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4 Best Venison Dog Food Brands

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Dog Food By Meg Marrs 8 min read June 4, 2021 8 Comments

venison-dog-food

Venison Dog Food Quick Picks

  • Nutro Wholesome Essentials Venison [Best Limited Ingredient Diet Option]. A limited ingredient formula featuring venison as the sole animal protein, with healthy grains like brown rice and oatmeal.
  • Taste Of The Wild Pine Forest [Best Value Option]. A protein-rich food with venison and lamb meal as the first two ingredients.

For detailed reviews of these venison dog foods, continue reading.

Why Venison for Dogs?

Venison is a great source of premium quality protein for your dog. Owners who want a venison dog food are often looking for an alternative to the standard chicken, pork, beef, and lamb formulas, which some dogs are allergic to.

Choosing A Dog Food Formula

When choosing the perfect dog food for your dog, consider these factors:

  • Allergies. Some dogs have allergies to certain grains or certain meats. Some signs that your dog could be allergic to the dog food: rashes, itching, paw biting, poor coat quality, excessive licking, nausea, gas, vomiting.
  • Behavioral Changes. Is your dog less active than usual? Is their temperament off? These may be signs that your current dog food isn’t working for your dog.
  • Taste Buds. Believe it or not, some dogs are just picky eaters! Dogs may prefer certain tastes and dog food formulas over others simply because they enjoy the taste of one formula more.
  • Age. Some dog food formulas are designed for puppies, while others are designer for adult dogs, and even senior dogs.

5 Best Venison Dog Foods

Here’s our run down of the five best venison dog food brands. We chose these brands based on their popularity, combined with ratings from other 3rd party dog food review sites.

1. Taste Of The Wild Pine Forest

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Taste Of The Wild Pine Forest

Taste Of The Wild Pine Forest

Quality venison-based food

Features real venison at top of the ingredient list, along with lamb meal.

Features:

  • Real Roasted Meats. The Taste of the Wild’s Pine Forest formula is made with real venison as the #1 ingredient, supplemented with fruits and vegetables.
  • Grain Free? Yes
  • Digestible Protein + Antioxidants. This dog food is packed with highly digestible protein (it has above-average protein and fat levels compared to other dog food).
  • Meat is Primary Ingredient. Venison and lamb meal make up the first two ingredients of this formula, which a rich animal protein base.

PROS

This dog food has above-average protein and fat content compared to typical dog foods. Many owners love it – especially for dogs who are allergic to corn. Many also note that it’s quite affordable food considering the high-quality and focus on meat.

CONS

This venison dog food was part of Diamond’s 2012 recall for potential salmonella contamination. While this was several years ago and is no longer is an issue, it’s still something to consider, as some owners are uncomfortable buying dog food from a company with a past history of recalls.

We suggest signing up for a dog food recall alert service just to make sure you’re the first to know if another similar situation arises again.

Ingredients List

Venison, lamb meal, garbanzo beans, peas, lentils...,

pea protein, pea flour, egg product, canola oil, fava beans, tomato pomace, natural flavor, ocean fish meal, salmon oil (a source of DHA), salt, DL-methionine, choline chloride, taurine, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation procuct, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

2. Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct

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Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct

Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct

Budget-friendly venison-based dog food

This grain-free formula features real turkey as the #1 ingredient and each serving contains 30% protein content.

Features:

  • Real Turkey and Venison. Purina ONE SmartBlend is made with real turkey and venison, with turkey as the #1 ingredient.
  • Gain-Free? No
  • Natural Source of Glucosamine. This dog food contains natural sources of glucosamine, which supports healthy joints.
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids. This dog food’s Omega-6 fatty acid profile helps your dog develop healthy skin and a shiny coat.
  • For Adult Dogs. This venison dog food formula is designed specifically for adult dogs.
  • Sizes. Available in 3.8 lb / 7.4 lb / 15 lb / 27.5 lb bags.

PROS

While it does contain grain, at 30% protein (and with meat as the primary ingredients) it does have a better macronutrient profile than the majority of dog foods and has never been recalled (plus it’s manufactured in the USA). Owners note it’s a decent quality dog food at a reasonable price.

CONS

It doesn’t have the best ingredient list, with corn, soy, and other less-than-ideal ingredients. Venison is very far down on the ingredient list. Also includes turkey in addition to venison, so not great for owners who need an exclusive venison protein kibble.

Ingredients List

Turkey (Source of Glucosamine), Corn Gluten Meal, Soy Flour, Beef Fat Naturally Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Chicken Meal (Source of Glucosamine)...,

Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Corn, Soy Flakes, Rice Flour, Corn Germ Meal, Glycerin, Venison, Oat Meal, Liver Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Mono and Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Caramel Color, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7)], Potassium Chloride, Minerals [Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Sulfur, Choline Chloride. E-4174

3. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Venison 

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Nutro Wholesome Essentials Venison

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Venison

Limited ingredient food with venison protein

Features venison as the only animal protein and is ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs – plus, it’s corn, wheat, soy, and GMO-free.

Features:

  • Ideal for Sensitive Stomachs. This venison dog food has limited ingredients, making it a great choice for dogs with sensitive systems.
  • New Zealand Venison. This New Zealand venison meal provides a unique and high-quality source of protein that may be preferable for dogs who don’t enjoy or process other protein sources well.
  • Grain-Free? No
  • No Corn, Wheat, or Soy. This formula is corn, wheat, soy, and GMO-free.
  • Better Skin Promise. With patented levels of Omega-6 fatty acid, zinc, and B vitamins, this dog food is guaranteed to improve your dog’s skin and coat, or else you’ll get your money back.
  • Whole Gain Oatmeal. This dog food’s whole grain oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, making it easier to digest.
  • Dogs Ages 1-7. Recommended for dogs age 1-7.
  • Available from Chewy or Amazon

NOTE: While this food is available on Amazon, owners report receiving questionable condition or expired kibble. For this reason, we recommend purchasing Nutro Venison from Chewy.com (+ you can get 30% off your first autoship order).

PROS

Many owners note that dogs who have sensitive stomachs enjoyed the Nutro Natural Choice formula. Owners note their dogs are finally gas-free!

CONS

Not grain free – whole brown rice is a major ingredient. This shouldn’t be an issue for most dogs, but for those with grain allergies it may be a problem.

Ingredients List

Venison Meal, Whole Brown Rice, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Chickpeas, Brewers Rice...,

Rice Bran, Pea Protein, Split Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Sunflower Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Soybean Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Taurine, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Selenium Yeast, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

4. American Journey Venison & Sweet Potato

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american-journey-venison-sweet-potato

American Journey Venison & Sweet Potato

Includes omega-3s and omega-6s

Grain-free venison food without corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-product meals or artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.

Features:

  • Limited Ingredient. This venison dog food features venison as the first ingredient, along with easily digestible carbohydrates like peas and sweet potatoes, making it ideal for dogs with food sensitivities.
  • Gain-Free? Yes. American Journey venison & sweet potato dog food is grain-free, ensuring that your dog gets quality nutrition and protein.
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids. This dog food’s Omega-6 (from sunflower oil) and Omega-6 fatty acids (from flaxseed) will help your dog maintain healthy skin and coat.
  • No Unhealthy Additives. This food is made without corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-product meals or artificial colors, preservatives or flavors
  • Sizes. Available in 4 lb / 12 lb / 24 lb packs

PROS

Many owners note that this venison dog food worked well for dogs with food allergies and also helped with digestive troubles. Venison is also featured as the first ingredient.

CONS

Some owners may not love that this food is grain-free. But, for dogs with allergies, the reliance on stomach-friendly carbohydrates is a plus.

Ingredients List

Deboned Venison, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Pea Protein, Venison Meal...,

Chickpeas, Natural Flavor, Pea Starch, Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Flaxseed, Fish Oil, Sunflower Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, L-Threonine, Dl-Methionine, Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Niacin Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

5. Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dry Dog Food

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Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dry Dog Food

Natural Balance Dry Dog Food

Limited-ingredient diet that’s easy on stomachs

This grain-free formula uses venison as the only animal protein, along with select carbohydrate sources to maintain a healthy digestive system.

Features:

  • Limited Ingredients. This Natural Balance dog food contains a limited number of protein and carbohydrate sources, making the food easier to digest.
  • Grain-Free? Yes
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6. This venison dog food contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acid profiles.
  • Sweet Potatoes. This venison and sweet potatoes formula allows sweet potatoes to serve as the main carbohydrate. Sweet potato is a premium, quality carb that is easier to digest and rich in potassium, compared to other lesser carbs (like corn, grain, etc.)
  • Sizes: Available in 4.5 lb / 13 lb / 26 lb bags

PROS

Grain-free, and a good source of protein.

CONS

As with most dog foods, some pet owners found that their pooch’s didn’t enjoy this formula, but most are quite pleased.

Ingredients List

Sweet Potatoes, Venison, Potato Protein, Pea Protein, Canola Oil...,

Dicalcium Phosphate, Potato Fiber, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Note: This dog food was reviewed with information from 3rd party dog food review sites like Dog Food Advisor. We did NOT try this dog food ourselves – we are providing a report based on outside sources and 3rd party reviews.

Do you have any recommendations for the best venison dog foods? Share your top picks in the comments!

For more tips on doggy dinner time, check out our post on the best food dispensing dog toys (to slow down hungry eaters).

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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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8 Comments

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Jim Barvainis

Superior venison ONLY grain free formula. Most user friendly because it’s highly digestible and still tastes great! Our dogs LOVE it wet and dry! Please check it out.

Reply
Fran

Hi, I got results back today for my boy. He’s sensitive to all meat apart from venison! He’s also very sensitive to corn (maize) rice, white fish and salmon!
So I’d love to hear if anyone has any suggestions for foods? I was looking at the natural balance one, but did I read they add chicken meal?
He’s lucky in that he’s ok with wheat, as I know lot dogs aren’t, soybean, barley, potato and oats but majority of foods have rice in it too which is big no. Any tips help greatly appreciated. Thanks

Reply
S

What is it?

Reply
Elaine

Instinct has changed the canned Venison formula, so probably will change raw boost as well. Front of Can still says Venison, but directly to the left it says “Beef & Venison” – my dogs can’t eat beef. Very, very sneaky, and could result in a lot of dogs getting sick.

Reply
Meg Marrs

Thanks for the heads up Elaine. It’s so frustrating with manufacturers do stuff like that! We’ll work on keeping an eye out for any chances and updating our review.

Reply
Alisa skates

Has any one had great results with with food allergies and fur loss after witching to venison and sweet potato?

Reply
Lona

It really stinks that these dog food manufacturers cannot just make a straight venison grain free dry or wet food without putting turkey, chicken, or some other ingredient that dogs nay be sensitive to. My dog is allergic to chicken protein yet it is in everything as a filler!! I switched 4 times from various brands that we’re at one time just venison only to find they snuck in chicken meal. The way I found out was my dog kept getting sick!!!! This angers me!!! The brand we switched to was all venison. Recently my dog developed an ear infection. So I checked the ingredients on the bag and now there is turkey and chicken meal added in!! I am very disappointed! My poor dog!

Reply
Jim

Refer to my comment on 3/18/19.

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