Nature’s Harvest Grain Free (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Nature’s Harvest Grain Free Dog Food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Nature’s Harvest product line includes three grain free dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Nature’s Harvest Grain Free [U]
  • Nature’s Harvest Northern Red Meat [U]
  • Nature’s Harvest Hypoallergenic (3.5 stars) [U]

Nature’s Harvest Northern Red Meat was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nature's Harvest Northern Red Meat

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 34% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 38%

Ingredients: Lamb meal, fresh salmon, potato meal, pork meal, chicken fat preserved with mixed tocopherols (a source of vitamin E), beet pulp, dehydrated whole eggs, dried tomato pomace, alfalfa, natural chicken liver flavour, salmon oil (a source of DHA), lecithin, whole flax seeds (a source of omega-3 fatty acids), choline chloride, calcium propionate, Yucca schidigera extracts, ferrous sulfate, dried carrots, dried apples, garlic powder, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, zinc oxide, dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), dried spinach, anise seed, juniper, milk thistle, cinnamon, thyme, chicory root, devil’s claw extracts, dried kelp, probiotics (dehydrated Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation products, dehydrated Lactobacillus casei fermentation products, dehydrated Bifidobacterium bifidum fermentation products, dehydrated Streptococcus faecium fermentation products, dehydrated Aspergillus oryzae fermentation products), proteinates (copper, zinc, manganese), sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, manganous oxide, nicotinic acid, calcium d-pantothenate, retinyl acetate (vitamin A), cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), folic acid, riboflavin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (a source of vitamin K3 activity), biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, cobalt carbonate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis31%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis34%20%38%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%40%31%
Protein = 29% | Fat = 40% | Carbs = 31%

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 salmon. Although it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw salmon 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 third ingredient is potato meal, a dry item made from the by-products of potato processing. In most cases, potato can contain about 10% dry matter protein which can have a slight affect on our estimate of the total meat content of this recipe.

The fourth ingredient is pork meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate. However, it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.

The ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.

The fifth 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 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 whole egg, a dehydrated powder made from shell-free eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The eighth ingredient is tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

The ninth ingredient is alfalfa, a flowering member of the pea family. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

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, 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, garlic can be a controversial item. Although many favor the ingredient for its claimed health benefits, garlic has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.1

So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.

In addition, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

Next, 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.

And lastly, this product uses 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.

Nature’s Harvest Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Harvest Grain Free 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 34%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 38%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the alfalfa and flax seeds, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nature’s Harvest Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of lamb, chicken or duck meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadione in its recipe. Without this controversial ingredient, we may have been compelled to award this line a higher rating.

Menadione phobics may wish to ignore our rating and look elsewhere for another product.

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.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Nature’s Harvest Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

09/14/2016 Last Update

  1. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)
  • Dayna Bonnie Shugar

    Trying it for the first time today. Bought the Hypoallergenic Potato and Duck Grain Free.