Nature’s Select Grain Free (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★★

Nature’s Select Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Nature’s Select Grain Free product line includes one dry dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

Nature's Select Grain Free

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 38%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, sweet potato, peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), yeast culture, flaxseed (a source of omega 3 fatty acids), alfalfa nutrient concentrate, pumpkin meal, alfalfa meal, natural chicken ­flavor, carrot pomace, tomato pomace, celery pomace, beet pomace, parsley pomace, lettuce pomace, watercress pomace, spinach pomace, cranberry, blueberry, canola oil, potassium chloride, dried egg product, dried kelp, new zealand green mussel, sea cucumber, eggshell meal, chicken cartilage (a source of glucosamine), vitamin E supplement, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, selenium yeast, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin (source of vitamin B3), d-calcium pantothenate (source of vitamin B5), copper amino acid chelate, manganese sulfate, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), biotin, maganese amino acid chelate, magnesium amino acid chelate, ribofl­avin supplement (source of vitamin B2), vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, lecithin, dried chicory root, folic acid, cobalt carbonate, hydrolyzed yeast, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, Lactobacillus fermentum fermentation product, Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, taurine, Yucca schidigera extract, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis33%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%18%38%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%37%33%
Protein = 31% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 33%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The third 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 meat content of this dog food.

The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is yeast culture. Although yeast culture is high in B-vitamins and protein, it can also be used as a probiotic to aid in digestion.

The sixth 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.

The seventh ingredient is alfalfa nutrient concentrate, a vitamin and mineral-rich extract made from alfalfa.

Even though it contains over 50% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The eighth ingredient is pumpkin meal. Without knowing more, we would assume this item to be a meal made from dried pumpkin seeds after their oil has been extracted.

If so, this protein-rich item becomes a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

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.

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, 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.

Next, this recipe includes canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

In addition, 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.

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.

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 Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

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

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 38%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, flaxseed, pumpkin meal and alfalfa products, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nature’s Select Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a significant amount of chicken and chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Those looking for a conventional grain-containing kibble may wish to visit our review of Nature’s Select dry dog food.

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 almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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.

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 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

03/04/2015 Last Update

  • Jan

    My local petsmart is carrying this brand. I was also told my local Petsmart is going to be doing taste tests for the brands of dog food at the beginning of October in the store. I bought a sample bag for $4.99 and found a coupon on the back for $5 off. It’s worth a try and seems to have quality ingredients. I also found that the food is made here in the U.S.

  • cindyromero49

    Thank you

  • cindyromero49

    Thank you so kindly, I’ll check into that

  • sandy

    Their website should direct you to a local distributor if there is one for your area. You might have to fill out some general info. I have a local distributor that delivers weekly.

  • Pitlove

    I looked at their website and it looks as though u can only get the food online (possibly only through their website). I see no store locator or anything else to indicate they have any retailers.

  • cindyromero49

    Where can you purchase this product other than online, doors anyone know? Thanks in advanced

  • Julie Hain

    Where do you get your food at that discount?

  • Crazy4cats

    Thank you for posting the results of your inquiries! Good to know.

  • Storm’s Mom

    It’s unlikely someone here would be able to tell you that. Contact the company and ask?

  • Monica Boxley

    Can someone here please tell us if Nature’s Select and Mid America Pet Food is cruelty free?

  • foss77

    Just curious to know how your dog’s stools were after the switch? I also fed my dog SD for years and am trying to switch him to a higher quality diet. My first attempt with several Merrick brand formulas did not work, he ended up with digestive issues and stool that could be very loose (just shy of diarrhea), occasionally bloody and mucosy. I suspect that Merrick was just too rich for him and have temporarily switched him back to his old food to clear up his problems. I am now on the search for another food. Nature’s Select looks like a good food but I’m just worried that it still may be too high in fat/protein (it is slightly less than Merrick in both regards) . Thoughts?

  • foss77

    Just curious to know what issues you were having that subsided on this food? I tried my male cattle dog on several Merrick formulas that did not work for him. They caused digestive issues and he is now getting back to normal on his old food (mid-range quality). I believe that Merrick is a good, high quality food but that it was just too rich for him. I have scoured this website trying to find a food to try him on next but am a little gun shy after my last attempt at switching (and yes, I took between 3-4 weeks to transition him). It is overwhelming and frustrating, especially when you can never be 100% certain what didn’t work with the other food. I have been thinking of either Earthborn or Whole Earth Farms and am leaning towards Whole Earth Farms (because it is less rich) but it is made by Merrick so I am leery that it will cause issues for him if the richness of regular Merrick was not the problem! Nature’s Select might be an option too but it’s protein and fat levels are closer to Merrick’s than to my dog’s current food or Whole Earth Farms. Ugh, I don’t know what to do!

  • sandy

    Nature’s Select is made in TX by Mid America Pet Food.

  • Arlene Quesnelle

    Where is this made

  • collie77

    My little dogs are on nature select and are doing well however,I am in ND and no distributors any where. I bought two bags before I left AZ thinking I would be back by now. I am still here and will have to put them on something else. Does anyone have any suggestions.

  • Cassey Phelps

    I wanted to share our families success with Natures select. However it seems I’m not alone in the relief it provided our cattle dog. I have to give a shout out to The Bark website a Vet’s article on dog allergies recommend the brand along with a specific probiotics and flax supplement from VitaHound. I used both with great success. So glad others are affirming our results.

  • wines plus

    Dr Tim’s Pursuit is $65 for 44lbs. 5 star.

  • KSmith

    I have 3 dogs all ranging from 40-60 lbs and 8-4 y/o. I feed all of them Natures Select Cold River recipe w/Salmon. This food has changed our lives. I used Science Diet for a very long time and will never go back. I order 4 bags at a time, and it cost about $9 more per bag than Science diet was costing me. One of my dog had contact allergies, skin problems (always scratching) and really bad gas. He had multiple trips to the vet $$$$ w/o a long term solution. A friend told me about this company so we tried it. What a difference it has made! Allergies are under control, less itching, and the gas is almost non existent. 2 of my dogs were slightly over weight, but a few months on this food and their weight was back to normal. I can’t say enough good things about this product. With delivery and 100% guarentee what is there not to like?!

  • Ch

    Shawnas 47% protein diet is proven wrong I could sing a song.
    They mock around the clock and block.

  • Vicki

    We you Nature’s Select the Salmon and Sweet Potato one. I get 3-30lb bags at a time and the discount makes it $114 and some change. well worth it. Because the absorb most of the nutrients cleaning up the poop is much easier and no more gas! And they deliver it!!

  • PoodleOwner

    I have a poodle mix and after a year of changing his diet and cortisone shots, my vet recommended having an allergy test sent off to a lab. The test came back with food allergies and airborne allergies. Mainly soy, grass, trees, house mites and dust! He is on immunotherapy and is doing much better! I also bought him little socks to wear on his feet to keep him from chewing! Hope this helps!

  • mw

    Your diarrhea is everywhere!!!!! You constantly bring people down and are incredibly insulting. I believe every comment from you is inflammatory. I am not even able to browse comments about food without seeing some crap from you. this site is going down hill from folks such as yourself!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I would say $65 for a 30 lb. bag of a 4.5 star food is about standard. I wouldn’t consider it to be “budget friendly” but not outrageous either.

  • InkedMarie

    Expensive is up to the buyer. I’d only pay what you quoted above if I find food on sale, online.

  • sandy

    The price will vary according to your distributor. Mine charges $64 ($2.13/lb) which is a good price compared to another kibble I buy which is $3/lb. They also have a discount when you buy more than one bag so ask and see what kinds of discount your distributor has. I also use Nutrisource grain free which runs about $50 for the large bag. Another reasonably priced brand is Victor. It has grain free also and is actually made at the same plant as Nature’s Select.

  • Jane

    I don’t understand your comment “for the price.” I looked this food up at the local distributor here, and the grain free is $65.95 for 30 lbs. That seems really expensive to me, even for a high quality dogfood. How much do you pay for the grain-free?

  • Jane

    This food is only delivered, yes? I am in AZ, and the grain free chicken dry food is listed as $65.95 for a 30 lb bag?? Am I looking at the right place?

  • Donna

    I have a cocker that has problems with licking and chewing his paws constantly, He has ear infections, yeast problems, mites, alot. The vet thinks it is due to allergies. He has been on grain free Canidae for at least a year. We recently added Dinovite to his diet, it helped the licking, but it seemed to make his ears worse. But now that he is off of Dinovite he is back to licking a lot. Do you think he should be taking a probiotic?

  • denise0331

    I read a book that I got from the library about dog foods. Purina and Hills DO whine and dine the vets! They are awful foods!

  • jodi

    When I got my Am Eskimo, he had really thin coat. I started him on NuVet and it has done wonders! His coat is getting thicker like his true bread should and he looks amazing after 30 days on these. I can’t wait to see how he’ll look in another month!

  • Woof1

    My vet said both companies, but especially Hills, does a fantastic job of wining and dining the vets to convince them to use their products. Put on a great conference in a big city, free goodies, all that stuff. He prefers Royal Canin over Hill’s but still….

  • Mylinda Gail Casey

    I have been using natures select for 2 years now, I used the chicken rice and lamb until recently and now I have switched to the salmon sweet potato because I thought my dog could use the extra omega 3. Its a great dog food and a very high quality dog food and brand especially for the price. I found a local distributor and they deliver it right to my home. I highly recommend it. You just cant beat the quality for the price.

  • Mylinda Gail Casey


  • Hound Dog Mom

    Agreed. Nothing like dog chow quality with an orijen price tag.

  • BryanV21

    Sorry, you’re right. I forgot that you could get this food at other places with a “prescription” from a vet. My thought was that it was only sold by vets, so needing a prescription for it was unnecessary.

    I still think it’s overpriced junk, though. LOL

  • Hound Dog Mom

    The crazy thing is you do need a prescription to get veterinary formulas. I suppose the reasoning is vets don’t want people self diagnosing their animals. All the sites I’ve seen the food on require a prescription verification to order. However if someone were to look hard enough I’m sure there are some sites that ship from out of country to get around the prescription thing, like with heartworm meds.

  • BryanV21

    There’s one thing that Hill’s and Royal Canin do very well… marketing. I’m not sure if vets get true kick backs, but like anybody else that sells pet food, they do make money off of them. The mark-up on them is pretty ridiculous though.

    However, I don’t think vets sell “poor” food intentionally, as the little education most get actually comes from Hill’s and Royal Canin.

    As a matter of fact, I do believe that some dogs need to go on these “prescription” foods temporarily to get over a sickness. But I don’t believe they should be on those foods long-term.

    Oh, and I put the word “prescription” in quotes because you don’t need a prescription to legally buy these foods. They’re simply only sold by vets.

  • Wapellochiro

    why is it almost all Vet offices you go to SELL one of the worst rated DOG FOOD( HILLS)
    We trust them after all our dogs are part of our family

    maybe a kick back?


  • michele

    Hi i have been recommend to change my dog food to your brand ..can you plzz tell me if it will help with her hair loss she is a collie/husky/wolf cross and has a 3 layed coat and shedding is crazy special since she is in house with me alot as i am disabled…

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  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Kshep167,

    If you can’t find the kcal on the bag or the product’s website you can roughly estimate it using the following formula:

    Nitrogen Free Extract = 100 – (Crude Protein + Crude Fat + Crude Fiber + Moisture + Ash)

    Metabolizable Energy = [(3.5 X Crude Protein) + (8.5 X Crude Fat) + (3.5 X Nitrogen Free Extract)] X 10

    This will give you the kcal per kg. To calculate kcal per cup from this value, divide kcal per kg by 1,000 to get kcal per g. Multiply kcal per g by 120 (an average a cup of kibble weighs 120 g.) and voila – you have approximate kcal per cup.

    Also, if the percent ash isn’t given use 8 percent for calculations.

  • Kshep167

    Anyone know the kcal/cup for this food?

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  • LabsRawesome

     Hi Stephanie, ethoxyquin is added to fish meal during processing. The dog food manufacturers buy this product, so the manufacturer doesn’t legally have to list it in the ingredients, since they did not add the ethoxyquin. Manufacturers that use naturally preserved fish meal will have this fact posted on their site, or product packaging.                                Here’s how Dr. Mike explains it in the above review-
    The fifth ingredient includes fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.
    Unfortunately, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.
    But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.
    We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.
    Without knowing more, and based upon this fish meal’s location on the list of ingredients, we would expect to find only a trace of ethoxyquin in this product.

  • Stephanie

    I don’t see ethoxyquin in the list of ingredients. Please show us where you found that it’s included in this food. Thank you.

  • Antonio

    It’s amazing how many people have the same complaints against Diamond Dog Food, loose stools, inconsistent stools, and foul smell (which I’m not sure any stools doesn’t smell bad). But the complaints from honest customers seem to have a inherently similar patterns.

  • Valerie

    My pits (Blue, and Red nose breed), have had major digestive problems and reocurring ear infections for several years. Diamond was the suggestive diet for them. However after the recall I selected different foods that were not successful. Natures select grain free has made an immediate change in the digestion and we’re at a wait n c mode for the ear infections. So far so good. Bowel consistency is solid, less frequent and smells less offensive. I’m very pleased at this point.

  • Richard J breard

    Mike … Out of curiosity to see what kind of an answer I would get I asked Natures Select Grain free If there Was any ethoxyquin in this product. Roger Brannen,sales mgr, was very honest.As you have said, he told me that it added by law,at sea by the fishermen to avoid explosions but is spite of a extrusion process to eliminate it there still might a trace amount there. They are looking for another way to eliminate ethoxyquin. If not, they will not use fish in thier food.

  • Mike Sagman

    Hi Richard J Beard… I know this can seem perplexing. After all, there’s no mention of ethoxyquin on the label.

    However, whenever one finds fish meal in a dog food product (and due to US Coast Guard regulations), you should automatically assume the ingredient contains ethoxyquin at the time it’s purchased by the manufacturer. However, when a company publicly states (or if I’m able to determine via email) the fish meal was preserved with a natural preservative (like Naturox), then I share my “ethoxyquin-free” findings in the text of my reviews. Hope this helps.

  • Richard J breard

    Mike.. I’m a rookie at this. How did you determine there was ethoxyquin in this product?

  • sandy

    Oh…I meant white potato free…

  • Gordon

    sandy – This food looks good on paper, but it’s not potato free? Look at the ingredients list again:-

    Deboned chicken, “sweet potato meal” (Made from dehydrated potatoes which is more suspect in some views), chicken meal………….

    Anyway, it’s great that your dogs are doing great on this food. I would definitely stick with it, then.

  • sandy

    All the dogs are doing great on this food (and it’s potato free which is a plus). Their outputs are good and small and no one has had trouble transitioning and the kibble is very small.

  • sandy

    This formula is a small kibble and so far all the foster pugs are eating it just fine. No bowel issues and no one turned their nose up to it when I mixed it into their other food. They ate it right away.

  • sandy

    I’ll be getting my first bag of NS Grain Free tomorrow. I’ll be mixing it in with the Nature’s Select Salmon & Sweet Potato formula, which all my fosters are doing great on currently, but wanted to give them more protein. I’ll let yall know how it goes…