Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Dog Food (Tubs)

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Rating: ★★★½☆

Freshpet Nature’s Fresh tubbed dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

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

Freshpet Nature's Fresh Chicken Stew

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 42%

Ingredients: Chicken broth, chicken, ground oats, chicken liver, carrots, brown rice, eggs, natural flavors, peas, salt, lactic acid, rice bran, vinegar, guar gum, caramel color, vitamins: choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, biotin, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, minerals: calcium carbonate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis6%4%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%20%42%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%40%35%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 40% | Carbs = 35%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The second ingredient 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 third ingredient includes oats. Oats are naturally rich in dietary fiber, B-vitamins and low in gluten.

The fourth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

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

The sixth ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

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

After the natural flavors, we find 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.

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, lactic acid is a compound found naturally in many living organisms. It’s likely added here to adjust the pH of the product which (in turn) reduces the growth of unwanted biological contaminants.

Next, caramel is a natural coloring agent made by caramelizing carbohydrates. It’s used by pet food manufacturers to impart a golden brown tint to the finished product.

However, the concentrated version of this ingredient commonly known as caramel coloring has been more recently considered controversial and found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.2

In any case, even though caramel is considered safe by the FDA, we’re always disappointed to find any added coloring in a pet food.

That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?

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 Tubbed Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Freshpet Nature’s Fresh tubbed dog food looks like an above-average wet 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 30%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 42%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing just a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Freshpet Nature’s Fresh is a meat-based wet dog food using a moderate amount of chicken as its main source 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 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.

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Notes and Updates

08/09/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Consumer Reports February 2014