By Nature Entrees Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top tier rating of 5 stars.
The By Nature Entrees product line lists four canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- By Nature Grain Free Pork Roulade
- By Nature Grain Free Chicken Fricassee
- By Nature Grain Free Salmon with Lentils
- By Nature Duck, Green Bean and Wild Rice Stew
By Nature Grain Free Chicken Fricassee was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
By Nature Grain Free Chicken Fricassee
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, vegetable broth, chicken liver, egg whites, chickpeas, natural flavors, mushrooms, calcium carbonate, carrots, guar gum, flaxseed oil, flaxseed, sun-cured alfalfa, sodium tripolyphosphate, salt, spinach, tomatoes, carrageenan, blueberries, cranberries, sage, thyme, dried chicory root extract, raspberries, choline chloride, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, riboflavin supplement, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||53%||28%||11%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||40%||51%||9%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The next two ingredients are chicken broth and vegetable broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The fourth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fifth ingredient is egg whites. Eggs are highly digestible and an excellent source of usable protein.
The sixth ingredient is chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.
Even though chickpeas contain about 22% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
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 four notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there does appear to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
In addition, we find chicory root which 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 Entrees Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, By Nature Entrees looks llike an above-average canned dog food.
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 53% and a mean fat level of 31%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 9% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the chickpeas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing a significant amount of meat.
By Nature Entrees is a meat-based canned dog food using a significant amount of various named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
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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However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.
For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
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Notes and Updates
08/26/2012 Original review
03/07/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩