Native Performance Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Native Performance 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.
- Native Performance Level III
- Native Performance Level IV
- Native Performance Level III Puppy
- Native Performance Level I (3.5 stars)
- Native Performance Level II (4.5 stars)
Native Performance Level III was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Native Performance Level III
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, ground rice, ground barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), fish meal, dried plain beet pulp, dried egg product, ground flaxseed, natural flavors, yeast culture, potassium chloride, salt, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, biotin, reed-sedge peat, natural mixed tocopherols (preservative), citric acid (preservative), rosemary extract, vitamin E supplement, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc sulfate, l-lysine, manganese sulfate, mineral oil, ferrous sulfate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), copper sulfate, vitamin B12 supplement, dl-methionine, niacin supplement, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, sodium selenite, biotin, riboflavin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium iodate, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||22%||37%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||44%||30%|
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 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 third ingredient includes ground 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 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 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 seventh ingredient is 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.
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.
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, although yeast culture is high in B-vitamins and protein, it can also be used as a probiotic to aid in digestion.
Next, we note the use of an ingredient called reed-sedge peat. Peat is a product of partially decayed vegetation.
Although we can’t be certain as to why this ingredient has been included here, some reports suggest peat can aid in digestion, growth and immune function of certain animals.2
In addition, although we can’t be certain, mineral oil is apparently used in this recipe as a stool softener.
However, the inclusion of this additive can be controversial. That’s because the European Food Safety Authority has expressed some concern as to the long term health effects of using mineral oil in human food.3
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.
Native Performance Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Native Performance looks like an above-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 32% and a mean fat level of 21%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 39% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 66%.
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 yeast culture, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Native Performance is a plant-based dry dog food using a significant amount of chicken or lamb meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 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
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.
Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.
However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits 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.
To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.
Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.
Notes and Updates
04/09/2010 Original review
03/11/2014 Last Update