Pronature Holistic Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Pronature Holistic product line includes five dry dog foods.
Although each appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we were unable to find AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product’s web page.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Pronature Holistic Adult Turkey and Cranberries
- Pronature Holistic Adult Grain Free Duck a l’Orange (4.5 stars)
- Pronature Holistic Puppy Chicken and Sweet Potato (4.5 stars)
- Pronature Holistic Senior Oceanic Whitefish and Wild Rice (2 stars)
- Pronature Holistic Adult Atlantic Salmon and Brown Rice (3.5 stars)
Pronature Holistic Adult Turkey and Cranberries was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Pronature Holistic Adult All Breeds Indoor/Outdoor Turkey & Cranberries
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Turkey, chicken meal, brown rice, dried potato products, pearled barley, oat groats, dried cranberries, rice, chicken fat naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols, herring meal, peas, dried egg product, natural chicken flavor, dried apple pomace, dried tomato pomace, whole flaxseed, calcium carbonate, lecithin, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, yeast extract, ferrous sulfate, taurine, dried chicory root (a source of inulin), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), zinc oxide, alpha tocopherol acetate (a source of vitamin E), Yucca schidigera extract, crab and shrimp meal, New Zealand green mussels, sea cucumber, manganous oxide, nicotinic acid, D calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, vitamin A supplement, cholecalciferol (a source of vitamin D3), thiamine mononitrate, biotin, organic dried blueberries, organic dried pineapple, organic ginger, organic quinoa, organic anise seed, organic dried seaweed meal, organic dehydrated alfalfa meal, organic green tea extract, organic dried rosemary, organic dried parsley, organic dried spearmint, organic turmeric, organic dried thyme, organic cinnamon, organic dried spinach, organic dried broccoli, organic dried cauliflower, zinc proteinate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, cobalt carbonate, copper proteinate, folic acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||16%||50%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||33%||44%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey 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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third 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 fourth 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.1
The fifth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth 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 seventh ingredient includes cranberries, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.
The eighth ingredient is rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.
The ninth 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.
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 we find 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.
Next, this recipe includes apple and tomato pomace, by-products remaining after processing apples and tomatoes into juice, and other popular human foods (like soup and ketchup).
Many praise pomaces for their high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn them as inexpensive pet food fillers.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough apple or tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
In addition, 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.
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.
We also note the inclusion of 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.
Next, this recipe contains yeast extract, 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 ago2, 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 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.
Pronature Holistic Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Pronature Holistic 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.
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 peas, flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Pronature Holistic Dog Food 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.
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
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Notes and Updates
04/04/2015 Last Update