Nature’s Select Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Nature’s Select product line includes seven dry dog foods, six claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and one for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Nature’s Select Cold Water Recipe
- Nature’s Select Grain Free (5 stars)
- Nature’s Select Multi-Protein Recipe
- Nature’s Select New Zealand Recipe
- Nature’s Select Plus Recipe (3.5 stars)
- Nature’s Select Classic Nutrition Recipe
- Nature’s Select High Protein Recipe (5 stars)
Nature’s Select New Zealand Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nature's Select New Zealand Recipe
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, beef meal, pearled millet, feeding oat meal, peas, pork meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dehydrated alfalfa meal, flaxseed (a source of omega 3 fatty acids), potassium chloride, dried kelp, yeast culture, carrot pomace, celery pomace, beet pomace, parsley pomace, lettuce pomace, watercress pomace, spinach pomace, dicalcium phosphate, l-lysine, choline chloride, hydrolyzed yeast, taurine, dried chicory root, l-carnitine, vitamin E supplement, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, selenium yeast, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin (source of vitamin B3), d-calcium pantothenate (source of vitamin B5), vitamin A supplement, copper amino acid chelate, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), biotin, magnesium amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, lecithin, folic acid, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, Yucca schidigera extract, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||13%||51%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||29%||46%|
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 brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The third ingredient includes beef meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The fourth ingredient is millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.
The fifth ingredient is feeding oat meal. Feeding oatmeal is a by-product of rolled oats “and consists of broken oat groats, oat groat chips, and floury portions of the oat groats, with only such quantity of finely ground oat hulls as is unavoidable in the usual process of commercial milling”.1
This inexpensive cereal grain by-product is only rarely used to make pet food and is more typically found in cattle and hog feeds.
The sixth 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 must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient is pork meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.
The eighth 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 ninth ingredient is alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
The tenth 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.
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, 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 recipe contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
And lastly, this food also includes 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.
Nature’s Select Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Select 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.
Excluding the Grain Free Formula, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, alfalfa meal and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Nature’s Select is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of various meat and fish meals 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.
Nature’s Select Dog Food
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A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
02/29/2016 Last Update
- As defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2012 Official Publication, p. 420 ↩