Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Dog Food (Dry)


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 with Pumpkin and Parsley
  • Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Chicken with Pumpkin and Parsley
  • Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Lamb and Cod with Pumpkin and Parsley

Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Chicken with Pumpkin and Parsley was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Only Natural Pet MaxMeat Chicken with Pumpkin and Parsley

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 indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis34%20%NA
Dry Matter Basis42%24%26%
Calorie Weighted Basis33%47%21%
Protein = 33% | Fat = 47% | Carbs = 21%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After dehydrating, 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 next two items include chicken liver and chicken heart. These are organ meats sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component. These items are also inclusive of water.

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 four 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.

In addition, yeast extract is the common name for a broad group of products made by removing the cell wall from the yeast organism.

A significant number of these ingredients are added as specialized nutritional supplements while others are used as flavor enhancers.

However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in a minority of yeast extracts can be controversial.

That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration designated these food additives to be safe decades ago1, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.

So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.

In any case, since the label reveals little about the the actual type of yeast extract included in any recipe, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this ingredient.

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.

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 meat-based 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.

Only Natural Pet 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.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is dependent upon the quality of the data a company chooses to publish.

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.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

Notes and Updates

01/24/2016 Last Update

  1. L-Glutamic Acid, FDA Select Committee on GRAS Substances
  • Ingrid

    The problem with vegetable glycerin isn’t where it’s made, it’s what process it’s coming from. In the past, all glycerin derived from soap making and was mostly neutral– nowadays it can also derive from biofuel processing. That means it has methanol(wood alcohol) in it– a flammable, POISONOUS liquid used in making formaldehyde. Unfortunately there’s no law that says dog food companies have to state on their label from which type of processing the vegetable glycerin comes from. Isn’t that nice?

  • Maria Perilli

    The same thing just happened to me and now when I call all it says is the mailbox is full…WTF. What company did you switch to?

  • theBCnut

    My suggestion would be for you to figure out how many calories your dog is currently eating and feed half the calories from kibble and half from Max Meat.

  • Katrina Joy Ehrgott

    Hey so I want to feed me westie half max meat and half kibble. She eats less than half a cup each meal. How much max meat vs kibble should I feed? I don’t want to over feed her. Any suggestions?

  • Katrina Joy Ehrgott

    Yes its perfect as a treat and much less expensive if you look at the bulk of a meal you get compared to regular treat’s

  • Randy

    Just a heads up. I have been using Only Natural Pets for about 4 years, and something has happened to the management of that company. They have been missing my “automatic orders” and when I call to find out what happened, they don’t answer, nor do they respond to emails. This last time the order was missed it was because I had to change the number on my credit card. I had an email that said the shipment was on the way, but it really was not. When I finally did get a hold of them asking where the dog food was,( I was almost out) they said they could not process my credit card and they were “too busy” to notify me of such. Huh?
    So any way, we processed it with the new number and then last night they told me they had to back order it, and provided no expected time of delivery,
    If you pay premium prices for dog food you should expect good service. These guys are in the weeds. I cancelled my order and I am moving on to another vendor. One that has a clue about customer service

  • intheknow4sure

    I have been using the maxmeat Lamb & Cod for several years after switching from Real Meat Lamb. I have 2 poodles around 6 pounds so would purchase the 10 pound bags. After about a third of the second bag was left I used a birthday coupon on ONP to order another 10 lb bag as it has an incredibly long shelf life. Problem is I had noted my dogs had lost their zest for the food. They would pick at it so the third bag sits because they wouldn’t finish the second. Don’t know what happened to turn them off and I did try to give them a break from it by rotation of fromm surf & turf. It seems the morsels are hard yet it says glycerine in the ingredients.

  • JckDupp

    I’ve fed Real Meat to my Bichon
    for three years now.
    Never a problem. I recently went to the 10 pound bag since I found myself ordering the 2 pound a bit too often. They like all the food products, and I’m on the waiting list for the new Turkey food at White Dog Bone’s website. I use the Real Meat for grazing. Put it down in the morning, if they feel like breakfast, fine. If they want to wait until later in the day, it’s still there for them, but they always get around to finishing their daily portions. I don’t trust “Treats” of any kind or any brand, so I order human grade jerkies from a butcher in Michigan called “Dublin Jerky” and use those for treats. I prepare main meals once a day.
    Actully I’d been looking around to find something to compete with Real Meat, and came across Maxmeat.
    Opened a bag for them this morning. Think I’m gonna have to keep it under lock and key.

  • Constanza

    What is the phosphorus level in a 10 lb dog serving of Lamb & Cod Maxmeat?
    The texture of this food can be inconsistent. My Pomeranians, Biggles and Newt LOVE the jerky-like texture, but will NOT eat the harder, pellet type. I contacted ONP regarding this. They said the recipe was recently changed to the Jerky-type and that their inventory is mixed. The 10 lb bag inventory is now 100% new (Jerky) type. Nice upsell, ONP. I got a big bag when it was 25% off!
    Biggles has Kidney Disease numbers which spiked horribly after Dental Cleaning Surgery. Daily sub-q fluids and pureed food for 6 wks brought the Creatinine and BUN back down and his appetite and energy level back up. I don’t (and he doesn’t) want the KD food. He needs high quality, easily digested protein-he is not end stage CKD.
    **The pellet type does NOT soften when wet. The jerky type is perfect!

  • Dog_Obsessed

    I agree with what C4D said. If you are practicing already-known commands, (such as sit) in low-stimulus environments, (such as home) then using kibble that your dog does not usually get can be a good option. This food would certainly be a good choice for that purpose.

  • Rhonda

    Great suggestions. Thank you!

  • Crazy4dogs

    I found that my dogs don’t respond as well to kibble as to really interesting treats, but it might work. What I’ve done,if the class is scheduled near a normal feeding time (a lot of classes are in the early evening) is feed half the normal meal portion prior to class on training class day. This leaves the dog having been fed, but still a bit hungry so they focus on the treats.

    I tend to use super interesting healthy treats like lungs, liver, fresh boiled chicken, all natural hot dogs (naturally preserved in celery juice). Sometimes I mix a bit of kibble in the sack because the kibble will pick up the scent & flavor of the fresh food. I find the more scent, the better the dog responds to you rather than all the distractions that are going on around them. I also cut them in very tiny pieces since once the dog isn’t hungry anymore the attention span is usually gone.

    I wouldn’t add water to the kibble. If you add water to the kibble, you will generally just get muck in your training bag as the kibble just breaks down like cereal would.

  • Marietta

    Yes, this could be used as a treat. Even picky dogs like mine love it. I don’t think it would absorb water.

  • Rhonda

    Wondering if this food would be a good option to use as treats? We’re about to start training classes and I’m sure we’ll go through lots of treats… potentially a whole meal’s worth at each weekly session, plus practicing in between. Perhaps this would actually replace a meal rather than over-stuffing?

    Has anyone tried adding water to these to create a softer, more chewy texture? Thanks in advance for your feedback!!

  • Yojill33

    I just decided to switch my two westies over to Real Meat air dried. They just don’t like frozen Stellas or Primal. They even turn their noses up at the freeze dried! After talking to the rep at Real Meat regarding the Vegetable glycerin coming from the Philippines I am now having second thoughts. Is anyone else feeding Real Meat? and if you are what are your experiences with it?

  • Samson

    Just in case anyone reads this: I just switched from Acana Regionals (for 2.5 good, good years!) to Only Natural Pet Canine PowerFoods (I use all three, the Fish Feast, Poultry Feast, and Red Meat Feast, as I believe in variety and rotation for my boy) and it has been very very awesome, amazing results. Acana Regionals are superpremium dog foods that are among the absolute best, there is no disputing that, but they’re at $90 a bag for the 28.5lb. size now, they’ve just priced themselves out of contention… I buy a years supply at a time and usually buy 1 bag of all 4 Acana Regionals when I would shop- it’s getting over $300 and closer to $400 an order now, just ridiculous, I LOVE my Blue Heeler but *there is a limit to what you can spend*, they just keep jacking up the prices and they have done so CONSISTENTLY since I started on Acana in 2012. Well I discovered Only Natural Pet by accident and decided to give them a try, and went with the 4.5lb sample sizes of all 3 foods. They have been outstanding, truly awesome foods, I would never knock Acana but they’re at least AS GOOD. And a lot more reasonable priced, which in my opinion, if you can get the same quality or perhaps even better, for a lot less money, you have to consider that a huge plus. I just ordered a supply of these fine foods and highly recommend anyone looking for them to try. It’s amazing, the fish food SMELLS LIKE FRESH FISH! and the Poultry blend smells like chicken! This could be my new long long term food solution, because as I Said, Acana just priced themselves away from my business. Only Natural Pet Canine PowerFoods = highly highly recommended.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Ya beat me to it. 😉

  • Bobby dog

    Hi tdog:
    Here’s a form to request a review for a dog food.

  • tdog

    Can you review

    Only Natural Pet Canine PowerFood Dry Dog Food, their kibble brand? It looks pretty decent (35% protein 18% fat)….

  • 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.

    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

    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.

    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.

  • 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.

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