Venison Dog Food

Venison Dog Food

If you have a dog with allergies or sensitivities and are looking for a dog food that isn’t going to upset your pet’s stomach, venison pet food is worth a closer look. What makes venison dog food such a great choice? Let’s take a closer look at the many reasons why you might want to consider venison dog food. 

What Is the Best Dog Food for a Dog with Allergies? 

Food allergies are often misunderstood in dogs. A lot of people assume that grains like wheat are responsible for most sensitivities in dogs, but this isn’t the case. Let’s take a closer look at what allergies and food sensitivities are and what foods are most likely to cause them in your dog. 

Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance

A food allergy is triggered by a response from the immune system. Food allergies do not happen the first time your dog is exposed to the allergen. It usually takes multiple exposures to ingredients to elicit a true immune system response. 

Food intolerance is different because there is no immune system involvement. Intolerance is more likely caused by something in your dog’s GI tract than its immune system. While some of the symptoms can overlap, food intolerances are more likely to present as GI symptoms without many of the additional skin and respiratory symptoms you might see in a food allergy.


Dogs who have a true food allergy experience a wide range of symptoms. If your dog develops a skin reaction to an allergy, it is most likely to appear under the front legs, between the toes, and around the groin or face. You may see bald patches or hives on your dog, or your dog may obsessively lick itself, bite its paws, or rub its face in an attempt to take care of the itch. 

A food allergy can also cause GI symptoms, like diarrhea, vomiting, or chronic gas, and respiratory symptoms like wheezing and coughing.

What Causes a Dog Food Allergy? 

Allergies are a result of an abnormal response from the immune system where it sees something harmless as an invader. A large part of our immune cells is in the GI tract, and the same is true for your dog. Normally, white blood cells in the get absorb amino acids from the food that is being digested. With a food allergy, these amino acids are seen as invaders, and the body attacks them. In time, this reaction gets more and more aggressive, and allergy symptoms get worse.

What Foods Are Most Likely to Cause a Food Allergy in Dogs? 

Any food can become an allergen to your dog, but here are the most common ones that cause allergies in dogs: 

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Lamb
  • Corn
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Wheat

As you can see, anything from red meat to chicken protein and fat can cause food sensitivities.

Confirming a Food Allergy

If your vet suspects that your dog might be suffering from a food allergy, they usually prescribe an elimination diet. This means feeding your dog a bland, limited ingredient diet and then slowly adding things back in, one at a time, until you identify what is causing the problem. 

Sometimes, it may be a single food. Other times, there may be an entire group of food that your dog is allergic to. For example, your dog may have a reaction to chicken but be fine with turkey or it may react to both, which indicates that a mammalian protein – like venison – is a better choice. 

Elimination diets are tricky. It may take weeks for this diet to reveal what is causing the problem, and your dog may still experience symptoms at the beginning of the transition. You must ensure that your dog doesn’t ingest anything other than what is in their plain food. That means no treats, no chew toys like rawhides or pigs’ ears, and no flavored medications or supplements. This is why it is so important that you talk to your vet before attempting an elimination diet.

After an allergy is confirmed, your dog may need to begin a limited ingredient formula, and your vet may recommend something with a novel protein like venison for your dog.

Dealing with a Dog Food Allergy 


Allergies cannot be cured, but removing the offending food from your dog’s diet should stop the symptoms. Once you identify the allergen, you must avoid feeding it to your dog completely. 

If your dog has allergies or sensitivities to common protein sources used in dog food, like chicken or beef, you will need to switch to a food with a novel protein, like venison. Venison is likely a protein that your dog has never had before, so it is therefore unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. 

What Is Venison? 

Venison usually refers to deer meat, but it can come from any large game animal, including buffalo, wild boar, wild rabbits, and antelope. A lot of people think that venison is exclusively deer, but this isn’t the case.

Venison is a lean source of protein, which means it contains much less fat than typical protein sources and is healthier for your dog. Venison is also very high in essential vitamins and minerals, like zinc, iron, phosphorus, and iron, that your dog may not get from traditional dog foods and protein sources. 

In most cases, venison is produced without antibiotics or growth hormones, which makes it a very healthy choice for your dog. Venison also has a gamey taste that a lot of dogs prefer, which makes it a good choice for picky eaters, too.

Venison pet food comes in a lot of varieties. Sometimes, it’s the only animal protein. Other times, it’s mixed with chicken protein and fat or pea protein. Sweet potatoes venison is a popular combination for dog food brands. Some use potato protein, others add folic acid, pea flour, mixed tocopherols, or lamb meal. The take away is that you have to look at the ingredients list for any pet food you buy.

Choosing a Venison Dog Food

Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a venison dog recipe: 

  • Look for a venison limited ingredient formula with no artificial flavors, preservatives, fillers, or by-products. Avoid things like corn wheat soy. These things can cause your dog GI upset and you should always avoid them. Choose a venison recipe that uses real ingredients, including trusted protein canola oil sources and real fruits and vegetables. Limited ingredient diets tend to be better for dogs with allergies or sensitivities, so keep that in mind when looking at dog food brands with venison dog food formula.
  • Ideally, if you want a single animal protein, the primary ingredient and first ingredient venison is a good start. Check the amount of crude protein to make sure you’re getting enough.
  • You are likely to see foods that are preserved with mixed tocopherols or contain things like calcium iodate sodium selenite, a vitamin E supplement niacin, a vitamin D3 supplement, a vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, iron proteinate copper, proteinate calcium iodate, or minerals zinc proteinate. The point is, make sure you read the ingredients’ list, especially if you’re avoiding artificial flavors or colors or sticking with limited ingredients.
  • Your dog doesn’t necessarily need a grain-free formula. Some research suggests that a grain free formula may be harmful to your dog’s health. If you did an elimination diet with your dog and it confirmed a grain allergy or sensitivity, though, going with a grain-free option is a good idea. Talk to your vet first to make sure that you have all the information you need about feeding a grain free diet to your dog and to determine if you should look for a high quality limited ingredient venison formula.
  • Remember that venison is a great choice for dogs. Venison is leaner than some other protein options. It has less cholesterol and it is packed with high-quality proteins. It’s a good choice for all life stages and is packed with omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids among other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Is Venison Only for Dogs with Allergies? 

No! Venison is a great option for a dog with food allergies or sensitivities, but any dog can enjoy venison dog food. It’s a great choice for picky eaters because a lot of dogs love the gamey taste. Note that some of these venison dog recipes do not use venison as the only protein source, so make sure you check the labels, especially if you’re looking to avoid any proteins due to an allergy.

Now that you know a little bit more about why venison is such a good option for your dog, let’s look at some of the best options out there for venison dog food. 

Venison Dog Foods Review

There are a lot of great options for good venison dry or wet dog food, but because there are so many on the market, it’s hard to find the right one. Here are some of the best venison dog foods out there. 

Dry Venison Dog Food

Purevita Grain Free Venison Dog Food

If you’re looking for high-end, grain-free venison dry dog food, you can’t do much better than this recipe from Purevita. Purevita is from NutriSource, and this Venison and Red Lentils recipe is formulated to meet guidelines for all life stages. 

This venison dry dog food recipe uses venison as the number one ingredient followed by venison meal, so you know it’s packed with a single source of lean protein. Other ingredients include garbanzo beans, red and green lentils, carrots, blueberries, and cranberries. 

It’s also full of high quality healthy nutrients to support your dog’s all-around health, like omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acid, L-carnitine, and taurine. In addition to supporting GI health, healthy digestion, and odor control, this venison dog food also supports brain function and skin and coat health.

NUTRO Wholesome Essentials Venison Adult Dry Dog Food

As a brand, Nutro focuses on clean recipes with natural ingredients. It sources all of its ingredients from trusted farmers and suppliers and uses only real, recognizable ingredients. This dry dog food formula contains no chicken by-product meal, wheat, soy, or corn, and Nutro never adds any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. 

The first ingredient in this dog food is not venison, but venison meal, a concentrated form of venison packed with protein and flavor. Other wholesome ingredients include whole brown rice, whole grain oatmeal, pea protein, and chicken fat. This formula is loaded with antioxidants, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acid, and vitamin E and made with natural non-GMO ingredients you can trust.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Snake River Grill High Protein, Natural Dry Dog Food with Trout, Venison & Rabbit

If you’re looking for dry dog food with venison and other novel protein sources, take a look at this recipe from Blue Buffalo. Its Wilderness Snake River Grill High Protein recipe contains deboned trout as the first ingredient, with a generous amount of deboned venison and rabbit. These are three novel proteins that create a great-tasting meal your dog will love.

In addition to being delicious, the lean proteins in this formula support healthy muscle growth. Other wholesome ingredients, like venison sweet potato and peas, provide carbohydrates for energy and fiber for GI support. Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids help give your dog healthy skin and a shiny coat, and Blue’s LifeSource bits provide a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for immune system support.

Taste of the Wild Roasted Bison and Roasted Venison High Protein (Grain-Free) 

This venison dog food from Taste of the Wild uses water buffalo as the number one ingredient. Water buffalo is a lean protein source that supports muscle growth, plus it’s loaded with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for a shiny coat and healthy skin. 

Taste of the Wild dog food sources ingredients from trusted, sustainable sources and never uses any corn, wheat, or fillers. No artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors are added, either. This recipe is nutrient-rich and features species-specific probiotics to support GI health. 

If you’re looking for high-protein venison dog food, this is a great choice. With 32 percent crude protein analysis, dogs get the highly digestible energy they need, combined with real ingredients like tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries to deliver the powerful antioxidants needed for immune system support. 

This formula is also available with ancient grains and in a puppy formula.

CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food, Lamb & Venison 

Here’s a great high-protein dog food option from CRAVE that features whole lamb as well as chicken meal and venison meal. Since this recipe does contain chicken, it’s not an appropriate option for a dog with an allergy to chicken, but for dogs without this sensitivity, the 34 percent high protein content is a winner. 

CRAVE adult dog food is grain-free and free of corn, soy, wheat, and any artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. It uses grain-free carbohydrates, like peas and dried potatoes, and is formulated to meet the needs of dogs of all breeds and sizes. 

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Denali Dinner High Protein, Natural Dry Dog Food with Wild Salmon, Venison & Halibut

Another venison recipe from Blue Buffalo that uses multiple proteins is this high-protein Denali dinner. Deboned salmon is the number one ingredient, and it also includes deboned venison, deboned halibut, and crab meat. Chicken meal and chicken fats are used as a source of glucosamine, so be sure to avoid this one if your dog has an allergy or sensitivity to chicken. 

Other ingredients in this dog food include blueberries, apples, cranberries, spinach, pomegranate, blackberries, and pumpkin. These fruits and vegetables add healthy carbohydrates, antioxidants, and more. This recipe also contains Blue’s LifeSource mix, a proprietary blend of vitamins and minerals to support all-around good health.

Wet Venison Dog Food

Farmina N&D Dog Can Pumpkin Venison & Apple

Farmina is a high-end dog food brand that set out to make the best all-natural, scientifically-backed dog food. It uses only the finest ingredients, including natural antioxidants and preservatives. 

The brand uses no GMOs, guns, grains, or carrageenan. Ingredients are sourced from throughout Europe, and the food is made in Italy.

This limited ingredient formula uses real venison as the number one ingredient with other protein sources, including chicken and herring. Other ingredients include pumping, sweet potato, and apples. 

Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Wet Dog Food Hearty Duck & Venison Stew

This sweet potato venison formula uses real deboned duck as the first ingredient with deboned venison for a protein boost. These high-quality proteins help maintain muscle tissue and support your dog’s energy needs. Other ingredients include green beans, carrots, sweet potato, and pea proteins, all topped with a savory gravy. 

Added vitamins and minerals make this a well-rounded meal, and it provides sufficient levels of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat and glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health. You can use this as a meal on its own or a topper for dry dog food. 

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Wet Dog Food

Here’s a great choice from Natural Balance if you want wet dog food with a single protein source that’s suitable for a limited ingredient diet. Venison provides the amino acids necessary for strong muscles, and sweet potato venison adds fiber to help maintain good GI health. 

In addition to sweet potatoes, this Natural Balance premium grain-free dog food contains all of the vitamins and minerals your dog needs to be healthy and supports a healthy immune system as well as skin and coat health. There are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives and there are never any fillers or by-product meals. 

ZIWI Peak Canned Wet Dog Food New Zealand Venison Recipe

If you’re looking for a wet dog food recipe with a single animal protein that’s loaded with venison, take a look at this recipe from ZIWI. This limited ingredient whole-prey diet food contains 92 percent real meat, including venison meat, liver, kidney, heart, and bones. It’s a pate-style chunky-loaf dog food that’s highly palatable, and your dog is going to love the taste. 

This venison formula is grain-free, and the limited-ingredients are low in carbs. Ziwi uses a Z-Boost, a proprietary mix of enzymes, probiotics, and New Zealand green mussels. New Zealand green mussels are an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints and omega 3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. Another interesting ingredient in this recipe is organic kelp, a natural source of antioxidants to reduce inflammation and protect the brain and heart. 

This recipe is ideal for any life stage and any breed, and you can use it as a meal or a topper for dry food.

Wellness Thick & Chunky Natural Wet Grain Free Canned Dog Food

This grain-free wet dog food from Wellness Natural is a slow-cooked stew with chunks of tender venison and salmon. It’s also loaded with a natural balance of nutrient-rich produce, like potatoes, carrots, and apples. Wellness Natural never uses any meat by-products, fillers, artificial preservatives, or fillers. 

Your dog will love the look, smell, and taste of this delicious venison formula, and you’ll love it because it’s formulated to support healthy skin, a shiny coat, and eye, teeth, and gum health. The brand’s Wellness Guarantee also supports a healthy immune system and supports your adult dog’s energy needs. The brand also offers a satisfaction guarantee, so there’s nothing to lose.

Merrick Grain Free All Breed Sizes Wet Dog Food

Here’s another great option from Merrick that uses real deboned venison as the number one ingredient as well as deboned duck and turkey for a trio of novel proteins your dog will love. Other nutritious ingredients include red new potatoes, red delicious apples, real peas, and carrots. 

The high-quality protein in this venison formula helps build lean muscle mass and provides healthy energy to keep your dog going. It also contains leading levels of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat as well as glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joint function. 

Savory turkey and beef broth gravy brings more flavor and creates a smell your dog won’t be able to resist. This recipe contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and no meat by-products. You can use it as a meal on its own or as a topper for your favorite venison dry food.

Should You Feed Your Dog Venison Dog Foods? 

Venison is a great choice for dogs. This lean protein isn’t as common as chicken or beef, so it’s a great choice for dogs who have developed an allergy or intolerance for those proteins. You’ll find venison on its own or mixed with other novel proteins, like lamb, salmon, lamb, or duck. 

Because venison has less fat than other meats, it’s also a good choice for dogs trying to lose weight or those that are inactive. The protein from venison is high-quality, though, and provides all dogs with the fuel they need to build on maintaining healthy muscle. 

There are a lot of venison dog food options out there, including both wet and dry recipes. Before making the switch, talk to your vet about ruling out any allergies. If one is identified, it’s important to remember that some of the foods we recommended have proteins in addition to venison. Most include things like duck or lamb meal, but some have chicken fat or chicken meal that you should avoid if chicken is the cause of the allergy. 

Although venison is a novel protein that is great for dogs with sensitivities, your dog doesn’t have to have one to love venison dog foods. The gamey flavor is great for picky eaters, and venison is used in a lot of high-protein formulas because it delivers the protein without adding a lot of excess fat. 

When reading the dog food nutrient labels, you’ll see wholesome ingredients like sweet potatoes or a vitamin E supplement listed, but you may also see things like canola oil preserved with mixed tocopherols and wonder why that’s included in a formula with something as wholesome as sweet potatoes. Tocopherols are a natural and efficient antioxidant produced by plants. So, just because you don’t recognize something as beneficial in your formula for adult dogs doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Read the label for every formula you’re considering for your adult dogs and do your research.

There are a lot of reasons to consider venison, and we hope we helped clear some things up for you. As always, use our recommendations to help you figure out which food is right for you, but make sure you read the ingredients to ensure the food you choose is right for your dog.

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