Pronature Holistic Dog Food earns the Advisor’s second tier rating of 4 stars.
The Pronature Holistic Dog Food product line includes 4 kibbles. Although each formulation appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we found no AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the Pronature website.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Pronature Holistic Puppy All Breeds Growth Chicken and Sweet Potato
- Pronature Holistic Adult All Breeds Skin and Coat Atlantic Salmonand Brown Rice
- Pronature Holistic Adult All Breeds Indoor/Outdoor Turkey and Cranberries
- Pronature Holistic Senior All Breeds Mature or Less Active Oceanic Whitefish and Wild Rice
Pronature Holistic Adult All Breeds Turkey and Cranberries was selected to represent the others 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 dried potatoes, a dehydrated item usually made from the by-products of potato processing. Compared to cornmeal, dried potatoes contain slightly more protein.
The fifth 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 sixth ingredient mentions 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.
After the cranberries, we find 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 white rice, a less nutritious form of rice in which the grain’s healthier outer layer has been removed.
The tenth 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 four notable exceptions…
First, chicory root is naturally rich in inulin, a starchy 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.
Next, the yeast extract mentioned here is most likely used here as a flavor enhancer.
However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in this ingredient can be controversial.
That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration has 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.
We’re undecided about this issue and only call your attention here to the controversy.
Thirdly, apple and tomato pomace are controversial ingredients, 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 and tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
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 to be a near-average kibble.
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 25% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 60%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Pronature Holistic Dog Food is a plant-based dry kibble using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Those looking for a grain free version of this product may wish to visit our review of Pronature Holistic Grain Free Dog Food.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
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Notes and Updates
03/20/2012 Original review
04/01/2012 Last update
04/01/2012 Last Update