Nutrience Natural (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Nutrience Natural Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Nutrience Natural product line includes 11 dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Nutrience Natural Healthy Puppy [G]
  • Nutrience Natural Healthy Senior (4 stars) [M]
  • Nutrience Natural Healthy Weight (4 stars) [M]
  • Nutrience Natural Healthy Adult Seven Fish Medley [M]
  • Nutrience Natural Healthy Puppy Small Breed (5 stars) [G]
  • Nutrience Natural Healthy Adult Lamb & Duck (4 stars) [M]
  • Nutrience Natural Healthy Weight Small Breed (4 stars) [M]
  • Nutrience Natural Healthy Adult Small Breed Lamb & Duck [M]
  • Nutrience Natural Healthy Adult Small Breed Seven Fish Medley [M]
  • Nutrience Natural Healthy Adult Turkey, Chicken & Herring (4 stars) [M]
  • Nutrience Natural Healthy Adult Small Breed Turkey, Chicken & Herring [M]

Nutrience Natural Healthy Adult Small Breed Lamb & Duck was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nutrience Natural Healthy Adult Small Breed Lamb and Duck

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 19% | Carbs = 43%

Ingredients: Deboned lamb, lamb meal, steel-cut oats, green peas, sweet potatoes, lentils, duck fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), deboned duck, sun-cured alfalfa meal, tapioca, natural lamb flavour, salmon oil (source of DHA), coconut oil, pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots, spinach, broccoli, apples, pears, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranate, juniper berry extract, ginger, fennel, green tea extract, peppermint leaf, licorice extract, turmeric, vitamins [vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin A supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, inositol, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid], minerals [zinc oxide, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, ferrous sulfate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganese oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], potassium chloride, dl-methionine, lecithin, l-lysine, choline chloride, chicory root extract, dried kelp, yeast extract, salt, glucosamine hydrochloride, taurine, rosemary extract, chondroitin sulphate, l-carnitine, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus helveticus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium longum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis27%17%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%19%43%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%39%36%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 39% | Carbs = 36%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb 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 lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

The third ingredient includes oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

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

The sixth ingredient includes lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient is duck fat. Duck fat is obtained from rendering duck, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Duck fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, duck fat is actually a quality ingredient.

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

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With four notable exceptions

First, we find salmon oil. 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.

Next, we note the inclusion of chicory root. Chicory 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.

In addition, we find coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.

Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.1

Because of its proven safety2 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.

And lastly, this food 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.

Nutrience Natural Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nutrience Natural 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 30%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 43%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 61%.

Near-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, lentils and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble still containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nutrience Natural is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

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.

Nutrience Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

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

Notes and Updates

06/07/2017 Last Update

  1. Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754
  2. Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9.
  • Shauna Johnstone

    Do you know if I can find, d this in the US yet? It used to be, then it wasn’t. My dog loves this food.

  • Andrew

    They have just come out with Nutrience Infusion which I believe is replacing the “Natural” line. Will be watching for a review of Infusion. This is a great Canadian company with an ethical approach.

  • Amy S

    According to the website, they only carry 2 varieties now, chicken and fish
    http://www.nutrience.com/dog/nutrience-natural/dry-food/

  • Tessa Lai Sang

    Can you please review “Watch and Grow”? It is also called “WAG”

  • Storm’s Mom

    Hmm, interesting that there are only 2 formulae listed in this review. Here in Canada, we have the following Nutrience Natural varieties (as per nutrience.ca):

    Healthy Adult Turkey, Chicken and Herring
    Healthy Adult Six Fish Medley
    Healthy Adult Lamb & Duck
    Healthy Adult Small Breed Turkey, Chicken and Herring
    Healthy Adult Small Breed Six Fish Medley
    Healthy Adult Small Breed Lamb & Duck

    ..and then the Turkey, Chicken and Herring is also available in Puppy, Puppy Small Breed, Senior, Healthy Weight, and Healthy Weight Small Breed.

    Interestingly, the Senior formula has the highest amount of protein of the lot! ..not something normally seen with Senior dog foods! The Healthy Weight only has 24% protein on a GA basis, so probably not 4.5 stars..

    I must say I’m actually pleasantly surprised that this line gets 4.5 stars, though! I was thinking it would be 4 stars at most.

    Anyway, Storm’s currently on the Healthy Adult Lamb & Duck and doing very well on it! I plan to try the Six Fish Medley …and the GF Fish is already firmly in our rotation.