Nature’s Variety Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Nature’s Variety Freeze Dried Raw product line includes 3 raw dog foods, each intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Nature’s Variety Freeze Dried Raw Beef Formula
- Nature’s Variety Freeze Dried Raw Lamb Formula
- Nature’s Variety Freeze Dried Raw Chicken Formula
Nature’s Variety Freeze Dried Raw Beef Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nature's Variety Freeze Dried Raw Beef Formula
Raw Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef, beef heart, beef liver, pumpkinseeds, apples, carrots, ground beef bone, butternut squash, ground flaxseeds, montmorillonite clay, chicken eggs, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, dried kelp, apple cider vinegar, parsley, honey, salmon oil, olive oil, blueberries, alfalfa sprouts, persimmons, duck eggs, pheasant eggs, quail eggs, inulin, rosemary, sage, clove
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||31%||17%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||32%||56%||12%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is beef heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing to us humans, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.
The third ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient is pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and, more importantly, linoleic acid, an essential omega-6 fat.
The fifth ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
The sixth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh ingredient is ground beef bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.
The eighth ingredient is squash. Squash is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The ninth 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.
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, we note the inclusion of montmorillonite clay, a naturally occurring compound rich in many trace minerals. Montmorillonite has been approved for use in USDA Organic Certified products.
Reported benefits include the binding of certain mold-based toxins and even controlling diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Next, chicken eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
Thirdly, we find no added vitamins or minerals on the ingredients list. We would assume these essential nutrients are provided by the food ingredients in the recipe.
Next, salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
And lastly, we note the inclusion of 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.
Nature’s Variety Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Variety Freeze Dried Raw looks to be a above-average raw 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 42% and a mean fat level of 33%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 17% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 77%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a raw dog food containing a significant amount of meat.
Nature’s Variety Freeze Dried Raw is a meat-based raw product using a significant amount of species-specific meat as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Enthusiastically recommended (for intermittent or supplemental feeding only).
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
The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.
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However, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits for your pet.
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Notes and Updates
11/05/2009 Original review
04/17/2012 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩