Natural Life Dog Food (Dry)

Share

Rating: ★★★½☆

Natural Life Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Natural Life product line includes five dry dog foods. However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Natural Life Adult Lamaderm
  • Natural Life Adult Complete (3 stars)
  • Natural Life Grain Free Chicken Recipe
  • Natural Life Puppy Lamaderm (4 stars)
  • Natural Life Weight Management Lamaderm (2 stars)

Natural Life Adult Lamaderm was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Natural Life Adult Lamaderm Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 24% | Fat = 11% | Carbs = 57%

Ingredients: Lamb meal, ground brown rice, oatmeal, ground grain sorghum, poultry fat (preserved with natural mixed tocopherols, citric acid, and ascorbyl palmitate - a vitamin C ester), ground flax seeds, natural flavors, linseed meal, dried beet pulp, potassium chloride, dried kelp, choline chloride, dl-methionine, Yucca schidigera extract, natural antioxidants, vitamin supplements (E, A, B2, B12, D3), niacin, calcium ascorbate, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, inositol, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous proteinate, manganous oxide, cobalt proteinate, potassium iodide, sodium selenite, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis22%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis24%11%57%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%25%52%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

The second 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 third ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

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 poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).

The sixth 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.

After the natural flavors, we find linseed meal, a by-product left after extracting all the oil from linseed (another name for flaxseed).

However, we’re puzzled by the use of two different ingredient names (flaxseed and linseed) to describe what are basically the same ingredients.

The ninth 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.

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 three notable exceptions

First, this recipe contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.

Next, 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.

Natural Life Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Natural Life 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 24%, a fat level of 11% and estimated carbohydrates of about 57%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 25% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 55% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 47%.

Below-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 flaxseed and linseed meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a below average amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Natural Life Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a below average amount of lamb or chicken meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

Recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

Special Alert

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.

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

03/22/2010 Original review
10/22/2010 Review updated
07/23/2011 Review updated
01/23/2013 Review updated
12/21/2013 Review updated
12/21/2013 Last Update

  • Tex Arcana

    I’m surprised the rating was as high as it is, considering it has below-average meat protein and the presence of menadione. My dog is very sick right now, and we’re trying to decide if it’s the treats or the food, and she’s rejecting the food out-of-hand right now, which tells me it doesn’t make her feel good.

  • InkedMarie

    I suggest looking at Wellness Core reduced fat or Annamaet Lean

  • mel

    How does the Lamaderm do with the weight issue? My dog is slightly overweight and I am trying to find a food to help loose it but still be healthy.

  • Ali4657839

    I was wondering if the Natural Life Grain Free formula will be reviewed soon?

  • luvmydog

    I recently started feeding my dog Lamaderm Adult. Was so thrilled. Now I learn that Menandione (vitamin K3) is in the ingredients and can be toxic to her liver, red blood cells, etc. (look it up). Anybody quit using this product? Anything to say? I’m so disappointed and frustrated. And to top things off, she really likes it. Thought I had just stopped searching for food. Thanks.

  • Kuma

    I have a 10-year old Rotty x American bulldog mix with a little sensitive stomach. I have been feeding him lamb and rice dog food since my vet recommended it. Tried couple of different brands and the results were; Eukanuba Natural was good, Science Diet gave him diarriah, Avoderm and Diamond were just ok, and Natural Life Weight Management Lamaderm also made his poops very soft. I am trying Taste of the Wild next.

  • Mike Delaney

    This is a good dog food. My dogs loved it and it worked well for them. I had to switch because although WalMart sells the product, it is rarely kept on the shelves. Both stores are too far away to make a trip and not have it available. It’s happened too many times.

  • doglover

    inflation

  • doglover

    I have been warned by my vet not to feed my dogs anything from Ol’Roy but she says Lamaderm is okay. Basically, she says Ol’Roy has caused a lot of problems and is a bad brand to stay clear of.

  • Zaftig Diva

    We raised Max, a Rot mix, on a popular name brand dog food until I learned what it was made of. Then we switched through several organic feeds that he rejected, a VERY expensive, highly recommended formula he hated, until we found Lamaderma. Max loved the food and slimmed down within two weeks. Today he is almost 13 years old and looks like a puppy. This product is available at Walmart and for triple the cost at the local health food store. When Walmart stopped carrying it, we tried other products. Thankfully, it is back in stock. I don’t mind paying extra for a better product.

  • NormanF

    Its available at Walmart. It compares to Ol’ Roy’s Pure Balance, also sold there which is also rated 3.5 stars.

  • LabsRawesome
  • teabaglady

    My black Coffee is a lab/great dane(?) mix. My previous dog was a chocolate lab mix. Maybe the breed is prone to skin problems??? The Natural Life Lamaderm works well for the flakey skin problem. I have the same trouble finding it though. I always seem to get the last bag, sometimes having to go to several different Walmart stores to find it.

  • teabaglady

    I bought Lamaderm for a previous dog who had dandruffy skin with some of the other dry dog foods. My current dog seemed to have dry skin issues also. I tried Lamaderm with him also and the flakey dry skin went away. After using a flea treatment, I thought maybe the scratching wasn’t the food after all, so I began feeding him the other dry foods I had bought previously. After a few days, he started scratching again. The flakey dry skin was back. I put him back on Lamaderm and within a few days, no scratching, no dry skin. No more experimenting with dog foods.
    Coffee is a big dog. I wish Walmart sold a bigger bag.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pam.nonstick1 Pam Nonstick

    the Lamderm dry worked well with our large collies (17 years) while other more ‘pricey’ brands didn’t…they thrived on this…alas, they are all now ‘gone’ I am old and I ‘downsized’ to a nice little abandoned, rescued Chihuahua/terrier mix. Lo and behold we tried SIX brands of upscale dog food (Nutro, and Wellness, and others) and this poor little chi just didn’t thrive on them. I thought ‘Well, maybe we should try what our 12 collies loved’ and he is just doing wonderfully now. I know this isn’t ‘supposed to be for’ a small breed, but I sup with vitamins and with a bit of veggie and he is just thriving on it. Can’t say enough about this brand of dog food (and I’m sure it’s ‘not for every dog’ but if it was…there would only be one brand on shelf, wouldn’t there!)

  • Terina

    It is sad that it has never been changed since it’s creation. It would look like as a company who values their product and wishes to provide a quality food for dogs should be analyzing their ingredients. So many changes have occurred over the years. New information has surfaced about products and ingredients. A formula should be changed to accommodate those changes and strive to be better. I for one love my dog and any ingredient that is found to be harmful to my baby will not be fed. It’s simple. I want to keep my beloved baby with me for as long as I can and if something in the dog food is harmful to him. I won’t buy it and you loose a loyal customer. We as pet owners are no longer in the dark as we once were. There is information available on the net about each and every ingredient and if that ingredient is harmful or good for my dog. I demand better from you. And I’m sure I’m not alone in my demands. Show me that you have my pets best interest at heart and not just trying to make a dollar with your fancy labels and claims. I only want what is best for my dog as should you.

  • InkedMarie

    What brands have had more than one food represented and reviewed, with the exception of a grain free and a grain inclusive?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    ZetaJane –

    All the lines reviewed on this site have one food chosen to represent the whole line, not just this food. Some brands have multiple lines of food and therefore have separate reviews – i.e.) Purina has: Dog Chow, Be Happy, Alpo, Beneful, Chef Michael’s, Purina One, Pro Plan Savor, Pro Plan Sport, Pro Plan Select and Pro Plan Focus – but within each line one formula is chosen to represent the entire line. There are 14 different foods in the Pro Plan Focus line, the Adult Large Breed formula was picked to represent the entire line. Most foods within the same product line are so similar that they don’t merit their own reviews, if Dr. Mike feels one particular food is significantly better or worse than the others in the line he’ll give a separate rating in parenthesis after the food. In the case of Natural Life, he thought the weight management formula was lower quality enough to merit a lower rating than the others.

    Because the grain-free formula is new and Dr. Mike has a large back up of new products that need to be reviewed and old products that have had formula changes and need to be reevaluated, it doesn’t appear that he has gotten around to reviewing that food. Because it’s grain-free it will likely have a separate review. Just by looking at the new grain-free formula on the Natural Life website I can tell you it will likely be a 3 1/2 star food at best. You’re correct that it doesn’t contain menadione or rice, but it’s still fairly low quality as far as grain-free foods go. At only 22% protein and 10% fat, with potatoes and peas as the second and third ingredients, canola oil and beet pulp – it’s nothing special.

  • ZetaJane

    I think the reviews for this brand are lacking… why is it that other brands get all their formula reviewed an this brand only gets one formula to represent the whole line…

    They’ve just launched a grain free chicken and potato formula. I don’t see anywhere on the bag where it contains brown rice or menadione, and it has an AAFCO statement… and my dogs love it. I will continue to be loyal to this brand since they do not compromise quality for profits like the big 5… Mars/Purina/P&G/Unilever/Del Monte all seem to make trash and dump millions of dollars into marketing just to sell a “brand” instead of making a good food.

    I used to love dogfoodadvisor, it has been a great source of information but lately it seems like the updates have been teetering off or only the big name brands get attention when there are so many smaller made in America brands that get pushed by the wayside.

  • [email protected]

    The Natural Life Lamaderm 20lb dog food has been changed to 17.5lbs for the same price. My family has always bought this kind of dog food but not any more. We will not pay the same price for 2.5lbs less.

  • Kaleb Terlip

    Nothappy, Natural Life didn’t have a large recall in 2009, I’m curious where you get your information and the employees you have spoke with regarding our company. The recall was on our canned food and wasn’t on our formulas but another companies items, we chose to pull product back for possible airborne cross contamination. Our dry food hasn’t ever been on recall and to state we are lower quality is absurd. We haven’t change our dry formulas ever from day one.
    Kaleb Terlip
    Natural Life Pet Products
    [email protected]

  • InkedMarie

    This is exactly what people mean when they say “use the best food that works for your dog”. I tell people that all the time but I do suggest that if people are feeding a poor quality food (Ole Roy, Dog Chow etc) that they are not feeding the best possible food. I’m glad Lamaderm is working for your girl!

  • Ehrenyu

    You can call their comment/concern number on their bag and ask them if there’s a supplier nearby. I lucked out that I happened to stumble on it at a natural food store I frequent.

  • Ehrenyu

    Natural Life’s Lamaderm (adult) may not be the ‘best’ ingredients, but it’s the only dog food that doesn’t cause intense rashes, itchiness, and stomach upsets from my dog (Black Lab mix). The vet was at a loss since we tried to feed her Science Diet and that just made her lose weight and also cause severe dandruff. I would go through bags of different brands of dog foods (took two years) to see if I could get her any kind of relief until I found Natural Life’s Lamaderm formula. It took about two months for all her symptoms to vanish and four months before her coat was shiny and thick like we’d just bathed her. She became very energetic too. It may be a 3.5 star, but I’m not giving her anything else. I can’t even give her regular treats since the itchiness and stomach upsets comes back!

  • Shawna

    I would agree with you that true allergies (IgE stimulating antigens) are not as common.  However food intolerances (IgA and IgM stimulating antigens) seem to be quite common.  Intolerances can cause all the same symptoms as true allergies plus more. 

    I foster Boston Terriers and Papillons (and currently have 6 of my own plus 2 foster dogs).  I’ve had 1 in 6 plus years of fostering with an environmental (grass) allergy and 5 with food allergies/intolerances —- diagnosed via elimination diet.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    The California Natural you tried  is definitely considered hypo-allergenic, but it is chicken based.  I also believe Pedigree (which is not hypo-allergenic, btw) is also chicken based.  When you switched to Natural Life, which I believe is lamb based, then you saw results.  Perhaps your dog is allergic to chicken….idk. 

  • BryanV21

    Just because a food is grain-free or limited ingredient, does not mean the food is allergy free. Fromm makes a grain-free variety called Beef Frittata, but if your dog has an allergy to beef then it doesn’t matter that that food is grain-free. Or if your dog is allergic to potatoes then Fromm probably won’t work for you, as (I think) all their foods have potatoes in them. 

    In fact, I’ve never heard of a food claiming to be “allergy free”. When I hear of a dog that may have a food allergy, I’ll advise the owner to go to a grain-free/limited ingredient food, but I make it clear that it won’t necessarily SOLVE the problem, but help narrow down what the issue is. That’s why grain-free/limited ingredient foods are recommended… not because they’re “allergy free”.

  • Roland

    Most of the time it’s NOT a food allergy. It’s seasonal, grass, atopic dermatitis etc..
    You got lucky. Thankfully for your dog.

  • Sawred32

    my french bulldog has dry skin issues he’s always scratching and licking his paws we tried just about every dog food out their as he is very picky california natural he wouldn’t eat it or any of the other brands of dog food claiming to be allergy free he liked the pedigree but has since lost all the hair on his back from eating that and scratching we swithed to natural life a week ago almost all of his hair is grown back already

  • Smithac3

    We have it at Wegmans grocery store. They had a lot to chose from. Walmart had one bag of chicken puppy. I need the Duck adult. It is tricky to find. Amazon has a couple of flavors.

  • Pingback: All Different Dog Food Brands & Types | My Blog

  • Fawna

    I have a great dane and he was having some very serious problems (his fur was falling out in clumps, his skin was very dry, his stools were loose and he had some very toxic farts) I had been feeding him Ol’ Roy because I didn’t know any better. After reading up on his issues online I switched to this food and after switching I’ve found that there is nothing better for the price. Zeus is eating less (but he has more energy and the vet said he just needs less to be full), his fur is starting to grow back, he itches a lot less and thank god his farts have come to a much needed end. Honestly if you’re on a budget like me, this is the dog food to go for. 

  • Jo

    I recently changed my beautiful black lab, Maddie’s, diet after doing research for flaky skin. We found she is allergic to corn products. We found Natural Life at Walmart and tried it and it worked great. Her dandruff has gone away and her itching  has basically stopped, it’s wonderful.

    My question is where can we find Lamaderm besides Walmart? We went to Walmart a week ago and they were out, luckily we went back the other day and they had one bag. What happens next time I go to buy it and they have none? Doesn’t seem like a very reliable source to me.

    Do they sell it anywhere else?? It’s a great product and I would hate to have to change to a different brand…

    Jo & Maddie

  • sandy

    Molly N & Daisy,

    Have you looked into Natures Variety Instinct LID. It has a lamb formula, it’s grain free, and gluten free and does not contain menadione.

  • Daisy

    Our Pitt (killer) 3yrs old has been suffering from skin and paws blisters, hot spots, itching and lose stools; it has been expensive between Vet and food. Killer has been on Lamaderme for about 4 days and his paws and skin are healing well. I hope to have found the answer to this problem.

  • melissa

    Molly N-

    Don’t know if this helps or not, but Orijen and Acana have a new frequent buyer program-buy 12 bags and get the next free. There are dog food calculators on the ‘net that also give you the cost of feeding certain foods-per cup/daily basis and how long a bag should last if that helps : )

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Molly… All meal-type ingredients come from rendering facilities. Rendering is how a meal is made. Hope this helps.

  • Molly N.

    I have been feeding two of my dogs lamaderm for awhile now. They have trouble with any poultry based foods and seem to do well on this food. My question is, how likely is it that some of the ingredients in this food may be from rendering facilities? I also use Orijen dog food to mix with it, but do not use it solely due to the high price. But I do not want to feed them any food food that may have rendered ingredients in them. I submitted the question to the company itself but they have not responded.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Stew… I’ve added Natural Life Dry to my update list. I’ll check it out. Thanks for the tip.

  • Stew Benedict

    Any evaluation of the apparently new Natural Life Complete Duck and Potato? (http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Life-Pet-Products-Complete/dp/B004LL58TC). Saw 20 lb bags of it at our local Grocery outlet for only $10, a very good deal compared to the Amazon price.

  • Kyle

    Fujimo – I realize this is a very late response. I would not reccomend feeding this food simply because of menadione content. Menadione is a synthetic form of vitamin k that is potentially carcinogenic. Also, this food (in my opinion) fails as a limited ingredient formula as its primary protein is grain-based, which (in this instance) is biologically inferior to proteins from meat-based sources. I would reccomend instead looking at Natural Balance’s LID line of limited ingredient foods. Depending on the severity of her allergies, I would also check out Earthborn Holistic’s Grain Free Great Plains, as it is heavy on unique meat protein (Bison) and very closely mimics an ancestral diet.

  • Meagan in Iowa

    I would be worried about the Menadione in this food than anything else! The venison meal and rice formula does not have it. Whoo

  • Fujimo

    This is the first bag of Natural Life I have purchased. Because my Cocker gets very little exercise, is 6 yrs. old, slightly overweight and has skin problems, (oh, and farts a lot), I am concerned about putting her on a new food. Naturally I want to get her what is best for her and in particular for her skin allergy issue.
    Does anyone with experience in these areas feel that this food meets the bar?
    If it is actually bad for her I will try something better.

  • Lennis Carrier

    My dog also had dry skin and itching/rash issues until we found this food. We tried “better” or more highly rated (and more expensive) brands. Once she got used to this food, her skin allergies disappeared. I do worry about the protein level and add meat or dried chicken and duck breasts to her diet. Her energy levels are very high. Overall, very pleased with this food.

  • Susan Laverty

    I just started feeding my pocket pitbull Lamaderm adult. She was so allergic to every product I would buy, red blisters, bumps, sore feed and itching all the time. Well 2 days on this food she is a beautiful coat no redness or bumps. I will keep my fingers crossed. thanks from cynder.

  • Karen Verano

    I’ve been feeding both my dogs the Lamaderm product. My female came to us at 14 weeks with a touch of demadectic mange and very flaky dry skin. We started her on the puppy version of Lamaderm and she and my male are now on the adult formula and doing really well. They are both pitbull mixes. Their coats are beautiful, no dry skin/allergy issues and their weight is perfect. I’m very happy with this product.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hello Gudrun… The Dog Food Advisor is not a dog food dealer or pet food manufacturer. Our website posts independent reviews of dog food products. You’ll need to contact the manufacturer for help. Hope you can resolve your problem with the Natural Life company.

  • Gudrun Eglitis

    Finally, after months of frustrated investigation and observation
    we narrowed down my dog’s loose stool (with the help of our
    vet.) to the mixing in of ___Senior Complete with Regular and/or
    Lamaderm formula.
    I had bought 2 20lbs bags supplied by Herbs Unlimited 0059837 through United Buying Club label dated 3/26/10
    shipping label 43-090-01
    This has been an expensive and frustrating ordeal. I would
    like an exchange for Lamaderm product or a refund. Please
    advise how to proceed. Thank you!