Natural Life canned dog food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Natural Life product line includes three canned 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.
- Natural Life Puppy Complete
- Natural Life Adult Complete
- Natural Life Adult Lamaderm
Natural Life Adult Complete was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Natural Life Adult Complete
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, water sufficient for processing, chicken liver, rice, rice flour, flaxseed, dicalcium phosphate, guar gum, carrots, peas, salt, lecithin, choline chloride, potassium chloride, carrageenan, cassia, Yucca schidigera extract, cranberries, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, copper sulfate, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, biotin supplement, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, folic acid, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||18%||37%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||38%||32%|
The first item in this dog food lists chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
The third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth item is 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 fifth ingredient lists rice flour. Rice flour is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
The sixth ingredient lists 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 seventh ingredient is dicalcium phosphate, likely used here as a dietary calcium supplement.
The eighth ingredient is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.
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 one notable exception…
We note the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
Natural Life Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Natural Life Dog Food appears to be an above-average canned 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 38% and a mean fat level of 21%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 33% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flax seed, this looks like the profile of a wet food containing a moderate amount of meat.
Natural Life is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of chicken or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Those looking for a kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Natural Life dry dog food.
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, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit 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.
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Notes and Updates
03/23/2010 Original review
10/23/2010 Review updated
07/23/2011 Review updated (no changes)
01/23/2013 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩