Northwest Natural Freeze-Dried Nuggets receives the Advisor’s second highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Diets product line includes three dehydrated raw 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.
- Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Beef Nuggets
- Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Lamb Nuggets
- Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Chicken Nuggets
Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Beef Nuggets was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Nuggets Beef
Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef, beef heart, beef liver, ground beef bone, broccoli, carrots, beef kidney, romaine lettuce, apples, ground flaxseed, salmon oil, apple cider vinegar, blueberry, cranberry, inulin, dried kelp, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, ginger, parsley, garlic, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, vitamin E supplement, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, mixed tocopherols (as preservative), vitamin D supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 7.1%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||43%||36%||13%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||30%||61%||9%|
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 ground beef bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.
The fifth item is broccoli. Broccoli is a healthy green vegetable and a member of the kale family. It’s notably rich in vitamin C and fiber and numerous other nutrients.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is believed to provide potent anti-cancer benefits.
The sixth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh ingredient is beef kidney, an organ meat low in fat and rich in protein and essential minerals.
The eighth item is romaine lettuce. This green leafy vegetable is naturally rich in vitamins and minerals. In fact, lettuce boasts an exceptionally high nutrient Completeness Score2 of 88.
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 four notable exceptions…
First, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.3
However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).
Next, 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.
Thirdly, this recipe includes fish oil. Fish 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, fish oil should be considered a quality 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.
Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw looks to be an above-average 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 43% and a mean fat level of 36%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 13% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 83%.
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 dehydrated food containing a significant amount of meat.
However, with 61% of the total calories in this food coming from fat as compared to just 30% from protein, it would be inappropriate to award this product a higher rating.
Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Diets is a meat-based dehydrated raw dog food using a notable amount of beef, lamb or chicken as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
However, those desiring a lower fat content for their pet’s diet may wish to look elsewhere for a different product.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
02/22/2012 Original review
12/31/2012 Review updated
12/31/2012 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Completeness Score is a measure of a food’s relative nutrient content and is computed by NutritionData.com from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference ↩
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005) ↩