Nature’s Kitchen Dog Food (Cooked Frozen)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Nature’s Kitchen Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Nature’s Kitchen product line includes six cooked-then-frozen recipes.

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 Kitchen Original Beef [A]
  • Nature’s Kitchen Grain Free Beef [A]
  • Nature’s Kitchen Original Chicken [A]
  • Nature’s Kitchen Grain Free Chicken [A]
  • Nature’s Kitchen Original Turkey (5 stars) [A]
  • Nature’s Kitchen Grain Free Turkey (5 stars) [A]

Nature’s Kitchen Original Chicken recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nature's Kitchen Original Chicken

Frozen Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 39% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 32%

Ingredients: Fresh chicken, rice, chicken juices, chicken liver, chicken hearts, chicken gizzards, carrots, spinach, celery, parsley, garlic, coriander, thyme, ground ginger, rosemary, salmon oil, olive oil, brewer's yeast, flaxseed, kelp, vitamin & mineral complex

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.1%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis13%7%NA
Dry Matter Basis39%20%32%
Calorie Weighted Basis33%41%27%
Protein = 33% | Fat = 41% | Carbs = 27%

The first ingredient in this dog food includes 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 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 third ingredient lists chicken juices, the mostly aqueous (watery) substance derived from handling meat and other biological tissues.

The fourth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fifth ingredient is chicken heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.

The sixth ingredient is chicken gizzard. The gizzard is a low-fat, meaty organ founds in the digestive tract of birds and assists in grinding up a consumed food. This item is considered a canine dietary delicacy.

The seventh ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The eighth ingredient is spinach. Due to its exceptional vitamin and mineral content, spinach exhibits a remarkably high nutrient Completeness Score2 of 91.

The ninth ingredient is celery. Although raw celery can be very high in water, it can still contribute a notable amount of dietary fiber as well as other healthy nutrients.

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, 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.3

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.

Next, this recipe includes olive oil. Olive oil contains oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat. It’s also rich in natural antioxidants and carotenoids.

In addition, we find brewers yeast, which 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.

Next, 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.

And lastly, although the vitamins and minerals added to this product are not detailed sufficiently here to permit us to judge their quality, we’re reassured to find a detailed list of naturally present nutrients on the company’s website.

Nature’s Kitchen Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Kitchen looks like an above-average wet 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 39%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 32%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 39% and a mean fat level of 21%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 32% for the overall product line.

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

Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the brewers yeast and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a product containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nature’s Kitchen is a meat-based cooked-then-frozen dog food using a notable amount of poultry or beef as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

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.

Nature’s Kitchen 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

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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.

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Notes and Updates

06/18/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Completeness Score is a measure of a food’s relative nutrient content and is computed by NutritionData.com from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
  3. 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)