Farmina N&D Grain Free Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★★

Farmina N&D Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Farmina N&D Grain Free product line lists six 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.

  • Farmina N&D Grain Free Chicken Recipe
  • Farmina N&D Grain Free Grass Fed Lamb
  • Farmina N&D Grain Free Wild Boar Recipe
  • Farmina N&D Grain Free Wild Herring Recipe
  • Farmina N&D Grain Free Chicken Large Breed Puppy
  • Farmina N&D Grain Free Chicken Sm/Med Breed Puppy

Farmina N&D Grain Free Chicken Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Farmina N&D Grain Free Chicken Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 41% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 31%

Ingredients: Deboned chicken, dehydrated chicken (source of glucosamine & chondroitin sulfate), potato, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dehydrated egg product, herring (source of glucosamine & chondroitin sulfate), dehydrated herring (source of glucosamine & chondroitin sulfate), herring & salmon oil blend (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried carrots, sun-cured alfalfa meal, chicory root extract, fructooligosaccharide, yeast extract (source of mannan-oligosaccharides), dehydrated pomegranate, dehydrated apple, dehydrated spinach, psyllium seed husk, dehydrated blackcurrant berry, dehydrated sweet orange, dehydrated blueberry, salt, brewers dried yeast, turmeric, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, niacin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, choline chloride, beta-carotene, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium yeast, dl-methionine, taurine, l-carnitine, aloe vera gel concentrate, green tea extract, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.9%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis37%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis41%20%31%
Calorie Weighted Basis34%40%26%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 dehydrated chicken. Dehydrated chicken is considered a meat concentrate and contains more than four times as much protein as fresh chicken.

Plus (unlike chicken meal) dehydrated chicken is never exposed to high temperatures during processing… so it preserves more of the meat’s natural goodness.

The third 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 fourth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The fifth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The sixth ingredient is herring. Herring is a fatty marine fish naturally high in protein as well as omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.

The seventh ingredient is dehydrated herring, another protein-rich ingredient.

The eighth ingredient is herring and salmon oil blend. Herring and salmon oils are 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, the herring and salmon oil blend 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 five notable exceptions

First, although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

Next, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide and a source of mannanoligosaccharide (also known as MOS), nutritional supplements likely included here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the pet’s intestinal tract.

In addition, this recipe also contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

Next, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

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.

Farmina N&D Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Farmina N&D 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 41%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 31%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 43% and a mean fat level of 21%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 28% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.

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 alfalfa meal and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Farmina N&D Grain Free is a meat-based dry dog food using a significant amount of named meats and fish as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

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.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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.

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

Notes and Updates

10/17/2013 Original review
03/25/2014 Last Update

  • Shawna

    Yikes! I would likely be horrifically flustered in that situation. Hopefully someone got it and will help inform the others.

  • Dori

    Also please check out this site. It’s the Merck Veterinary Manual. This prompt will take you to the section on chocolate specifically and from there you can check on grapes and raisins, etc.

  • theBCnut

    While it is true that some dogs eat grapes with no reaction at all, it is also true that some dogs die from eating grapes. They don’t know what it is in the grapes that is the problem, but they DO KNOW that it isn’t an allergic reaction. And most dogs don’t die from eating chocolate, not because they aren’t allergic to it, but because they didn’t eat enough of it. Poison is dose dependent and has nothing to do with allergies, though eliminating toxins from the body is affected by certain health conditions like kidney and liver disease. A dog with already compromised kidneys and /or liver is much more likely to die from ingesting something toxic, but that doesn’t mean that the healthy dog’s body was not damaged from ingesting the same thing. The next time, it will be the one dying.

  • Dori

    Joseph, I don’t mean to be harsh but I must. Your dog’s vet does not know what he is talking about. Toxicity has nothing to do with whether one is healthy or not or has allergies or not. Some foods are toxic to animals PERIOD!!! If this is the type of information he is giving you and his clients then he is giving out some serious misinformation that can be very detrimental to his patients. Please don’t pass that information out to any of your friends that have animals. The idea that you should feed small bits of known toxins to your animal to see if he/she can tolerate it borders on lunacy. It’s so wrong that I needed to comment. Why on earth would anyone even try it? As Shawna mentioned in her post, go to the site and read for yourself. Also do some research on google. Again, please don’t pass along the information that your misguided vet has given you. It does not simply cause a little diarrhea. It causes major long term health issues and death!

  • GSDsForever

    Toxicity from foods like grapes, chocolate, onions, macadamia nuts, etc. to dogs has nothing to do with allergies or health conditions of specific dogs. They are toxic to ALL dogs.

    And it is absolutely false that such identified foods have “just about the same amount of risk as any food actually.”

    Your vet is mistaken or you have misunderstood her.

    I’m sorry, but it is really irresponsible to advise people, as you have just done, to experiment with feeding their dogs substances of known, well established toxicity. Please stop spreading false information here. You are actively endangering other people’s dogs here.

  • GSDsForever

    Shawna, I had to tell an ethnic/foreign church congregating for lunch after services, where no adults spoke much English & I did not speak Korean, that it was really not a good idea to be feeding lots of chocolate candies to the teeny tiny dogs that a couple of them had in purses. I really had trouble communicating this to them & being able to tell from them smiling and nodding politely back to me that they understood well enough to take it seriously. I was so alarmed! They were feeding a ton of it, like it was just completely normal and no one had ever heard of toxicity for dogs.

  • GSDsForever

    Thanks, Shawna for posting this.

    Funny, I was typing away while you were! Just got a chance to read your post after I hit “post.”

  • GSDsForever

    I don’t see grapes among the ingredients for either the lamb grain-free or grain inclusive.

    If you are referring to the blackcurrant berries listed for both these formulas, perhaps this will help: this is a European product and in Europe blackcurrants are not a type of grape there, as they are in the US when blackcurrants are listed on a label. This can be confusing, but the US and Europe are referring to two different fruits when they say “blackcurrants.”

    If the ingredients and label/website listings have changed since then and it once contained actual grapes, I would think it wise to be wary.

    Grapes ARE toxic to dogs, not dependent upon allergies or health conditions. As with most toxicity, the concentration of the toxin (I.e. dark baking chocolate/pure cocoa vs. a snickers bar) and dose dependent, along with proportionality to the size of the dog. (Toxicity to a Yorkie or Bichon Frise is a much greater risk than with a German Shepherd or a Lab.)

    This can be reassuring when a minor accident has occurred– as when my German Shepherd Service Dog right after first coming to me from professional training and settling into his new career watched me put away groceries, that he had just helped me unload from the car and carry inside like a pro, then opened the top cupboard cabinets, retrieved a small chocolate covered women’s vitamin bar (Luna Bar), and ate it wrapper and all.

    But really, as an intentional act, there is just no good argument for CHOOSING to feed a dog these known toxic foods such as chocolate, grapes, macadamia nuts, walnuts, onions.

    When a dog food company knowingly puts a food with toxicity to dogs, although the amount is likely very small near the bottom of the ingredient list to pose much actual risk, I would be more concerned about the judgment and knowledge of the people formulating the food. When Champion (Orijen & Acana) put leeks, a type of onion, in their original formulas it made me really doubt that they knew what they were doing and had enough safety checks in place before products hit the shelves for consumers. I just found it odd. It didn’t exactly inspire confidence for me in the company — even though the amount was likely too small to truly be harmful, particularly to a large dog.

  • Shawna

    I truly hope your vet doesn’t give that advice to too many folks Joseph. Unfortunately, he/she is wrong.

    I think one of the best sources of info on pet toxins is the Pet Poison Helpline. Here’s data about some of their staff “Veterinary specialists. We’re the only poison control with board-certified veterinary internal medicine (DACVIM), emergency critical care (DACVECC) specialists, and veterinary toxicologists (DABVT, DABT)” I would hope that “veterinary toxicologists” would be a very reliable source of info on things toxic to pets.

    Here’s what the Pet Poison Helpline says about chocolate (as you stated, it is dose and type dependent but size of dog, age of dog etc could play a role as well) “Of all candy, chocolate is most poisonous to dogs. Many dogs are inherently attracted to the smell and taste of chocolate, making it a significant threat. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more poisonous it is. The chemicals in chocolate that are dangerous – methylxanthines – are similar to caffeine and more heavily concentrated in the darker varieties. In fact, just 2-3 ounces of Baker’s chocolate can make a 50-pound dog very sick.” The chemical can not be efficiently metabolized by dogs so it stays in their bodies longer causing a toxic affect.

    Grapes and raisins cause kidney disease. “Grapes, raisins, and even currants (some currants are actually small, black grapes) are toxic to your dog! In fact, there have been anecdotal reports of cats and ferrets being affected by these also. Ingestion of even a small amount of grapes, raisins, or currants can result in severe, acute kidney failure….. The toxicity is not necessarily dose-dependent, and symptoms can occur with even small ingestions.” They don’t know what about the grapes is the problem and therefore can’t tell us which grapes might be safe and which could be dangerous. IMO, this is a food to avoid just in case you have a grape that is problematic.

  • DogFoodie

    My friend’s dog just died as a result of her having eaten some raw onions, which are known to be toxic. I wouldn’t be willing to take the risk and feed a little as a test. Grapes wouldn’t necessarily be harmful, but the seeds could be.

  • Joseph

    This is for anyone who reads the comments this late, so sorry for bringing a dead thread alive. According to my vet, foods are not necessarily toxic to dogs (even chocolate in small doses), but some dogs have food allergies or health conditions. If you are concerned about this, give them a little bit, and if they do fine, you should be good to go. However, there is a minimal risk (just the same amount of risk with any food actually) that your dog will get sick from grapes, let alone get deathly ill from it. Again, this is according to my vet who has seen pets eat many things labeled “toxic” and the worst that happened was having to go to the bathroom a lot… not because of the food, but because of the amount eaten.

  • Scott

    I have been meaning to post about this food for a while. I have two dogs from the same litter that couldn’t tolerate Orijen but loves this food and are doing great. I highly recommend Farmina.