Perfectly Natural Dog (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

Perfectly Natural Dog receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Perfectly Natural Dog product line includes three dry dog foods, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one for growth (puppies).

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

  • Perfectly Natural Dog Adult Formula
  • Perfectly Natural Dog Senior Formula (3.5 stars)
  • Perfectly Natural Dog Puppy Formula (4.5 stars)

Perfectly Natural Dog Adult Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Perfectly Natural Dog Adult Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 45%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, white rice, barley, chicken fat (preserved with natural mixed tocopherols), white fish, potato, yeast culture, oats, fish oil (preserved with natural mixed tocopherols), flaxseed meal, egg, sea salt, dried kelp, potassium chloride, dried peas, dried carrots, dried cranberry, dried tomato, natural flavors, chicory root, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, inulin, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, choline chloride, Yucca schidigera extract, vitamin E supplement, biotin, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, riboflavin, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese oxide, selenium yeast, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis26%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%18%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%37%39%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 39%

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

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 white rice, a less nutritious form of rice in which the grain’s healthier outer layer has been removed.

The fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.

The fifth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

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

The sixth ingredient is whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast. Although it is a quality item, raw fish 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 seventh ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The eighth ingredient is yeast culture. Although yeast culture is high in B-vitamins and protein, it can also be used as a probiotic to aid in digestion.

The ninth ingredient includes oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary 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 six notable exceptions

First, 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.

Next, chicory root 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 note the inclusion of flaxseed meal, one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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, this food contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

We also note the inclusion of dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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.

Perfectly Natural Dog
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Perfectly Natural Dog appears to be an above-average dry dog food.

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 29%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

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

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

Bottom line?

Perfectly Natural Dog is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source 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.

Perfectly Natural 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.

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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

09/01/2015 Last Update

  • Pitlove

    No, I have not talked to any of the reps about the change since I wasn’t aware of it. Next time I see our Purina rep I’ll find out if Purina was the one who decided on a formula change. Or if he doesn’t know, if he can find out for me.

    It’s true that formula changes can cause GI upset in sensitive dogs. I’ve been seeing this a lot with the new “USA” Orijen and Acana formulas. A lot of dogs not responding well to them at all. Sounds like your boy could highly benefit from some good probiotics. I’ve used kefir in the past for my dogs and it worked very well.

  • T. Wand

    Just curious, did they say why they were changing the classic formula? Also, have you read any of the reviews on Amazon?

    Seems like it may be causing some intestinal disturbances. My boy has a sensitive stomach to begin with, so I have to be careful, in addition to his being a senior.

    I loved merrick dog food.

  • Pitlove

    I think there is a misunderstanding about the buyout truthfully. From my understanding based on my interaction with many reps including a Purina and Merrick one (I work for an independently owned pet store), Purina invested in Merrick to help them grow and changes made have nothing to do with Purina. Merrick is still operating its own kitchens in Texas and is still calling the shots.

    Hope this helps

  • T. Wand

    Thank you so much.

    I agree about the Merrick/Purina merge. They’ve already changed the classic food. Very disappointing. My pups did well on this food. I stocked up on as many bags of “old formula” as I could. But I can’t find any more now, so I have to find something.

    My past experience with Purina is what lead me to Merrick. I won’t buy anything Purina makes.

    Thanks for the advice! I’ll keep it in mind as I slowly transition my boy to a new food.

  • T. Wand

    I will call them. But my past experience with Purina has me running scared. I probably won’t stick with Merrick. Disappointing.

  • bojangles

    Hi T. Wand,

    I’m so sorry sorry you lost one of your pups 🙁 My sincerest condolences.

    So much of Merrick’s formulas could change and you’d never know it. The ingredient list could even stay the same.

    They could drastically lower the quality of each and every ingredient so that each formula costs only a fraction of what it used to cost before the Purina buyout.

    We could cross our fingers and hope that Purina leaves Merrick alone or we could acknowledge what usually happens when a conglomerate buys out a smaller successful company.

    Quality goes down and profits go up!

    Whatever food you choose please do a slow transition from the old to the new. Your guy is 16 years old so I would start with 10% of the new food for a couple of days and then go up another 10% on the new food every couple of days until you reach 100%.

    If he vomits I would stop the new food immediately, If he gets diarrhea and it lasts for more than 24 hours, I would stop the new food.

    I hope everything goes well for you and your teenager 🙂

  • Pitlove

    Thanks. I would contact Merrick directly and ask about the changes. As far as I know they are still running their own kitchens.

    Also their grain-free lines seem to be unchanged. Perhaps you could switch to the same formula in grain-free?

  • T. Wand

    Thank you, and thanks for the advice! Greatly appreciated.

  • T. Wand

    I saw the info on Amazon, and I think under the merrick classic reviews.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Oh, I’m so sorry. It’s so hard to lose them. :'(

    If they are still doing fine on the Merrick formulas, I would keep them on them. If you feel really uncomfortable, you could try Fromm, Earthborn, Canidae, Wellness or Acana (to name a few) to transition them to. Try to pick a formula that closely matches what you are currently feeding them in protein source, protein level and fat level and try a slow transition.

    The other thing about trying another food is that if there is a formula change or they have any issues with the Merrick, you have a backup. Good luck with your pups!

  • Pitlove

    I’ve heard nothing about a change in formulation for Merrick. Could you post a link to that?

  • T. Wand

    I would love to keep him on the same food, but Purina bought merrick and they’re changing the formula. I don’t trust Purina anything. I started mixing their food with a small amount of baby food meats, ( Chicken or beef.) when my 14 1/2 year old shep/husky mix got a little finicky. They both loved it so I stuck with it. Just lost my sweet girl two weeks ago. :'(

  • Crazy4dogs

    Good for him and you! If he is doing well at 16, I would probably leave him on whatever he is eating. You could try slowly incorporating a small amount of fresh food into his diet.

  • T. Wand

    Thanks. My dog is used to the higher protein. But given his age of 16, I hate to have to play around with his food. The search continues….

  • Crazy4dogs

    I looked at the formulas on their website. My guess would be that the protein in the senior formula is low.

    The protein and fat G/A for adult is 26/16
    The protein and fat G/A for senior is 22/8

    The most important thing is if it works for your dog. I prefer higher protein and in general senior dogs need more protein to prevent muscle atrophy. But if your dog isn’t used to a higher protein, it might take a while to transition.

  • T. Wand

    Just wondering why the senior formula got 3.5 stars. I’m currently looking for a new food since Purina bought Merrick. Thanks!

  • Pattyvaughn

    This review is for the Adult, Puppy, and Senior. Dr. Mike just picks one to be representative when discussing ingredients. Adult got 4 stars, as did Puppy. Senior got 3.

  • Dessie Russell

    Do you think you could do a review of the adult dog formula as well?

  • Hey Jonathan… Thanks for the tip. I’ll get on this soon.

  • Jonathan

    Hey Mike, check out the new recipe from their website. you will see a few differences… most notable, the elimination of beet pulp and the change of the fish meal to non-meal white fish. Also, salt was changed to sea salt. Nothing huge, just an FYI. 🙂

    Oh and on the actual bags of the product, both the Puppy and the Adult have an AAFCO “all life stages” statement, and the Mature has an “adult maintenance” AAFCO statement.

    We haven’t sold a ton of it yet, but the few people that have started their dogs on this food are pretty happy with it so far… especially the price. $37.99 for 30lb makes it a bargain compared to most 4 star food prices.

  • Jonathan

    Just got this food in today. I took a sample bag home to Sadie and mixed it with her Royal Canin-Earthborn-Pro Pac mixture she’s been chowing on and she went right after it! Then again, this is the same big dumb lab that ate a piece of brick. I think she will eat anything that isn’t bigger than her head.

  • Hi Jonathan… You’re right. I’ve corrected the brewers rice to white rice. But am still awaiting an updated ingredients list form the company. Thanks for the tip.

  • Jonathan

    Cool! My store will be getting this food in maybe next week. It’s going to be priced between Pro Pac and Blue around 39.99. Should do well. I did notice your ingredients list shows brewer’s rice instead of the white rice you note in the ingredient descriptions. I know that the company is changing the brewer’s rice to white rice, but the current discrepancy may confuse someone.

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