5 Best Venison Dog Food Recipes in 2020

Chicken, beef, and pork dog food recipes are some of the most common options, but now more unique flavors like venison are gaining popularity. Venison might not be the preferred meat for all dogs and it’s certainly not cheap, but many dog parents have found added benefits to switching to a more unique flavor. So, maybe it’s time for your dog to try something new in their diet.

Pros and Cons of Venison Dog Food

Many dog parents choose venison for their dogs simply because it’s a new, exciting flavor that even picky dogs are likely to enjoy. However, it’s also considered healthier for your dog than popular meat sources and it’s less likely to cause allergic reactions.

Venison or any deer meat has less protein than meats like beef, but it also has less fat and cholesterol. Therefore, it often provides a more balanced diet for your dog. It’s also a good source of B vitamins and minerals, which includes zinc, iron, and phosphorous. It’s often good for dogs with sensitivities to other meat sources and it provides lasting energy for your pup.

The single significant downside to venison dog food is the cost. Venison isn’t as common as chicken, beef, or any other animal sources, so it costs more to use in dog food. That’s why you’ll often see venison dog food formulas that cost almost twice as much as the brand’s other flavors. Many dog parents will say that it’s worth the price, but if you’re on a budget, then it might not be the right protein for your dog.

Best Venison Dog Food Recipes

Since venison is a more expensive protein, you’ll want to get your money’s worth when choosing the right brand. We’ve selected five great venison dog food formulas and analyzed each one based on features, pros, and cons.

#1 – Go! Sensitivities Limited Ingredient Venison Dry Dog Food

This is a limited ingredient, grain-free recipe, which means it’s great for dogs with lots of allergies and sensitivities. The first two ingredients are deboned venison and venison meal. Venison meal is a meat concentrate that contains up to 300% more protein than fresh venison. Yet, the food only contains about 22% protein and 12% fat, which are less than the average dry dog food.

Venison is the only source of animal protein in this food to benefit dogs with protein allergies, however, it does have some salmon oil in it, so it’s not good for dogs with fish allergies. Luckily, it contains prebiotics to aid digestion and omega fatty acids to benefit your dog’s skin and coat. It avoids many common allergens, including meat by-products, grains, gluten, potatoes, corn, wheat, and soy. It can be purchased in two sizes: 3.5 pounds and 22 pounds.

Pros:

  • It’s good for dogs with allergies.
  • It lists animal protein as the first two ingredients.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It has no unhealthy filler ingredients.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It comes in two sizes.

Cons:

  • It’s expensive.
  • It has a low protein percentage.

#2 – Merrick Grain-Free Venison Dry Dog Food Recipe

This Merrick recipe is another grain-free venison option, but it’s not limited ingredient. In fact, it includes multiple other protein sources, including turkey, lamb, pork, and chicken. Therefore, it’s not the best option for dogs with sensitivities to certain proteins. The first four ingredients are deboned venison, turkey meal, lamb meal, and pork meal. It has a total of 36% protein and 16% fat, which are higher than most dry dog food brands.

Merrick includes plenty of protein in their formulas in order to give your dog healthy energy levels and strong muscle mass. It also has high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which will give your dog healthy skin and a healthy coat. Additionally, it contains glucosamine and chondroitin to keep your dog’s hips and joints healthy. It uses only real whole foods like sweet potatoes, apples, and blueberries. Therefore, it avoids common allergens like preservatives, gluten, corn, wheat, and soy. It currently only comes in a 12-pound bag.

Pros:

  • It’s high in protein.
  • It lists animal protein as the first four ingredients.
  • It has no unhealthy filler ingredients.
  • It promotes healthy joints.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It gives your dog healthy energy levels.

Cons:

  • It’s expensive.
  • It’s not good for dogs with protein sensitivities.
  • It only comes in one size.

#3 – Zignature Venison Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food

Like the Go! Sensitivities formula, this is a limited ingredient option for dogs with lots of allergies and sensitivities. Therefore, venison is the only animal protein listed in this food. Venison and venison meal are the first two ingredients listed. The food has about 27% protein and 16% fat, which are a little higher than your average dry dog food. It comes in three different sizes: 4 pounds, 12.5 pounds, and 25 pounds.

The venison used in this food is always farm-raised in New Zealand. Every formula for this brand avoids common allergens like chicken, dairy, grains, potatoes, corn, wheat, and soy. It has omega fatty acids to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy, along with antioxidants and healthy fibers to aid digestion and keep your dog’s immune system healthy.

Pros:

  • It’s good for dogs with allergies.
  • It lists animal protein as the first two ingredients.
  • It has no unhealthy filler ingredients.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It promotes a healthy immune system.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It comes in three sizes.

Cons:

  • It’s expensive.
  • Some picky eaters might not like it.
  • It’s out of stock often.

#4 – Solid Gold Buck Wild Venison, Potato, & Pumpkin Recipe

This is one of the more affordable venison options, but it also includes other animal sources like turkey, fish, and chicken in it. Venison and turkey meal are the first two ingredients listed, followed by potatoes and peas, which are mediocre ingredients that could cause allergies. In total, it has 23% protein and 12% fat, which are below average for dry dog food. It can be purchased in two sizes: 4 pounds and 24 pounds.

Solid Gold is labeled as a holistic brand, and this food is geared toward dogs with sensitive stomachs. It has no grains or gluten in it, but it still has some other common allergens like chicken fat and potatoes. It has probiotics to aid digestion, along with omega fatty acids for healthy skin and a healthy coat. It’s also packed with superfood ingredients like carrots, pumpkin, and blueberries. All the venison included is also pasture-raised.

Pros:

  • It lists animal protein as the first two ingredients.
  • It’s less expensive than similar brands.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It comes in two sizes.

Cons:

  • It might not be good for dogs with allergies.
  • Picky dogs might not like it.
  • It has a low protein percentage.

#5 – Blue Buffalo Wilderness with Wild Salmon, Venison, and Halibut

Blue Buffalo has one of the biggest varieties when it comes to dog food. This formula uses more protein than just venison, but it’s still good for picky eaters. It includes venison, salmon, halibut, chicken, and other fish sources as animal protein. The first two ingredients are deboned salmon and menhaden fish meal, so venison isn’t even listed until about a third of the way down the ingredient list. In total, this food contains 30% protein and 16% fat, which are considered high. This food comes in two sizes: 4 pounds and 22 pounds.

This is a grain-free formula that avoids common allergens, such as chicken, meat by-products, corn, wheat, and soy. This makes it good for sensitive dogs that enjoy fishy flavors. It was inspired by the meals of wolves. The food contains “LifeSource bits,” which are a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They can help keep your dog’s immune system healthy. The food also contains calcium and phosphorous for bone health, glucosamine for joint health, and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and a healthy coat.

Pros:

  • It’s high in protein.
  • It lists animal protein as the first two ingredients.
  • It promotes bone health.
  • It promotes healthy digestion.
  • It benefits your dog’s skin and coat.
  • It comes in two sizes.

Cons:

  • Venison isn’t the main protein.
  • It might not be good for dogs with protein sensitivities.
  • It has some controversial ingredients.
  • The brand has been recalled multiple times.

Should Your Dog Eat Venison?

Dogs like to have some variety in their diets, so even if you’re not willing to completely change their food brand, you can at least switch the flavor once in a while. Whether or not you settle on venison is up to you, but it can’t hurt to at least try it once. If you have a picky dog who has already turned their nose up at chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, fish, and pork, then your options are becoming limited. So, venison is a healthy solution to help your dog enjoy their food again.

If your dog has allergies or sensitivities to certain protein sources too, then that’s another reason to try venison. Venison is higher quality than chicken or beef, which means it’s less likely to cause reactions for your pup. So, the only reasons not to choose venison would be the price. Consider whether or not the food will fit your budget before making the switch for your dog. There are always other proteins that are safe and tasty for your dog, so keep trying new flavors until you find the one they enjoy the most.

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