Instinct Dog Food

Instinct Dog Food Reviewed: Pros, Cons, and Ingredient Analysis

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
If you buy something from a link on our site, we may earn a commission. See our advertising disclosure.
If you buy something from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.
See our advertising disclosure.

Instinct Dog Food Summary

Instinct Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
  • Instinct Original dry dog food is made with 70% real animal ingredients and nutritious oils, 30% vegetables, fruits and other wholesome ingredients. Responsibly sourced cage free chicken is the #1 ingredient.
  • Instinct Original dry dog food is high protein dog food made with probiotics to support healthy digestion and omegas for skin & coat. 
  • Instinct Original dry dog food is high protein dog food where every piece of kibble is coated in freeze dried raw for nutrition and taste.  

What is Instinct Dog food?

Instinct Dog Food is a pet food brand owned by Nature’s Variety, a pet company solely owned by Barcelona, Spain-based Agrolimen.

The Instinct Dog Food product line focuses on natural, raw, and grain-free foods for dogs. It offers both kibble and canned wet dog food varieties. The brand also makes cat food.

Where is Instinct Dog Food Made?

Instinct Dog Food is made at the headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. Instinct Dog Food is owned by Nature‘s Variety, a privately held company founded in 2002.

How is Instinct Dog Food Made?

Instinct Dog Food uses high-quality ingredients sourced from all over the world.

Each Instinct Dog Food is manufactured to provide dogs with a raw diet that is entirely healthy, so it comes out rich, real, and less processed. It is made using raw meat and no fillers like corn or wheat.

Instinct Dog Food does not use artificial flavors or preservatives in its products. Each one is formulated and tested by the company’s on-staff professionals (including a board-certified vet in both veterinary nutrition and integrative medicine, in addition to a chief scientific officer who holds a Ph.D. in food science).

Please note that while Instinct Dog Food makes use of high-quality ingredients, it cannot be classified by the USDA’s definition of human-grade because the facilities used in its production are used for pet food rather than human food.

Is Instinct Food Good For Dogs?

Yes, Instinct Dog Food is good.

Instinct Dog food is an affordable holistic pet food brand that provides dogs with healthy food without any filler, preservatives, or controversial ingredients.

All Instinct Dog Food recipes meet the nutrient requirements of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Their standard is derived from the Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats published by the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science in Washington, D.C.

Please be aware that while Instinct Dog Food is excellent for pet health, it is not human grade. Instinct Dog Food has also had an above-average number of recalls since production began.

Instinct Dog Food Formulas Reviewed

Instinct Dog Food is an excellent addition to your dog’s diet, but picking the right one for your dog can be tricky. To make things easier, we have compiled and reviewed the best Instinct Dog Foods.

Instinct Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Instinct Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Get it on Amazon       Get it on Chewy

Summary: This is our top pick regarding Instinct Dog Food. This dry dog food is completely grain-free and uses a high protein formula with vegetables and vitamin supplements to help your dog build muscle. The formula also helps dogs with skin allergies and improves the state of their coats. This dry dog food is perfect for picky eaters.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Dogs of all life stages

Flavor Options: Chicken; Beef; Rabbit; Salmon

Price: $6.30/lb

Pros

  • Perfect for picky eaters
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Improves skin and coat conditions
  • Weight improvement
  • Delicious raw-coated kibble

Cons

  • Some owners find the small bad

Ingredient Analysis: The first ingredients used are real high-quality meat raised outside cages, vegetables, and fruits with no grains, artificial flavors, or preservatives added.

Review: This product is healthy dry food for dogs that received 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Pet parents found it satisfactory, although a few complained about the smell.

Instinct Be Natural Dry Dog Food

Instinct Be Natural Dry Dog Food

Get it on Amazon       Get it on Chewy

Summary: This natural dry dog food uses a blend of high-protein ingredients like chicken and vegetables like sweet potatoes to create a tasty meal for your dog. It is formulated to fit the demands of your picky eater while providing support for their digestive system. Furthermore, it helps improve your dog’s weight and mealtime excitement. Your dog will show noticeable improvement after getting set on this meal.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Chicken; Beef; Rabbit; Salmon

Price: $4.40/lb

Pros

  • Supports healthy weight control
  • Grain-free, omega-rich formula
  • Probiotics for healthy digestion
  • No by-product meals and preservatives
  • Raw bites perfect for picky eaters

Cons

  • The new formula irritates some dogs

Ingredient Analysis: This product is a great choice for those looking for more natural dog food. With real beef and chicken being the first ingredients used and the inclusion of sweet potatoes, apples and blueberries, dogs everywhere are bound to enjoy this dry food. The only cause for concern comes from the peas added in the new formula, which may be linked to canine heart disease, which may turn off potential buyers.

Review: This product received an average review of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Most dog owners found it satisfactory, although a few expressed concern over the new formula.

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe

Instinct Raw Boost Small Breed Grain-Free Recipe

Get it on Amazon       Get it on Chewy

Summary: This Instinct raw boost grain-free meal is perfect for small dog breeds. The initial chicken/beef recipe provides a high protein superfood for muscle building to give your small dog that extra boost. The meat-based, grain-free ingredients mean that it has been thought out to cater to your dog’s nutritional needs. It also provides support for heart conditions.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: Small breed dogs

Flavor Options: Chicken; Beef; Duck

Price: $7.50/lb

Pros

  • Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient
  • High-protein, gluten & grain-free formula
  • Mixture of kibble & frozen raw meat chunks
  • Supports digestion and weight control
  • Rich in probiotics and prebiotics

Cons

  • Can be expensive for some pet owners

Ingredient Analysis: This Instinct pet food product uses a blend of high-quality protein sources from chicken, beef, and duck, thus providing much in the way of muscle support and overall dietary function. This product does not include grains or filler in its production.

Review: This product was well received by consumers on Amazon and received 4.6 out of 5 stars reviews on the platform. The critical reviews were about inconsistencies in the amount of raw meat in the packages.

Instinct Healthy Cravings Grain-Free Recipe

Instinct Healthy Cravings Grain-Free Recipe

Get it on Amazon       Get it on Chewy

Summary: Real meat is the first ingredient used in this wet dog food topper made for dogs of all ages and sizes. Specially formulated to help with allergies and other sensitivities, this product has zero additives or fillers that can harm your dog. Various flavor options ensure your dog will not get bored with this food. It is also available in a variety packs on Amazon.

Type: Wet dog food

Best for: Dogs of all life stages

Flavor Options: Beef; Chicken; Salmon; Lamb

Price: $15.92/ounce

Pros

  • Cuts of real meat in a savory gravy
  • Provides muscle and joint support
  • Supports digestion & relieves allergies
  • Improves skin and coat health
  • No fillers, preservatives, and by-products

Cons

  • Expensive price tag

Ingredient Analysis: This formula is specifically formulated to give your dog complete nutrition with no fillers. It uses natural meats (real chicken, beef, or others) as the first ingredients, pea flour, and essential minerals to provide a nutritious meal that will provide full-body support. While eggs (which can cause digestive issues in some dogs) are used, it is used in small enough quantities that it shouldn’t be a problem.

Review: Reviews on Amazon are widely in favor of this dog food. With 4.5 out of5 stars customer reviews on Amazon, it is clear that many customers are satisfied with this product.

Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals

Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals

Get it on Amazon       Get it on Chewy

Summary: Whether you’re buying the lamb, beef, or chicken recipe of this product, your dog will be getting a raw meat-filled meal that will help improve its eyesight. The food is free of artificial flavors, preservatives, or additives. The use of fruits and vegetables offers a healthy form of vitamins and minerals. This all ensures total nutritional coverage for all dogs.

Type: Freeze-dried dog food

Best for: Dogs of all life stages

Flavor Options: Cage-Free Chicken; Grass-Fed Lamb; Beef

Price: $2.60/lb

Pros

  • Real meat is the first ingredient
  • Improves eyesight & digestion
  • Supports skin and coat conditions
  • 100% complete & balanced meals
  • Can be used as a wet dog food topper

Cons

  • Might be expensive for some pet owners

Ingredient Analysis: Ingredients are responsibly sourced meats (chicken, lamb, beef), fruits (apples, blueberries), vegetables (carrots, spinach), and other vitamins and wholesome ingredients. No fillers, additives, or preservatives are used in its production to make this one of the best sources of nutrition for your dog on the market today.

Review: Scores of people rated this product five stars, which ended up with 4.7 of 5 stars on Amazon. While it was praised for being popular among picky eaters, some pet parents say it is too expensive.

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe

Get it on Amazon       Get it on Chewy

Summary: This high-protein kibble uses grain-free limited ingredients to provide your dog with the necessary amino acids and carbohydrates it needs to be healthy. For dogs that have food allergies related to chicken, this food is a godsend. It combines single animal protein and vegetables to provide your dog with a tasty meal. It has a selection of flavors to keep your dog engaged during mealtime.

Type: Dry dog food

Best for: ‎Adult dogs

Flavor Options: Salmon, Lamb, Turkey

Price: $4.00/lb

Pros

  • With real salmon, lamb, or turkey
  • Supports gut, skin & coat health
  • Suitable for dogs with food sensitivities
  • No dairy, eggs, potato, corn, wheat, or soy
  • Tasty and healthy raw-coated kibble

Cons

  • Reports about issues with the new formula

Ingredient Analysis: This limited-ingredients kibble is made with one animal protein (lamb, turkey, or salmon) and one vegetable (peas) in every recipe for pets with food sensitivities. Please note that the controversial ingredient canola oil is used during production, which is a possible cause of canine heart conditions.

Review: Out of the more than 1000 reviews on Amazon, this product scores 4.7 out of 5 stars. A lot of customers were satisfied with the dog food, despite the relatively expensive price tag.

Instinct Original Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Instinct Original Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Get it on Amazon       Get it on Chewy

Summary: A reasonable price combined with high-quality ingredients makes this one of the best-canned dog meals out there. Packing a high-protein punch, this meal will provide muscle and joint support for your dog. In addition, natural fruits and vegetables combined with meat produce meal that will eliminate your dog’s digestive issues. This product is made with no grains or fillers.

Type: Wet dog food

Best for: Dogs of all life stages

Flavor Options: Chicken; Beef; Rabbit

Price: $3/can

Pros

  • With real meat, fruits & veggies
  • Wholesome ingredients for optimal health
  • Better digestion and nutrient utilization
  • Relief from food sensitivities & allergies
  • Provides muscle and joint support

Cons

  • Problems with product delivery and consistency

Ingredient Analysis: Uses natural meats (chicken, beef, lamb, turkey) for a high protein punch, with vegetables and fruits like peas, artichokes, cranberries, and pumpkin. Eggs and tomatoes are used in the production, which turns off some pet owners.

Review: Packed with several beneficial ingredients, this dog food will be a great addition to your dog’s meal. It received a review of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Instinct Raw Boost Mixers Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Topper

Instinct Raw Boost Mixers Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Topper

Get it on Amazon       Get it on Chewy

Summary: This all-natural product contains high-quality protein that has been specially derived from chicken, beef, or lamb. It keeps your dog healthy by improving its muscles and joints, thus promoting more movement. This topper is a great addition to any dry dog meal that not only adds more flavor to your dog’s meal but also provide

Type: Freeze-dried dog food

Best for: Dogs of all life stages

Flavor Options: Chicken; Beef; Lamb

Price: $2.00/can

Pros

  • Improved skin and coat conditions
  • Increased energy and vitality
  • Supports strong muscles and joints
  • Provides relief from allergies
  • The chews can be used as dog treats

Cons

  • Problems with product consistency

Ingredient Analysis: This product uses natural ingredients like chicken liver, pumpkinseeds, carrots, apples, butternut squash, turkey, salmon oil, blueberries, dried chicory root, and others for the addition of pure, natural nutrition to your dog’s meal.

Review: Since this food is made with natural ingredients, dogs find this delicious. Product received an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

What Dog Food Formulas does Instinct Make?

Instinct Dog Food offers several product lines. Here is a review of the lines and the different recipes within those lines:

Has Instinct Dog Food Been Recalled?

Yes, Instinct Dog Food has been recalled. Here is a list of the recalls:

  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Dog Food Recall of July 2021 due to salmonella outbreak (7/02/2021)
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Dog Food Recall of July 2015 due to salmonella outbreak (7/24/2015)
  • Nature’s Variety Dog Food Recall February 2013 due to some products containing hard plastic pieces (2/15/2013)
  • Nature’s Variety Dog Food Recall July 2012 due to an unusual odor (7/12/2012)
  • Nature’s Variety Dog Food Recall March 2010 due to salmonella outbreak (3/09/2010)
  • Nature’s Variety Dog Food Recall February 2010 due to salmonella outbreak (2/14/2010)

Is Instinct Dog Food Worth it?

Yes, Instinct Dog Food is worth it.

If looking for a high-quality pet formula, Instinct Dog Food is a great choice. It is a protein-rich, grain-free meal in all its forms and helps with a few common health issues.

Instinct Dog Food is one of the favorite dog meals, providing healthy and balanced nutrition pets love. However, we should note that it might not fit everyone’s budget.