Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals Grain Free (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals Grain Free product line includes two dry dog food.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals Grain Free [A]
  • Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals Grain Free Whitefish (4 stars) [A]

Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals Grain Free was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Grandma Mae's Country Naturals Grain Free

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 42%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, pork meal, peas, lentils, chickpeas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), whitefish, flaxseed, dried kelp, carrots, menhaden fish oil, inulin (chicory root), cranberries, spinach, watercress, parsley, celery, suncured alfalfa meal, chicken liver, dl-methionine, monosodium phosphate, choline chloride, l-lysine, chelated calcium carbonate, vitamin E supplement, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium thermophilum fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium longum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, chelated potassium chloride, chelated ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, chelated copper sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, chelated sodium selenite, chelated calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis30%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%17%42%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%35%36%
Protein = 29% | Fat = 35% | Carbs = 36%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second ingredient includes pork meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.

However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.

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

The fourth ingredient lists lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

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

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

Even though chickpeas contain about 22% 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 sixth 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 seventh ingredient is whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.

This item is typically sourced from clean, undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings of commercial fish operations.1

Although it is a quality item, raw fish 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 eighth ingredient is flaxseed, 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.

The ninth ingredient is dried kelp, a dehydrated form of seaweed also known as alginate. Kelp is most likely used here as a thickening or gelling agent.

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 four notable exceptions

First, we find menhaden fish oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.

What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deeper water species.

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.

In addition, 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.

Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals
Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals Grain Free 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 33%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 42%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, lentils, chickpeas, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly 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.

Grandma Mae’s 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

05/11/2016 Last Update

  1. Adapted by The Dog Food Advisor from the official definition of other fish ingredients as published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Jen L

    I have two bulldogs, one Frenchie who is a very picky eater. We have gone through several brands of great quality kibble over the past 15 months. These include Nutrisource (my favorite for his coat, stools, weight etc., but he stopped liking it as a young puppy), Instinct Raw Boost, Holistic Select, Fromm, Taste of Wild & Wellness Core (both my least favorite). Some he really liked but I changed because his stools were too runny/coat was flakey/no energy/gassy etc. Others he just didn’t eat. They suggested Grandma Mae’s at our pet store, along with sprinkling freeze dried Rawz over the kibble. Both of our dogs absolutely love it and eat it happily. It’s been 3 weeks, their stools are solid, no gas, shiny coat, proper weight for size, and a ton of energy. So far so good!

  • K9Lover

    A local shop started carrying this & stopped carrying my food so I had to switch and I only had a couple days of food left. So I believed this was why my dogs had diahrea, a week passed without getting better. I visited my dog park to meet up with “Our Pack” play group. To find out others had to switch & were having the same issues. I finished off the bag and never looked back. I switched shops & dog food to Nulo within a week all my dogs had regular stool.

  • Ya Fei Iona Chen

    plateable.easily.di

  • Ya Fei Iona Chen

    with ur help i m sure it’s naturally preserved and GMO free.i will give this a try.

  • Ya Fei Iona Chen

    thank you,Dori.i will give this food a try.

  • Crazy4dogs

    This food would be considered to be naturally preseved as it is using mixed tocopherols. But as Dori also agreed, if you are feeding kibble of any kind, they all will have a preservative of some kind to prevent the oil from becoming rancid and to increase shelf life.

  • Ya Fei Iona Chen

    thank you for the link.i will look for those naturally preserved then.

  • Dori

    Ya Fei lona Chen. As Crazy4dogs has stated all dry kibble foods have to have something to preserve them. They need it for the shelf life. Mixed tocopherols are more of a natural way to preserve but you should also make sure that the vitamin E that they are using contains no soy and that they food itself is at least stating that they are GMO free.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Technically, no. Mixed tocopherols are used to prevent the fat from oxidizing and turning rancid. I don’t think there’s any kibble that’s completely preservative free. Mixed tocopherols are a natural way to preserve & mostly use vitamin E.
    Here’s the DFA link to explain it:

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/red-flag-ingredients/dog-food-preservatives/

  • Ya Fei Iona Chen

    is it preservative free?

  • noneya

    THE only food my 3 pups will eat. They love it !

  • dani

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  • Guest

    This stuff is fantastic

  • Melissaandcrew

    Hi April-
    Its made in Upstate NY and Ohio.

  • April Scott

    My dogs LOVE this food …. and it’s made here in my home state of Ohio.

  • update: we have switched over to this food. Our picky pup eats it up more readily than before.

  • greg

    My dog is super picky. Weve had her on taste of the wild but she reaally struggles to get through her bowl. We have a new puppy so we’re looking for other options. We gave our picky dog a sample of country naturals grain free and she really liked it…we’ll see in a couple days whether she gets tired of it

  • Melissaandcrew

    Perhaps no one has fed it yet? I fed a few bags in rotation waiting for the review, and all the dogs loved it. No problems, but not long enough to say one way or the other.

  • BlueDiamond

    No comments? Where is the feedback?