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Instinct Raw Dog Food Review

Instinct dog food review
  • 10/10
    Woof Whiskers Rating - 10/10


Instinct has a great selection of raw dog food recipes that are shelf-stable, eliminating the need to freeze or refrigerate. Our dog loves the Instinct Raw Boost which is a topper for premium kibbles.

Last Updated: January 8, 2024 by Lisa Melillo

Instinct is a leading supplier of raw pet food in the United States and Canada. Each of the seven different dog food lines are made up of raw, whole, all-natural ingredients, supporting the company’s Feed What’s Real® slogan. The foods are designed to promote digestion, muscle strength, healthy skin, a shiny coat, and dental hygiene. Instinct is a great choice for dogs with food sensitivities as it’s made entirely without gluten or grains.

Instinct Dog Food Reviews: Quality Of Ingredients

Instinct uses all raw ingredients, meaning that the food is never heated or cooked. Instead, they use a freeze drying process called High Pressure Processing to make the food safe to keep on your shelf without refrigeration. All food is made in the United States and produced in Instinct’s own factory in Nebraska, so you won’t have to worry about quality control or contamination.

The main ingredient in each Instinct dog food recipe is meat, such as beef, chicken, rabbit, or lamb. They never use grain, corn, wheat, soy, or potato, which are all common sensitivities in dogs. Instinct also keeps its foods free of fillers, artificial colors, and preservatives.

Ingredients are sourced from responsible suppliers; for example, grass-fed lamb is imported from New Zealand, while the farm-raised rabbits used come directly from a supplier in France. All fruits and vegetables are non-GMO.

Full Ingredients And Analysis

Analyzing the first 10 ingredients in a dog food is a great way to understand the overall nutrient content of the dog food because AAFCO requires all dog food ingredients to be listed in order of predominance by their weight. Here’s a closer look at what’s inside Instinct® Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Beef:

Full Ingredients:

Beef, Chicken Meal, White Fish Meal (Pacific Whiting, Pacific Sole, Pacific Rockfish), Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Tapioca, Chickpeas, Menhaden Fish Meal, Natural Flavor, Herring Meal, Dried Tomato Pomace, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Montmorillonite Clay, Carrots, Apples, Cranberries, Salt, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Freeze Dried Beef, Freeze Dried Beef Liver, Pumpkin Seeds, Freeze Dried Beef Heart, Freeze Dried Beef Kidney, Freeze Dried Beef Spleen, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract

  • 40%


  • 23%


  • 30%


Overall this formula is excellent – high protein with ideal levels of fat and carbohydrates.

Ingredients You May Wonder About:

  • Beef: Beef is a great source of protein for your dog. It’s commonly used as the main protein in pet food. It also provides essential vitamins and minerals that help maintain a shiny coat and healthy joints. The Omega-3 fatty acids found in beef can help relieve skin problems.
  • Fish Meal: Dogs love the smell of this ingredient. It’s a great source of amino acids and antioxidants. 
  • Peas: This green veggie provides vitamins A, B, and K as well as iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Reference
  • Tapioca: Tapioca is a healthy source of carbohydrates in your dog’s diet. It’s a better alternative to wheat and corn, which are both common allergens.
  • Montmorillonite Clay: In addition to acting as an anti-caking agent, this clay helps your dog’s body remove toxins and maintain a healthy pH level and digestive flora. Reference
  • Carrots: Carrots contain beta-carotene, which lowers the risk of cancer.
  • Apples: This fruit adds fiber to your dog’s diet, in addition to supplying vitamins A and C. Reference
  • Cranberries: Cranberries provide even more vitamins and minerals: vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, just to name a few.
  • Choline Chloride: This is another name for vitamin B4.
  • Potassium Chloride: Potassium and chloride are both important electrolytes.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: This popular snack for humans is also great for dogs. It has prebiotics, probiotics, and fiber.
  • Bacillus Coagulans: A type of “good bacteria”, this ingredient is often used to support healthy digestive function. Reference
  • Rosemary Extract: Rosemary extract is a natural preservative that has been deemed safe for use in dog food. Reference

Kibble and Cans for small breeds

Instinct kibble is raw coated and packed full of protein. It is high quality and grain-free, making them easy to digest, even for pups with sensitive stomachs. Their cans for small breeds are calorie-controlled so that you can make sure your dog isn’t getting too much or too little of this delicious food. It is important to note that they use cage-free real chicken in their ingredients, making it a very premium dog food line. 

Cand For Puppies 

The recipe used to make the Instinct cans for puppies is packed full of ingredients that will help your pup grow big and strong. They contain natural DHA for brain and eye development and make your puppy curious about food and energized enough to explore the world around him. 

Wet Pouches For Dogs

Instinct has 10 wet pouches to choose from. If you are looking for dog food containing limited ingredients or high-quality food with a high protein percentage, their wet pouches might be the best option for you. 

Pet parents can treat their pups to rabbit, salmon, tuna, duck, or chicken wet pouches. The meat is chunky and full of texture, certainly what your dog had in mind for dinner!

Instinct Raw Dog Food Product Line

Instinct currently offers seven different product lines of dog food. Three of these lines are traditional kibble, three contain special freeze-dried pieces, and the seventh is a wet food option.

Raw frozen meat is perfectly healthy for your dog and won’t cause them any harm. Give it a try and see how your furry friend likes it! 

Instinct Original

The Instinct Original product line is a traditional dog kibble made from 70% animal ingredients and 30% fruits and vegetables. It comes in five flavors: beef, chicken, duck, rabbit, and salmon. There’s also a small breed-specific option, which only comes in chicken flavor.

Instinct Be Natural

This vitamin- and mineral-boosted dog food combines Instinct’s traditional meat protein source with a high-quality carbohydrate, such as brown rice or oatmeal.

The kibble is combined with crushed, freeze-dried raw. This allows your pet to enjoy raw, even if they are eating dry dog food.

Read Related Topic: Best Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food


Be Natural – For Puppies 

You can find one flavor of Be Natural dog food for puppies in the range. Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient on the list. This means that chicken is added to the highest quantity in this puppy food. 

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet

If your dog has a long list of food sensitivities, this is the food you need. Each of the four flavors are made from only one animal protein and one vegetable source, making it easy to avoid the ingredients your dog can’t eat.

You can choose from either lamb, salmon, or turkey flavored dog food, and there is even a Limited Ingredient diet kibble for small breed dogs in turkey flavor. This range focuses more on what they left out of the ingredient list rather than what has been added to the dog food. 

Instinct Raw

Instinct Raw is the brand’s purest 100% raw recipe. It comes in three forms: freeze-dried bites, and frozen medallions, and patties. There are also options for small breeds.

This dog food is grain-free, contains 85% protein, and 15% fruit and vegetable. Artificial colors and preservatives are also left out of the dog food, making it extremely clean and pure. 

Instinct Raw Boost

A combination of kibble and freeze-dried pieces, Instinct Raw Boost gives you the best of both worlds from the Instinct Original and Instinct Raw product lines. Instinct Raw Boost contains natural antioxidants, higher omegas, and natural probiotic, all of which boost your dog’s immune system and promotes a shiny coat and healthy skin.

Instinct Raw Signature

This is Instinct’s premiere dog food product line, made from 95% animal protein and only 5% fruits and vegetables. It’s available in bites and medallions and comes in six different flavors.

Instinct Raw Signature is 100% raw, 100% natural, and goes through minimal processing. You can buy it in lamb, chicken, rabbit, duck, and beef flavor (just like with all of their other ranges); however, they also have a venison option too.



Instinct Raw Freeze-Dried Meals 

What is so special about their freeze-dried meals? Well, for one, they contain three times more real meat and organs than dried dog food and kibble. Their freeze-dried meals are only available in chicken and beef, as it is one of the newer ranges on the list. 

Instinct Wet

Instinct’s wet food recipes take all-natural meat and vegetables and turn them into delicious stews and loaves. They come in convenient pouches and cans and can be used on their own or as a dry food topper. In addition to a wide variety of flavors, there are also diet options and formulas specific to puppies and small breeds.

Instinct Dog Food Reviews By Types Of Food

Due to the fact that Instinct has such a vast range of dog food available on their website, we thought we would simplify their list. This list of food has been put into categories that should make it easier for you to choose food for your pup. 


  • Instinct Raw Boost 
  • Instinct Original 
  • Instinct Be Natural 
  • Limited Ingredient Diet 


  • Instinct Raw Signature 
  • Instinct Raw 
  • Instinct Wet

Raw Freeze-Dried

  • Instinct Raw Freeze-Dried 
  • Instinct Be Natural 


  • Instinct Wet 

Instinct Dog Food Reviews By Dog Type


  • Instinct Raw Freeze-Dried 
  • Instinct Raw
  • Instinct Raw Signature 
  • Instinct Original 
  • Instinct Raw Boost
  • Instinct Be Natural 
  • Limited Ingredient Diet 

Small breeds

  • Instinct Raw 
  • Instinct Original 
  • Limited Ingredient Diet 
  • Instinct Wet Cans 

About Instinct

Instinct is located in Lincoln, Nebraska, where it makes all of its raw dog food onsite in small batches. Their mission is “to transform the lives of pets” through a raw food diet. The company also values giving back to the community, with employees clocking a combined 5,300 hours of volunteer work and counting. Instinct stands out as the top option for best dog food for Great Danes.

Where To Buy

Instinct Raw Dog Food is available in most of the places you shop for pet food, both in stores and online. The brand is widely carried by Petco, Petsmart, and smaller independent pet stores across the United States and Canada. You can also order it online from Chewy and Amazon.

You May Also Like: Best Frozen Raw Dog Food

2 thoughts on “Instinct Raw Dog Food Review”

  1. Diane Rubart

    My Lhasa is 11 years old and was diagnosed with heart disease. What is the salt content in Signature Lamb Bites.
    Her name is Hope, I want only the BEST for her.
    Thank you
    Diane Rubart

  2. James bruegeman

    Yeah I read reviews and people are saying raw is not for picky eaters and that’s not true at all I got an eighth month old Shepherd that hasn’t ate one piece of dry food since the day he was born and he gobbles this right now I’m not sure what some lady was talking about distinctive smell I don’t tend to smell it too much and I know that you don’t want to leave it set out cuz it could rot but maybe the lady ought to stop sniffing her food I’m hoping this is for reviews

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