NVC Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

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NVC Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The NVC product line includes six 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.

  • NVC Canine Maintenance (3.5 stars) [M]
  • NVC Canine Balanced Lamb and Brown Rice [A]
  • NVC Canine Balanced Salmon and Brown Rice [A]
  • NVC Canine Balanced Chicken and Brown Rice [A]
  • NVC Canine Lean Chicken and Brown Rice (3 stars) [M]
  • NVC Puppy Balanced Chicken and Brown Rice (4.5 stars) [G]

NVC Canine Balanced Lamb and Brown Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

NVC Canine Balanced Lamb and Brown Rice

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 49%

Ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, ground grain sorghum, oat groats, canola oil, millet, menhaden fish meal, dried plain beet pulp, potato product, tomato pomace, natural flavor, whole ground flaxseed, monosodium phosphate, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, lecithin, chicken cartilage, dl-methionine, potassium chloride, l-lysine, choline chloride, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, cranberry, Yucca schidigera extract, fructooligosaccharide (FOS), glucosamine HCL, calcium carbonate, vitamin E supplement, mineral oil, ascorbic acid, niacin supplement, organic dried kelp, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A acetate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, iron sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, selenium, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%16%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%33%43%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 43%

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

The second ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The third ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

The fourth ingredient includes oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.

The fifth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The sixth ingredient is millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.

The seventh ingredient is menhaden fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.

This item is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.2

The eighth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

The ninth ingredient is potato product, a dried residue of the potato processing industry primarily consisting of potato pieces, peelings and culls.

With the exception of perhaps its caloric content and a small amount of protein, potato product is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.3

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, 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.

Next, 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.

In addition, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener4 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

Next, although we can’t be certain, mineral oil is apparently used in this recipe as a stool softener.

However, the inclusion of this additive can be controversial. That’s because the European Food Safety Authority has expressed some concern as to the long term health effects of using mineral oil in human food.5

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.

NVC Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, NVC 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 28%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 49%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the mild protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

NVC Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of lamb, chicken or salmon meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 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.

A Final Word

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

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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.

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Notes and Updates

08/01/2016 Last Update

  1. As of 8/1/2016
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  3. Dried Potato Product
  4. Wikipedia definition
  5. EFSA News Story dated 6/12/2012