Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Only Natural Pet MaxMeat product line lists three air-dried dog foods.

However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.

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

  • Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Beef Morsels
  • Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Chicken Morsels
  • Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Lamb and Cod Morsels

Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Chicken Morsels was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Chicken Morsels

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 42% | Fat = 24% | Carbs = 26%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken liver, chicken heart, pumpkin, inulin (from chicory), vegetable glycerin, ground chicken bone, choline chloride, kelp, parsley, rosemary, sea salt, betaine, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E supplement), pomegranate, zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E, yeast extract, iron proteinate, selenium yeast, copper sulfate, nicotinic acid, calcium pantothenate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, manganous oxide, vitamin D3 supplement, ethylenediamine dihydriodide (source of iodine), riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis34%20%NA
Dry Matter Basis42%24%26%
Calorie Weighted Basis33%47%21%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The third ingredient is chicken 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 fourth ingredient is pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene and dietary fiber.

The fifth ingredient is 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.

The sixth ingredient is vegetable glycerine. Glycerine is used in the food industry as a natural sweetener and as a humectant to help preserve the moisture content of a product.

The seventh ingredient is ground chicken bone, an excellent source of natural calcium.

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 three notable exceptions

First, betaine is a supplement known for its ability to protect cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental damage. A growing body of evidence seems to suggest betaine may be important for the prevention of chronic disease.

Next, this recipe includes selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

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.

Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Only Natural Pet MaxMeat 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 42%, a fat level of 24% and estimated carbohydrates of about 26%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 42% and a mean fat level of 24%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 25% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Only Natural Pet MaxMeat is a grain free air-dried dog food using a significant amount of chicken, beef, or lamb and cod as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically 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.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

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

07/24/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Heather Hawk

    I’ve got a call in as they have changed ingredients. They did take glycerin out for awhile. Without the glycerin it was horribly hard and chunky. I think there may be other changes, so I am waiting to hear. At first my dog did amazing on this food, but now his skin and ears are going crazy and he is drinking and peeing non-stop. Vet has checked him out numerous times and run lots of tests, but no issues. Changing foods today.

  • Yojill33

    Hi all,
    Have a question.. I have been feeding my two westies Ziwi-Peak vension for 4 weeks now. Before that they ate Stella and Chewys freeze -dried but suddenly stopped liking it…. My problem is they both have soft, sometimes very loose stools on the Ziwi-Peak. Although, they love it. I was thinking that either the protein is to high or the fat is to high for their digestive system…Im thinking on trying the Venison/Fish food from Ziwi because it has a different protein fat ratio.. I do add pro-biotics and have just recently added enzymes. I was looking into the Real Meat Chicken air dried because it seems to have a lower fat content at least If I am reading it correctly! Any help would be appreciated.. I am having to clean their bums every time they poop now…

  • zhiba

    It’s good to hear your opinion. For me, my dog did no better on ziwipeak, so I can’t justify the price difference for air-dried food. :) Another thing I don’t like is that ziwipeak uses a soy-based lecithin.
    http://www.ziwipeak.com/frequently-asked-questions/what-type-of-lecithin-is-use/

    I am one who likes to include pureed fruits and vegetables in my dog’s diet (usually homemade), so I don’t mind the pomegranate. There is some research that pomegranate is beneficial
    http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/04/01/pomegranate-extract.aspx

    When I want a more “pure” food, I rotate in Vital Essentials.

  • Kim Millard

    I qualified my ZP reference with terms like “think” and “probably” but I’m still excited about the ONP product and it’s Real Meat Co. equivalent. ZP has just a slightly higher meat % and they avoid the use of vegetable glycerin (which I frankly don’t have a problem with but some people do.) Also, again while I don’t necessarily look at it negatively, of what possible use is pomegranate to a dog???

    You are correct that the lamb is also New Zealand sourced while the free-range chicken and beef are grown domestically. I’m sure that good domestically sourced lamb is probably available but New Zealand has plenty of sheep to spare.

  • zhiba

    I’m curious about your comparison between this and ziwipeak, what do you think makes one better? One thing I didn’t like with ziwipeak was the greasy texture.

    And, I don’t have the bag in front of me, but I’m pretty sure RMC sources the lamb from New Zealand too.

  • Kim Millard

    Checked around some health food stores and with reps at Whole Foods, as long as it’s labeled “vegetable glycerine” it’s all good. Vegetable glycerine is completely inert nutritionally and it helps retain moisture in the morsels.

  • Kim Millard

    After 3 weeks, I’m going to give this product a solid A. There’s just so much to like about this product and their Real Meat equivalents. First off, unlike dry extruded baked kibble, the morsels are air dried and are moist and chewy. In order to save some money, I mixed the initial serving of ONP Lamb & Cod with a top-rated kibble (Orijen 6 Fish). Although my dogs have no problem with eating the Orijen, they picked through the mix to get at the ONP morsels leaving the Orijen kibble on the floor around their feeding dish. Still think Ziwi Peak is probably the superior product among air-dried/freeze drive raw alternative type “kibble,” but you’re also definitely going to pay more for the Ziwi Peak and their meat is sourced an Ocean away while the free-range meats in ONP are domestically sourced. After ZP however, compared to other products in the “Dry” category, it’s no contest. Just by their nature, an air-dried raw alternative type food is simply a superior product to conventional oven-baked kibble. (I still think Orijen reigns supreme in that category.)

  • Caroline Capobianco

    thank you. That’s very helpful. I thought glycerin was equivalent to added sugar.

  • zhiba

    Glycerin can be bad if it comes from biofuel production.
    http://www.petfoodindustry.com/PrintPage.aspx?id=45418

    I contacted The Real Meat Company, who makes the food for Only Natural Pet, and this is the response –

    “We use the human grade USP, and is considered natural. Although the descriptions of the types of glycerin we use do not sound all that great these are what are considered natural by Whole Foods and others. They process is saponification with caustic soda. The glycerin is derived from Palm from the South Pacific region.

    Natural Glycerin is pretty benign and does have some good effects, however there is that bio-diesel product out there and it can be confusing and I am sure there are some out there that would use it in pet food but not us.

    Since we do not use sugars or preservatives we add glycerin and inulin in the product to help prevent molding and retain a little bit of moisture. Glycerin and Inulin bind moisture like sugar without affecting blood sugar or contributing to yeast growth.”

  • Kim Millard

    Received the shipment today and it looks promising. The product is moister and more pliable/chewier than regular dry extruded kibble and are cut into little rounded strips like jerky instead of kibble tablets. Gave some to my girls and my nephews miniature dachshund first thing and they scarfed them right down so taste is definitely not going to be an issue with them.

    I checked into vegetable glycerin on the net and at a local health food store and as long as it specifically states “vegetable glycerin” instead of just plain old generic glycerin, then there should be no issue. I asked at local health food store about VG and the manager there advised its used in the natural soaps they sell as a moisturizer but is completely non-toxic and totally inert if swallowed. If these people who make it their life and to study nutrition say that its safe and non-toxic, then I trust them. Also, Mike Sagaman has not counted vegetable glycerin as even being a controversial ingredient on this site, another reason I am not overly concerned.

    As far as how the animals do after extended feeding on this product, well, I’ll need a few more weeks to complete that assessment, but so far so good.

  • Caroline Capobianco

    Please do. I’ve considered trying this but I really don’t like that it has vegetable glycerin in it.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hope it works out. Very cute pups!

  • Kim Millard

    I ordered a 10-pound bag of the Lamb and Cod formula this week from Pet Food Direct after getting sticker shock from Ziwi Peak’s escalating prices. This appears to be a high-quality more cost-effective alternative to ZP and I look forward to posting the results from using this product in the near future.

  • zhiba

    I’ve been meaning to chime in that this food is nearly identical to the Real Meat Company’s air dried food. Whereas this one has a lamb + cod formula, real meat has plain lamb.

    Real Meat also has a freeze dried line, which I’ve been waiting for reviews here.

    http://www.realmeatpet.com/food.htm

  • ohnoesaz

    To update my previous post; According to a customer service rep, the meats do not come from China. I don’t have the email anymore, but it was basically lamb from NZ and everything else for the US/Canada.
    They did not comment on the rest of the ingredients.

  • ohnoesaz

    Does anyone know if Only Natural Pet sources any ingredients from China?? I can’t find it on their site… My dogs started eating their MaxMeat brand tonight.

  • pd

    Thanks for doing the review on this–I’ve been feeding it for a while as a raw alternative when traveling.  Similar poo size to raw.  :)

    Pretty similar to Ziwi Peak, but larger “nuggets” and a little chewier–more like a jerky.  -I- think the Ziwi Peak smells better, but my hounds prefer the stinkier ONP MaxMeat.

  • Dave’s Hounds

    I will try this food. Looks good and I like the air dried concept.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    This food looks like it’d be a great alternative to ZiwiPeak. Same air-dried concept, similar protein levels, but a quite a bit cheaper. ZiwiPeak is selling for $13.64/lb. on their site, while Only Natural Pet is selling this for $7.65/lb. The only major differences I see in terms of ingredients is that this food includes pumpkin and pomegranate (which isn’t a bad thing – imo) while ZiwiPeak doesn’t have any fruits or vegetables. I guess the only potential negatives would be this food contains yeast extract and vegetable glycerine, but that probably wouldn’t be an issue for most people.