Nature’s Select Dry Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Nature’s Select product line includes eight dry dog foods, six claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and two for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Nature’s Select Ultra Lite (2 stars)
- Nature’s Select Grain Free (5 stars)
- Nature’s Select Select Multi-Pro Value Recipe
- Nature’s Select Select Classic Nutrition Recipe
- Nature’s Select Select New Zealand Lamb Recipe
- Nature’s Select Select Cold River Recipe with Salmon
- Nature’s Select Select Mobility Plus with Glucosamine (3 stars)
- Nature’s Select Select High Pro Active Dog and Puppy (5 stars)
Nature’s Select Select New Zealand Lamb Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nature's Select New Zealand Lamb Recipe
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Lamb meal, whole grain brown rice, beef meal, pearled millet, oat meal, peas, pork meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dehydrated alfalfa meal, flax seed (source of omega 3 fatty acid), flax seed oil, potassium chloride, dried kelp, yeast culture, whole carrots, dried celery, dried beet, dried parsley, dried lettuce, dried watercress, dried spinach, l-lysine, Yucca schidigera extract, choline chloride, hydrolyzed yeast, taurine, dicalcium phosphate, dried chicory root , l-carnitine, vitamin E supplement, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, selenium yeast, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin (vitamin B3), d-calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), vitamin A supplement, copper amino acid chelate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), biotin (vitamin B7), magnesium amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, lecithin, folic acid (vitamin B9), rosemary extract, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||13%||51%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||29%||46%|
The first item 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 item is 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 lists 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 sixth ingredient mentions 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 includes pork meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.
The eighth ingredient lists 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 lists 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 lists 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 five notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed oil, is one of the best non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids — essential to a dog’s health.
Next, 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.
In addition, this recipe also contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
Next, we 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 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.
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 recipe, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 53% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 49%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Nature’s Select dog food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of named meat and fish meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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
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Notes and Updates
04/16/2010 Original review
11/16/2010 Review updated
12/15/2010 Review updated (selenium yeast)
09/09/2013 Review updated
02/24/2013 Last Update