Instinct Raw Boost Dog Food Review: Recalls, Pros & Cons

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instinct raw review

Our Final Verdict

We give Instinct Raw Boost dog food a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.


Instinct Raw Boost is made by Nature’s Variety, a brand that was started in 2002 with the intention of creating holistic food for pets. None of their foods use any artificial colors or flavors, and they also avoid animal by-products; every ingredient is included with pets’ health in mind.

Their Instinct Raw Boost line is notable for having chunks of freeze-dried raw meat inside. It’s akin to feeding a raw diet, without having to completely transition over. As a result, it’s become very popular among owners who believe in the virtues of feeding a raw diet, but don’t have the time or money to do so.

All their food is made in the St. Louis area, where they’re headquartered. They’re a privately-owned company, so they don’t answer to a giant multinational corporation.

We really like this food, but it’s not necessarily for everyone. Read on to find out who we feel should (and shouldn’t) give it a try.


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At a Glance: The Best Instinct Raw Boost Dog Food Recipes:

Dog FoodPriceFlavorSizes Available
Grain-Free Recipe Natural
Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe Natural
(Our Favorite)

Check Price
Duck & more
4 lb,
10 lb,
20 lb & more
Grain-Free Recipe Natural Gut Health
Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe Natural Gut Health

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Chicken4 lb,
18 lb
Grain-Free Recipe Natural Small & Toy Breed
Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe Natural Small & Toy Breed

Check Price
4 lb,
10 lb
Grain-Free Recipe Natural Puppy
Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe Natural Puppy

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Chicken4 lb,
10 lb,
20 lb
Grain-Free Recipe Natural Healthy Weight
Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe Natural Healthy Weight

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Chicken4 lb,
20 lb

Instinct Raw Boost Dog Food Reviewed

Who makes Instinct Raw Boost and Where is it Produced?

Instinct Raw Natural is made by Nature’s Variety, a privately held company based out of St. Louis, Missouri.

All their food is produced in the United States.

Which Types of Dogs is Instinct Raw Boost Best Suited For?

This food is best for any animal that would do well on a raw diet (which is to say, most dogs). It also tends to be very high in protein, so active dogs should thrive on it.

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Which Types of Dogs Might Do Better with a Different Brand?

Most dogs should do well with this food, at least from a nutritional perspective.

However, it tends to be quite pricey, so if money is an issue, you might want to consider The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Organic Whole Grain Dog Food. It’s pricier up-front, but you can get a lot more food out of a single box.

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Discussion of the Primary Ingredients

Three of the first four ingredients are chicken products of some kind. It starts off with real chicken, then adds chicken meal and chicken fat. This should give your pooch a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals.

The only two carbs in the first five ingredients are peas and tapioca. These are more nutritious and longer lasting than simple carbs like wheat or corn, so we can’t take issue with their inclusion here.

After the tapioca, there’s more meat in store. You’ll find freeze-dried chicken, chicken heart, and chicken liver (to make the raw chunks), as well as herring and fish meal.

There’s a lot of salt in this food, which may make it a poor choice for overweight or diabetic dogs. Other than that, we couldn’t find much to get upset about.

This is a High-Protein Food

The kibble is packed with protein on its own, as it has a variety of chicken and fish products in it. There would be plenty of meat right there, but when you add in the freeze-dried chunks, it takes it over the top.

They Only Use High-Grade Meat

Given how much meat goes into this food, you’d think they’d resort to using animal by-products at some point to keep the price down.

Not so. All their meat is high-quality, so you can be sure your dog isn’t eating anything you wouldn’t want him to.

Be Careful When Handling It

Because the freeze-dried chunks are made of raw meat, you should always wash your hands after handling it.

This is especially true of the chicken varieties, as raw chicken has been known to carry Salmonella.

A Quick Look at Instinct Raw Boost Dog Food

  • Very high in protein
  • Mimics dogs’ natural diet
  • No cheap fillers or animal by-products
  • Fairly expensive
  • Need to take care when handling it

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Patties, please! ? @copper.and.lily

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Recall History

As best we can tell, this food has never been the subject of a recall.

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Reviews of the 3 Best Instinct Raw Boost Dog Food Recipes

While Instinct Raw Boost has several recipes that are worthy of being fed to your dog, here are three of our favorites:

1. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe Natural

Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe with Real...
  • GRAIN FREE DOG FOOD WITH FREEZE DRIED RAW USA RAISED BEEF: Instinct Raw Boost natural dry dog food...
  • NATURAL DOG FOOD PLUS FREEZE DRIED RAW PIECES: Raw Boost is high protein dog food with probiotics to...

This is their basic line, but there’s really nothing basic about it. It has a ton of protein (37%), as well as a ton of fat (20%). This means it should keep your dog feeling full throughout the day, while also giving him all the nutrition he needs to stay strong and active.

It uses just about every part of the chicken in one way or another, so your dog should get every important amino acid he needs. There’s also a variety of fish meals thrown in for good measure, as these are great sources of omega fatty acids.

If you go far enough down the ingredients list, you’ll find high-quality fruits and veggies like cranberries, kelp, and blueberries. This food has just about everything you could ask for, to be honest.

We wish they’d cut back on the salt, though, and there aren’t as many freeze-dried bits in there as you’d expect, given the price. Those are minor quibbles, however, and shouldn’t deter you from giving this fantastic food a try.

  • Extremely high in protein and fat
  • Uses every part of the chicken
  • Lots of omega fatty acids
  • High in salt
  • Not many freeze-dried chunks inside

2. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe Natural Gut Health

Instinct Raw Boost Gut Health Grain Free Recipe...
  • GRAIN FREE DOG FOOD WITH FREEZE DRIED RAW FOR GUT HEALTH: Instinct Raw Boost dry dog food combines...
  • DOG FOOD PLUS FREEZE DRIED RAW PIECES FOR SENSITIVE STOMACH: Made with ingredients for digestive...

This food doesn’t have quite as much protein and fat as the one above, but that’s because it shifts its focus to the digestive tract. The overall numbers are still high, though (31% and 17%, respectively).

In place of protein, it has pre- and probiotics — lots of them. There are pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, dried pumpkin, flaxseed, and a large variety of probiotic strains.

The chicken used to make it is cage-free, so you don’t have to worry about any hormones or antibiotics in it, and you can feel good about using humane ingredients.

It does have eggs in it, which can give some animals digestive issues. Also, it’s very expensive, but other than that, there’s not a lot to take issue with in this kibble.

  • Lots of pre- and probiotics
  • Uses cage-free chicken
  • High amount of protein and fat
  • Eggs can give some dogs digestive issues
  • Very expensive

3. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe Natural Small & Toy Breed

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain Free Recipe...
  • SMALL BREED DOG FOOD PLUS FREEZE DRIED RAW PIECES: Made with calcium & phosphorus for strong teeth...

Little dogs can build some big muscles with this chow, as it has 35% protein and 20% fat. As a result, it’s excellent for extremely active pups, as well as providing a filling, long-lasting meal for those that need to drop a pound or two.

It uses just about every part of the chicken, and it has turkey and herring meal besides. That means it’s full of glucosamine, which should keep your pup’s joints healthy and pain-free.

It has coconut oil too, which is an excellent food full of omega fatty acids. It’s very calorie-dense, though, so make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise if you feed him this food.

This recipe has eggs in it as well, so it may not be ideal for some dogs with sensitive stomachs. It’s completely grain-free, so most dogs should tolerate it with little trouble.

If you want to keep your tiny pup strong and healthy, you’ll have a hard time finding a better kibble for them than this.

  • Grain-free formula
  • Chock-full of glucosamine
  • Coconut oil adds fatty acids
  • Very calorie-dense
  • Eggs may cause stomach problems

What Other Users are Saying

  • HerePup – “I can’t say enough good things about Instinct, and neither can dog owners who leave Instinct Food for Dogs reviews!”
  • Dog Food Guru — “Today, Instinct remains arguably one of the best dog food brands on the market.”
  • Amazon – As pet owners, we always double-check with Amazon reviews from buyers before we buy something. You can read these by clicking here.

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If you’re looking to switch your dog to a high-protein food that doesn’t use cheap fillers or gross animal by-products, Instinct Raw Boost might be exactly what you’re looking for.

The food incorporates chunks of raw, freeze-dried meat into the kibble, giving your pup a lean, delicious meal in every bowl. It’s ideal for owners who have been considering switching their dogs over to a raw diet, or those who want to dip their toes into the movement without committing a ton of time and money.

It is expensive for a store-bought kibble, but it’s worth every penny. Instinct Raw Boost is one of our favorite foods out there, and it’s hard to imagine a dog that won’t thrive on it.