

      Hi Kylie, all looks natural to me. Pet grade meats contain preservatives but as Big Dog state human grade ingredients this shouldn’t be the case.

      Beef roll ingredients as an example:

      Beef, finely ground beef bone and cartilage, lamb, finely ground lamb bone and cartilage, chicken, finely ground chicken bone and cartilage, pork heart, beef and lamb heart, beef and lamb liver, beef and lamb kidney, whole fish (salmon & sardines), seasonal fruits, vege and herbs (kale, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, silver beet, carrots, celery, beetroot, lettuce, cucumber, capsicum, apple, orange, pear, tomato, strawberry, ginger & parsley), cold pressed ground flaxseed, alfalfa powder, whole egg, kelp powder (brown seaweed), brewers yeast, wheatgrass, live probiotics, prebiotics, garlic.

  5. Lightly cooking it in a pan is completely fine. It’s only if the bones were roasted in the oven for hours that they would splinter.

  6. I am a small breeder of Dachshunds , Standard Long Haired.
    I have fed BIG DOG BARF for over 8 years .
    All our adult dogs and growing puppies thrive in this product .
    Before switching to this food our dogs were prone to yeast infections . All these issues have gone . They have shiny coats and maintain excellent health.

  7. I bought big dog Roo mince for the first time this week and had to clean all the bone chips out of it before I could give it to my dogs. I can’t believe they put bones chips in their mince – why not just really grind the bones up? This is the same as presenting human food with olive pits in it… can cause serious and expensive dental injury! I also thought it smelled gross when I open the packet. I phoned them to give them feed back (which they thanked me for and told me they had provided this product for twenty years and never had a complaint) Never again Bigdog!

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) February 2, 2023 at 4:48 pm

      Hi Adrienne, how big were the chips on average? Given they’re raw they possibly wouldn’t cause an issue, but by the sounds of it I agree they should’ve been ground better.

  8. Ive been feeding big dog for over 8 yrs without issue until my last batch one of the kangaroo patties contained a piece of white plastic in it. Looked and felt like a piece from a bag. Big dog was informed with batch no. and photo of the plastic. Disappointing they didnt put out a notice to warn customers to check there dogs food from that batch no.
    I appreciate accidents happen even to the most careful of businesses but when something happens they should have a duty of care to warn dog parents.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) November 28, 2022 at 1:29 am

      Hi Lynne, was it definitely plastic? Sometimes bone isn’t fully ground and can have the appearance of plastic?

  9. Hi there ♥
    What an excellent article! My dogs have had a raw natural diet for years and it’s great to see more and more people sticking to it.

  10. I’ve been feeding Big Dog (mostly the combo recipe) to both my dogs for over three years now and I’ve been really happy with it. My older dog had a lot of joint and digestive issues and she has been much healthier since switching foods. When I bought my second dog home as a puppy I had to give up on the plan to slowly transition her from her old dry food because the moment she tasted the Big Dog recipe she refused the old stuff. After talking to my vet, I give the girls bones for their teeth without any problems. They are 3 and 5 and neither have any gum disease. I chose Ziwi Peak as a backup food and for travel based on the review on this site and it’s worked well for us too.

  11. Could you clarify the use of garlic and if it’s safe? I always thought dogs weren’t meant to have garlic but noticed it’s listed as an ingredient in this food.

    • Reply
      Pet Food Reviews (Australia) April 25, 2022 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Jessica, my memory recalls an average sized dog (like a Labrador) would need to consume around 70 cloves of garlic to suffer any ill effects. I read the research many years ago, yet since then the “garlic is harmful to dogs” thing has propagated across the entire Internet! When you see garlic included in pet foods it’s always in a small amount, and can be considered beneficial.

  12. My dog won’t eat big dog and I have cooked it too to see if she would eat it nope and the kangaroo smells like chemicals even when you cook it

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