Lassie Natural Way Dry Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Lassie Natural Way product line includes four dry dog foods. Although each formulation appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we found no AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product website. So, it’s impossible for us to report life stage targets for these recipes.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Lassie Natural Way Adult Lamb Meal and Rice
- Lassie Natural Way Puppy Lamb Meal and Rice
- Lassie Natural Way Senior Dog Chicken Meal and Rice
- Lassie Natural Way Adult Chicken Meal, Rice and Oatmeal
Lassie Natural Way Adult Chicken Meal, Rice and Oatmeal was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Lassie Natural Way Adult Chicken Meal, Rice & Oatmeal
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, rice flour, ground rice, rice bran, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), oatmeal, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavors, dried beet pulp, flaxseed, potassium chloride, salt, dried egg product, glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, vitamins: choline chloride, vitamin A supplement, vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), vitamin D3 supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), riboflavin supplement, folic acid, niacin, biotin, B12 supplement, minerals: zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, calcium iodate, cobalt carbonate, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||23%||13%||55%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||21%||29%||50%|
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 is rice flour. Rice flour is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
The third ingredient is ground rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
The fourth ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.
The last three items are all rice ingredients… rice flour, ground rice and rice bran. Though they’re a mixture of different quality cereal grains, there’s a bigger issue to consider here…
The questionable practice of ingredient splitting.
You see, if you were to total all three items, the combined rice would almost certainly occupy a higher position on the list… likely nudging out the chicken meal as the predominant ingredient in this dog food.
The fifth ingredient is poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.
However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).
The sixth ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.
The seventh ingredient is canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.
Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its source material.
Yet others find the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.1
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
After the natural flavor, we find 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.
The next 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.
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, 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.
Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
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.
Lassie Natural Way Dry Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Lassie Natural Way looks like an 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 24% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 54% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a modest amount of meat.
Lassie Natural Way dry dog food is a plant-based kibble using a modest amount of chicken or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
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Notes and Updates
09/14/2010 Original review
09/06/2011 Updated (Puppy formula raised to 4 stars)
03/10/2013 Review updated
03/10/2013 Last Update