Red Barn Naturals dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Red Barn Naturals product line includes three dog food rolls. Since we could not locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these products on the Red Barn website, we’re unable to report life stage recommendations.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Red Barn Naturals Beef Recipe
- Red Barn Naturals Lamb and Rice Recipe
- Red Barn Naturals Chicken and Liver Recipe
Red Barn Naturals Beef Recipe dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Red Barn Naturals Beef
Rolled Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef, beef lungs, beef liver, wheat flour, egg product, sucrose, flax seed, salt, dicalcium phosphate, natural smoke flavor, calcium chloride, sunflower oil, dextrose, citric acid, potassium chloride, choline chloride, rosemary, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate, iron sulfate, selenium supplement, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganous oxide, vitamin A acetate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, D-activated animal sterol (source of vitamin D3), ethylene diamine dihydriodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.6%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||25%||9%||59%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||20%||56%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient lists beef lung. Beef lung is an organ meat high in protein and low in fat.
The third ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient is wheat flour. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.
The fifth item is egg product, an unspecified (wet or dry?) form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The sixth ingredient is sucrose, a common sweetener better known as table sugar. Sugar is always an unwelcome addition to any dog food. Because of its high glycemic index, it can unfavorably impact the blood glucose level of most animals soon after it’s eaten.
The seventh ingredient is 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 two notable exceptions…
First, sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3′s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
Red Barn Naturals Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Red Barn Naturals looks to be an average rolled 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 24% and a mean fat level of 10%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 58% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical rolled dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flax meal, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Red Barn Dog Food appears to be a carbohydrate-based rolled product using a moderate amount of beef, chicken or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.
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.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
09/27/2011 Original review
03/26/2013 Review updated
03/26/2013 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩