Pronature Holistic Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Pronature Holistic Grain Free product line includes three dry dog food, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Pronature Holistic Grain Free Asiato
- Pronature Holistic Grain Free Nordiko
- Pronature Holistic Grain Free Mediterranea
Pronature Holistic Grain Free Asiato was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Pronature Holistic Grain Free Asiato
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Menhaden fish meal, whitefish, lentils, sweet potatoes, vegetable oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), tapioca, salmon meal, natural flavor, flaxseed, pea fiber, carrots, coconut, dried kelp, minerals [calcium carbonate, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate], vitamins [alpha-tocopherol acetate (a source of vitamin E), nicotinic acid, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, cholecalciferol (a source of vitamin D3), thiamine mononitrate, biotin, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid], monosodium phosphate, choline chloride, spearmint, ginger, shiitake mushroom, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), Yucca schidigera extract, dried papaya, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||22%||37%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||44%||30%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is menhaden fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.
Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.
This item is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
The second 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 third ingredient includes lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fourth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The fifth ingredient is vegetable oil, a generic oil of unknown origin. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in any oil is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).
Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of an item so vaguely described. However, compared to a named animal fat, a generic vegetable oil cannot be considered a quality ingredient.
The sixth ingredient is tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The seventh ingredient is salmon meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
After the natural flavor, we find flaxseed, 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.
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, we find pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.
Next, we note the inclusion of coconut. Depending upon the quality of the raw material, coconut is rich in medium chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.2
Because of its proven safety3 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.
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.
Pronature Holistic Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Pronature Holistic Grain Free 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 33% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 36% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the lentils and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
Pronature Holistic Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of fish or poultry meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 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.
Pronature Dog Food
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A Final Word
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The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.
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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.
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Notes and Updates
09/24/2015 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
- Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754 ↩
- Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9. ↩