Natural Planet Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Natural Planet 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.
- Natural Planet Turkey and Peas Formula
- Natural Planet Rabbit and Salmon Entree
- Natural Planet Duck and Whitefish Entree
- Natural Planet Kangaroo and Venison Meal Entree
- Natural Planet Chicken and Oats Formula (3.5 stars)
Natural Planet Duck and Whitefish Entree was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Natural Planet Duck and Whitefish Entree
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Duck, whitefish, salmon meal, chickpeas, organic peas, chickpea flour, organic pea flour, tapioca starch, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), pea starch, duck meal, natural fish flavor, dried kelp meal, salmon oil, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, dried brewers yeast, organic flax seeds, salt, apples, blueberries, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, cobalt proteinate, selenium yeast), choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), lactic acid, carrots, celery, beet, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Yucca schidigera extract, calcium iodate, rosemary extract, yeast culture (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||16%||49%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||33%||43%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is duck. Although it is a quality item, raw duck contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The second ingredient is whitefish, another quality, raw item. Whitefish is a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.
The third ingredient is salmon meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
The fourth ingredient includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.
However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that we will also consider when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient is chickpea flour, a powder made from roasted chickpeas. Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are a good source of carbohydrates.
Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.
However, dried chickpeas contain about 26% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient is pea flour, a powder made from roasted yellow peas. Pea flour contains as much as 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The eighth ingredient is tapioca starch, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The ninth ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
The next item is pea starch, a paste-like, gluten-free carbohydrate extract probably used here as a binder for making kibble. Aside from its energy content (calories), pea starch is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
It’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:
- Chickpea flour
- Pea flour
- Pea starch
Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.
If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.
In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the 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 six notable exceptions…
First, we find duck meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
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.
In addition, flaxseed is 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.
Next, this recipe includes selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
We also note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
And lastly, this food 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 Planet Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Natural Planet Dog Food looks like an above-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 27% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the legumes, flaxseed and brewers yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Natural Planet is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
Natural Planet Dog Food
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Notes and Updates
02/08/2017 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩