I am currently feeding my dog CORE kibble but want to switch her to Raw frozen (commercial) alternative--due to MAJOR allergies. Which brand do you think is better to try first-- Primal Pet Foods vs Nature's Variety vs Bravo? And which flavor--beef, lamb, fish etc? I know what you die hearts will say --"just feed them RAW meat-- well I have a pretty big dog --she will eat me straight to the poor house.
If you want to go "straight to the poor house" I'd recommend feeding commercially produced, otherwise search for a Raw feeders co-op in your neighborhood.
There are many of us on PaleoHacks who feed our dogs either a BARF or Prey Model Raw diet. I'd recommend Googling both and reading as much as you can. Even though people say it is expensive to feed raw, it can be done for less than kibble, if you spend a little time to get connected with other raw feeders, hunters, and local butchers. My costs average $.79/lb for 80% free range/grass fed/frozen meats, sardines + Salmon Oil+ Green Tripe, plus he never needs his teeth cleaned.
It's too expensive to feed my dog a raw "brand". Most of the time, those have a bunch of vegetables and crap mixed in there, which dogs don't need anyway (they can't digest cellulose--any vegetables or leafy greens have to be cooked in order to mimic partial digestion by prey).
Pick up a pack of chicken hearts, some turkey necks and a couple of beef neckbones and you're good to go. Change it up with kidney, tripe, beef heart, and other cuts of offal for nutritional variety.
I feed my little shihtzu/terrier mix a brand of kibble called orijen from canada that is really high quality and he does great on it. It is pretty damn expensive tho and with a bigger dog I would never be able to afford it. When we got him from the shelter he was 2 and had been in very poor health (one third his now healthy weight and full of parasites)and was on a shelter diet of chaucer foods got donated. We stared him on natures variety wilderness and alternated between the raw food a and kibble. If you are worried about cost with a bigger dog then their raw food is probably going to wrong up being to expensive. We couldn't keep it up and he barely weighs twenty pounds. But there are a lot of decent primal cobbles out there now. I would def look into some of the other stuff mentioned on here tho. I'm going to now!
Just an FYI -We tried Primal Pet foods with our dogs. One (a dingo mix) was fine and ended up eating the whole lot (2 giant tubes of beef/liver/ground bones). The other one (our lab) ended up with food poisoning so bad that she had to hospitalized. Haven't tried the other brands. Going to try Stella's next.
If you can't feed them raw food (nothing can beat that, it's paleo for dogs), Evo is a good brand. Get the turkey or beef, they both have very low carbs from fruits and veggies, grain-free, soy-free. The cat brand is good, too.
As several people said, they don't need the veggies in most commercial brands. Nature's Variety is 95% meat, and it's worked great for us. I picked it because of the ratio. However, when I had bigger dogs, I did shop for them and just feed whole raw food. My dog now is only 10 pounds so it's not that expensive and simpler for travel.