Dog Food Reviews

Instinct Raw Boost Review – This is No Ordinary Dog Kibble!

Harley and Charlie waiting to try Natures Variety Instinct Raw Boost
Written by Kevin Sando

As we mentioned in a previous post, Harley and Charlie have been doing great on Natures Variety Instinct diet.  Their coats look great, their energy levels are high, their bowels movements have firmed up, and they sure seem to love the taste.  

Thus far, we have been feeding a mixture of the Limited Ingredient Kibble and Frozen Raw Bites.  As you may have read in our Introduction to the Instinct Diet, this food comes in many different forms and flavors and is designed to allow for variety.  We chose the standard kibble supplemented with small amounts of frozen bites to start, as we thought it would make for an easier transition into the raw world for the boys.  It has been over a month now, and since things have been running smoothly (and we needed a re-up on the food), we decided to move on to the Kibble with Raw Boost.

Harley is excited to try a new form of the Nature's Variety Instinct line.

Natures Variety Instinct with Raw Boost 

The Instinct Raw Boost line combines high protein, grain free kibble with freeze dried raw.  It comes in several varieties including Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Duck and Venison.  We knew that we wanted to stick with the lamb formulation that we had been feeding the pups. A quick look at the ingredient list revealed that this formula also contained salmon. Fear not – we know the boys do well on salmon.  However, the cherry on this doggie sundae was revealed after speaking with representatives from Natures Variety who informed us that a single protein source Lamb variety will be out later this year! Winner, Winner, Lamb Dinner!!! 

Freeze dried raw pieces mixed in with kibble.

 Freeze Dried Raw – Initial Impressions

We weren’t really sure what to expect and were excited to take a peak inside when we got the food home! Opening the bag revealed the standard kibble we have come to know and love with pieces of freeze dried raw dispersed throughout.  

A closeup view of the freeze dried pieces inside Raw Boost.

Each piece is about 3/8″ in diameter by 1/2″ long, which is approximately the same size of the frozen bites.  While some food/treats can have a strong odor, I was surprised that even with the addition of salmon, this was not overpowering. If it sounds easy and uneventful, that’s because it was! However, this was no standard kibble. When subjected to a rigorous taste test (much like the one you see below), freeze dried bites were chosen every time!

Our whole family (cats and dogs) want to try the new Instinct food!

So yummy, the whole family wanted to have a taste!! 


Lamb,Lamb Liver, Lamb Heart, Pumpkinseeds, Ground Lamb Bone, Carrots, Butternut Squash, Apples, Ground Flaxseed…

…No, I’m not leaving you the grocery list for my Grandmothers famous Lamb stew, these are the first several ingredients in the freeze-dried raw bites!! Still the same great ingredients as in the frozen bites! Whats not to love-I know every ingredient and feel good feeding it to my boys! 

Serving up a bowl for our Instinct Raw Boost review

So what did we think? Our Instinct Raw Boost Review

Whenever we share a product with our readers, we try to put ourselves in your shoes. For this post we thought: Why might Instincts Raw Boost be a great fit for someone?

Here is what we came up with: 

  • You have limited fridge and freezer space
  • You are bringing your pup along on a vacation (Yay!)
  • You are sending your dog to a sitter who may not feel comfortable with other forms of raw
  • You are busy – The flexibility in feeding options for Natures Variety Instinct Diet is a HUGE plus.
  • You are uncertain…you want to do better for your dog, but are not sure whether you can handle feeding raw.

Personally, we loved the convenience of this form.  It felt great to be able to feed raw without any added hassle of refrigeration.  We loved that the bags were resealable and that the smell was very mild.  Though its not something we tried, you always have the option to mix in Frozen Raw Bites from time to time if you want to further incorporate raw into your pups diet.  We also noticed that the freeze dried form did not seem to linger on our boys’ teeth (something that we started to notice when feeding frozen raw but was quickly helped with some bone chewing).

Charlie practicing his "Leave it" command with pieces of freeze dried raw.

Pricing it out for our boys,  Instinct Raw Boost Lamb variety costs ~20% more than than the Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb food that the boys had been eating.  While there were raw pieces in every scoop, we do think it would have been nice to have seen a higher proportion of freeze-dried bites to really feel like you are really getting the benefit for the extra cost.  Strangely, when we were traveling, we purchased a smaller bag to take with us (we were limited in space), and we thought that the ratio of kibble to freeze-dried bites was excellent. Its definitely feedback that we want to share with Natures Variety, and hear what they have to say! 

Charlie enjoying a taste of the Instinct Raw Boost!

Overall, if you are anxious about getting started with raw, this form is a great way to go.  The Instinct Raw Boost line allows you to incorporate some raw into your dogs diet, with the same convenience of standard kibble.  It would make for an easy transition or may be a good long term fit for some.

Want to try out Instinct Raw Boost? 

Click Here to Pick Some up on Amazon!



About the author

Kevin Sando

Kevin is a mechanical engineer with a degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has move than a decade experience in new product design, prototyping and early stage manufacturing. Pairing this background with his love of dogs, gives him a unique perspective to evaluate the design and execution of new and interesting pet products.

1 Comment

  • I have been using Rachael Ray but I wanted dog food that was minimally processed does this fit the bill. I enjoyed your pictures and your review. Thanks for this post.