Muenster Natural Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Muenster Natural product line includes five dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Muenster Natural Whitefish All Life Stages
- Muenster Natural Classic Chicken Large Breed
- Muenster Natural Classic Chicken All Life Stages
- Muenster Natural Grain Free All Life Stages (5 stars)
- Muenster Natural Chicken and Pork All Life Stages (5 stars)
Muenster Natural Classic Chicken Large Breed was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Muenster Natural Classic Chicken Large Breed
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, whole ground grain sorghum, whole ground brown rice, chicken fat (naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), fish meal, barley, flax seed, dried beet pulp, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, blueberries, cranberries, spinach, pumpkin, muenster cheese, diatomaceous earth (an inert carrier and anti-caking agent), chicory root, natural chicken flavor, fish oil, yeast culture, dried kelp meal, potassium sulfate, sea salt, dried eggs, Yucca schidigera extract, sage, zinc amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement (natural source vitamin E), mixed tocopherols, citric acid, DHA gold, rosemary extract, ferrous sulfate, choline chloride, manganese sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, cobalt carbonate, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Lactobacillus lactis fermentation product, Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, Bacillus subtillis fermentation product, and Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||18%||43%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||37%||37%|
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 sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.
Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.
The third 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 fourth 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 fifth ingredient includes fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.
The sixth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The seventh 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 eighth 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.
The ninth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
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 five notable exceptions…
First, this recipe 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.
Next, we find diatomaceous earth, also called fossil shell flour. This substance is derived from a fossilized form of microscopic one-celled plants known as diatoms.
Diatomaceous earth is EPA approved for mixing with cereal grains to help control mealworms, crawling insects and other pests. It’s also used as an anti-caking agent in animal feeds.
We’re not sure why it’s included here in this dog food.
In addition, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
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.
Next, 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.
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.
Muenster Natural Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Muenster Natural 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 39% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Muenster Natural is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of chicken or fish meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
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.
A Final Word
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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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Notes and Updates
12/02/2014 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩