Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Product Review: NRG

As a raw feeder, traveling can be a royal pain. Since I've been traveling for agility trials quite a bit lately and have our Florida trip coming up in December, I needed to analyze my options. I'm a part of a raw feeding group (WAzzOR_BARF) through Yahoo Groups and I knew they would be the best place to start. People were great about offering feedback and sharing their experiences and opinions about the products on the market. The main reason I decided to go with NRG brand dehydrated raw was because I was told the product reconstituted well enough you could fairly well tell what the ingredients were. Some reports of the other products were that they were basically gray mush. I couldn't imagine feeding that to my dogs, particularly when they're accustomed to a very high quality, fresh diet now.

The products I ordered were NRG Vitality RAW-One Buffalo. The ingredient list is as follows:

Cooked free range meat, (Vitality is available in free range buffalo, beef, chicken or wild caught salmon) naked oats, wheat germ, eggs, liver, carrots, grapefruit, winter squash, broccoli, cranberries, limes, papaya, apple, parsley, garlic, goat milk yogurt, flax seed, cider vinegar, egg shell, olive oil.

This was super easy to pack. No cooler. No ice. No mess. No fuss. The dogs dug into it right away and other than Leo finding a piece of stand-alone veggie he turned down, they readily cleaned their bowls. The product is very light. Only requires warm water - tap water worked great. There was no odor - foul or otherwise. This product also keeps very well for extended periods of time as long as it's kept well-sealed.

With our "regular" raw diet, I just take a bag or item out of the fridge and it goes into the bowl. Sometimes the dogs get fed frozen. This takes only a moment to prepare but needs to sit for 20-30 minutes to "refresh," as the package indicates. Vegas has been raw fed for more than two years now. She still doesn't seem to ever "fill" and would be happy to eat indefinitely. That means she will wake up in the morning and try to forgo her "constitutional" for breakfast. Needless to say, 20-30 minutes was very difficult to get through - particularly out of town, in a hotel, and usually somewhat in a hurry to be ready and head to the show site.

The only other complaint I have about the product is the volume of stool it produced, and perhaps the composition. With her "normal" diet, Vegas goes once to twice a day but the actual volume is probably that of what you would expect in a Golden Retriever (or smaller) dog. The stool is very firm and formed, easy to clean up. She woke me up at 1 am Sunday morning to go out. She just made it to the side of the building when she left a steaming pile of mush. Needless to say, it was unpleasant to clean up. She went again mid-morning, leaving behind an amount nearly identical. To compare her intake with her output, they looked very similar which was disturbing. Leo had quite a bit more waste (at least twice as much) than normal, but fortunately his was well-formed.

It's very expensive compared to our regular food. Boxes are approximately 13-15 pounds each and when combined with water for reconstitution will provide approximately 2-3 times that weight in food for the dog. The food is measured by cup according to the dogs' weight. Vegas needed 1 cup per 20 pounds, so 5-6 cups per day. I split it into two meals. I got a total steal through the raw feeders group for the product but it was still between $67 and $79 per box depending on the formula.

The Verdict:
I have two more boxes of the product coming within the next week or so. The other two boxes are the NRG Optimum formula, designed for "active" and large dogs. I purchased Beef and Salmon formulas. The ingredient list is as follows:

Cooked free range meat, (Optimum is available in free range chicken, buffalo, beef and wild caught pacific salmon) dehydrated from raw free range meat, squash, carrots, naked oats, wheat germ, eggs, buffalo liver, grapefruit, pumpkin, broccoli, salmon meat, flax seed, cranberries, blueberries,apples, lime, papaya, parsley, garlic, goat milk yogurt, kelp, apple cider vinegar, egg shell, coconut oil, cod liver oil
I had given Vegas a single meal of the RAW-One prior to our trip out of town but since she leans more toward the firm stool side, my guess is I didn't notice a difference in a single meal. I'm hopeful that will continued use and/or the different formulas the "cons" won't be so bad. Perhaps it was just an adjustment period along with being in a new place and running agility. I plan on continuing to use this product since I have it and unless I see any other issues will likely repurchase it when necessary. My reasoning is simple: The product itself is top of the line for the dogs' health and I need something more convenient for travel times. I'll deal with the impatient dogs - that's minor when compared with the other benefits.


  1. Interesting post! Always trying to find convenient raw options for when we travel. Have you tried Honest Kitchen? We travel for flyball about once a month and hauling a cooler along for her food can be inconvenient at times.

  2. Hi Patty - Yes, I've heard of Honest Kitchen and it was one of those reviewed less favorably. I believe the extra "waste" was also a problem with HK per the review I received.