Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Dog Food (Pouch)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Dog Food in pouches receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Freshpet Nature’s Fresh product line includes one pouched dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient guidelines for all life stages.

Freshpet Nature's Fresh Grain Free Chicken

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 49% | Fat = 27% | Carbs = 16%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken liver, peas, carrots, spinach, eggs, vinegar, natural flavors, salt, carrageenan, inulin, celery powder, vitamins: choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, biotin, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, minerals: calcium sulfate, dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, tricalcium phosphate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis17%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis49%27%16%
Calorie Weighted Basis37%50%13%
Protein = 37% | Fat = 50% | Carbs = 13%

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 includes 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 fourth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The fifth ingredient is spinach. Due to its exceptional vitamin and mineral content, spinach exhibits a remarkably high nutrient Completeness Score2 of 91.

The sixth ingredient includes eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The seventh ingredient is vinegar, an item of only modest nutritional value to a dog. We would assume it’s used here to adjust the pH of this recipe.

After the natural flavors, we find salt (also known as sodium chloride). Salt is a common additive in many dog foods. That’s because sodium is a necessary mineral for all animals — including humans.

However, since the actual amount of salt added to this recipe isn’t disclosed on the list of ingredients, it’s impossible to judge the nutritional value of this item.

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, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.

Next, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.

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 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.

Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Dog Food Pouches
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Freshpet Nature’s Fresh pouched dog food looks like an above-average moist 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 49%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 16%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a moist product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Freshpet Nature’s Fresh is a grain-free meat-based wet dog food using a significant amount of chicken and chicken liver as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

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.

Freshpet Dog Food
Recall History

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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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

Notes and Updates

08/09/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  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
  • Angela Hirt

    This food gave my dog bloody mucus horrid smelling poo. Put him on a different food and he was fine!

  • TamLee

    He’s a Bobcat. LOL!

  • Crazy4cats

    Haha! I love your kitties hairdo! Fresh pet is a great choice for you and your dogs.

  • TamLee

    I love this product and my dogs are crazy for it too.

  • Crazy4cats

    Good news!

  • cindyq

    I believe they have taken the carrageenan out of their food now, I bought some and it wasn’t listed in the ingredients.

  • theBCnut

    Sorry, I’m no good at saving links, so I don’t know where I read it, but just a couple days ago, I read an article saying that the latest studies were finding that carrageenan irritates the intestinal lining and could lead to intestinal cancers. It was saying that if your dog is prone to any type of intestinal issues, you should not feed anything with carrageenan in it.

  • Pat

    what is everyone’s opinion on carrageenan? It seems to be a good dog food otherwise

  • Crazy4cats

    Freshpet is classified as all life stages, making it appropriate for a puppy. Here is a link for more information: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/dog-food-vitamin-mineral-standards/

  • Leilani Worrell

    Freshpet apparently doesn’t make a food especially for puppies, at least I couldn’t find one on their website. They only recommend feeding twice as much to a puppy. So, does Dog Food Advisor agree with this for this manufacturer? Is it safe to feed adult food to a puppy in this case?