Muenster Natural Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Muenster Natural product line includes five dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth and adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Muenster Natural Senior (3 stars)
- Muenster Natural Puppy (4.5 stars)
- Muenster Natural Dog Food Normally Active Dogs
- Muenster Natural Normally Active Adult Large Chunk
- Muenster Natural Chicken and Rice Formula (4 stars)
Muenster Natural Dog Food Normally Active Dogs was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Muenster Natural Dog Food Normally Active Dogs
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, ground corn, ground wheat, ground grain sorghum, wheat bran, ground brown rice, chicken fat, (naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E, and citric acid), corn gluten meal, flax seed, dried beet pulp, diatomaceous earth (an inert carrier and anti-caking agent), ground barley, rice bran natural chicken flavor, fish oil, yeast culture, dried kelp meal, potassium sulfate, salt, dried eggs, Yucca shidigera 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, 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, ethylene diamine dihydriodide, and cobalt carbonate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||26%||13%||53%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||29%||48%|
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 corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The third ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is wheat bran. Wheat bran is made from the tough outer layer of a wheat kernel. Brans are especially rich in dietary fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
The sixth ingredient is ground brown 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 seventh 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 eighth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly 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 ninth 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 five notable exceptions…
First, 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.
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.
In addition, 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.
Muenster Natural Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Muenster Natural Dog Food looks like an 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 26% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.
Near-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 corn gluten meal and flaxseed contained in some recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in some of its recipes. Without this controversial supplement and corn gluten meal, we would have been compelled to award this brand a higher rating.
Muenster Natural Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a below average amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating 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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Notes and Updates
03/19/2012 Original review
09/30/2013 Review updated
09/30/2013 Last Update