What is Natural Dog Food?

As loving dog owners, we want to provide our pups with the best nutrition possible. Eating well will ensure that our dogs are happy and healthy, so we can enjoy plenty of adventures with them. A natural diet is a great way to ensure that your pup gets everything they need – and looks forward to dinner time too! In this article, we’ll explain what natural dog food is, the different forms it can take, and the potential benefits.

What is a Dog’s Natural Diet

Dogs are true omnivores, which means the perfect diet for them consists of a good mix of meat and plants. Protein is a very important part of a dog’s diet, but they will flourish on a mix of both plant and animal-based protein sources. This means that along with chicken, fish and other meats, dogs should also have plenty of fruits and vegetables.

What is Natural Dog Food

Natural dog food is the closest to what our dog’s ancestors would have eaten in the wild – but better! As you can imagine, the life expectancy for wild dogs was not as long as it is now for domestic pets. Natural dog food offers the best of both worlds. It’s similar to what our dogs’ ancestors would have eaten in terms of fresh, single-source proteins and plants without any chemicals or artificial preservatives. But, diets like those from Natures Menu and James Wellbeloved also ensure that every meal is complete and balanced, by making sure they contain all the essential vitamins and minerals your dog needs for a healthy life.

In short, natural dog food contains – you guessed it – only natural ingredients, with no artificial flavourings, colourings or preservatives. It also undergoes the minimal level of processing. It often contains fewer ingredients than other kinds of dog food too, with a nutritional reason behind each and every one; natural dog food doesn’t contain any fillers, or any unnecessary ingredients that don’t offer nutritious benefits to your dog.

Benefits of Natural Dog Food

As we’ve discussed, a good natural dog food will nourish your dog with everything they need, and won’t fill them up with stuff they don’t. Quality nutrition like this could lead to all sorts of benefits, including:

  • A shinier coat
  • Better skin
  • More energy
  • Help with maintaining a healthy weight
  • Improved digestion
  • Allergen control

We’ll discuss a couple of these benefits of natural dog food in more detail below.

Digestible Ingredients

Natural dog food can be great for those who struggle with digestive issues. The simple, natural ingredients used in natural dog food are easier on the tummy.

Plus, many natural dog food brands, like James Wellbeloved and Butcher’s, offer grain-free options. Grain-free dog food has a reduced starch and carbohydrate content which can assist with smoother digestion for many dogs.

Burns Pet Nutrition offer a Sensitive range for dogs who struggle with upset tummies and also those with sensitive skin. Burns Sensitive diets contain an optimal balance of highly digestible protein and fat, and a unique blend of fibre sources for intestinal health.

Burns Sensitive+ Adult Dry Dog Food with Pork & Potato

Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Natural dog food tends to have fewer ingredients, often single source proteins, and the ingredients are all recognisable to the average dog owner. This makes it much easier to pinpoint intolerances or allergies. Fewer ingredients means you can keep track of what causes a reaction in your dog, and what doesn’t.

James Wellbeloved don’t use beef or pork in their dog food as they are considered common allergens. The shape of their kibble corresponds to the animal protein source used. For example, kibble containing chicken is round in shape, while fish-based kibble is triangular. This is to prevent cross-contamination.

Meanwhile Burns uses simple ingredients sourced locally for their natural dog food, avoiding common allergens like wheat, soya, and dairy.

What Types of Natural Dog Food are there?

For many people, when they hear the words natural dog food, they think of raw dog food. While this is certainly one option, natural dog food can come in a variety of different forms, all with their own benefits.


Wet dog food can be easier for some dogs to eat than dry, and it also provides natural hydration. It’s also irresistible in flavour for our pups!

Lily’s Kitchen offers natural wet diets for dogs which use only fresh or freshly prepared meat, along with nutritious vegetables. These natural wet diets are gently steam-cooked once through to ensure all the goodness inside is preserved.

Natures Menu Country Hunter is another good example of a natural wet diet – the Superfood Selection contains 80% human-grade meat along with superfoods packed with vitamins and minerals.

Natures Menu Country Hunter Superfood Selection

Meanwhile Butcher’s offer a range of mouth-watering wet dog food loafs as well as recipes in jelly.

Raw Dog Food

Raw feeding comes under the wet dog food bracket, but the main distinction is that the ingredients used are uncooked – as they would have been for wild dogs. Taking it back to your pup’s ancestral roots, a raw dog food diet consists of feeding uncooked, raw meat, fruit and vegetables.

You should always ensure that you’re feeding your dog a complete and balanced diet. While it’s possible to prepare raw dog food at home with your own ingredients, this is unlikely to provide your dog with the right balance of everything they need to be healthy. If you do choose to feed raw, it’s better to choose a brand marked ‘complete and balanced’. This means it is specially formulated with everything your dog needs.

When feeding raw dog food, be aware of the precautions you should take when handling it. It’s important to have good hygiene practices when handling raw meat, and raw dog food is no different. Always wash your hands with soap and hot water immediately after preparing raw dog food, and clean all the surfaces it may have touched. You should also freeze raw dog food until it’s needed, and store and defrost it away from human food.

Read our blog all about raw dog food for more information on this type of natural diet.

Kibble or Dry Natural Dog Food

The major benefit of dry dog food is the convenience, since it is easier to store and lasts longer. In the past, some dry dog foods have lacked balanced ingredients, but dry natural dog food like Burns Pet Nutrition gives you the best of both worlds! Using only a few choice, simple ingredients, Burns Pet Nutrition offers nutritious, natural meat and veg based kibble without any of the unnecessary or potentially harmful extras that may have been historically slipped into some dry foods.

Burns Original Chicken and Brown Rice Dry Dog Food

As well as staying fresher for longer and requiring no preparation, dry kibble is also usually the most affordable way to provide your dog with all the benefits of natural dog food. The dry diets from James Wellbeloved for example, are bursting with the same natural goodness you’ll find in their wet diets, but at even more pocket-friendly prices.

Interestingly, natural dog food in the form of kibble is often actually higher in protein than raw meat. This is because the meat is dried before it is made into kibble. The resulting ‘meat meal’ is simply a dehydrated version of the animal protein source, and since it has had its moisture removed, it’s more concentrated. There is more protein per gram in chicken meal than a chicken breast for example.

Freeze Dried Dog Food

Like kibble, freeze dried dog food has had all the moisture removed from it. However, the process used to create freeze dried dog food is very different.

Nature’s Variety has revolutionised raw dog food with their freeze dried range. It combines all the nutritional benefits of raw, with the convenience of dry. The gentle process used to freeze dry dog food preserves all the goodness, flavour and nutrients of the raw meat and vegetables used, but removes the moisture so that it doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge. As you can imagine, with no moisture content, freeze dried dog food also has a deliciously intense flavour that dogs adore!

Read our dedicated blog all about freeze dried dog food, for more information about this type of diet.

Nature’s Variety Freeze Dried Large Dry Dog Food Lamb Dinner

Wrapping Up

Natural dog food is a great way to ensure your four-legged friend is getting all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need, along with the flavour experience they deserve. There are plenty of different options when it comes to natural dog food; whether you want to explore the innovative freeze dried dog food on offer, indulge your pup in the tantalising textures of wet and raw dog food, or provide quality nutrition with the ease and convenience of natural kibble. Whichever you choose, one thing is for sure – your dog will thank you for it!

Explore our range of natural dog food here.

Read more about natural pet food:
What is Natural Cat Food?
What is Freeze-Dried Dog Food?
What is Raw Dog Food?
Are Natural Dog Treats Good for Dogs?
Grain Free Dog Food: Everything You Need to Know

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