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CDK9 Raw Complete Mixes for Dogs – Review

We’d never even heard of the concept of a BARF (Biogically Appropriate Raw Food) diet for the first 9 years of our life as a pet owner.

In that, we’re probably representative of many people because savvy dog food corporations tend to push their marketing messages onto you when you’re about to buy or adopt your puppy or early on in your journey as a first time dog owner...

Most people never question the information handed to them and dutifully carry on purchasing the same brand and formula that was initially recommended by their breeder, pet store, vet, puppy training class etc. We fell for it too, thinking we were feeding our puppy the best possible food: after all the packaging said "super premium" and its price was commensurate!

However we noticed
 some concerning health changes - simply put, our 2-year old dog was "shutting down" and losing all zest for life - so we started reading his food's ingredients list and doing some research. We progressively moved away from feeding mainstream commercial brands of dry dog food but it was not until 2016 that we really started looking more seriously at raw food options as an alternative.

We dabbled a couple of times trialling a couple of small Sydney-based providers and our dogs loved eating fresh raw meat but in our opinion this was still very much a boutique industry where the prices charged ($17-$28/kg) were not affordable for most, especially when you need to feed 90kg of hungry dogs on a daily basis!

Fast forward to 2019 and raw dog food options are no longer reserved to a small elite clientele, they're everywhere and not just in big capital cities. Larger players have entered this market, bringing with them much needed professionalism and healthy competition which in turn created a wider range of choices and more affordable pricing

Introducing the CDK9 Raw Difference

Founders Joe and Alex come from a passion in fitness and nutrition so for them it has always been important to understand what's really in their food and by extension their dogs', and how that contributes to strong mental and physical health.

After studying animal nutrition and a few years of research later, they launched CDK9 Raw formulated by a canine nutritionist and offering a range of fresh, diverse, raw food filled with human-grade ingredients.

When they contacted us late May to be considered for a review, t
he first thing we noticed was how comprehensive and easy to browse their website was, whilst offering a wide range of high-quality balanced options so we were excited to give their food a trial over a four-week period.
By wide choice, we mean that you can choose all these variables:

✔️ Weekly Packages (one-off trial or subscription) or

✔️ Bulk Bags (10kg) (perfect if you have a large dog or a multi-dog household)

✔️ Choice of 5 Proteins (Chicken, Duck, Kangaroo, Beef and Lamb) to cater for any possible allergies or your pooch's fussy taste buds. All 5 options include meat (and offal) sourced from Australian farmers including grass fed and pasture-raised animals.

✔️ 3 Complete Mixes Options tailored to address your dog's specific health issues (mobility, digestion or overall wellbeing). These combine human-grade meat, offal and/or bones plus fruit and vegetables with zero additives, preservatives or fillers.

✔️ Daily servings pre-calculated for dogs from 5kg - 50kg so you know exactly how much it will cost weekly, based on your chosen protein or Complete Mix option.

The CDK9 Raw - Complete Mixes for Dogs


All the CDK9 Raw Complete Mixes have been formulated to exceed AAFCO requirements. Each one includes all key nutrients and minerals required by dogs including those generally lacking in a raw diet such as manganese, Vitamin E, Vitamin D and zinc in natural and bioavailable forms.

With any trials, we tend to favour our senior Belgian Shepherd Conner because at 13 years old, he stands to gain the most from a switch to a fresher healthier diet. 


Conner was put on the CDK9 Raw - Complete Mobility Care Mix to address his ongoing joint mobility and arthritis issues.
To effectively measure any benefits this new diet may deliver, we stopped giving him his usual canine arthritis supplement for a period of 4 weeks.

This mix included a mix of chicken meat, kangaroo meat, chicken bones & cartilage, beef liver, beef offal, green beef tripe (cold washed), sardines, sweet potato, beetroot, celery, parsley, devils claw root, hemp seeds, wheat germ oil, zinc sulfate.  


Both our rescue Malinois contracted Parvo as puppies and went through a long recovery process. Porthos has always been a much leaner dog with a highly susceptible stomach so if anyone was going to have any issues when switching to a new diet, that would have been him! 


He was therefore the perfect candidate to trial the CDK9 Raw - Complete Digestion Support Mix.

This variety mixes duck meat, beef meat, duck bones & cartilage, beef liver, beef offal, green beef tripe (cold washed), sardines, pumpkin, paw paw, spinach, hemp seeds, coconut oil, wheat germ oil, zinc sulfate

Our female Malinois Aramis aka “action dog” handles pretty much anything, always eagerly looking for more food so the CDK9 Raw - Complete Proactive Health was our pick for her.


Her mix included: chicken meat, beef meat, chicken bones & cartilage, beef liver, beef offal, green beef tripe (cold washed), sardines, carrots, blueberries, kale, brewer’s yeast, kelp, hemp seeds, wheat germ oil, zinc sulfate

When you start feeding your dog any new diet, it is always advised that you transition your dog slowly during the first week to avoid tummy upsets and other potential “accidents”.

For the first two days, we started adding only 25% of their CDK9 Raw Complete Mixes then increased to 50% on Day 3-4 and as none of our dogs had any issues we went for the full 100% (500g-600g/daily) from Day 5.

Towards the end of our trial, we started the reverse process for the last four days before finishing our pouches.


Our Experience 

All three dogs absolutely loved their CDK9 Raw Complete Mixes and polished off their bowls in no time. The funniest part was watching them checking each other’s bowls just to make sure nothing had been missed and would go to waste! 

From our perspective, feeding raw was a very successful experience even if it required a bit more planning (and took more freezer space) than usual! 

We did not always remember to remove the daily portions from the freezer and defrost them in the fridge one day ahead. On paper, it should take 24 hours to defrost but we found they were still partially frozen so we would allow 36 – 48 hours.

  • Sealed portions will stay fresh up to 4 days once thawed.
  • Because no preservatives are used, opened portions will stay fresh for up to 2 days
We received our weekly delivery each Friday (the day will depend on your suburb) which was left at our front door. 
Each CDK9 Raw delivery must first undergo a rigorous quality check by Customs Officer Porthos

Being extremely well packaged (including thermal insulation which can be reused and gel ice packs which can also be refrozen and reused multiple times and of course the cardboard boxes are 100% recyclable) this would easily keep for hours before being placed in our fridge (we kept portions for the next 2 days) or freezer (for the remaining 5 days).

Having to feed 3 dogs 3 separate diets twice a day, the process was made easier by all portions being pre-packed and clearly labelled but after a few days we learnt to identify the pouches just by the colour: with no processing or cooking, each Complete Mix looks very different!

The cost will vary a lot depending on your choice of protein, and whether you opt for the Essentials (Meat + Offal) or a Complete Mix (Meat + Offal + Bones + Fruit & Vegetables) and of course the size of your pooch!

What We Liked Best


First impressions never fail: "What's in the box mum?
It smells good! Is it dinner yet?"
The first thing that really stuck out was the quality of CDK9 Raw's customer service

Each week we received both a confirmation of our order (each Tuesday) - despite being on a repeat order - and a delivery confirmation each Wednesday before it turned up on our doorstep every Friday. 

Deliveries varied from mid-morning to mid-afternoon but in a city the size of Sydney, that’s to be expected depending on the truck’s itinerary and as mentioned above, the box is packed to keep for hours
The main highlight is definitely the freshness of the food and the quality of the ingredients. I could clearly see the carrots, parsley and other vegetables in our dogs’ food and despite having a sensitive stomach myself in the early mornings, I did not mind so much weighing and handling the CDK9 Raw dog food because it does not smell like dog food at all.

Starting with 3 healthy dogs who (so far) have never suffered from food or skin allergies, we would not go as far as saying that their overall health has improved after just four weeks. However anecdotally, we found them calmer (we have highly-strung dogs) and they were sleeping better (long naps on cold winter days judging by the snores behind me).

One concern sometimes holding people back from trialling raw dog food is the unrelenting scaremongering warning dog owners of the potential dangers of salmonella


If you follow the same basic hygiene principles in your kitchen as you do for your own family when you handle meat (cleaning both your hands and benches), it is not any more of a hazard and yes, I still kiss my dogs regardless of what they’ve been eating that day … 

Conclusion

Our 2 teenage Malinois (30kg) were on a 600g daily serving whilst our senior Tervuren (slightly heavier but trying to lose some weight) was on a 500g daily serving. Depending on their Complete Mix option, the cost varied from $48.60 - $55.90 weekly (per dog)

If we crunch the numbers, that's a total weekly cost of $160.40 for 11.90 kg, i.e. $13.48/kg (on average for all 3 dogs). This is still a reasonably expensive option but much more affordable than what we've trialled previously.


Since each dog would go through 3.5kg-4.2kg of food (per week), we would opt for the Bulk Bag (10kg for $99) - if we had a deep chest freezer! - as this brings the cost to under $10.00/kg which is fantastic value.

We were very impressed by the high-quality of the food and the personalised customer service and would happily recommend to give the CDK9 Raw difference a try.
Deliveries are currently available across NSW, VIC and QLD.

Price & Where to Buy

RRP: from $13.80 - $18.20/week (based on a 5kg dog and 100g daily serving, includes free delivery).

For more information and to order, visit cdk9raw.com.au


Tip: when you subscribe, you’ll save 5% of the one-off weekly price but retain the option to edit and adjust your order based on your changing needs.


Disclaimer: we received a 4-week trial of the CDK9 Raw Complete Mixes for our 3 dogs in order to complete our review.
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