Diamond Naturals Grain Free (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★½☆

Diamond Naturals Grain Free Dog Food earns the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Diamond Naturals Grain Free product line includes three dry 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.

  • Diamond Naturals Grain Free Beef and Sweet Potato
  • Diamond Naturals Grain Free Chicken and Sweet Potato
  • Diamond Naturals Grain Free Whitefish and Sweet Potato

Diamond Naturals Grain Free Beef and Sweet Potato was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Diamond Naturals Grain Free Beef and Sweet Potato

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 50%

Ingredients: Beef, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, garbanzo beans, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), potato protein, tomato pomace, flaxseed, potato fiber, natural flavor, fish meal, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, Yucca schidigera extract, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%16%50%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%33%44%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

The third 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 fourth ingredient is peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The sixth ingredient is garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (pulse) family of vegetables.

Garbanzos contain about 22% protein, something which must be considered when evaluating the total protein reported in this food.

The seventh ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because some worry that canola oil is made from rapeseed, a genetically modified (GMO) raw material.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The eighth ingredient is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.

Even though it contains over 80% 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.

The ninth ingredient is 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.

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, 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, 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.

Diamond Naturals Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Diamond Naturals Grain Free looks like an above-average dry 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 50%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the peas, garbanzo beans, potato protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a modest amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Diamond Naturals Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a modest amount of lamb, chicken or fish meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

Recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

04/26/2013 Original review
04/10/2014 Last Update

  • Betsy Greer

    Thanks Terry-Anne, you also. We’re on track, so far we have a couple of great ones and two very good ones. I don’t suspect I’ll be trying Flint River Ranch as we avoid grains and canola oil and I usually feed a little higher meat based protein.

    I appreciate your sharing your success story.

  • http://society6.com/kokabella Terry-Anne

    I wish you the best with finding the right food for your fur babies also. I was trying to try another chow so my dogs could have something different but I think I’ll stick with what works for them and just change the flavors once in a while. Do try Flint River if you have not. It truly is a fantastic doggie food. Happy Presidents Day!

  • Betsy Greer

    Ah ha! Gotcha. : )

    I’m glad you’ve found something that agrees with both you and your dogs.

    You’re fortunate you’re not having to deal with any intolerance or allergy issues. I am and it certainly makes things tricky.

    One thing that’s really hard is switching from a food that really works in order to find another that works to add to my Golden’s rotation, but I know it’s so much healthier for him.

    Like I said, there really is no one perfect food. I hope you’ll consider exploring other options in your pursuit of optimal health for your pets.

    Can you imagine the nutrients your diet would be lacking if you only ever are the same thing for every single meal?

  • http://society6.com/kokabella Terry-Anne

    Hello Betsy. Please allow me to clarify: I had Dals for many years and fed them Flint River. They’ve since passed and the two dogs I have now are young (1-1/2 yrs & 3 yrs). The Dals had several health issues which FR solved. These dogs were on FR since getting them last summer. I switched to Diamond Naturals in early January. By the way, my dogs are:
    1) Bluetick Coonhound/Lab mix
    2) Bluetick Coonhound/German Shorthaired Pointer mix.

    Good observation on breed!

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Terry-Anne,

    First of all, your avatar is cute! : ) Are those your Dalmatians? They remind me of German Shorthaired Pointers.

    A switch over 10 days to a new food from a food they’ve eaten for 10 years is hardly a slow switch when they’ve eaten the same thing for such a very long time. It’s so much healthier to feed a variety of foods ~ rotating proteins and starches with every bag of food you feed will limit exposure to undesirable ingredients and create better gut flora in that you’re allowing for the recolonizing of good bacteria in the gut that way. There is no one perfect dog food.

  • http://society6.com/kokabella Terry-Anne

    I fed my Dalmatians Flint River dog food (made in U.S. and produced in small batches so it never sits in a warehouse). Prior to Flint River (ffrco.com), my dogs had excessive wax build up in ears, excessive shedding and itchy skin. After switching to FR, it ALL stopped. No more vet bills and visits for ear cleaner and meds, no itchy skin, gleaming white teeth and MUCH less poop scooping! I kept them on this for ten years. Last month, I switched to Diamond Naturals (slow/mixed switch over course of ten days) and both dogs (50 lbs each) started itching, pooping like crazy (uh!) and required much more chow per feeding than Flint River. I’m going back to FR as it is definitely MUCH cheaper since I don’t have to feed as much and I definitely won’t be scooping poop nearly as much! :-)

  • Boxer Mom

    I have been told that beef isn’t good if your dog has allergies. From what you have said it sounds like Molly has allergies. Best wishes to you and Molly!

  • Pat C.

    If your dogs are itching, do them a favor and try this
    “Vet Solutions Universal Medicated Shampoo”, I got it on Amazon. I wish I had found it first before spending lots of money and wasting almost a year, while my dog itched, chewed and lost fur and was miserable. It was a miracle. Noticed improvement after the first shampoo! And totally cleared up the problem within weeks! My dogs coat became so full and soft that I contemplated using it on my own hair! Watch it because they sell two other products which the bottles look very similar…. one is ear solution and other is aloe and oatmeal shampoo…don’t get those, get the one I named at the top. I hate to think other dogs are suffering the way mine did so I spread the word what worked for me. It had nothing to do with allergies or food.

  • Carolyn

    My Springer developed “excessive itchiness” at age 5. I had always fed her Purina ONE and Beneful thinking they were the better grocery store brands. After some googleling, and finding Mike here, I put her on Brothers Complete Allergy Formula. Six months later, I was able to reduce her medication (ceterizine). Not wanting to feed her just one brand exclusively, I changed to Origen grain free for several months and then to Blue Wilderness. Here it is a year and a half later and she no longer needs any allergy medication. She doesn’t seem to be allergic to corn or wheat products, but I believe the grain based dog foods contribute to an inflammatory process that causes her to itch. Praise the Lord, such a relief! Also, her coat is crazy thick now.

  • Pattyvaughn

    You can put it in containers in the freezer and continue to use it as treats. That way her exposure to it wouldn’t be more than what her body could easily handle. But remember to ALWAYS wash your hands after handling ANY dog food. They can all have bacteria that would make a human sick.

  • OhBichonPlease

    I feel the same way – I got a sample bag of the whitefish and sweet potato and am hesitating even to let her try it because I’m so nervous about the recalls. My fiance fed her a few pieces like treats and she really seems to enjoy [she doesn't really like kibble much], but I just can’t trust Diamond after finding this site. I love the size of the kibbles [I'm pretty sure that's why she eats it like treats] and the fact that they don’t smell much [reminds me of fish food], but I just won’t do it to my sweet girl.

  • Damien Young

    my mutt (I’ve tried any and everything including blue buffalo). I cant say anything bad about this food. He doesnt like the fish but he does like the beef and chicken. I think he is partial to the beef. He stool is plenty and often. His coat is very nice. Not sure what you guys are looking for but this food is good from what I’m seen. My kid is a 5 month old pitt/lab mix about 45 lbs as of now. He also gets a scope of Nupro nutrients recommended by his daycare place.

  • Andrew Molder

    I have an 7 month old Dogo Argentino. When I got her she was very small for her age. I started her out on Trails Best Grain-Free. She did great but the stuff is expensive. Switched to Diamond Naturals Large Breed Puppy Lamb and Rice and she started itching and squirting. I then switched to Diamond Grain-Free Chicken and sweet potato. The itches have gotten better and she now has solid stools. It seems to helped. I also started adding a tablespoon of Smartbalance Cooking oil and a 1000 mg fish oil capsule to her food twice a day. If you do some research on lipids, you can find that this should supply the levels of Omega-6′s from the oil and specifically EPA from the fish oil needed to heal an itchy pup for way less than expensive supplements. I contacted Diamond about the puppy food that she got sick on. They responded in less than 12 hours including an email conversation with a vet and a full refund. The recall was real but I have fed dogs diamond dog food for at least 10 year before that. They were awfully nervous about product quality and lot numbers when I emailed them about poor Evie’s situation. Diamonds seems to take product quality very seriously and they are still making good dog food after the recall.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Definitely worth it!! Earthborn over Diamond any day. My guy has has the Coastal Catch and did fabulously on it! I won’t feed him a Diamond product… no need to with so many other great options – like Earthborn – out there!

  • Zoe’s Daddy

    We have a 3.5 month old English mastiff puppy. Her breeder had the puppies on Diamond Naturals grain free sweet potato and chicken. I went to this site to find out what the best food would be for her during her puppy stage. (She said that this food was good for all stages.) I have been a little concerned at all the recalls and have been researching via Hound Dog Mom’s Google Docs list. I’m leaning towards Earthborn grain free. Basically I’m asking for your opinions whether it’s worth it to switch from Diamond to Earthborn. I just want the best for our big little girl, but within this price point. I have 5 kids of my own to feed as well after all. : )

  • Hound Dog Mom

    There’s nothing about chicken that would make it “better” than beef. Some dogs can have allergies or intolerance to specific proteins in which case one would be preferable to another, but for the average dog this isn’t true. Given your dog’s itching you may want to try a food with a novel protein source (such as duck, buffalo, venison, etc.) – beef and chicken are common allergens.

  • Molly

    I have been feeding Molly (70lb lab/shep mix…4 yrs. old) Diamond Naturals Grain-free dog food…..beef and sweet potato
    for almost 2 1/2 months, along with an expensive powder supplement called Dinovite. She seems to be itching less, but then all of a sudden she will chew really hard and quick an area of her body….I determined no more cortisone shots and will probably stay on Dinovite supplement for now. It is originally a 90-day period to see if this stops the itching and chewing?? Any suggestions. My groomer said chicken is better than beef, but her stools are nice and firm and chicken may cause loose stools
    .She is still pooping three times a day, so I don’t know? Maybe I’m just a neurotic pet owner…lol.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Dogs with a faster metabolism need the full amount. Yours may want to be an athlete. You can try giving him a little canned food in his kibble to get him to eat more. Increase his food slowly so his body has a chance to get used to the increase, or he might get diarrhea.

  • Storm’s Mom

    If he won’t, you might want to look into a food with a much higher kcal/cup amount.. something over 400kcal/cup. What you’re feeding now is only 335kcal/cup, according to their website, which is very low. There’s 1 kibble I feed that’s up over 500kcal/cup (Nutrisource Grain Free Lamb Meal), but most are around 420 or so. It’s great because you end up feeding so much less, so the bag lasts longer, etc ..in other words, it ends up being much cheaper!!! :-)

  • Storm’s Mom

    The bag suggestion usually is an overestimate, BUT a) not by that much (2 cups/40%, in your case) and b) you should feed the bag suggestion until you observe a reason not to – either your dog is gaining too much weight (looking overweight), in which case feed less (stool will likely be loose if you’re feeding too much, too), or your dog is losing too much/not gaining enough (looking thin), in which case feed more.

  • Christina Kusch

    Thank you! Will try and see if he will eat that much.

  • Christina Kusch

    Thank you! My vet said three cups a day was fine, but you may be right. I was told the bag suggestion is an overestimate to make you have to buy more food. Will try upping it, but he already leaves food in the bowl. We shall see.

  • Pattyvaughn

    How much does the food bag suggest you feed for his size? When I fed Diamond products, I had to feed about 4 cups to my 65 lbs GSD, so I suspect that the calorie count might be a little lower than what you are used to and you might need to up his feed.

  • Storm’s Mom

    I just looked on the Diamond Naturals website and it suggests 5 cups per a day for a dog of that weight (presuming he’s an adult – he’ll need more if he’s a puppy), so you might want to try that.

    http://www.diamondpet.com/products/diamond_naturals_grain-free/dogs/dry_food/whitefish_and_sweet_potato_formula_for_dogs/

  • Christina Kusch

    I have a question for you…I have been trying to find a food my dog tolerates well for over a year now. I currently have him on the Diamond Naturals Whitefish and Sweet potato grain free food. I have never seen him look so beautiful, and he has firm stool for the first time since we adopted him. He is also not chewing holes on himself anymore. However, he seems to be getting rather skinny! He eats plenty. I feed him 3 cups a day and his weight is 76 pounds. Any suggestions?

  • David R

    Oppsy. When I read the bag I thought this version would be a 4 star one. Good thing I only bought a 15# bag of the Beef and Sweet Potato.

  • Garret Kanemaru

    If your dog is experiencing excessive itchiness it is most likely due to some type of food intolerance. The reason you are experiencing more stool from feeding this food is due to this food being mostly plant based as stated above in the review. If your dog is really itchy I recommend switching to a raw diet. If you can’t afford raw I recommend a MEAT based grain free dry food. Perform what they refer to as an “elimination diet” where you switch to a grain free food with a different protein source from what you are currently feeding to determine if it’s something inside your current food that your dog is intolerant to. Cortisone shots are not a cure, it only makes the symptoms subside temporarily. To cure your dog’s itchiness you will need to figure out what is causing it and eliminate it from your dog’s life.

  • InkedMarie

    I’m not sure why you’re responding to me, unless you changed sexes and became Molly

  • Jeff

    Yes, I can. Sportmix Wholesomes Dog Food (Dry) Is a very good dog food. (Some have rice though) Less expensive than other super premium dog foods. My Lab has been on Sportmix for three years and Sportmix Wholesomes one year. She is doing great.

  • Pattyvaughn

    GOOD!!

  • Jean

    I would not even consider giving this to my furbabies. I only use a 4 or 5 star dog food and I use ones that haven’t been recalled. I was just curious about where it is manufactured.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Diamond is made in 3 different plants in the USA. They almost definitely have at least a vitamin/ mineral premix from China, but that wouldn’t concern me nearly as much as the multiple very serious recalls they have had for food safety issues/contamination.

  • Jean

    Where is Diamond manufactured? Does it contain China products?

  • InkedMarie

    Can you buy a better quality grain free food? If yes, go to the DFA forums, click on dog food ingredients and see the list of these foods (a stickie)

  • Molly

    Molly has been on Diamond Naturals Grain-free dry dog food (beef and sweet potato) for about a month and she is still itching……a little bit less…. I think. Now I’ve order Dynovite supplement which is very expensive. I will try it for the 90 day guarantee period and see what happens along with this current Diamond food?? At this point I have to try something for she is chewing and licking hair off of her body and I don’t want infections?? I am exasperated with her condition….no more cortisone shots at the vet…..only temporary and doesn’t solve the problem.
    .

  • Niki Mussotto

    I have the same problem with my Terrier, she has to have those shots 2-3 times ayr. This last time it didn’t seem to take effect and I realized I had switched to Diamond Naturals, from Taste of the Wild (didn’t know made by Diamond) They do poop more on this tho??? I also notice another strange behavior with her that I never notice (care not to mention) so I am thinking that maybe Diamond Naturals is not satisfing her nutricenal needs!

  • Pattyvaughn

    All the recalls. I’ve had mine on Diamond foods off and on for years. With every recall I had to switch my dogs cold turkey to something new. After two recalls, I told myself “No more Diamond!” But at the time I didn’t realize that Taste of the Wild was a Diamond food and I decided to try it. Right after I started giving it, the lastest diamond recall came out and I got caught again. No more Diamond!! Since then I have gotten a pup that has food intolerance issues so I feed raw and a special food for that. I liked the quality of the new food so much that I have stuck with it for all my dogs.

  • http://usajerkytreats.com/ James Bailey, USA Jerky Treats

    Hi Molly

    Since your dog has had a cortisone shot before that stopped her scratching and chewing herself, it is probably the cortisone that has stopped the problem for now.

    The symptoms of food allergies don’t go away overnight even if you switch to a food your dog is not allergic to.

    You fed your dog foods with lamb for about 4 years. That is plenty of time for your dog to develop an allergy to lamb. Switching to beef and sweet potato is a great idea. Sometimes a dog can develop an allergy to a protein that they have previously not had a problem with. This usually takes more than a year to develop but can happen sooner.

    I would rotate the protein and carbohydrate sources in your dog’s food every 1 to 3 months. This greatly cuts down on the chance that your dog will develop an allergy to the food she is eating. It also changes up the nutrients in the foods and gives your dog some variety in taste.

    As for the poop issue I would check the fiber level of the food. Some fibers are undigestible and an increase in these fibers would result in an increase in the volume of poop. It could also be that some of the other ingredients in the food are not being digested as well as her previous food!

  • Molly

    You mentioned when your dogs were on Diamond foods they pooped more. Did you take your dogs off of Diamond and why, if I may ask. Thank-you.

  • Pattyvaughn

    When my dogs were on Diamond foods they pooped more. If your dog has developed a grain intolerance then hopefully you are on the right path and you won’t need anymore of those cortisone shots.

  • Molly

    Our dog (70lbs) lab/shepherd mix is 4 years old and always been on Iams lamb and rice since we got her at the pound 4 years ago. Last spring she started itching constantly and after chewing her hair in places she could reach, we took her to the vet and he gave her a cortisone shot which worked for about 5 months, then in the fall once again and the shot lasted another 5 months, then this past April and the shot only lasted 6 weeks, so another shot was given. I had changed her food in the very beginning last spring to AvoDerm lamb and rice to no avail…..still itched constantly? A friend of mine told me about the new Diamond Naturals Grain Free dry dog food and I purchased the Beef/sweet potatoes with lamb meal since she had been on lamb for 4 years. The cortisone shot, plus the new food seems to be working, but then is it the shot or the grain-free food?? However, I’ve noticed for the past two days she is pooping three times a day….usually she does it twice a day. The stool seems ok, not runny or too hard, but is this normal for Diamond food? A reply is requested…..thank-you. R. Miller

  • http://www.facebook.com/coquillepetsupply.coquillepetsupply Coquillepetsupply Coquille Pet

    thanks for the positive review on Diamond grain free we are carrying at our store and feeding the white fish to our French Bull Dogs….no fishy smell and the LOVE IT!!! good poop too..lol!