Darwin’s Natural Selections Dog Food Review (Raw Frozen)

Rating:

Darwin’s Natural Selections Dog Food is currently not rated. See “Special Note” below.

The Darwin’s Natural Selections product line includes five raw frozen dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Darwin’s Natural Selections Beef [U]
  • Darwin’s Natural Selections Turkey [U]
  • Darwin’s Natural Selections Chicken [U]
  • Darwin’s Natural Selections Duck [U]
  • Darwin’s Natural Selections Lamb [U]

Darwin’s Natural Selections Duck recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Darwin's Natural Selections Duck

Raw Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 46% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 11%

Ingredients: Duck meat, duck gizzards, duck hearts, duck livers, organic romaine lettuce, organic yellow squash, organic sweet potatoes, organic carrots, organic zucchini, duck necks, organic celery, organic sunflower seed oil, fish oil (source of DHA), organic parsley, sea salt, choline chloride, zinc proteinate, vitamin E, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12, iodine, vitamin D3

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.8%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis12%9%NA
Dry Matter Basis46%35%11%
Calorie Weighted Basis33%59%8%
Protein = 33% | Fat = 59% | Carbs = 8%

The first ingredient is 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 second ingredient includes duck gizzards. 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 third ingredient lists duck hearts. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.

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 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 sixth ingredient includes squash. Squash is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

The seventh ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

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 find sunflower seed oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

Next, this food includes fish oil. Fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

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 Review

Judging by its ingredients alone, Darwin’s Natural Selections Dog Food 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 46%, a fat level of 35% and estimated carbohydrates of about 11%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 49% and a mean fat level of 31%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 12% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 63%.

Above-average protein. Above-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 an abundance of meat.

However, with 59% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 33% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.

Bottom line?

Darwin’s Natural Selections is a grain-free raw dog food using a generous amount of named species as its main source of animal protein.

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.

Special Note

Unfortunately, due to serious and recurring issues associated with this brand, we are unable to rate this product at this time.

A Final Word

The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned and is not affiliated (in any way) with pet food manufacturers. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration in preparing our reviews.

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For more information, please visit our Disclaimer and Disclosure page.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

Notes and Updates

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor from the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition
  2. 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

09/08/2019 Last Update