Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Northwest Naturals product line includes four freeze-dried raw recipes, 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
- Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Lamb
- Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Chicken
- Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Chicken and Salmon
Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Beef recipe was selected to represent the other products 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, beef kidney, broccoli, carrots, apples, romaine lettuce, ground flaxseed, fish 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) = 6.3%
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 ingredient is beef kidney, an organ meat low in fat and rich in protein and essential minerals.
The sixth ingredient 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 anti-cancer benefits.
The seventh ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The eighth ingredient lists apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in 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, flaxseed is 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.
Next, 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 commendable addition.
In addition, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.
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, 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.2
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).
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 Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Dog Food looks like an above-average raw 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 50% and a mean fat level of 34%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 8% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 68%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a raw product containing a significant amount of meat.
Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried is a meat-based dry dog food using a generous amount of named meats and organs as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
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
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Notes and Updates
07/31/2014 Last Update