Native Performance Dog Food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 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 Dog Food Level I
- Native Performance Dog Food Level II
- Native Performance Dog Food Level III
- Native Performance Dog Food Level III Puppy
- Native Performance Dog Food Level IV (5 stars)
Native Performance Dog Food Level III was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Native Performance Level III
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, chicken fat (stabilized with mixed tocopherols), ground rice, ground oats, ground barley, beet pulp, fish meal, ground flaxseeds, natural flavors, calcium carbonate, yeast culture, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, hydrolyzed brewers dried yeast (prebiotic), reed-sedge peat, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, natural mixed tocopherols and citric acid (preservatives), zinc proteinate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, ferrous sulfate, copper proteinate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), selenium yeast, copper sulfate, cobalt proteinate, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, calcium iodate, folic acid, and rosemary extract
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 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 third ingredient lists rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.
The fourth item lists oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The fifth ingredient lists barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
The sixth item mentions 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 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
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.
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, we find yeast culture. Although yeast culture is high in B-vitamins and protein, it can also be used as a probiotic to aid in digestion.
Next, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.
Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.
Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.
In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.
In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.
What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
Thirdly, 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.3
Next, this recipe also contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
And lastly, this dog 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 Dog Food looks to be an above-average kibble.
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 brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Native Performance Dog Food is a grain-based kibble using a notable amount of lamb or chicken meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
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
04/09/2010 Original review
11/09/2010 Review updated
08/07/2012 Last Update