By Nature dry dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The By Nature Dog Food product line includes seven kibbles, five claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and two for maintenance.
- By Nature Adult Formula
- By Nature Active Formula
- By Nature Puppy Formula
- By Nature Large Breed Adult
- By Nature Duck and Sweet Peas Flavor
- By Nature Pork and Sweet Potato Flavor
- By Nature Salmon, Ocean Fish and Yogurt Flavor
By Nature Dog Food Duck and Sweet Peas Flavor was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
By Nature Duck and Sweet Peas Flavor
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Duck meal, turkey meal, ground barley, ground oats, ground brown rice, chicken fat (stabilized with mixed tocopherols), sweet peas, flaxseed meal, tomato pomace, natural flavors, alfalfa meal, salt, yeast culture, potassium chloride, taurine, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, sweet potatoes, carrots, blueberries, cranberries, dried chicory root, raspberries, tumeric, niacin supplement, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, selenium yeast, sodium selenite, rosemary extract, dried yeast fermentation solubles
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||30%||17%||45%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||35%||39%|
The first two items in this food are duck meal and turkey meal. Poultry meals are considered meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than even fresh poultry.
The third ingredient lists barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
The fourth item includes gound oats are naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.
The fifth item is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth ingredient lists chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The seventh ingredient includes sweet peas. Peas are considered a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re loaded with natural fiber.
What’s more, peas contain about 25% protein which must be considered when evaluating the total protein reported in this food.
The eighth item lists flaxseed meal, one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly rich in soluble fiber.
The ninth ingredient lists tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
After the natural flavors, we find alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With three notable exceptions…
First, we note the inclusion of dried yeast fermentation solubles, a by-product of commercial fermentation operations. This ingredient is most likely included in this recipe as a digestive enzyme.
Next, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
By Nature Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, By Nature Dog Food appears to be an above-average kibble.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbos when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
By Nature Dog Food is a grain-based kibble using a moderate amount of poultry or salmon meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Those looking for a canned dog food from the same company may wish to visit our review of By Nature Goldleaf Selects.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
04/25/2010 Original review
11/25/2010 Review updated
08/24/2012 Last Update