DNA Ancestral Dog Food earns the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The DNA Ancestral product line lists four dehydrated 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.
- DNA Ancestral Beef Formula
- DNA Ancestral Lamb Formula
- DNA Ancestral Venison Formula
- DNA Ancestral Chicken Formula
DNA Ancestral Chicken Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
DNA Ancestral Chicken Formula
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken liver, chicken heart, eggs-dried, pea flour, citrus pulp-dried, coconut oil, pollock oil, alfalfa meal, cranberries, blueberries, pumpkin, spinach, carrots, thyme, oregano, lecithin, potassium chloride, zinc propionate, mixed tocopherols (preservative), salt, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, calcium carbonate, copper proteinate, manganese, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||22%||38%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||43%||31%|
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 second ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The third ingredient is chicken heart. 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 dried egg, a dehydrated powder made from shell-free eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The fifth ingredient is pea flour, a powder made from roasted yellow peas. Pea flour contains as much as 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient is citrus pulp. Citrus pulp is a by-product obtained from the waste of citrus juicing operations. This item is most likely included here for the usual benefits of dietary fiber.
The seventh ingredient is coconut oil. Depending upon the quality of the raw material, coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids.
Coconut oil has been reported to have a beneficial effect on a dog’s skin and coat, improve digestion, and reduce allergic reactions.2
The eighth ingredient is pollock oil. Pollock 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, pollock oil should be considered a commendable addition.
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, 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.
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.
DNA Ancestral Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, DNA Ancestral Dog Food looks like an above-average dry 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 33% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 38% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea flour and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a significant amount of meat.
DNA Ancestral is an air-dried, grain-free, meat-based dog food using a significant amount of various meats and organs 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.
A Final Word
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.
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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
03/11/2015 Last Update