10 Best Venison Dog Foods

Best Venison Dog Food dogfoodcare.com

We all want what’s best for our canine companions, and just as we think we’ve found the most nutritious dog food, something else is suggested. Today we read Venison is the best protein for dogs, so go out and buy venison dog food.

Last week we’re told grains are bad, go grain-free. Just as your dog is used to grain-free dog food, we learn that not all grains are bad, so you should only avoid some grains.

Some say wholesome grains are good, but which grains are wholesome?

The next No-No is potatoes—whatever you do, make sure you don’t choose dog food containing potatoes. What’s next?

How do we know when it is a fad or marketing trick? Due diligence, that’s how. Here’s what a bit of research will teach you about deer meat or venison dog food., and how it can benefit your dog.

In this article, we’ll also recommend some Venison dog foods to help you choose what’s right for your precious pooch.

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Venison is a Lean Meat Source

Venison is a leaner meat than beef and other red meats because it has less fat and less cholesterol than the equivalent amount of other meat. That, right there, is a significant benefit because it can prevent obesity, and for dogs already overweight, it can help to shed some pounds.

Venison Dog Food Contains Multiple Minerals and Vitamins

Venison is packed with healthy vitamins and minerals, including:

Omega-3 – Venison contains higher concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids than other red meats, and this is important in cognition and brain health, as well as eye and even coat and skin health. Omega-3 fatty acids can also treat arthritis and kidney disease.

Iron – Essential for the proper functioning of red blood cells, low iron levels can lead to anemia. Anemic dogs are more prone to injury, and illness, and they are more lethargic and listless.

Niacin – Vitamin B3 is known to help circulation and, in turn, it can reduce levels of inflammation. So, it is especially significant for dogs with arthritis and other inflammatory illnesses. All B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that they are not stored by the body and are used immediately. As a result, your dog needs high levels in its diet.

Riboflavin – Vitamin B2 combines with other vitamins and minerals to fight diseases by creating antibodies within the immune system. Vitamin B2 is also necessary to help the body absorb B6 and iron.

Vitamin B – Vitamin B6 is another B vitamin, and like the others, it is water-soluble, so your dog’s body must consume what it requires at the time. It is used to create glucose, and it supports a healthy immune system while supporting DNA.

Venison is a Novel Protein

Venison is referred to as a novel protein, which means it is a protein that your dog would not normally consume. Typical meat proteins would be chicken, beef, lamb, and even rabbit.

The benefit of a novel protein is that your dog had no or limited exposure to it. For dogs showing signs of allergic reactions or food sensitivities, novel proteins like venison can help to determine the exact cause of the sensitivity.

There aren’t too many foods that use novel proteins, but venison is one of the healthier options.

Most Dogs Love the Taste of Venison

If your pooch does not like the taste of a new food ingredient and refuses to eat it, the many benefits of venison would be lost. Fortunately, venison for dogs is like a delicacy for dog owners.

Although every dog is different, most love the taste of venison and will eagerly eat a bowl full of good-quality venison-based commercial dog food.

What if the venison dog food label lists venison meal?

Venison meal is a rendered meat concentrate that contains substantially more protein than fresh venison, making it a quality ingredient in commercial pet foods.

Venison can be included in homemade raw-food diets for dogs, but make sure to consult your veterinarian before switching your dog over to a raw-food meal plan. 

The Best Dog Foods Must Be Complete and Balanced

Choosing the best food for your furry family member is a challenge and not a job to do without doing your research. Can you trust the manufacturer’s claim that the dog food is “Complete and Balanced?” Clever marketing tricks can convince dog owners to buy low-quality dog foods. What is good for your friend’s Jack Russel might not be the best choice for your German Shepherd.

For any Venison dog food to be marketed as Complete and Balanced, it must meet the nutritional standards established by AAFCO. It is an acronym for the Association of American Feed Control Officials, a non-profit organization that sets standards for pet foods in the United States. The AAFCO defines nutritional adequacy standards by two nutrient profiles based on a dog’s stage of life. However, no law makes testing, analysis, or inclusion on dog food labels compulsory in the U.S.

Complete and balanced dog foods will display the AAFCO approval and one of the following symbols. Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Dog Food Care’s Top Picks of Venison Dog Food

  • Best Overall Kibble – Zignature Venison Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Second Best Kibble – Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Big Game Recipe.
  • Best for Budget Kibble – Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Open Prairie Recipe with Beef, Venison & Lamb Natural Grain-Free
  • Best Canned Food – Ziwi Peak Venison Recipe Canned Dog Food
  • Best for Budget Canned – Wellness CORE Grain-Free Beef, Venison & Lamb Formula Canned
  • Best Freeze Dried – Stella & Chewy’s Venison Blend Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried

1. Zignature Venison Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food



  • First 5 Ingredients: Venison, Venison Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Chickpeas Flour
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Basis: Protein 30%, Fat 17%, Fiber 5.5%, Carbs 46%
  • Caloric Content: 394 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Made from farm-raised Venison from New Zealand, a unique protein packed with iron, and B vitamins–plus, its lean fat content produces high levels of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA).
  • Type of Product: Grain-free, limited ingredient formula is made with one protein source
  • Life Stage: Adults of All Breeds from Dachshund to St. Bernard
  • Average Price: $97.99 per 25-lb bag = $3.91-lb
  • Overall best with venison as first and second ingredients – 5-Star Rating

Zignature Venison Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food offers your canine companion a delicious dinner made with real Venison from New Zealand as the main ingredient, wholesome peas, chickpeas, and flaxseed. This meat-first recipe offers pups the protein they need to thrive, while Zignature’s limited ingredient recipe throws out troublesome ingredients like chicken, corn, wheat, soy, and potatoes, creating peak hypoallergenic, low-glycemic nutrition. Combine that with key antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and a complete spectrum of vitamins and minerals for a well-rounded meal that goes beyond nature to become your pet’s signature food for life.

2. Merrick Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Grain-Free Big Game Recipe



  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 38% Crude Protein, 19% Crude Fat, 3.5% Crude Fiber, 11% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Basis: Protein 43%, Fat 20%, Fiber 3.9%, Carbs 34%
  • Caloric Content: 398 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Includes wild boar and venison in a protein-rich and highly digestible formula.
  • Type of Product: Freeze-dried raw-diet dry dog food
  • Life Stage: Adult All Breeds
  • Average Price: $81.98 per 20-lb bag = $4.10-lb
  • Second-best Venison dog food – 5-Star Rating

This Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Big Game Recipe is also a gluten-free dry dog food containing freeze-dried raw-coated kibble and freeze-dried raw bites to give your canine buddy all the benefits of a raw diet. It’s developed with high levels of omega fatty acids to help promote healthy skin and a shiny coat, while glucosamine and chondroitin support hip and joint function. It is perfect for helping all breeds of adult dogs build healthy muscles and maintain a high level of energy throughout the day.

3. Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Open Prairie Recipe with Beef, Venison & Lamb Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food



  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Chicken Meal, Whole Dried Potato, Natural Pork Flavor, Tapioca
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 15% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Basis: Protein 33%, Fat 17%, Fiber 5.5%, Carbs 44%
  • Caloric Content: 335kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: Crafted with real lamb and real venison.
  • Type of Product: Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Life Stage: Adult All Breeds
  • Average Price: $47.77 per 23-lb bag = $2.08-lb
  • Best for Budget Dry Venison Dog Food – 5-Star Rating

Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Open Prairie Recipe with Beef, Venison & Lamb Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food has real venison, and real lamb for the meaty, flavorful taste dogs love. Aside from the delicious protein pups instinctually crave, this recipe is also crafted with added vitamins and minerals for the nutrient-dense nutrition they need. With 30% high-quality protein, this dog food will keep your furry sidekick satisfied. And you can have peace of mind knowing that it is made without grains, gluten, filler ingredients, artificial flavors, colors or artificial preservatives. All that at an affordable price.

4. American Journey Grain-Free with Lamb, Venison & Beef Dry Dog Food


  • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Lamb, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Chickpeas, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% Crude Protein, 14% Crude Fat, 5% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Basis: Protein 24%, Fat 15.5%, Fiber 5.5%, Carbs 50%
  • Caloric Content: 345 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: High-quality red meat protein blend features lamb, venison, and beef to provide the variety dogs naturally crave.
  • Type of Product: Grain-free formula crafted without any corn, wheat or soy ingredients, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • Life Stage: Adults All Breeds
  • Average Price: $54.99 24-lb bag = $2.29-lb
  • Best for multi-dog families with adult dogs from Boston Terriers to Great Danes—Rating – 4.5-Star

American Journey Meat Blends is crafted with a delicious mix of premium proteins, including lamb, venison, and beef on the ingredients list. Every bite delivers the fuel your dog needs to turn every day into an adventure. High-quality proteins help maintain lean muscles, prebiotics, probiotics, and natural fiber help support healthy digestion, and antioxidants support immune system health. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help support healthy skin and coat. Serve up a complete and balanced meal with the protein variety dogs love and the whole-body nutrition you can trust.

5. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food



  • First 5 Ingredients: Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 32% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Basis: Protein 35.5%, Fat 20%, Fiber 10%, Carbs 40%
  • Caloric Content: 422 kcal/cup
  • Key Feature: This roasted bison and venison dry dog food is crafted with real meat as the #1 ingredient and is high in protein (32%) to help support bones, joints and lean muscles.
  • Type of Product: A grain-free recipe specially crafted for canine companions
  • Life Stage: Adults All Breeds
  • Average Price: $28.99 per 28-lb bag = $2.11-lb
  • Best for active dogs. 5-Star Rating

Nourish your canine companion with the balanced diet nature intended with Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. Formulated with novel proteins, including buffalo and bison, this grain-free recipe includes peas and sweet potatoes that deliver the highly digestible energy your active pup needs. Added are natural antioxidant support from real fruits and vegetables and dried chicory root for prebiotic support and healthy digestion. Essential minerals are chelated with amino acids to optimize their absorption and ensure maximum benefit, for complete and balanced nutrition with a taste of the wild your furry friend constantly craves.

6. Ziwi Peak Venison Recipe Canned Dog Food



  • First 5 Ingredients: Venison, Venison Tripe, Venison Liver, Chickpeas (with 4 more venison ingredients – organ meat – within the first 10 ingredients
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 10% Crude Protein, 4% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Basis: Protein 45%, Fat 18%, Fiber 2.5%, Carbs 27%
  • Caloric Content: 468 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: This single-protein, moisture-rich, chunky pate contains whole-prey ratios of 92% meat, organs, bone, and New Zealand green mussels.
  • Type of Product: Single-protein, moisture-rich, chunky pate
  • Life Stage: Seniors, adults and puppies of all breeds
  • Average Price: $119.52 case of 12 × 13.75-oz = $9.96-can
  • Best Canned Food: Rating 5-Star – Best for a complete meal for peak nutrition or as a tasty topper to furry friends of all ages and breed types

Feed your dog farm-to-bowl nutrition with Ziwi Peak Venison Recipe Canned Dog Food. Simple and pure, just like the Ziwi love for dogs, this dog food recipe gives your pal high-quality ingredients from New Zealand. It’s designed to mirror a whole-prey, nutrient-dense diet using fresh meat, organs and bone, as well as New Zealand green-lipped mussels for a natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine. And to keep the formula as natural as possible, the complete and balanced nutrition does not include TSPP, BPA or carrageenan in the canning process.

7. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Beef, Venison & Lamb Formula Canned Dog Food



  • First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Beef Liver, Pork Liver, Venison
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 12% Crude Protein, 8% Crude Fat, 0.5% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Basis: Protein 28%, Fat 14%, Fiber 11%, Carbs 46%
  • Caloric Content: 325 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: Crafted to provide a complete and balanced diet.
  • Type of Product: Grain-free pate style wet food for dogs
  • Life Stage: Adults of all breeds
  • Average Price: $46.56 per case of 12 × 12.5-oz = $3.88-can
  • Best for Budget Canned Foods: Dogs with chicken allergies – Rating 4.5-Stars

Fill up your precious pooch with Wellness CORE Natural Beef, Venison & Lamb Canned Dog Food. This grain-free wet food for dogs is packed with premium protein and formulated with a proprietary blend of botanicals and nutritional supplements. It is crafted to provide a complete and balanced diet with added essential vitamins and minerals. This grain-free wet dog food contains only premium, all-natural ingredients and does not contain any wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

8. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Venison Formula Grain-Free Canned Dog Food



  • First 5 Ingredients: Sweet Potatoes, Venison Broth, Venison, Potatoes, Potato Protein
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 6% Crude Protein, 4% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Basis: Protein 27%, Fat 18%, Fiber 9%, Carbs 45%
  • Caloric Content: 376 kcal/can
  • Key Feature: This unique blend of food is highly digestible, allowing for maximum nutrient absorption
  • Type of Product: Contains no grains and a limited number of ingredients.
  • Life Stage: Adults of all breeds
  • Average Price: $67.09 case of 12 x 13-oz = $5.59-can
  • Best for dogs with food allergies and sensitive stomachs – Rating 4.5-Stars

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato & Venison Canned Dog Food is designed by veterinarians, especially for dogs with allergy problems, itchy skin, and a sneezy respiratory system. It’s rich in vitamins B6 and B12, necessary for healthy metabolism and gastrointestinal function during all stages of life.

9. Stella & Chewy’s Venison Blend Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food



  • First 5 Ingredients: Venison, Lamb, Lamb Liver, Venison Liver, Venison Lung
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 45% Crude Protein, 30% Crude Fat, 2% Crude Fiber, 4% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Basis: Protein 46%, Fat 31%, Fiber 2%, Carbs 20%
  • Caloric Content: 53 kcal/patty
  • Key Feature: Made with grass-fed venison and lamb raised without hormones or antibiotics, along with 100% organic-certified fruits and vegetables.
  • Type of Product: Real raw nutrition in the convenience of freeze-dried patties; serve as is or rehydrate by adding water.
  • Precautions: Stella & Chewy’s products must always remain raw when feeding. Please do not cook, heat, or microwave the products. If rehydrating, use cool or warm (never hot) water.
  • Life Stage: Adults of all breeds
  • Average Price: $42.99 per 14-oz bag
  • Best freeze-dried option for dogs with a few pounds to lose – Rating 4-Stars

Give your dog what he naturally craves with Stella & Chewy’s Venison Blend Dinner Patties Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food. Based on the philosophy that dogs thrive on the same diet they would eat in the wild, this all-natural recipe makes it easy to feed your best friend only the good stuff. Made from sustainably sourced ingredients and raw protein, this recipe starts with 95% grass-fed venison and lamb, organs, and bone, plus 100% certified-organic fruits and vegetables—offering the benefits of raw food nutrition with the convenience of freeze-dried preparation. And to ensure the highest quality, each batch is made with care in Stella & Chewy’s own U.S. kitchen.

10. Primal Venison Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food



  • First 5 Ingredients: Venison, Venison Hearts, Ground Venison Bones, Venison Livers, Organic Pumpkin Seeds
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 54% Crude Protein, 21% Crude Fat, 7% Crude Fiber, 5% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Basis: Protein 56%, Fat 22%, Fiber 7%, Carbohydrates 13%
  • Caloric Content: 113 kcal/oz
  • Key Feature: Made with antibiotic, hormone and steroid-free venison meat and organs, along with fresh ground bone for calcium supplementation.
  • Type of Product: Grain-Free Nuggets Raw Freeze-Dried Venison Dog Food
  • Precautions: Wash all work surfaces, utensils, hands, and food bowls with hot, soapy water after handling freeze-dried meats and poultry. Keep freeze-dried meats and poultry separate from other foods. Keep away from children.
  • Life Stage: Adults of all breeds
  • Average Price: $45.98 per 14-oz bag makes 3-lb = $15.32-lb
  • Best for weight maintenance – Rating 4-Stars

Primal Venison Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food offers your hungry pooch all the benefits of a safe and wholesome raw-food diet—without you having to grind, chop, measure or mix the ingredients yourself! Taking great pride in sourcing only the best ingredients, this tasty and nutritious diet contains naturally derived vitamins and minerals, and venison is the first ingredient. The high-protein ratio appeals to your canine companion’s primal diet, and it’s an excellent way to maintain a proper weight and boost overall health. And best of all, it’s a breeze to serve, thanks to the naturally preserved nuggets—just add water.

Hopefully, this information will help you decide about changing your dog’s diet from the usual proteins like beef, lamb, and chicken to a novel protein like venison. 

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