Dog Food With Venison


You love your dog. You want what’s best for them, and you don’t want to see them suffer from the pain of arthritis. What are your options?

Sure, you could take your dog to the vet for an x-ray and some meds, but wait—there’s another way. You can help your furry friend live a better life with food formulated specifically to relieve their aches and pains. Dog food with venison is a great option to ease joint pain and inflammation, so you can make sure your pup is as comfortable as possible. Here are five reasons why venison-based dog food is the way to go:#2

We all know that a good diet is key, especially when we’re talking about our health. But did you know that feeding your dog the right foods can actually make them less likely to have health problems later in life? That’s right—just like humans, dogs who eat the right foods at the right time in their lives will be healthier overall than those who don’t. Dog foods with venison are a great choice because they contain fewer calories than other types of dog food, which means they’re also lower in fat and cholesterol. The result? A happier, healthier pup!#3

Dog Food With Venison

Venison isn’t an especially common protein used in dog foods, but it probably should be!

Not only do some dogs go nuts for deer meat, but it is also a nutritious and often-novel protein, which can be very helpful when dealing with a doggo with food allergies.

Below, we’ll explain a few of the reasons venison dog foods deserve consideration, explain some of the things you’ll want to think about when picking a deer-based food, and identify seven of our favorites.

Best Venison Dog Food Brands: Quick Picks

  • #1 American Journey LID Venison and Sweet Potato [Best LID Venison-Only Dog Food]: A great choice for dogs who have food allergies to chicken or other common proteins, this kibble provides a tasty, nutritious way to keep you four-footer fed.
  • #2 Nutro Natural Choice [Best Grain-Inclusive Venison Food]: Although it contains chicken, which means it’s not ideal for dogs with some food allergies, this is one of the few grain-inclusive recipes with venison. Accordingly, it’s great for dogs who simply like the taste of deer.
  • #3 Natural Balance [Best Canned Venison Food]: Venison-flavored wet foods can be hard to come by, but Natural Balance provides this nutritious and delicious option for your furry friend.

Why Venison for Dogs?

why feed dogs venison

Venison is a great source of premium quality protein for your dog. And in many ways, it’s just as good a selection as any of the more common options.

But there are two specific reasons many owners opt for deer-based foods:

  • Their dog has food allergies or intolerances. Venison is considered a novel protein source, so it’s less likely that your dog may have an adverse reaction to it as opposed to a commonplace protein like chicken or beef. 
  • Their furry friend loves the taste! Many pooch parents note that their dogs love the taste of venison dog food, which leads them to make the switch. After all, our canine companions deserve a food they’re excited about eating. 

Note that while some owners may opt for venison in pursuit of an eco-friendly dog food, it isn’t clear that farmed venison (rather than wild-harvested venison) provides any environmental benefits over beef or other proteins. 

Venison dog food might make an amazing pick for your furry friend, but there isn’t conclusive evidence that it’s any more environmentally-friendly than more mainstream protein choices.A QUICK WORD ABOUT GRAINS

We’ll discuss this further in each individual product section, but most venison-based dog foods are made without grains.

This is fantastic for dogs who have bona fide grain intolerances, but that’s a pretty rare phenomenon.

Additionally, grain-free diets have been correlated with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), so it’s probably wisest to select a grain-inclusive option if possible.

Just be sure to speak with your vet about the issue if you have any questions.

The Seven Best Venison Dog Foods

Without further ado, here are some of our favorite venison dog foods for your four-footer. Hopefully, your dog will find these foods just as endeering! 

(Get it? EnDEERing? Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)

1. American Journey LID Venison & Sweet Potato

About: If your pooch has a sensitive stomach, this limited-ingredient dog food from American Journey may make an excellent pick. A Chewy/Petsmart exclusive, this food features venison as the single protein source, and it is packed with Omega-3s. BEST LID VENISON-ONLY DOG FOOD

American Journey Dog Food

American Journey LID Venison & Sweet Potato

A single-protein kibble, made without corn, wheat or soy, and designed for dogs with sensitive stomachs.



  • Features both deboned venison and venison meal to provide plenty of protein
  • Venison is the sole protein source (contains no chicken meal, like some other options)
  • Fiber-rich recipe with sweet potatoes and omega 3s 
  • Made without corn, wheat, grain, or soy 
  • Designed for dogs with food sensitivities

Ingredients List

Deboned Venison, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Chickpeas, Venison Meal…


  • This food is designed for dogs with food sensitivities and comes at an attractive price point. 
  • Most dogs seem to love the taste of this venison kibble. 
  • Some owners saw improvement in their dog’s skin sensitivities after switching to this limited ingredient food.


  • As referenced earlier, this is a grain-free food, which some owners may wish to avoid in light of the correlation between DCM and grain-free diets.
  • A handful of dogs weren’t interested in this food.
  • It’s only available via Chewy or PetSmart.  

2. Nutro Natural Choice

About: While Nutro Natural Choice Venison Recipe isn’t a single-protein kibble (and it relies on venison meal rather than whole venison), it has a number of other things going for it. For example, it not only tastes great, but it also includes grains, plenty of omega-3s, and antioxidants to keep your furry friend feeling his best.BEST GRAIN-INCLUSIVE VENISON DOG FOOD

Nutro Venison Dog Food

Nutro Natural Choice Venison Recipe

A deer-and-chicken meal kibble made with whole grains, antioxidants, and plenty of fiber for Fido.



  • Venison meal is the number one ingredient 
  • Made in the USA dog food with globally-sourced ingredients
  • Whole grain kibble made without corn, wheat, or soy
  • Great source of fiber and antioxidants
  • Added omega-3s to support a healthy coat

Ingredients List

Venison Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Split Peas, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum…


  • Many dogs absolutely love the taste of this kibble. 
  • Standard-sized kibbles were well-loved by pint-sized pups and large dogs alike. 
  • Owners appreciated the nutrient-rich kibble recipe with fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3s. 


  • This venison dog food is not a single-protein recipe — it also contains chicken meal. 
  • Some dogs with sensitive stomachs didn’t tolerate this food well. 

3. Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato & Venison Formula

About: Deer-flavored wet foods can be hard to come by, but this grain-free, venison-based option by Natural Balance fits the bill. The canned canine food contains fiber-rich sweet potatoes and is designed to support a healthy coat for your four-footed companion. BEST CANNED VENISON DOG FOOD

Natural Balance Wet Venison Dog Food

Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato & Venison

Grain-free whole venison wet food with fiber-rich ingredients supporting digestive health.



  • Fiber-rich recipe packed with nutritious sweet potatoes
  • Made in the USA wet food is grain-free
  • Designed to support a healthy coat with added salmon oil
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives 
  • Wet food has added vitamins and minerals 

Ingredients List

Sweet Potatoes, Venison Broth, Venison, Potatoes, Potato Protein…


  • Dogs seem to love this wet food on its own or as a tasty kibble topper. 
  • Fiber-rich food helps support digestive health. 
  • Owners appreciated this food’s relatively affordable price.


  • Wet food can be difficult to portion out, especially if you have a smaller-sized furry friend. 
  • Some dogs didn’t like the consistency of this wet food. 
  • Like many (if not most) canned foods, this is a grain-free recipe.

4. Ziwi

About: A venison dog food from New Zealand, Ziwi is sustainably sourced from free-range farms committed to grass-fed meat. The premium dry food is made without grain, rice, soy, or potatoes and has added natural joint supplements to keep your furry friend feeling his best. MOST ECO-CONSCIOUS VENISON DOG FOOD

Ziwi Venison Dog Food

Ziwi Venison Dog Food

A sustainably-sourced kibble featuring whole venison and the natural joint supplements chondroitin and glucosamine.



  • Whole venison is the the first ingredient
  • Sustainably sourced from farms in New Zealand
  • Good source of chondroitin and glucosamine for dogs with joint issues
  • Protein-packed kibble with fresh meat and seafood
  • Grain-free food is made without grain, rice ,soy, or potatoes

Ingredients List

Venison, Venison Tripe, Venison Heart, Venison Lung, Venison Liver…


  • Dogs seem to love the unique texture of this dry food which can double as a treat or topper. 
  • Owners were impressed with the company’s customer service and loved seeing their dogs go bananas over mealtime.
  • This food is great for dogs with joint issues with natural chondroitin and glucosamine supplements. 


  • This food can be very expensive for pooch parents, but many found the high-quality dog food well-worth the price. 
  • Some dogs may prefer a more familiar kibble-like dry food option.
  • Although it may be a selling point to some owners, this is a grain-free food.

5. Natural Balance

About: This nutritious kibble from Natural Balance is made with whole venison to keep Spot satisfied. The single-source protein dog food is great for furry friends with sensitive stomachs, and it is made with fiber-rich ingredients and nutritious salmon oil. BEST DOG FOOD WITH WHOLE VENISON

Natural Balance Venison Dog Food

Natural Balance Venison Dog Food

A limited ingredient, grain-free dog food made with whole venison and fiber-rich sweet potatoes.



  • Grain-free dog food made without artificial colors or preservatives
  • Dog food is made with whole venison
  • Added vitamins and minerals support a healthy coat
  • Fiber-rich ingredients to support digestive health
  • Small, medium, and large-sized bags available to suit your furry friend’s needs

Ingredients List

Sweet Potatoes, Venison, Pea Protein, Potato Protein, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)…


  • Some owners saw improvements in their dog’s GI process after switching to this food. 
  • This food is great for pups with sensitive stomachs. 
  • Dogs big and small seem to enjoy the taste of this venison food. 


  • Meat is not the first ingredient.
  • While a very small number of dogs may require a grain-free meal, most dogs should probably be fed a grain-inclusive option.

6. Stella & Chewy’s Venison Blend Dinner Patties

About: These freeze-dried raw venison patties from Stella & Chewy’s are sure to peak your pup’s interest with their delicious and nutrient-rich recipe. Stella and Chewy’s makes their patties in the USA with minimally processed foods. The patties can be used as a topper or treat, though they can be served on their own as well. BEST FREEZE-DRIED RAW VENISON DOG FOOD

Stella & Chewy Venison Dog Food

Stella & Chewy’s Venison Blend Dinner Patties

Freeze-dried, US-made dinner patties that can be served on their own or as supplemental topper or treat.



  • Whole venison is the first ingredient 
  • Patties are packed with probiotics to support proper digestion
  • Made in the USA patties are grain-free
  • To serve, patties are rehydrated with a little bit of lukewarm water
  • Freeze-dried food has added taurine and vitamins

Ingredients List

Venison, lamb, lamb liver, venison liver, venison lung…


  • Stella and Chewy’s makes their food in their own kitchens in the USA.
  • Dogs absolutely adore the taste of these protein-packed patties. 
  • Freeze-dried patties have added vitamins and probiotics. 


  • Freeze-dried patties can get expensive for owners with big best buddies. 
  • Patties have both venison and lamb meat which isn’t ideal for owners seeking out a single-protein source food.
  • Like most other venison-based recipes, this is a grain-free food.

7. Hill’s Skin/Food Sensitivities Venison Recipe

About: If your furry friend suffers from food sensitivities, it may be worth going with a prescription food with venison protein, like this kibble from Hill’s. You’ll need a prescription from your vet for this food, but it is specifically designed to avoid triggering irritating food allergies and intolerances.BEST PRESCRIPTION VENISON DOG FOOD


Hill’s Skin/Food Sensitivities Venison Recipe

A prescription dog food with whole venison and pork that’s perfect for pups suffering from allergies or food sensitivities.



  • Food is formulated by Hill’s staff veterinarians and nutritionists
  • Kibble has added vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Made without grain or soy
  • Designed for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies 
  • Made in the USA dry food

Ingredients List

Potatoes, Potato Starch, Venison, Potato Protein, Pork Fat…


  • Owners were happy to see improvement in their dog’s allergy-related symptoms after switching to this dog food. 
  • Dogs with sensitive stomachs responded well to this kibble. 
  • Plenty of furry friends enjoyed this prescription dog food.


  • It’s important to note that prescription dog foods will require pre-approval from your veterinarian, though sites like Amazon and Chewy make this extra step a breeze. 
  • Meat is not the first ingredient of this dry food.
  • This is yet another grain-free venison dog food. 

Picking a Venison Dog Food: Things to Think About

how to pick a venison dog food

It’s important to keep a couple of essential factors in mind when picking out the perfect meal for your mutt. Most modern venison dog foods will work well for most furry friends so long as:

  1. You select the food in collaboration with your veterinarian. 
  2. You pick a food that’s designed to address any of your dog’s individual ailments.
  3. The food is formulated to meet the AAFCO guidelines for your dog’s life stage.

These three golden rules will help ensure that your deserving doggo is getting the nutrients he needs to keep his tail wagging. With that in mind, there certainly are some food choices that are better than others. 

So, it’s also a good idea to prioritize dog foods that check the following boxes:

  • The brand performs regular safety checks and operates their own kitchens. One of the key signs of a reputable dog food brand is that the company employs a credentialed veterinary nutritionist. Your brand of choice should also perform regular safety checks and, ideally, own the kitchens in which the food is made. Brands meeting these criteria have more control over the quality and safety of their dog foods. 
  • The food is manufactured in a Western country. Western countries impose stricter safety regulations which generally lead to higher quality dog foods. It’s especially great if your dog food brand of choice utilizes ingredients sourced from Western countries too. 
  • The brand cooks or pasteurizes proteins thoroughly. Raw meats often contain bacteria and other microorganisms that can be harmful to you and your pooch. Brands that fully cook or pasteurize the proteins in their foods help mitigate this risk. 
  • The food features a whole protein at the top of the ingredient list. High-quality dog foods tend to list meat at the top of the ingredient list, as opposed to a carbohydrate like corn. 
  • The food contains helpful supplements. Ideally, your food of choice should contain supplements well-suited for your pup’s individual needs. This could include joint supplements, probiotics, or Omega-3 fatty acids. 

venison dog food homemade

7 ounces venison, cooked
1 1/2 cups rice, cooked
1 teaspoon sunflower oil
5 teaspoons Azestfor Vitamins

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2

Yield: This recipe will yield approximately 2 1/2 cups or 1 lb of food. Equating to 694 calories (Kcals) Approximately enough servings of food for one day for an 25 lb dog to maintain weight.

Venison and Rice dog food homemade is a good choice if your dog has protein allergies, and is active and need to maintain weight or sedentary and needs to gain weight. This dog food homemade recipe is good for dogs who suffer from common protein allergies. Venison is a unique protein source, most dogs would not of encountered Venison before in their diets making it novel.

Venison is becoming more commercially available in the freezer section in health food markets, it is also available to buy online in exotic meat markets. Rice is the source of the carbohydrates, when well cooked it is highly digestible by dogs.

Free recipe ebook cta


venison cut to bite sizes appropriate for the size of your dog

Step 1:

Preparing Deer Meat for Dog Food

In a large skillet or pot place cubed or ground venison. Add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until venison is cooked. Remove from heat. Drain excess liquid.

dog food homemade prepare rice

Step 2:

Cooking Rice for Homemade Dog Food

Place rice in a saucepan with double the amount of water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat all the way down and cover the pan tightly with a lid. Cook on the lowest heat possible for 10-15 mins without uncovering the pan. Use a fork to fluff up the cooked rice.

dog food homemade add sunflower oil

Step 3:

Add sunflower oil to Venison dog food  

Sunflower oil is added as a source of linoleic acid. If you would like a substitute oil you can add Wheat germ, Walnut or Corn oil in the ratio of 1.2 per 1 teaspoon of sunflower oil.

dog food homemade add vitamins and minerals

Step 4:

Add vitamins to Venison and rice dog food

When the meat and rice are cool to touch you can add the Azestfor nutritional supplements and sunflower oil.

Heat destroys the potency of vitamins.


The recipe can be prepared in large batches and frozen. It will keep for up to a year in the freezer, or one week in the fridge.

Freezing vitamins preserves their potency. I would recommend portioning the food into meal size servings before freezing it.

To defrost a frozen meal – put it in the fridge overnight.

Venison dog food recipe ingredients
dog is listening ear up

Feeding Guidelines:

We suggest dividing the daily amount into two servings, one in the morning and one in the evening. Every dog’s nutritional requirements are a little bit different due to age & amount of exercise. If your dog is losing weight, increase food by 1/4 cup a day, if they are gaining weight reduce accordingly.

Weight of Dog
5 lbs to maintain weight 3/4 cup per day
10 lbs to maintain weight 1 1/4 cups per day
15 lbs to maintain weight 1 1/2 cups per day
20 lbs to maintain weight 2 cups per day
30 lbs to maintain weight 2 3/4 cups per day
40 lbs to maintain weight 3 1/2 cups per day
50 lbs to maintain weight 4 cups per day
60 lbs to maintain weight 4 3/4 cups per day
70 lbs to maintain weight 5 1/3 cups per day
80 lbs to maintain weight 5 3/4 cups per day
90 lbs to maintain weight 6 1/2 cups per day

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