Nature’s Variety Instinct (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★★

Nature’s Variety Instinct Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Nature’s Variety Instinct product line lists five dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Rabbit Meal
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Salmon Meal
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Chicken Meal
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Beef and Lamb Meal
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Duck and Turkey Meal

Nature’s Variety Instinct Duck and Turkey Meal formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nature's Variety Instinct Duck and Turkey Meal

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 39% | Fat = 22% | Carbs = 31%

Ingredients: Duck, turkey meal, salmon meal, tapioca, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), peas, duck meal, tomato pomace, suncured alfalfa meal, montmorillonite clay, natural flavor, salt, carrots, apples, cranberries, vitamins (vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), choline chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, sodium selenite), potassium chloride, freeze dried turkey, freeze dried duck (including freeze dried ground duck bone), freeze dried turkey liver, pumpkinseeds, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, rosemary extract, butternut squash, ground flaxseed, dried kelp, broccoli, apple cider vinegar, salmon oil, dried chicory root, blueberries

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis35%20%NA
Dry Matter Basis39%22%31%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%44%25%

The first ingredient is duck. Although it is a quality item, raw duck contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

The third ingredient is salmon meal, another high protein meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The fourth ingredient is tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is 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 seventh ingredient is duck meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

The eighth ingredient is tomato pomace. 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.

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, although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

Next, montmorillonite clay is 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).

In addition, 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, 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, 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 Variety Instinct Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Variety Instinct 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 39%, a fat level of 22% and estimated carbohydrates of about 31%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 40% and a mean fat level of 21%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 30% for the overall product line.

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

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 and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nature’s Variety Instinct is a grain-free meat-based dry dog food using a significant amount of various named species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Special Alert

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.

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.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

06/03/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Dori

    I figured you were up to something? Hmmmmmm? Now we know exactly who to contact when a “theory” turns out not to be so. Let’s remember that people, we go straight to Melissa.

  • Cyndi

    Melissa, how are the prairie dogs doing? Do we get to see more pics? :)

  • 4FootedFoodie

    LOL, Melissa!

  • ßềȓṁṹḏǟ Ťᴙḯᴀᴎɢʟᴇ™

    I think we are gonna meet in the future to discuss the allergies and spine issues … LOOOOOOOL :)

  • Dori

    I’ve got one of those also. Different dog.

  • ßềȓṁṹḏǟ Ťᴙḯᴀᴎɢʟᴇ™

    Don’t be …. one of them has a spine issue :(

  • Dori

    AGAIN!!!!! Lucky you. So jealous.

  • ßềȓṁṹḏǟ Ťᴙḯᴀᴎɢʟᴇ™

    “Theory” is one thing … “Reality” is a totally different beast

  • Melissaandcrew

    I do..that is where I have been..and I am proud to say that I created some doozies, soon to be released.. Lol. I feel the same way!

  • ßềȓṁṹḏǟ Ťᴙḯᴀᴎɢʟᴇ™

    :) :) :)

    Yeah , my gang eat chicken eggs with no issues.
    It’s just chicken that is an issue

  • Dori

    I’d like to know who’s making up all these theories because they’re beginning to seem like myths to me.

  • Dori

    Lucky you only having chicken to avoid. Katie can’t have any of those. Can your dogs eat chicken eggs? Just wondering cause Katie can’t have them either and I’ve been told that she would be fine with the eggs even though she’s intolerant of the chicken. She’s a mystery to me. lol

  • ßềȓṁṹḏǟ Ťᴙḯᴀᴎɢʟᴇ™

    Thanks for your input .
    However, my 3 GSDs have been on Duck and Turkey for well over 2 years… closer to 3, without a single issue.

    It’s just chicken that causes them problems.
    When there was chicken in the Duck formula kibble I fed them , as recreational stuff , raw quail and raw turkey and they were just fine.

  • 4FootedFoodie

    Yep, I hear that! Sam is the same way. “In theory,” he should be fine with fish oil, but in reality, he’s not.

  • Dori

    Hi 4FF. Yep, the theory is that the intolerance is to the protein not the fat but that theory has been proven wrong so many times with my Katie and others. As soon as there is a whisper of a fowl (poultry,etc.) ingredient of any sort the itchy, shedding, yeasty ears and tear staining starts all over again. I remove those ingredients and she’s great again.

  • Dori

    If your dog is bothered by the change to chicken fat then I would avoid all poultry (fowl) foods. One of my girls is highly intolerant (allergic) to all things fowl. I was told that in theory (as 4FF said) should be okay because it is the protein that they are supposedly at odds with. Not true in my girls case. Katie cannot have anything at all that has any type of fowl including but not limited to chicken, chicken meal, chicken fat, all things turkey, duck, quail. I like Natures Variety Instinct as a company but I have to admit that I feed their commercial raw. I haven’t found a Natures Variety Instinct dry or canned that doesn’t include some fowl somewhere in the ingredient list.

  • 4FootedFoodie

    Hi CDogg503,

    Are you looking at the regular NVI diets?

    If not, take a look at the LIDs, they use single proteins and canola oil instead of chicken fat.

  • 4FootedFoodie

    In theory, chicken fat should be fine as the protein has been removed. Nature’s Variety has changed a lot of their recipes recently and personally, as far as ingredients are concerned, I prefer chicken fat over canola in regular diets. But, you could also take a look at the NVI LID diets. They still use canola and no chicken fat,

  • ßềȓṁṹḏǟ Ťᴙḯᴀᴎɢʟᴇ™
  • CDogg503

    Im thinking of trying turkey…What do u think of just turkey only? The rabbit one has other meat in there so that might be the problem.

  • ßềȓṁṹḏǟ Ťᴙḯᴀᴎɢʟᴇ™

    Before trying the duck formula , make sure your dog is not allergic to chicken

  • Guest

    I fed them Duck and Turkey.
    and yes the change was done recently
    They replaced the Canola Oil with chicken fat … cutting costs , I guess. As if they are not ripping us off as it is

    Thx for your wishes :)

  • Crazy4cats

    That’s weird, the above review was just done in June and it shows the duck and turkey as an example without any chicken in it. Has the recipe changed in the last couple of months? I hope you can find something that works for your dogs. Good luck!

  • ßềȓṁṹḏǟ Ťᴙḯᴀᴎɢʟᴇ™

    Instinct WAS a great
    food until they started screwing around with the ingredients and added
    chicken … an ingredient that some dogs are allergic to. My dogs
    started having ear inflammation and gunk in the ear , hot spots on
    their bodies and paws [ they lick their paws until they bleed ] and
    their hair started falling off [ not shedding ... I know the difference

    Emails to the company regarding that issue were never answered

  • Susan

    Good! Thank you! Although I don’t know anything about food sourcing in France, but it has got to be better than China.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Susan –

    Nature’s Variety used to source some of their rabbit from China and some from France, however they are now sourcing all rabbit from France.

  • Susan Malley

    I feed my dogs NV Instinct…any flavor except rabbit. I understand that the company cannot obtain the quantities needed in the U.S. and have obtained rabbit meat from China. Can you confirm?

  • Betsy Greer

    Are you using the regular formula or the limited ingredient currently?

    I’d try the limited ingredient if you aren’t already and yes, I would try the duck.

    If you like the brand otherwise, sure stick with it. I think it’s an excellent limited ingredient diet and personally, I had great success with it. The important thing is to get your pup stabilized. I kept my dog on the NVI LID Duck for about 6 weeks before exploring other foods with him.

  • CDogg503

    That’s the one…so do i stay with that brand & try like duck instead of rabbit?

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi CDogg503,

    Are you feeding the NVI LID Rabbit or the regular formula?

    I’d give one of the limited ingredient diets if you aren’t already using it and try another protein. No, the smelly, loose/informed stool isn’t normal. In the meantime, offer him some plain canned pumpkin and/or some digestive enzymes. Either way, you should look for something else to switch him to very soon.

  • CDogg503

    Yea i tried kangaroo too by California something brand…I give JoJo apples sometimes & that guy loves it..

  • sue66b

    I give Patch a couple of thin slices of Banana, if I give him banana twice a day & a bit more, he starts his itching & starts to smell like corn & yeasty, so I only give him a real little bit of banana, he comes in the kitchen when Im making breakfast & I feel so sorry for him cause he cant eat anything, so I always give a little piece of banana, but I read that Banana is a high carb fruit that converts to sugar, so its really a bad fruit for dogs with yeasty itchy skin…high carbs convert to sugars thats when dogs get their stinky itchy yeasty skin,just google foods & fruits that are high carbs & you”ll see them all, then try not to give to ur boy, You need find foods that ur boy can eat & not get itchy & not get the sloppy poo’s its hard, my vet said to try goat meat for Patch but it was too dear & a friend feeds her boy horse meat, I couldnt feed Patch horse meat,plus I wouldnt know where to buy horse meat, Have you tried Kangaroo thats suppost to be excellent for skin allergies, we have it everywhere here in Australia, is there any kibbles that are limited ingredients that have only Kangaroo as the only protein…

  • CDogg503

    The only thing i tried was boiled chicken, white rice & pumpkin…Is fruit bad for my lil dude?

  • sue66b

    Have you tried cooking for him, an elimination diet, thats the only way you’ll know what he’s really allergic too, when I started an elmination diet with Patch back in March I knew withing 2 days what food that I had added made Patch itch & his ears itch,, I give Patch Tuna In spring water drained & add about 2 tablespoons of boiled pumkin to a small tin of tuna, I was also boiling him a egg & adding the boiled egg, for breakfast, also have you tried the vet prescription kibbles I know they get a bad rap but thats what I had to do with Patch in the begining to fix his sloppy poos up & then after 6months when he was doing real well, I started new kibbles, Have you tried the “Holistic Select” Anchovys Salmon & Sardines I know It has rice but its excellent for ithcy skin, my friends Staffy was red & itchy, all the vet diets didnt work for him the Holistic Select was the only kiibble that has cleared his skin & no more scratching, she also gives him canned sardines in spring water drained…..

  • CDogg503

    My lil guy cant have grain, dairy, potatoes & yeast…was giving him taste of the wild lamb but had ear infections, licks his paws & scratches …with this food he licks his paws & poos stink & looks bad…I dont know what to give him…I also did a $550 test to see what he was allergic to but he said it wasn’t accurate …Thats the reason i went with rabbit because it was the lowest as far as meat goes…I love my JoJo so much & i have spent a lot of money to find what works for him but i always seem to not get it right…

  • sue66b

    No that’s not normal, Try & get a kibble with lower fat % & lower Protein % & see he goes…if that doesnt work see vet for test on parastites etc…also try a more limited ingredient kibble & try one without potatos being a pit bull they get itchy skin, potaoes & sweet potatos are high in carbs, Im trying the Wellness Simple Duck & Oatmeal & my boy poos are perfect at the moment the best they have been in the last 20months since I rescued him…then if his poos are still good, I’ll try the Lamb & Oatmeal its a bit higher in fat % & see how we go..

  • CDogg503

    Been giving my pitbull rabbit for the last 2 months…When my dog goes number 2 why is it still pasty (like pudding) and smells really bad…Is that normal?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Christine –

    It looks like the new “chicken” formula is a combination of chicken and turkey. I don’t see anywhere on their website where they make the claim that their raw foods only contain a single protein. The only formulas I see that advertise only using a single protein are the limited ingredient formulas. The formulas are so similar that your dog should be fine transitioning cold turkey (no pun intended lol). If you do find that he has issues, just try mixing in a spoonful of plain canned pumpkin or adding some probiotics – sometimes this can help ease a difficult transition. In the future, I would highly recommend not only rotating among the different Nature’s Variety protein offerings but also rotating in some different brands from time to time. Variety is important for health and it will also make it easier to transition in the future if something like this happens again. Here’s an article about the importance of rotation feeding written by Dr. Dodd’s:

  • Christine Chapman

    I’ve been feeding my chihuahua Natural Instinct raw chicken for 3 years now but I bought a new bag yesterday and the food looks different and my dog will not touch it. The packaging is different too but it says it contains chicken and turkey but the new ingredients on their website says they now only use a single protein. I’m confused and don’t want to go through changing his food. His stomach is very sensitive. Sounds like I am going to have to do it “cold turkey”. Does anyone know what has happened with their chicken diet?

  • theBCnut


  • Rae

    They were sourcing the rabbit in their canned and raw foods from china and the rabbit in their dry foods from France. They are now cutting ties with china and ordering all of their rabbit from France! :)

  • theBCnut

    I love Chewy!

  • Heidi Haas

    We bought it from and they are replacing it. Will see how the new bag does. If it bothers them, I’m changing food.

  • sue66b

    I’d rather my dogs meat come from New Zealand, they like Australia have very strict laws when it come to foods & animals, China on the other hand, I dont think they have many laws when it comes to their foods & live stock, Id say its cheaper to get the rabbits from China as everything in New Zealand is very dear, find a new kibble, one with similier ingredients but different companies, it mite be good to have a change, My boy has IBD & I hate my boy being on the 1 kibble, so I always have another kibble that agrees with him as well just incase something happens..

  • theBCnut

    I would take it back.

  • Heidi Haas

    I recently got a bag of dry NV Instinct Chicken and my two dogs are not wanting to eat it and have also thrown up several times.

  • theBCnut

    The rabbit in their raw and freeze dried may have come from China, but not the rabbit in the kibble, though it was never sourced from New Zealand. I have heard that they are moving away from any of their rabbit coming from China, but I don’t know how that’s going. They did just recently have an ingredient change, so maybe that’s what is causing the problem. You could try adjusting the amount of pumpkin, but after being on the same food for so long, it may be time for a change anyway.

  • Bob Smith

    I’ve had my dog on the rabbit formula for about 2 years – it helped with
    her allergies – and with chronic diarrhea (adding a little pumpkin for
    extra fiber).

    I noticed with the recent bag I opened a week ago or so the food looks different. I also notice my dog’s stools getting loose again — and then the last few days she’s had accidents in the house. It’s like old times – and I’m pretty sure it’s the new food.

    I’ve sent a note to Nature’s Variety to ask what’s going on. I’ve also read that they’re now sourcing rabbit meat from China – instead of New Zealand. I’m not sure what difference that makes — but the changes to content and potential quality of meat may be causing the issues my dog is having.

    Any thoughts?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Kibble – CJ Foods
    Canned – Simmons
    Raw – Made themselves

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi tdog –

    The Nature’s Variety reviews have already been updated to reflect the company’s recent recipe changes.

  • tdog

    Looks like the ingredients for the Rabbit formula just changed. According to their website products up to 4/26/15 have “Rabbit Meal, Salmon Meal, Tapioca, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Pumpkinseed”, and the new formula is “Rabbit Meal, Salmon Meal, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Tapioca, Rabbit”. Canola oil is #3!

  • meky6ra

    Can anyone tell me who manufactures this food?

  • Erik Wilson

    My white Pitt had a lot of ear problems and I found a good grain free really helps. Getting away from Chicken also helped.

  • Erik Wilson

    Some of the stores don’t rotate the dog or cat food. Always check the sell by date. The product you bought may have been out of date.

  • Erik Wilson

    Try Rabbit. My dogs eat the Instinct Rabbit kibble and love it.

  • Angela Primanti

    Just curious how a food like this can be rated Five Stars. By the company’s own admission ash levels in some of the foods can exceed 12% with nosebleeding levels of calcium and phosphorus. They don’t even disclose these two important items on the website for some formulas. Why do you think that is? This indicates the company uses very loq quality ingredients. Moreover, why aren’t Tapioca and Montmorillonite Clay not red items. Tapioca has the highest level of sugar of any food ingredient next to sugar cane. This food looks to be over 25% Tapioca. Tapioca is also toxic with high levels of cyanide in its natural state and in order to remove it the process exposes the starch to mycotoxins. The only reason why it is used is that it is sticky and allows the company to make food fast and cheap at a very high temperature. It has to be one of the worst ingredients used in dog or cat food. Montmorillonite Clay is nothing but a stool hardener that is used in things like cat litter and industrial cleanup products because it soaks up so much water. It seems comical that Canola Oil and ground tomatoes would be red lags when the other two are complete garbage ingredienst. Your readers deserve better science and more accurate ratings.

  • theBCnut

    Try a food that does not have any chicken in it. And stay low carb for about 9 months or more. It sounds like a yeast issue and yeast issues are frequently triggered by food intolerances. Both of the foods you were feeding are chicken based.

  • sue66

    Take him off the Instinct Chicken freeze put them on another brand & see if it clears up also take photos, that way if it clears up u can send photos to Natures Variety to pay for vet bills..Thats weird one can u put a pictures up..

  • Lisa Gonzalez

    Help, my border terriers ears, outside and inside tips are turning black. He also has moldy black on his belly. He was on science diet oral care then I switched him to instinct chicken raw, now instinct chicken freeze dried. Both he and his brother the Airdale are not itching but I’m concerned about the black moldy skin. Not sure how long it’s been. Vet says its allergies and is not encouraging of raw. The Airdale is the real allergy prone one. I am definitely not convinced the black skin is allergies. Any thoughts?

  • RKS27

    I know you posted this awhile back, but I wanted to let you know what I learned. Both of my dogs enjoy this food (though one does not like the turkey variety OR the boost varieties). My picky dog was getting bad bad gas (stinky, not painful). The place where I purchase my food suggested supplementing with a bit of raw diet because it acts as a probiotic. So I have started buying the bags with the small patties by Instinct. I give them one every day or so and the stink has ended. I actually give it to them inside of a kong when I leave the house in the mornings and so it also acts as a nice treat for them. Now the only time he gets stinky is if he helps himself to the kids snacks!

  • sue66b

    I forgot to write, my boy cant have high fiber diets, with the colitis. I know Ekanuba Intestinal has corn in it but its garentee to have stools firm within 2-3 days & the fiber is only 1.75 % its worth a try just to start getting stools firmer like I have done & now after 5months Im slowly introducing other foods… I found chicken was a no no, Flaxseed also a big no no gave my boy the rumbles & wind pain..Alot of the kibble have Flaxseed now some are ground some are not maybe that makes a difference, I dont give pumkin either too much fiber also Patch is on a probiotic Protexin..

  • LabsRawesome

    Some foods offer free samples to try. Have you looked into this?

  • sue66b

    Have u had Dixie checked for Colitis.. My boy was getting the rumbles early hours of the morning when I first rescued him 1 yr ago then there was diarrhea & blood, The vet put him on the Eukanuba Intestinal Royal Canin was crap so was S/D fiber was too high & the kibble was too hard to didest. Finally after being on the Intestinal for 2 days a normal poo no blood he’s been on this now for 5months & only cause Ive been slowley trying new foods he has gotten the rumbles with his colitis, its a very slow process thats driving me mad.. I want to try this Natures Variety LID Rabbit but I can only get the real big bag through Amazon, Im too worried that it wont agree with his tummy & bowel & at $88 its too much money to throw away..

  • Ross C.

    That is from the very high calcium content of the foods. EVO does the same thing. NV Chicken supposedly has 2.49% Calcium, that is just below the 2.50% limit. The new recommendations which will go into effect sometime in 2014 will require calcium to be no higher than 1.80% on a DM basis, so about 1.60% as fed.

  • Shin

    The ash is “montmorillonite clay” which is in the list of ingredients.

  • mabel7

    Do you know if there will be a break down of the NVLI canned food anytime soon? My little dog is getting the duck and I wondered if it was similar to the regular instinct as far as GA goes? Thank you.

  • Rottsrule

    And I forgot to mention, their breath is great on this chow :)

  • Rottsrule

    One of my rotties is a fussy eater. We tried 2 high quality chows before switching to Nature’s Variety and he now eats enthusiastically. All our dogs love it. They are all lean muscle machines with shiny coats and great digestive systems, thanks to Nature’s Variety. I would definitely recommend their chows.

  • Pam c

    Ok. Nothing to worry about then. Thanks for the reply.

  • Pattyvaughn

    It is really dark, It’s the darkest I’ve ever seen too. It has a few ingredients that can contribute to that color, the high protein, fat, tomato pomace, alfalfa, kelp, cranberries, and blueberries all contribute to the color.

  • Pam c

    Bought a 25# bag of Nature’s variety instinct rabbit meal formula. This has to be the darkest kibble I’ve ever seen. Yesterday, my sister asked me why I was feeding my dog chocolate bits. The color and appearance remind me a lot of dark chocolate.

  • go2goal

    Aside from the cost factor, we love the Instinct dry and the raw foods for our Golden Retriever and Blonde Labrador Retriever. Our golden use to develop hots posts and a skin rash in the spring….but since we’ve gone gluten free, no more hot spots or scratching problems.

    I’d feed our dogs 100% animal protein if I could get enough elk or venison or whole chickens….Instinct is the next best thing.

  • pickymom

    My American Bulldog Pickles has food allergies, after a long search I found Instinct Raw Limited Ingredient Dog Food and fell in love! Not only can Pickles enjoy a great meal she doesn’t have the ungodly gas or the runs! Actually I don’t even have to scoop poop anymore, it just crumbles back into the earth and fertilises the lawn very nice. I give it 5 stars and 3thumbs up!! Now if I could just find a coupon every once in awhile….

  • Ariana

    if i was rich i would buy it but i cant right now or if i had 2 or less pets then yeah i would get it

  • Melissaandcrew

    It won’t hurt them, but that is not what I said- If they are not allergic REQUIRING it, and you are on a limited budget, its just not necessary.

  • Ariana

    I dont see how LID will hurt a dog or cat if they ain’t allergic some of my pets have slight allergys i think they would benifet more on LID then there regular no grain food

  • Melissaandcrew

    Trust me, unless they are allergic to something they do not need it.

  • Ariana

    I want to try the LID on my cats and dogs but it will be over my budget :/

  • Pattyvaughn

    That’s what I was thinking of doing next, or maybe right after next, but his ear hasn’t cleared up completely yet so I’m waiting a bit longer first.

  • Melissaandcrew

    Try the limited ingredient rabbit. No tomato. I am feeding it right now as my kibble and even my schnauzers can handle it.

  • Pattyvaughn

    My BC that was showing symptoms of IBS at 8 weeks old has done very well since I found out he is intolerant of chicken and many grains. He gets a high protein, moderate to high fat, low carb diet and has never had a recurrance. However, when we tried NVI Rabbit, we found Micah can’t handle tomato either. I so wanted this food to work for him.

  • Mom to 3 BCs

    I have been feeding Instinct (mainly rabbit) as a training treat for some time and my 3 dogs love it. I have a 13 yr old, 65 lb female with IBS who I cook home mix with kibble, probiotics & resort to meds when her IBS is acting up. The other day I realized she still has appetite for the treat kibble when she can’t eat anything else so I tried giving her just the plain kibble for supper and she ate with gusto..This is a huge! I have struggled for years – hand feeding, cooking – all low fat and this is the first time she is excited to have her meals. This is day 3 and she is doing great.

  • Jmt1108

    My dog had been on a hypoallergenic food before this due to bad rashes and diarrhea. This is cheaper than the vet’s food and my dog loves it. We use the lamb LID along with LI lamb wet food mixed in. I love that there is also LI lamb treats so we can keep his whole diet consistent. We tried the salmon and he broke out in a rash again, so we went back to lamb. He occasionally has some stinky gas but nothing terrible. It has also given him some relatively hard poop but if we mix in some water and wet food, it’s definitely better. No matter what, every dog is an individual and finding the right food takes a lot of trial and error and patience to gradually switch each time. Nature’s variety worked for our labradoodle!

  • Karen

    Hi Peg,
    I am the original poster from above (I guess I posted as “Guest” that day, who’s dogs became very sick on the Duck and Turkey and LID Turkey mixture. Which LID food made your dog ill? When I returned mine to the store they told me no one else had complained. (I supposed that’s entirely possible though.) I check this forum a lot to see if anyone else has had similar experiences.

  • Jabberwocky

    Same thing happened to my dog. We got a free sample, he tried it and loved it. We started to slowly switch over from Authority grain free (which he seemed to like, but was bored with) and he had terrible gas and runny poop. So we just went back to Authority. I feel like he craves the grains though… he has been stealing loaves of bread off the counter lately, and he has never done anything like that before. The reason we switched to grain free was due to his terrible skin allergies in the spring time. It cleared it right away,

  • Peg

    A tip for the itchy dog – if they have a grain sensitivity they may have a yeast issue – carbs feed yeast. Do you wash your dog with an oatmeal soap-free dog shampoo? I did – bad idea for dogs with yeast issues! Try rinsing your dog in a final rinse of 50/50 white vinegar and water after their bath. Be sure to dip the feet into a cup of that too – big help with stopping the chewing of the feet pads. Good luck!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Actually, pumpkin (the canned pure stuff, not pie filling) can be used for both constipation and diarrhea. Otherwise, bang on.

  • Peg

    Instinct grain-free dog kibbles do not have potato in them. Also, fwiw – my dog also can’t tolerate white or russet potato, but can tolerate sweet potato just fine – it’s a totally different food. There is no sweet potato in Instinct grain-free either, but thought I’d mention it.

  • Peg

    Knock off the pumpkin for the dog with the runs. You give pumpkin to a dog with constipation – not as a regular food additive. Try to find a high quality dog probiotic and/or digestive enzyme to add to your dogs’ dry kibble. The probiotic should help the dog with the runs and will support both dogs’ overall immune systems and the digestive enzymes will help the dogs access as much nutrition from the food as possible.

  • Peg

    I’ve fed my 2 labs a variety of the regular grain-free Instinct kibbles and the store was out, so I bought an LID version. Terrible diarrhea, such that as soon as the regular food came in to the store I chucked the rest of the LID version. Told the store owner and he said other customers had simlar complaints. Try the regular grain-free Instinct by itself to learn if it is that or the LID or something else. Good luck!

  • lindsey

    Definately nooo problem with my puppy and their raw bites he absolutely loves them i have him on NV prarie since instinct doesnt have a puppy formula but i definately plan to keep him on NV products he also enjoys their canned food very very much he goes crazy when he sees his cans. Hes a Maltese Shih Tzu mix and hes 4 months old hes been on this food for about 2 months now and absolutely no issues at all!

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  • Susan

    I have been feeding my dogs Raw Instinct lamb and chicken for the last 1-2 months. Even though the ingredients seem really good, my dogs really seem to hate the food and they both get gas from it. Anybody else having this problem? I used to cook raw chicken or turkey from Hyvee along with veggies (carrots and zucchini) and rice (which I am not feeding them grains now) in a crock pot and then put that over 4 Health dry food from TSC (has good ingredients) but they didn’t seem to like that either. I am at my wits end trying to figure out what to feed them that is good AND that they like. Any suggestions?

  • Dude

    could be a bad batch… if you contact NV they will refund your $

  • Guest

    They have been on grain free for over a year and they have been fed other foods. It took me 8 days to switch them onto this food. Since their symptoms were not improving I took them off Friday night. Their stools cleared up almost immediately. They are still not eating quite right yet though. I am wondering if I got a bad batch of food or something. I’ve never had this happen before. It definitely has me concerned.

  • wrangler38

    If your dogs are not used to being switched around, it could cause a digestive upset if you didn’t switch gradually. Were they on a grain free food before this? If not, that definitely could be the cause. Grain free foods are going to be richer than grain inclusive foods. Switching a dogs food on a regular basis actually increases the gut flora and prevents digestive upset. So, if you stick with the grain free food then I highly recommend eventually start switching up proteins and other brands of grain free food.

  • Guest

    I switched my dogs to this food three weeks ago. (The Duck and Turkey and then I mix in a little of the LID Turkey with it). I am also feeding the duck and sweet potato treats. They are both having horrid diaharrea. I have rushed them both to the vet this week. One dog has a severe infection in her stomach and then other has completely normal bloodowork despite having bloody diaharrea daily. They do not have parasites or giardia. I am wondering if it could possibly be the food? This gets such good reviews, but even after being on medicine to stop the diaharrea they are still having it. Has anyone else had similiar experiences or know what I should try? They are also getting pumpkin and probiotic. My vet is left scratching his head, but told me not to switch foods because it is hard on their systems and I just started feeding this.

  • neal


  • Pattyvaughn

    That is what poop looks like when the dog has used almost absolutely everything in the food. It’s a good thing.

  • neal

    i am giving this to two dogs. One had extreme itching which seemed to improve but it back to bad. The weird thing is one’s poop looks fine and the other one’s are white and look like ash. what the heck is that ?

  • somebodysme

    OK well it could be any of those things even a Kong chew! Ask me how I know…HAHA! My dog is extremely allergic to bones and not only does she get the runs, she also gets a rash from them. I would definitely eliminate all those at least for a short trial. I know it’s very hard to deprive them of their favorite chews and treats but it is the ONLY way to be sure that it IS the food. It’s easy to brush off the treats as being fine when a lot of times they are the root of the problem. Another thing that my dog is severely allergic to is Elk and Deer antlers! Crazy but it’s true! I’d been giving her deer antlers for a long time blame the food on her rashes and stuff then I bought her a large elk antler and she had a severe allergic reaction to it with HIVES so only then did my eyes open that those deer antlers she’d had for all this time were also causing miner rashes because she didn’t chew them very much but each time she’d chew them is when she’d break out.

    Edit to add: I would absolutely STOP the OMH treats first thing!

  • Karen

    The only other thing they get besides food is Old Mother Hubbard treats. Otherwise, I don’t feed them anything else. Also, because for 30 lb dogs they’re pretty hardcore chewers they only get kongs and bones to play with.

  • somebodysme

    Just a thought, are your dogs getting anything else besides just food. Any chew things or treats that you are not taking into consideration? They can react to just about anything consumed. You say “a few months ago”, did you start giving them anything new a few months ago? ANYTHING, a new chew toy, some vitamins or supplements, jerky treats etc etc?

  • Karen

    A few months ago I had posted in the Fromm’s forum regarding some sudden GI issues I was having with my both my dogs. (Loose stool, bloody stool, not eating, etc.) My dogs are parasite free, etc., so even though I LOVED Fromm’s (still do) I assumed maybe they had changed their formula or something else had happened, and since then I have been on an endless search for the right food. My Rosie has definitely developed a chicken allergy and lamb doesn’t agree with either of them. Dixie cannot seem to make a solid poo for the life of her (that’s been a struggle since I rescued her a year ago). I have tried all varieties of Fromms, Earthborn Holistic, Wellness CORE and finally ended up trying the NV Duck and Turkey meal with the frozen raw duck as a topper. (They love that.) This seems to have not entirely fixed the loose stools Dixie is having, but it certainly has made an improvement and things have been better than they have been in awhile. However, I have noticed that both dogs are pooping 4-5 times a day and Dixie’s stomach just RUMBLES later at night. I am wondering if this is due to the higher fiber content and if this is something that may clear up as they adjust, or if it may be time to try another food? They do get a spoonful of pumpkin at every meal. Months of research has my head spinning. I was hoping this food would be “the one.”

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  • Pattyvaughn

    Yes, freeze dried is raw. Whenever you handle kibble in any way you should take proper precautions as if handling raw meat, not just this kibble, ANY kibble. I don’t wash dog bowls every day, but I do wash my hands every time I handle the dogs’ bowls. And you should clean and disinfect all kitchen/food handling surfaces every time too. Most of the salmonella recalls have been from kibble.

  • that1grrl

    The Turkey and Duck meal lists Freeze Dried Turkey Heart, Liver, etc at the very end of its ingredient list. I’m not familiar with this type of food processing – is it considered raw? I understand that it is overall a good practice but we all know it’s not feasible to disinfect surfaces after every single human and dog meal. I wash my hands after feeding but only wash food dishes maybe once per week and don’t disinfect the counter if a couple pieces of kibble fall. Should I be using proper sanitation procedures as if I were handling actual raw whole foods?

  • Pattyvaughn


  • Rob Teti

    Thanks for the tip! It turns out he has an intolerance to poultry. We switched to Merrick’s All beef and he is doing absolutely great.

  • cherylann

    I used to make my own dog food (Dr. Pitcairn’s recipes which were good and we did not have a gassy problem) but recently adopted a shelter puppy and decided to try Sojourners grain free freeze dried formula. Have been very happy with it…his coat is soft and shiny and no gas problems. I agree about the digestive enzymes. If nothing else, check out Dr. Pitcairn’s book as it is loaded with helpful information and advice on foods, etc.

  • trucifer

    my dog’s allergic to white potato , he gets the nature’s variety duck and turkey meal does not have potato in it,

  • joshua

    Dog food has potato, my dog has allergies…do they have a food without….

  • Rob Teti

    Great. thanks for the helpful advice!

  • Pattyvaughn

    You should see some improvement within 2 days, but it may take 2 weeks or so to see how much improvement you will get. Some dogs just need the extra help when they have had an insult to their intestines and some dogs, due to being kept on the same food for really long periods of time, have a much harder time than others adjusting to a new diet.

  • Rob Teti

    Thank you for the advice!!! I failed to mention we have a Senior Labby who has zero problems with the food. If anything, he improved when we made the switch from Blue Buffalo to NV. Which only further puzzled us as to why the RR was stinking out of our home. I will give this a try and see what happens! Any idea how long this could take to see some improvement?

  • Pattyvaughn

    I suggest digestive enzymes and probiotics no matter what you decide to feed. His system may need a little extra help for a while to get sorted out.

  • Rob Teti

    Hi, I have a 5 month male Rhodesian Ridgeback who is currently 40 pounds (he was a rescue and malnourished when we got him at 3 months). We are currently feeding him Nature’s Variety Dry and rotate from chicken to turkey / Duck. The problem is that he has NASTY gas and soft and very smelly stools. He had a water born bacteria when we got him and was treated for it. Just had him checked and the stool sample was clean. Vet thinks a change in diet is in order.
    Wondering if others have had similar results and if anyone has a suggestion for an alternative. My daughter has been using Wellness Core for a small breed and loves it

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Jessica –

    IMO – Nature’s Variety Instinct is a much better product than Blue Wilderness. However, ideally, you should be feeding a variety of high quality brands – don’t limit yourself to only feeding one brand. I no longer feed kibble, but when I did I rotated brands and protein sources after each bag (every 2 – 3 weeks). Additionally, if you can incorporate a variety of species-appropriate and moisture rich “toppers” – such as high quality canned or raw food or fresh foods such as yogurt, eggs, leftover meat, etc. – this is even better yet.

  • Gabriel Cabrera

    I was an uneducated individual when it came down to my pups nutrition so we started with the generic food (Iams, Alpo, pedigree). I switched to Royal Canine which i found out was no better. Our boxer was losing its coat at a high rate and just wasn’t looking healthy at all, scratching constantly but had no flees. His ears were always red and hot. Well turns out he is allergic to any and all grains. I was told that if any allergies to grains to go with a grass fed protein like lamb because even the grain fed protein would still end up bothering him. We switch to NVI Lamb formula about two weeks ago and the scratching has stopped by about 75% and his coat has life now. The only problem now is he waits around to see if i feed him like before which makes me wonder if he’s liking the food, but he takes one bite of the NVI Lamb and he literally licks the plate clean.

    His stool comes out solid and dry like if the body is using every bit of nutrition in the food. (just an observation)

  • Pattyvaughn

    If the food is causing him to itch, it won’t wear off quickly, he will itch for hours, possible round the clock. Have you considered adding canned or fresh foods to his meal?

  • EmilyAnn

    Hi, I am transitioning my dachshund mix from Blue Buffalo Fish and Sweet Potato to Nature’s Variety Instinct Rabbit Formula. Even with his old food, he would wait until the very last second before bed to eat – like he was holding out for something better. (He is food obsessive and is constantly hoovering the floors, looking for crumbs.) But he HATES this new food. He sniffs it and walks away. I just watched him try to eat it, and he finally gave up and walked away. The first night he ate it all up, but hasn’t wanted to touch it since then. I don’t know if it’s my imagination or not, but I feel like he might be itching after he eats, too? I noticed it has lamb in it, too – maybe it’s the lamb that disagrees with him? His stool is normal, but it’s he’s just acting weird and definitely NOT liking the new food. Any thoughts or suggestions on something else to switch him to?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    If you rotate through several different foods I really wouldn’t be concerned, NV is a great food. I used to feed it in rotation and never had any issues with it.

  • Ysabella

    We do rotate through many different foods. NV is only a small part of her food source. She also gets Orijen kibble, Merrick canned (many of the protein sources), Kirklands cuts in gravy, and any high end canned food that is on sale. I also rotate between kibble/canned and a raw Stella & Chewy’s patty with chicken livers added. Am I being too paranoid about NV? I’ve though about just mixing Orijen and Acana instead. Thank you very much for your advice Hound Dog Mom, you are always much of help to me on this forum!

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi TC-
    Wow! That is great news. It is very encouraging to me. I fed my green pooping dogs chicken/turkey, rice and sweet potato with garlic for a week. Am now slowly introducing kibble with canned back in to their diet. I switched to the classic Merrick chicken. So far, the poo looks better everyday. I just wish I knew what caused it so it won’t happen again. I was just assuming another bout of giardia. I’m not sure what else would cause that. I dont know if an ingredient intolerance would cause it. And I’m sure tired of talking about poop so much! Lol! Thanks for your help.

  • MLI3286

    German Shepherd! Also it’s the Chicken grain free kibble we use.

  • MLI3286

    Hi, I am using Nature’s Variety Intinct with my 5 month old Shepherd. I also mix her dry food with Natrure’s Variety homestyle canned food. Mostly the pork and sweet potato. I also have the Raw boost I mix in the kibble when I don’t use canned. On top of that I give her Nature’s Variety Raw venison. Should I switch products? I thought Nature’s Variety was one of the best dog foods on the market, but from what I’m reading it’s not. Our Shepherd is healthy, she has a beautiful, shiny coat(but that could be the fish oil I give her). She does scratch, she doesn’t have flees. It’s usually up by her collar though I think it bothers her sometimes. Is nature’s variety bad? Do any of you recommend switching? What’s a great dog food for a Shepherd? Thanks!

  • Mike Sagman

    Tom’s Dogs, Laura, Peter and Susan D.

    Your use of multiple identities as evidenced by your recent comments posted here from the same computer IP and email addresses is a violation of Our Commenting Policy.

    This rule clearly states:

    “…the use of multiple identities or other deceptive tactics designed to mislead readers are strictly forbidden.”

    Because you have violated this policy, your comments have been removed.

  • Betsy Greer

    Not sure how Brothers came to be part of this particular discussion, but my dogs both do great on all of the formulas of Brothers. We’re eating the White Meat right now and things, as usual are going very well.

  • Xavier

    There is a poster named sassyrules who had a very bad experience with Brothers Complete. After reading it I personally would stay away from Brothers Complete

  • Shawna

    Hi Tom’s dogs,

    More kibbled foods have been sited for bacterial contamination than raw foods so I kinda don’t see your point with that statement?

    I’m really not trying to discourage people from feeding kibble — I give recommendations for those I think are good routinely here. But rather am simply responding to a poster that made the same type of generalized statement — only supporting kibble. Three (technically long term foster dogs) of my eight dogs actually get kibble with canned and raw toppers. And when I forgot to thaw food or am in a huge rush all eight dogs have been known to get kibble. But, I have one that was born with kidney disease and feeding her kibble WILL cause an early demise. She’s been eating raw for seven or her seven years though and still un-medicated and very healthy for any dog let alone one with chronic kidney disease.

    There actually is evidence that many kibbled foods (even high end ones) are carcinogenic simply because of the extrusion and/or baking process. DVM Dr. Demian Dressler of the Dog Cancer Blog has an article about it titled “Dog Food: Is There a Cancer Risk”

    Additionally, science has proven that synthetically derived vitamins are not utilized by the body in the same fashion as those from whole foods IF they have even been replaced in the food. This may not cause an early death but it certainly won’t contribute to “optimal health”.

    Lastly, my girlfriends grandpa lived a VERY long life smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and my husbands grandma drank a whiskey just about every day and lived a very long life. Yet we certainly won’t tell people that smoking and routine consumption of alcohol is healthy…

  • Xavier

    There are 5 or 6 regulars on this website who violate the below policies all the time and never get warned.

    InkedMarie’s comment to you is not courteous or polite IMHO

    “At The Dog Food Advisor, we encourage courteous critiques, polite debate and calm disagreement.

    And we welcome your feedback — even if it doesn’t depict us in the most favorable light.

    However, we don’t allow flaming, name calling, trolling or trashing. And we don’t accommodate people with a subversive agenda.”

  • Johnandchristo

    Hi Ysabella,

    I have a 2 year 3 month old Black Lab.
    Grain free and potato free work great for him, I like Brothers Complete. Its worked great and he loves it.

  • TC

    I ended up switching her to Merrick Grain Free Duck & Sweet potato ( and her poop is back to a normal color! It’s only been a week, so it is too soon to make any proclamations, but i’m feeling optomistic. This brand was one of 5 her dermatologist recommended to me, so i gave it a try. I had previously had her parasite tested, along with blood work, and she was given a free bill of health. And clearly since a change in food resulted in a change of poop color, it is safe to say it had to have been caused by the food.

  • Shawna

    It is truly unfortunate that a dog died from eating Primal but MANY dogs have died from eating kibble too. When you consider the bacterial contaminations recently reported as well as excess vitamin D as well as the melamine incident and then of course the lack of taurine (cats and cat foods of course) the number or affected pets by kibble are in the thousands..

  • InkedMarie

    If you don’t like it here, feel free to post elsewhere. You’re welcome to stay but only speaking for myself, my posting style won’t change.

  • Tom ‘s dogs

    I agree with you. Friends dog got an infection in the stomach turned out it was from Primal dog food per lab test. He thought fresh frozen is the shc…as he read this forum. Never again, he is all back to kibble with new dog. Thanks to this forum he listed to, his dog died! Had he kept feeding kibble dog would have been fine.

  • Tom ‘s dogs

    Shawna I have a problem with generalizations like that. There are many dogs who live to be very old with just kibble and table scrabs. Canned food contains BPA, raw food can kill a dog if contaminated too much with bacteria. Why discourage people from feeding kibbles, as long as they add some fresh food here and there their dog will do fine and they use a high-end kibble,there is no real evidence that it is ‘bad’. Kibble works well for many dogs.

  • Tom ‘s dogs

    interesting, whenever someone has something else to say which is different then all the sudden they get ‘checked’ and violations are found, while the regular contributors called the vet ‘idiot’ and so on which is a violation of the policy too, interesting…same rules don’t apply to all people only those with a different opinion, regular contributors can do whatever they want. Funny in my Master Psych class I used this forum as an example of ‘Group think’. Many in my class knew this forum and noticed the same thing on here. This is the most unfriendly dog forum on the net! Then I talked to an excellent dog food company and they said too they feel unfairly treated on here. There are companies with 5 stars that had many recalls and their food makes dogs sick while others have 4 stars just beause of pea protein while they never had a recall and use only human grade ingredients USDA inspected. It makes no sense, all of it makes this advisor not credible. In addition the dog food compay ( I won’t say their name) pointed out the lack solid professional background on this forum. Probably the regular contributors are gonnna flag me and give me down-votes but I had to say it.

  • Shawna

    PS — I just read the article on systemic yeast that Aimee had mentioned.. A canine nutritionist should full well know that the digestive tract of a dog (even a toy breed) is longer than one to two feet.

    Drs Foster and Smith write about the small intestine alone being longer than one to two feet.
    “The small intestine is a tube-like structure, which extends between the stomach and large intestine. It is the longest portion of the intestinal tract and is about two and a half times the animal’s total body length. An animal twenty-four inches long would have about sixty inches of small intestine.”

    Like Aimee, that alone sends up red flags for me… :(

  • Shawna

    Hmmm, I don’t know what to think???

    It is obviously the same guy as they also discussed him being a chaplain.. So one of two things is going on — either he is lying or the data in the rip off report was fabricated to damage his reputation.. There seem to be a lot of players in the report but I suppose they could all be the same person……lord knows we see that enough here…

    Let us know if you find anything else out..

  • Cyndi

    You should try ordering it online or shop around for a better price. I used to feed that to my dog and I paid about $39.99 for a 15lb. bag or something like that. Many places have free shipping, when you order so much. has free shipping when you spend $49…

  • Elena

    I am getting a Border Collie puppy soon! I am super excited as I play to do Agility, Flyball, Dock Diving, and Obediance like my Golden Retriever. This food is crazy expencive ($80 a bag at Petco) but my Golden Loves it! And he looks fantastic!

  • sandy

    More PI work for you!

    This is baffling!

  • sandy
  • sandy

    He’s even on the Great Dane Lady site???

  • sandy

    Bummer. I reported him to the Village moderator.

  • sandy

    Excellent work!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I think both Annamaet and Nature’s Variety are great foods. In terms of the company – I think Annamaet is a much better company. Annamaet also uses all low-ash meals if ash is a concern. Personally, going by the protein content and the fact that there are no vegetable protein concentrates the fact that potato is the second ingredient wouldn’t bother me. The thing is you couldn’t really know that a food with meat meal listed as the first and second ingredient has more meat meal than a food with meat meal listed as only the first ingredient. For example, food one could have 12 lbs. chicken meal, 5 lbs. potatoes. Food two could have 6 lbs. chicken meal, 6 lbs. fish meal meal, 5 lbs potatoes. Both would have the same amount of meat meal – if that makes sense.

    Have you considered rotating foods? Rotating brands frequently helps to mitigate the shortcomings of each brand. So for example, NV doesn’t contain potato but is high ash and Annamaet does contain potato and low ash – rotating would be the perfect solution. If you do have any questions whatsoever about ingredients, meat content, etc. in Annamaet just call their customer service – they really do have some of the best customer service I’ve encountered and I’m sure they would clear up any concerns you might have.

  • Ysabella

    The only thing I have noticed about this food is the 2nd ingredient is potato, than turkey meal. Would like for the first 2 ingredients to be a meat source. Would you recommend this food over NV?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I would definitely recommend checking out Annamaet – awesome food and awesome company. Probably one of the best out there. Their customer service is great if you have any questions about the food.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Of course you do.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Check out Nature’s Logic.

  • Cyndi

    I didn’t realize they were the same person who commented above, pimping the NVI. What an idiot! And I mean that in the nicest way possible! :)

  • Ysabella

    Question about the ash content in this food? I have been feeding this to my pup for awhile now and recently have read that the ash content is extremely high. I have a 65 pound 2 year old female Golden Retriever.. However, Natures Variety Instinct isn’t her only food source. I mix Natures Variety Instinct chicken with Orijen Regional Red, topped with canned food and cooked chicken. She also gets a raw Stella & Chewy’s duck patty for dinner. I am still too afraid to make her food for her, as I don’t want it to be unbalanced. Anyways, would anyone recommend a better quality kibble besides Orijen? I have read good things about Annamaet. I know everyone says “feed what works” but I am always looking for anything better. So, what high quality kibble do/would (if you don’t feed kibble) you recommend?

  • Shawna

    Hey Sandy,
    Did you see the data Sisu pulled up on this guy.. Sounds like he’s a scam artist… :( Bummer

  • Shawna

    Thanks Sisu!!!!! Excellent detective work for sure!!!!

  • Shawna

    No, I went to the Rip Off Report Sisu discussed.. The guy in that report has used many names. BUT, towards the bottom is a comment linking the guy in the comments to the Ferrari clinical nutritionist via the pet store his is a nutritionist (supposedly) at.
    He had some interesting theories and comments in his articles but I did miss the one about the short digestive tract… Ughhh

  • Pattyvaughn

    He’s suggesting NVI, which has that DANGEROUS RAW sprayed all over it. HaHaHa!!! Not to mention that they make raw food too.

  • Pattyvaughn

    This is extremely funny that he picks the one kibble that is sprayed with raw to decide to defend!!! ROFLMAO!!!

  • aimee

    Wow! good PI work !

  • aimee

    It was in the Systemic Yeast article.

    Hard to keep up with what degrees/title are legit and which are purchased from off shore diploma mills etc. or just plain made up.

    I have also found people giving themselves legitimate degree that the person didn’t actually hold.

  • sisu

    I didn’t see any reference to where he obtained his education, CAN and MS degrees. Googled his name . Came up with this.

    The address of The Paw Depot is the same used for one of the building permits. Several aliases. Some of the complaint is about lack of construction knowledge, failure to complete the job after being paid, and failure to pay bills. Another part is about his relationship with women. Then, it goes into someone being a christian. Strange, very stange.

    Might explain why he knows so little about the canine digestive system.

  • aimee


    I don’t think that is accurate. The Hill’s name came from a cannery that started canning the original diet made by Mark Morris in 1948.

    Talked to Hill’s, no one there could verify that as there is no record of that in the company’s history.

    Since this author claims this occurred in the 40′S perhaps the Hill’s packing company sold raw horsemeat before there was any association with Mark Morris.

  • Shawna

    I read several of his articles (and skimmed through others) but missed that. What article was that in?
    I wasn’t aware there even was such a thing as a clinical animal nutritionist? Maybe there actually isn’t?

  • aimee

    Curious as to who this guy is, I clicked on an article and started to read and quickly stopped….. What the heck ! I can’t respect anything from a guy that writes “the dog’s intestinal tract is only as long as the base of it’s head to the base of it’s tail (usually one to two feet)”


    Even if he bought his “degree” from a gumball machine he should get his quarter back.

  • beaglemom

    lol, his description of green tripe in the rawfeeding article: “the smell of green tripe can be compared to that of having a rotting vulture zomby defecate the putrefying remains of the skunk it consumed, on a hot summer day. In Texas. In August. Without air conditioning. In a kitchen without windows. It can cause an Ostrich to have a gag reflex.” Gotta love a sense of humor!!

  • sandy

    Haven’t read them yet. I was trying to locate him at pugvillage and was actually trying to find out more about him and came up with that site from google. He says he’s working on his PhD right now and is writing about the pet food industry. And he’s a pug lover! Will have to read!

  • Shawna

    HOLY CRAP Sandy, did you read any of this yet? The author, a clinical pet nutritionist” writes

    “One of the first commercial raw diets came from none other than Hills! Yes, the makers of Science Diet one day believed in raw feeding! They produced a frozen, raw horse meat back inthe 1940’s that was delivered straight to your house (oh have times changed…).”
    Times certainly have changed!!
    THAKS for the reference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • sandy

    This nutritionist is based in Texas. Pretty close to me actually, and he posts at pugvillage too. He has a raw feeding certificate too.

  • sandy

    Might be some interesting articles here:

  • Mike Sagman

    Droponackt and Drjohas,

    Your use of multiple identities as evidenced by your recent comments posted here from the same computer IP address suggests you are either posing as 2 different people working together in collusion or as a single person with fraudulent intent.

    This is a violation of Our Commenting Policy which states:

    “…the use of multiple identities or other deceptive tactics designed to mislead readers are strictly forbidden.”

    The Dog Food Advisor community encourages “courteous critiques, polite debate and calm disagreement”.

    Unfortunately, your recent remarks compel me to remind you to please adhere to Our Commenting Policy which states:

    “… we delete comments that exceed the boundaries of courteous behavior. This includes remarks that are rude, profane, mean-spirited, disrespectful, lack good manners or otherwise unrelated to the topic at hand.”

    That policy also states, “In the interest of fairness, those who publicly claim to be veterinary
    professionals are kindly asked to post using their real names.”

    Posting comments in this community is a privilege. Please consider yourself duly warned.

  • Shawna

    Nobody suggested that active dogs don’t need higher protein diets. What was said is that inactive dogs don’t need a lower protein diet..

    Although I believe Nature’s Variety Instinct foods are very good kibbled foods, they are not better than a properly balanced raw diet. And for the record, NV sprays “raw” foods onto their kibbles as well as makes a complete and balanced raw food line.

  • Cyndi

    I’d LOVE to hear what kind of dog food YOU recommend!

  • Crazy4cats

    I know this post was written a while ago, but wondering if you are still around and if you have found a cause or a solution? I too have recently have had this problem, but am not feeding nature’s variety. I was introducing salmon Nutrisca to them. Their stools are dark green and usually firm unless they get excited or exercise and then they are a little loose. I assumed they were having another bout of giardia as they came with that awful parasite when puppies and have struggled to get rid of it ever since. I did not have another fecal test done. Did you? I am currently feeding them a whole food, high fiber diet with garlic and probiotics. Their stools are getting back to normal. I’m going to reintroduce kibble to see what happens. Not sure if it was food or parasites. Wondering what your final solution was.

  • Shawna

    I agree that people who don’t know what they are doing shouldn’t try to undertake a “homemade” raw food diet but there are MANY complete and balanced raw food diets on the market..

    And yes, for many reasons kibble is typically the worst form of food we can feed our pets. We’d enjoy debating it further if you care to…

    Here’s a starting point for the debate — there are eight known forms of vitamin E in whole, unprocessed foods (varying by food of course). They are alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherols and alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienols. They add back the natural form of one, d-alpha tocopherol or the synthetic form of the same dl-alpha tocopherol. And they are now utilizing “mixed” tocopherols — not sure which of the four are used, maybe all of them. But you NEVER see any tocotrienols added back to processed foods. Yet, science has discovered that it is one of the tocotrienols that is the main cancer fighter of the E group.. I’m sure all four are required to sustain “optimal” health.

  • sandy

    Can’t wait to come back and read HDM’s response! I guess he’s not a holistic or integrative vet. I wonder how many courses s/he took?

  • beaglemom

    You are a very rude vet then, and seem to be posting with multiple identities (drjohas?). You are free to express your opinion, and so are the rest of us. Properly prepared (keyword: properly) raw diets have proven to be extremely beneficial to many many dogs and cats, and not even you can deny that.

  • Drjohas

    try nature’s variety line–its extremely good food with no grains–try the fish diet. outstanding product and dont listen to these hacks who suggest active dogs dont need protein-high diets or that kibble is a bad form of food–this is extremely irresponsible “advice”–DO NOT feed your dog some raw diet–they are dangerous.

  • droponoackt

    suggesting kibble is the worst FORM of food available is an irresponsible lie. it’s actually the best form of food available. raw diets are often dangerous and most people dont know how to make them, and many dogs have died on raw diets.
    people with little-no experience other than personal experience with their own dogs should shut up with the advice.

    -im a vet and understand dog food diets!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    The NV raw bites would make a great kibble topper. NV has good freeze-dried and canned products as well. My personal favorite raw food brands are Answer’s and Aunt Jeni’s. My favorite canned foods are Nature’s Logic, ZiwiPeak, Tripett, Nature’s Variety Instinct and Addiction. If you’re just using the raw as a topper to a balanced kibble you could also look into “grinds,” they would be cheaper than a complete and balanced raw – grinds are generally around 80% muscle meat, 10% organ meat and 10% bone some are also available with added vegetables/fruits. Grinds aren’t intended as a complete and balanced meal but can be used as a base for a homemade raw diet or as a mix in for a balanced commercial food. I generally recommend keeping extras to 20% or less of the meal in order to not throw off the nutritional balance of the kibble, however in the case of grinds (assuming they have muscle meat, organ meat and bone present in the proper proportions) I feel it’s acceptable for the grind to comprise up to 50% of the diet. Primal and Bravo make some good grinds and Hare Today and My Pet Carnivore have some great products as well (they ship, fairly reasonably shipping rates as far as frozen raw goes).

  • Raf

    Thank you Hound Dog Mom so much for that information! I was really hoping that you would reply. I have been following your comments throughout the site and trying to piece together what I needed but it was information overload. I think I want to try to do a mix of kibble and raw. And maybe eventually go all raw. I don’t really have the time to do home cooked so do you recommend any particular raw food brand to include freeze dried and canned? I bought a pack of the Natures Variety raw bits last night as a topper for the kibble.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Raf –

    If you want to feed “the best food possible” you’ll have to look at options other than kibble as kibble is actually the worst food possible. A raw diet is ideal and home cooked, canned and dehdyrated foods would be the next best options. If rather than “the best food” possible you’re looking for the best kibble possible, then Nature’s Variety Instinct would be a great choice. Also – pet food store workers generally know little to nothing about proper nutrition, so be cautious about taking their advice.

    It’s completely false that only active dogs require a high protein diet. In fact, as activity level increases (such as with working dogs) the absolute dietary protein requirements of the dog as a percentage of calories only change minimally. What changes with an increase in activity level is either carbohydrate requirements (sprint athletes – think racing grey hounds – require higher levels of carbohydrates) or fat requirements (endurance athletes – think sled dogs – require higher fat levels).

    All dogs should eat a diet high in animal-derived protein – dogs are facultative carnivores after all. High levels of dietary protein are actually beneficial to less active dogs as protein (along with carbohdyrates) are the least calorie-dense nutrient and less active dogs require less calories than more active dogs. I would recommend feeding a food at least30% dietary protein. You want the majority of protein to be derived from animal sources because plant protein is not a species-appropriate form of protein for a carnivore.

    Orijen, Pinnacle, Zignature and Nature’s Variety are all good foods. You should never pick just one food. No food is perfect and it’s important to rotate foods to mitigate the shortcomings of each brand, to maintain a healthy and diverse population of microflora in the gut and to provide yourself with alternatives in the event of a recall or formula change. Now would be a great time to start your dog on a rotation feeding program. I recommend switching foods after every bag. The first few switches you may need to do a gradual transition (canned pumpkin and/or probiotics can help if your dog experienced loose stools) but once your dog gets accustomed to eating a variety of foods you won’t need to transition at all. My two girls eat something different at each meal and the protein levels in their diet range from 45% – 55%.

    Hope this helps.

  • Raf

    I am currently looking to change my dog food from Castor and Pollux to something else due to my dog losing interest and I want to make sure I am feeding them the best food possible. I have a 3 year old Silky Terrier and a 2 month old Beagle. I went to my local pet food store with the intention of buying Natures Variety but they mentioned that this brand has a high protein content and is better suited for very active dogs. They said I could just feed less to compensate but I would rather not have to go through all that. So I have a few questions. What is a good protein percentage for an average dog? Why are foods such as Taste of the Wild rated a litter lower because the meat content isn’t that high and is combined with plant protein? Is plant protein not as nutritious? I have been researching everything from Orijen, Pinnacle, Zignature and a few others but I can’t decide. Anyone have any comments or suggestions? Thanks!!

  • SH

    One of my two dogs as ‘hunter green’ semi firm poop too! My other dog is fine… He always has had this issue since switching to Instinct Chicken. We go through 1 25lb bag each week and it does not come and go like yours does.

  • InkedMarie

    I thought you meant dry food, hopefully my question makes sense now. Moot question since you meant raw!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    What do you mean by the rabbit being “too rich”? When most people refer to a food as being “rich” it means high in fat – the raw rabbit less fat than the raw chicken and the rabbit and chicken kibbles have the same amount fo fat so I don’t see how rotating between the two would change the “richness.”

  • Angela

    I am not understanding the question, but the protein is frozen, I use the large bags that are patties. I take them out about three hours before I use them and stick them in the refrigerator before I feed them. The dry dog food I keep in containers. So when I buy dog food I buy 3-4 frozen and the same in dry, making easier to rotate the food daily.

  • TC

    My dog has been on the chicken formula for about 18 months with no major problems (aside from occasional diarrhea), when all of a sudden in late April a new bag I bought turned her poop dark green (would describe as “hunter” green). Otherwise she was acting fine, but it clearly wasn’t normal, so after several consultations with a good friend who is a vet, and a trip to our local vet (all of which resulted in a clean bill of health), we concluded it had to be the food. I contacted the manufacturer and they said they had received no other reports of this and there were no recalls to know of. I threw the bag out, and got another bag – and everything went back to normal (so must have been the food). A month later, it’s time for another bag (which the company sent me a voucher for), and again my god’s poop was green! I kept feeding it to her because otherwise she was acting normal, and figured it must just be a bad batch… Well yet another bag later and her poop is STILL dark green! And she’s now constantly having the runs. Anyone else heard of this? I know she has allergies, just not sure what exactly – never had her tested for food allergies, only the environmental ones – grass, weeds, wool, bugs, etc. Is it possible she’s developed an allergy to something in the food? What else would explain the dark green color? Thanks!

  • InkedMarie

    Oh geez. Ignore me, I’m wy too tired.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I think she is talking about the raw medallions, but it still didn’t really make sense to me. I have never had a problem with any food being “too rich” that was OK to feed my dogs at all. I used to have a pancreatitis dog that all high fat foods were “too rich” but never as a rotation issue.

  • InkedMarie

    This doesn’t make sense, to use a new protein by day. Unless you have alot of dogs, how can you keep the food fresh, unless you buy smll bags?