I and Love and You Naked Essentials (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★★

I and Love and You Naked Essentials Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The I and Love and You Naked Essentials product line includes three dry dog foods.

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.

  • Naked Essentials with Lamb and Bison [U]
  • Naked Essentials with Chicken and Duck [U]
  • Naked Essentials with Salmon and Trout (4.5 stars) [U]

I and Love and You Naked Essentials with Chicken and Duck was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

I and Love and You Naked Essentials with Chicken and Duck

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 34% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 41%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, lentils, chickpeas, dried sweet potatoes, pea starch, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried beet pulp, duck, natural flavors, dried carrots, whole ground flaxseeds, dried celery, potassium chloride, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), salt, dried beets, dried parsley, calcium carbonate, inulin, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, dried lettuce, dried watercress, iron amino acid chelate, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, zinc amino acid chelate, dried spinach, niacin supplement, manganese amino acid chelate, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, copper amino acid chelate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, calcium iodate, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium thermophilum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.1%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis30%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis34%17%41%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%36%35%
Protein = 29% | Fat = 36% | Carbs = 35%

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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

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

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

The fifth ingredient lists 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.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The seventh ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like, gluten-free carbohydrate extract probably used here as a binder for making kibble. Aside from its energy content (calories), pea starch is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The eighth 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 ninth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

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, flaxseed is 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.

Next, we find fish oil. Fish 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, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

In addition, 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.

I and Love and You Naked Essentials Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, I and Love and You Naked Essentials 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 34%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 41%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 41% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the lentils, chickpeas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

I and Love and You Naked Essentials is a plant-based dry dog food using a significant amount of chicken and turkey meals 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.

I and Love and You 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

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

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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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

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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

11/11/2016 Last Update

  • Mitch22

    Yes, like “American Journey” made by Chewy… They refuse to tell where the plant it or who packs it, but it’s in Kansas… Screams Hill “Science Diet” to me, which shouldn’t have a star at all… I wonder if this company will say where it’s made and by who

  • dee

    thank you for the new review!

  • Elvis Johnson

    I would say that the ingredient “NATURAL FLAVOR” should be included as a controversial ingredient. After all it is the “secret” ingredient that a company does not have to reveal on the package. the author should explain what natural flavor could be and often times is; as it included in probably over 75% of all dry dog food this would excellent information for your readers.
    Also this food is made by an outside manufacturer, not by I and Love or Naked Essentials and that should reduce their score in my mind.
    (please note that I am a dog food retailer and I have been studying and selling dog food for close to 20yrs.) On paper I give it a 3.5-4. There are plenty of better foods available.

  • Traci Riley

    Just bought it, at my local grocery store. Half the price of Natural Balance, and one more star to give it a 5 full stars. So far I like the price and all of the nutrition information about it.