Darwin’s Natural Selections Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Darwin’s Natural Selections product line includes five raw frozen dog foods.
However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Darwin’s Natural Selections Beef with Organic Vegetables
- Darwin’s Natural Selections Duck with Organic Vegetables
- Darwin’s Natural Selections Bison with Organic Vegetables
- Darwin’s Natural Selections Turkey with Organic Vegetables
- Darwin’s Natural Selections Chicken with Organic Vegetables (4.5 stars)
Darwin’s Natural Selections Duck with Organic Vegetables was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Darwin's Natural Selections Duck with Organic Vegetables
Raw Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Duck necks, duck wings, duck gizzards, duck livers, duck leg meat, organic sweet potatoes, organic romaine lettuce, organic yellow squash, organic zucchini, organic carrots, organic celery, duck hearts, organic parsley, organic flaxseed oil, sea salt, choline chloride, zinc proteinate, vitamin E, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12, iodine, vitamin D3
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||48%||32%||12%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||35%||56%||9%|
The first two ingredients in this dog food includes duck neck and duck wings. Raw duck consists of muscle meat and bone and contains optimal levels of both protein and natural calcium.
The third ingredient is duck gizzard. The gizzard is a low-fat, meaty organ found in the digestive tract of birds and assists in grinding up a consumed food. This item is considered a canine dietary delicacy.
The fourth ingredient is duck liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fifth ingredient includes duck. Duck is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of duck”.1
Duck is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The sixth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The seventh ingredient is lettuce. This green leafy vegetable is naturally rich in vitamins and minerals. In fact, lettuce boasts an exceptionally high nutrient Completeness Score2 of 88.
The eighth ingredient is squash. Squash is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
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 two notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed oil is one of the best non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids — essential to a dog’s health.
And lastly, this food 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.
Darwin’s Natural Selections Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Darwin’s Natural Selections looks like an above-average raw product.
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 51% and a mean fat level of 30%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 11% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a raw product containing a significant amount of meat.
Darwin’s Natural Selections is a meat-based raw frozen dog food using an abundance of named species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
For even more raw diet suggestions, be sure to visit the Advisor’s Recommended Raw Dog Foods summary page.
Darwin’s Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
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A Final Word
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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.
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".
Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.
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Notes and Updates
10/02/2016 Last Update
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor from the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition ↩
- Completeness Score is a measure of a food’s relative nutrient content and is computed by NutritionData.com from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference ↩