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Darwin's Natural Pet Products Review in 2024

Unfortunately, this dog food delivery service is no longer active.
Their review, however, will stay up on our site as an archive for the benefit of online communities who would like to learn more about them. In the meantime, do you want to see which brands we like the best?
Author Jessica White
Jessica White Writer
Updated on Jun 2nd, 2024
Fact checked by Emma Vince

Overview

Darwin's Natural Pet Products provide raw food recipes for cats and dogs. Among the vast landscape of pet products, Darwin's has had an unwavering commitment to natural, wholesome nutrition for pets for the last 15 years.

I've conducted an extensive review of its offerings and ingredients. Drawing from a wide range of expert opinions, customer testimonials, and detailed product analysis, I've provided you with a well-researched perspective.

Darwin's Natural Pet Products is top-tier nutrition for your pets without the artificial extras. It provides options for organic recipes and caters to prescription diets. Feeding a raw food diet isn’t for every pet parent, so keep reading to find out if it’s for you.

Pros

Cons

Uses high-quality ingredientsRaw meat requires safe handling
5 different protein optionsMeals aren’t portioned
Specific recipes for medical issuesUses a lot of packaging

Darwin's Meals

Plans and Recipes

There are 3 distinct food lines for dogs that cater to diverse needs, including: 

  • Natural Selections, which stands out as the top choice among pet owners. This line boasts 5 recipes: chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, and duck. Impressively, the sourced meat is either cage-free or pasture-raised, with a strict no to steroids, antibiotics, or growth hormones.
  • Biologics line, which is a more pocket-friendly alternative. It's crafted from conventionally grown meat similar to what you’d find on supermarket shelves. You can choose from 3 recipes: chicken, turkey, and beef.
  • Intelligent Design, which targets dogs with specific health conditions. Exclusive to those holding a veterinary prescription, this line tailors meals to address various health challenges. There are meals for kidney, liver, cancer, and joint and musculoskeletal support.

Screenshot of the 3 recipe lines for dogs on Darwin's

For cats, you can choose from the Natural Selections line. There’s a choice of chicken, turkey, or beef. You can also opt for an Intelligent Design recipe that’s specially formulated to support cats with kidney disease.

All recipes are grain and gluten free. The questionnaire during signup covers allergens. You can choose to avoid these ingredients: chicken, beef, lamb, duck, and turkey. Your suggested feeding plan won’t contain any of these proteins.

Ingredients

All of the ingredients used by Darwin’s are human-grade and USDA-approved. In the Natural Selections meals, all of the meat is pasture-raised and grass-fed, so your pet is receiving top-quality meat.

Each recipe has different vegetables and ingredients. These provide the necessary vitamins and nutrients. For example, in the dog recipes, cod-liver oil from wild-caught Alaskan codfish is added to provide additional vitamin D from a natural source. The cat recipes all contain taurine which is necessary for cats.

Let’s take a closer look at the Natural Selections Turkey for Dogs. The ingredients list is simple, with meat and vegetables. Image if a pack of Darwin's Natural Selections Turkey recipe alongside all the fresh vegetables and meat used in the recipe

It contains 74.64% antibiotic-free meat consisting of meat, livers, hearts, and gizzards. The hearts are a good source of nutrients because they’re muscle meat. The liver is a lean protein that provides vitamin A.

Organic vegetables make up another 24.66% including sweet potato, lettuce, carrots, seasonal squash, celery, and parsley. These give your pup food fiber and different vitamins and minerals.

Finally, the remaining 0.77% is the special nutrient mix. This includes organic flaxseed, sea salt, inulin, cod liver oil, and more. These ingredients are high in Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.

Nutrition

The raw food diet provides all the nutrition your dog needs. There aren't any extras that their gut may struggle to process. The recipes all have around 13% protein (except for the liver support formula), 6-12% fat, 1% fiber, and the rest is moisture. The options range from 28-44 calories per ounce.

The Turkey recipe contains:

  • Crude protein min 14%
  • Crude fat min 7%
  • Crude fiber max 1%
  • Calories per ounce = 31

All recipes are balanced and tested to meet or exceed the AAFCO nutritional profiles. All the food is minimally processed because it’s raw, so the diet is close to what your pet was designed to eat. The vital nutrients aren’t cooked out of the food, so the animals are able to enjoy all the good stuff without any of the fillers.

What Makes It Different

There are a couple of features that make Darwin’s Pet Products unique.

High-Quality Ingredients

Darwin's is different primarily due to its ingredient selection. It opts for superior choices like cage-free or pasture-raised meats, ensuring no steroids, antibiotics, or growth hormones taint the food. Recipes also contain organic vegetables. 

Prescription Diets

Addressing specific health concerns, Darwin's has carved a niche with its Intelligent Design line. Exclusive to pets with health conditions, recipes are crafted under expert guidance and are available solely through a veterinary prescription.

Unboxing

The food arrives frozen in a recyclable cardboard box. It also contains dry ice and insulation. Everything is fresh and contains no preservatives, so the food must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer on arrival. The food will last for up to 48 hours in the refrigerator provided that the recommended temperature is maintained. Image of a pack of Darwin's Natural Selections food

Each recipe is frozen in 2 lb packs that contain 4 patties. You need to separate the individual patties for thawing. Keep in mind that the feeding and handling guidelines aren’t printed on each patty, so make a note of them for future reference.

It’s worth noting that if you have a pet under 4 months old, cooking is required. Darwin’s recommends lightly sauteeing the food for 8 to 10 minutes before serving. This is to minimize any risks associated with raw food and protect their delicate immune systems. For older pets, no cooking is needed.

You’ll also receive a BPA-free container for defrosting and storing food in the fridge. You can also use other plastic containers. The frozen patties last for 6 to 12 months in the freezer but are best consumed as close to production as possible.

Prices

Starting from

Minimum Order

Shipping Fee

$10.84 per pack

10 lbs of food 

Free (apart from Alaska and Hawaii) or $10 for orders less than 20 lbs

Let’s look at pricing for a small dog or cat weighing 10 lb. They need just over 2 lbs of food per week. For cats, this costs between $16.07 per week for the Chicken recipe to $20.50 a week for the Beef. For a dog, you’re looking at spending between $10.84 for the BioLogics Chicken recipe and $22.31 per week for the Natural Selections Lamb recipe.

Larger dogs weighing around 40 lb such as a Border Collie, need just over 6 lbs of food a week. This will cost between $30 and $60 every week, which may not be manageable on some budgets.

It’s good to see that Darwin’s ships to all the US states, including Alaska and Hawaii. But shipping costs are significantly higher. In fact, it costs $150 per order! So I’d recommend getting a very large freezer to store a large order.

New customers can take advantage of the introductory offer. Currently, you’ll be able to enjoy this offer: No active deal. Recurring orders are activated when you sign up, as it operates as a subscription style service.

Shipping & Delivery

Darwin’s Pets is a subscription service, so you don’t have to remember to place future orders. Reminder emails will be sent before your orders ship in case you want to make any changes or updates to the order.

How regularly your order ships will depend on the animal and how much food they’re receiving. This could be as often as every 2 weeks for dogs or as infrequently as every 10 weeks for a cat.

Darwin’s uses UPS to complete its shipping. Everything is packed with dry ice in insulated coolers after being frozen on-site in vacuum-sealed packages, so you won’t have to worry about the food during shipping, but it’s a good idea to try and be home when your delivery arrives so you can store it straight in the freezer.

How Darwin's Works

When you sign up for Darwin's, you’ll get an introductory offer. Your first order is a new customer kit that’s offered at a discounted price. Following this shipment, future orders are automatically set up to be shipped every 2 to 9 weeks, depending on the amount of food your dog needs.

How to Sign up

  1. The first step is to complete your pet’s profile. Questions include weight, activity level, allergies, and ailments. It takes about a minute to complete.

screenshot of the first question in the Darwin's signup questionnaire asking for the pet's name

  1. You’ll receive your recommended products and the cost per week.

Recommended dog food lines and costs per week recommended during signup

  1. Create an account to proceed with your order. This involves adding your email and a password. Then you can enter your shipping details.

  1. Check your order summary. Here you can see what you will get in your future deliveries and how often your orders will be shipped.

Order summary on Darwin's detailing recipes and costs.

It’s useful to find out how much you’ll pay and how often. To confirm your order, click on Payment and enter your credit card details.

Managing Your Subscription

It’s simple to make changes or cancel your order. This is important if you need to use up the meals you already have or wish to increase the amounts. Your account on the website gives you access to make all the changes you need. For additional support, contact Customer Services.

Customer Service

The customer care team at Darwin's are available from 6 AM to 6 PM Pacific time, Monday through Friday. There’s also an email address and a contact form on the website. I was disappointed to find that a live chat feature isn’t available.

The FAQ section covers a lot of great information. You can find out how to help transition your dog to a new type of food and research why a raw food diet is the right choice for your family pet. There are also plenty of useful articles on the blog. Screenshot of the Darwin's blog with tabs to filter the types of article by pet lifestyle, raw pet food, and more.

I contacted Darwin’s by email as the site wouldn’t accept my details on the contact form. I received a very lengthy and detailed reply just a few hours later. I appreciated that an agent took the time to assist me with my questions and answered them fully.

Darwin's Recalls

Darwin’s has had a few recalls in the last few years, the most recent being in August 2023. Previous recalls have occurred in 2022, 2017, 2018, and 2019. Some recipes were recalled due to potential contamination of salmonella, e., coli and listeria. Note the lot numbers on your packages to check if they’re part of a recall.

How Darwin's Compares to Other Pet Food Services

The Bottom Line: Is Darwin's Worth It?

Raw food diets like Darwin’s work well for many cats and dogs. With no preservatives, additives, hormones, or grains, it’s a diet that helps your furry friend absorb all the necessary nutrients with none of the extras. 

Darwin’s is a good option if budget isn’t a concern. It uses high-quality ingredients, and there’s a good choice of proteins to try. However, if you have a larger breed of dog, it can be an expensive choice. Check out our list of the best dog food delivery services for some other great options.

FAQ

What is the best raw food diet for dogs?

The best raw food diet for dogs prioritizes high-quality, unprocessed ingredients. This ensures a balance of meat, bones, and organs. With high-quality ingredients, Darwin's Natural Selections is a noteworthy option.

How do I switch my dog to a Darwin’s raw diet?

Transitioning your dog to a raw diet like Darwin’s should be gradual. Start by mixing small portions of raw food with their regular diet and gradually increase the raw portion over 7-10 days.

Can dogs with illnesses eat a raw diet?

Darwin's Intelligent Design recipes are tailored to dogs with various health concerns. You’ll need a veterinary prescription to order these meals. For dogs with specific illnesses or medical needs, it’s essential to consult a vet.

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