pawtree dog food

Grain-Free PawTree Dog Food – A Natural Mom Review

Your furry friend deserves the best nutrition possible. Many pet owners are on a quest to find the perfect food for their dogs, and PawTree's dog food has garnered a lot of attention as a potential solution. With its promise of high-quality ingredients and personalized formulas, this brand has piqued curiosity among pet lovers everywhere. In this comprehensive review, we'll delve into the world of pawtree dog food to uncover its strengths, weaknesses, and overall impact on canine health. From the science behind its ingredients to my personal real-world experience, we'll explore every aspect of this brand to help you make an informed decision for your precious pup. So buckle up as we discover whether PawTree dog food is truly worth all the barks!

Quick Disclaimer before diving into the details: The products reviewed in this post were purchased by me, without reimbursement. This is not a paid-for sponsored post. It solely outlines my own thoughts and experiences researching and using the products.

What Is PawTree??

PawTree began production in 2012 to provide a range of products for cats and dogs, such as supplements, grooming supplies, and food.

It was Founded by Roger Morgan, a long-time veteran in the pet food industry when he stepped away from unethical industry norms and created high-quality pet food he felt ethically comfortable with feeding to family pets.

While researching pawTree and seeing the heart behind Roger, I was really impressed by his transparency and moral compass. Hearing his passion for what he does was very refreshing.

For a painfully toxic industry, it hasn't been easy for me to find a dog food brand where I can clearly see through the marketing to find the actual heart of the company. Seeing his emotional dedication to providing quality food, I became more intrigued to see more, especially knowing we needed to change something with Emma or have more emotional discussions about making an end-of-life plan.

And when I say “painfully toxic” – there are some major issues within the pet food industry, including significant quality concerns, contaminations, and PFAS. But more on that in a moment when we dive into the ingredients.

What Does PawTree Sell?

PawTree exclusively produces dry food with 12 different recipes, including 7 grain-free and 4 poultry-free options, accommodating dogs with common food allergies.

PawTree Testimonials That Caught My Eye

Of course, there are quite a few testimonials to browse over on pawTree's website you won't want to miss too.

The Problem With Most DogFood

In reality, I get it… your pets are more than just animals kept at home; they are valued family members, enriching your life and assisting you emotionally and sometimes physically.

70% of households in the United States have a pet, totaling 90.5 million homes collectively spending $62+ billion each year on pet food and treats (2022), as reported by the American Pet Products Association, with an overall expenditure of $136.8 billion on pets throughout the year.

The problem with that large of an industry is that a LOT of brands end up prioritizing emotionally charged profits over the well-being of their customers.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of knowledge about pet food ingredients and related regulations. But, thankfully, a growing number of pet owners are becoming increasingly interested in educating themselves on this issue.

In my own research, I found an alarming amount of info.

  • The FDA found Pentobarbital, a chemical commonly used in euthanasia, in several dog food brands. This tells me that euthanized animals are being used in conventional dog food.
  • A number of commercial dog food brands utilize “empty calorie” ingredients that also cause inflammatory responses.
  • Most commercial dog food brands use meat remnants that would otherwise be thrown away instead of quality cut meats or organs.
  • Many commercial dog food brands contain more rice or wheat than meat, veggies, or other ingredients.
  • Many commercial dog food brands use “by-product meal” in their ingredients, which is comprised of bones, organs, blood, beaks, and other “leftovers” from the human food industry. It often also includes leftover restaurant grease, out-of-date supermarket meat, and “4D” livestock animals (dead, dying, diseased, disabled). All that mess is combined through a process called rendering, which is defined as “an industrial process of extraction by melting that converts waste animal tissue into usable materials.” 

Examining PawTree Dog Food Ingredients

We started with the trout with sweet peas and lentils and in the process received a complimentary bag of the freeze dried beef raw food option.

My Concerns About The Dog Food Ingredients

There is an obvious mixture of both natural and synthetic vitamins on these lists (listed out in the next section), but I do very much appreciate the whole-food aspect of seeing how they make their foods. I would like to see their ingredient choices improve to using only natural vitamins, but I also respect that the price would significantly increase to be unaffordable for most people (including me).

Initially I wondered about raw feeding after talking with our holistic local vet, and was concerned about grain or grain alternatives added. I do appreciate the carbohydrate ingredients not being wheat (my Newfie does have confirmed wheat and corn allergies and possible soy allergy). However, it isn't just raw food.

In factoring in my budget needs and realizing homemade food just isn't realistic in my current life season, and my family struggled to figure out what we needed to feed a dedicated raw food diet in an affordable and clean manner. I sat down with my veterinarian tech sister and discussed the label in depth. It seemed to me to be better than what we've found at the stores, and we were quickly running out of affordable dog food options to try that my Newfie didn't react to.

She was very clear about why domesticated dogs need carbohydrates in their diets, whether it's from wheat, beans, potatoes, or peas, putting my mind at ease.

She confirmed it's a quality food, comparable to what her office usually recommends. My vet said the same thing, confirming what my sister told me. They both ultimately supported the decision to purchase, recommending starting with just one bag and seeing how it goes.

PawTree Raw Dog Food Ingredients

My dogs first tried the beef freeze-dried raw food, so I'll list its that in this review.

Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Hearts, Garbanzo Beans, Dried Sweet Potatoes, Beef Bone Broth, Kale, Apples, Blueberries, Pumpkin, Flaxseed, Dicalcium Phosphate, Canola Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Potassium Chloride, Sea Salt, Choline Chloride, Salmon Oil, Dried Chicory Root, Magnesium Sulfate, Taurine, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Mixed Tocopherols, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.

pawTree's Freeze-Dried Raw Food Real Beef Recipe ingredients list Product Facts

PawTree's List of Raw Food Options

For the sake of keeping this post as short and sweet as possible, I have the other freeze-dried raw foods linked below so you can see their ingredients list for yourself:

PawTree Kibble Dog Food Ingredients

Because solely feeding the freeze-dried raw food was a bit out of my budget to exclusively feed to our two dogs (a Newfoundland and a Shepherd mix – both big eaters), my husband and I decided to use it as a topping to supplement pawTree's kibble food.

We chose to start with the trout with sweet peas and lentils recipe

Trout, dried chickpeas, dried peas, menhaden fish meal, dried lentils, dried sweet potatoes, tomato pomace, natural flavor, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), flaxseed, sea salt, fructooligosaccharides, coconut oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, D-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid), minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, calcium carbonate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, iron amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, cobalt carbonate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide), taurine, choline chloride, dried apples, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, dried pumpkin, dried papaya, dried spinach, dried parsley, Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast culture, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, mixed tocopherols, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, L-carnitine, rosemary extract.

pawTree Real Trout, Sweet Peas & Lentils Recipe POULTRY FREE Product Facts

To not make this post longer than it needs to be, you can take look at each product's individual ingredients list:

PawTree Natural Mom Review – My Personal Experience

Please keep in mind… this is my personal experience, told first hand.

This testimony is in no way intended to diagnose or treat any ailment. It is just an account of what my family endured and noticed with changing what we feed to our dog.

If you're dog is experiencing medical needs, please consult with a veterinarian. If you're still having difficulty (as we did), consider looking for a holistic vet in your area.

Our local holistic vet is who brought to my attention the problems with conventional dog food and mentioned that we should change to a natural feeding plan (recommended raw food) to continue being seen in his practice because of the undeniable progress he made with all his dog and cat patients.

My Dog Needed Serious Help

My 7 year old Newfoundland, Emma, has had a rough life. For several years, she suffered from chronic seasonal allergies, recurring skin infections, recurring ear infections, and noncancerous ear tumors. She also had severe reactions to all conventional dog foods we could find at local stores.

Her condition was so bad, we were treating her with tramadol to reduce her pain several nights each week for 3 years, as she would roll around or scratch herself while howling in pain.

Our vet was very kind and strategic in trying everything we could to give her a better quality life, ready to do “whatever it takes” to save her. Each month, she would get better, just in time to regress again. There were quite a few conversations about end-of-life care, with hopes of “let's try this one more thing to see if it works” that just resulted in a mind-numbing amount spent in vet bills.

Seriously… on average people spend around $700 each year in vet bills. Our family, for 3 years, averaged $5,300 each year for just this one dog. While she is a super sweet creature that I feel very blessed to have in my life, it is very difficult to justify over $15k in veterinarian expenses on top of an expensive homemade diet, because every single “quality” recommended dog food put her into severe allergy fits.

Plus, there are only so many nights I can handle soothing the pain of a howling hound, trying to quiet her down before waking up the rest of the family, in addition to all my motherhood, homemaking, business, and wife responsibilities.

In addition to that, she was ripping out her fur every day, leaving chuncks of fur and smears of blood all over the house for me to clean. She also stopped enjoying the cold, which was a bit alarming. Her eyes appeared to be developing cataracs.

She was becoming very grouchy and didn't want anything to do with anything… only interacting with us when it was “time” to eat or go outside.

Overall, just seemed heartbreakingly depressed.

Something had to give.

We couldn't continue affording these bills, especailly with rising cost of living. And I couldn't continue to watch her quality of life look this poor. So once again, we looked back to food as our last ditch effort to keep this dog alive. It sounds harsh, but its gut-wrenching to watch her suffer, while 5 vets in 3 states are dedicated to saving her.

I did a LOT of research, which is what I do best. I kept finding reasons to try and not to try pawTree, mostly in line with various conflicting “expert opinions.”

So, I spent a year and a half cooking food for her every blessed day in the pressure cooker. She handled it a lot better than the dog food. But after a year and a half, I was exhausted, and she began to stress if her food wasn't ready for her by certain times each day. Having her meals ready to go in a timely manner was becoming more and more difficult to juggle with increasing family needs, and caused her to start developing food aggression, even towards the kids' food, which was unacceptable. Then, she started losing weight like crazy. She dropped 30 pounds in 3 weeks, even though she was eating more than a dog her size and age should need.

PawTree kept popping up in my heart. Each time I felt overwhelmed, my intuition gently nudged me when I'd pray for relief. So, after some long talks and researching multiple brands, my husband and I decided to give it a try… and wow! There were a LOT of items to choose from!

Choosing The Best Food For Your Dog (or Cat) Using pawTree's Pet Profile

One thing about pawTree that I really appreciated as an over-tired and overwhelmed mom was how simple they make deciding what you need, based on the recommendations of several veterinarians.

On their main website, you'll see in the top menu the “Pet Profile” option.

When filling out your Pet Profile, you'll be asked for your cat or dog's breed, age, weight, and if there are any health concerns. From there, you'll see their recommendations populate automatically.

For us, that looked like creating Emma a profile for a 7-year-old underweight female Newfoundland with a variety of concerns including: skin, cognitive, allergy, senior, and immune issues. Then, we were immediately provided a downloadable pet feeding plan and a list of recommended food and supplement options. SO SIMPLE!

Seeing from there what was recommended and what the overall cost would be helped take the overwhelm out. And I was pleasantly surprised to see the overall cost was less than the homemade food I was already feeding her…

Save time and money… it was worth a try.

Choosing Our Dogs' Food

While looking through the list and spending a few days debating on it, we acquired a second dog (Bella) from a friend. We created a second Pet Profile for Bella; the system gave us the option of having them share food or have separate food and being able to see the cost differences before filling the shopping cart.

Again, removing the overwhelm.

How is it that this company has been around since 2012, and I'm finally now seeing how easy they make to acquire pet food?!

Definitely an answer to our prayers.

We ended up choosing the beef freeze dried food and the trout kibble. The dogs LOVE both! They were obsessed with the box before it was even opened.

And I'm loving being able to scoop and go, without spending 40 mins cooking and 20 mins cooling food every morning or evening to get food ready to go.

Choosing Our Dogs' Supplements

While I'm a huge fan of functional nutrition and used it to heal my own health issues (you can read my story here), I knew Emma needed more than just new dog food. And her Pet Profile agreed.

The Pet Profile results recommended Wild Alaskan Salmon & Pollock Oil, “Brain Drops,” “Allergy Support Plus,” and “Gastro Pro Plus.” We already had gut health supplements on hand and the food (if as healthy as they indicated) should provide some assistance for gut health as well, so I ordered the salmon oil and brain drops to go with the food, along with a few beef and chicken liver treats.

The next day, we received a shipping notification. Honestly, I was not expecting the order to be processed and ready to ship that fast! Our box arrived less than a week later, with free shipping.

Upon arrival… we didn't even have a chance to open the box before Emma and Bella were all over the bags to the point where they were both a bit aggressive about who was “allowed” to sniff it. After a few laughs and tail wags, we prepped their first meal, which they were both very eager to gobble up. Usually I only see that level of enthusiastic eating when offering meat or organ chuncks. Overall, my first impression was very positive.

Emma Newfie's 1 Month Before and After PawTree Results

A month slipped by without me noticing much. We have a lot going on in general, but life seemed a bit more on fast forward with taking on a second dog.

I was talking with my pawTree mentor about how Emma was doing two weeks after our order came. Raving about how Emma was playing!! Emma hadn't played in YEARS… like not since her ears developed tumors 3 years ago! But here she was prancing, jumping, running, playing. That alone was a MASSIVE improvement!

I was a bit shocked.

I had quite a bit to tell, though the playing was admittedly the bit that had me over the top excited. Very happy to report:

  • her ears seem to not be bothering her at all
  • my kids have commented she doesn't smell bad anymore
  • her infections finally cleared up
  • she stopped chewing herself and ripping out her fur, which lightened my cleaning needs
  • no more night howls, despite not using medication
  • she seemed to not be as confused
  • she returned to loving the cold weather

She was looking cute, so I took a picture and sent it to my mentor. Then out of curiosity, I looked back at the last photo I took of her a month prior, and the proverbial glass shattered.

I realized at that point how much she was improving… after only two weeks of eating pawTree's food!

Shop Emma's Favorites

I didn't even realize how flaky and dull her coat was or absent her eyes looked, until comparing these two photos.

My jaw dropped realizing how much better she is in such a short amount of time.

Her vet was flabbergasted to hear we had to take her off the medication because of more reactions, but a simple food and supplement change had that massive of results!

Honestly, I can't imagine switching to any different food after this.

PawTree FAQs

This article was originally written, published, and syndicated by Motherhood Truth.

Author: Nicole Graber

Title: Writer, Editor, Coach

Expertise: Natural Wellness, Healthy Lifestyle, Home Business Strategy, Motherhood


Nicole is a writer, healthy lifestyle consultant, and faith-based business strategist at Gracefully Abundant with bylines on MSN and the AP newswire. As a survivor of homelessness and chronic health, she discovered a purpose in guiding people towards a healthier lifestyle and increased income.

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