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.
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.
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:
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.
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, with click-and-collect available from .
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.
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):
|Carbohydrates *||2.5% estimated|
Big Dog dog food recalls
There are no known recalls at the current time.
- We are not aware of any recalls.
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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