Simply Natural Grain Free (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★½☆

Simply Natural Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Simply Natural Grain Free product line includes two dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

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

  • Simply Natural Grain Free Chicken and Vegetable
  • Simply Natural Grain Free Beef and Vegetable (3.5 stars)

Simply Natural Grain Free Chicken and Vegetable Recipe was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Simply Natural Grain Free Chicken and Vegetable Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 50%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, garbanzo beans, peas, pea flour, tapioca flour, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, vegetables (carrots, bell pepper, celery, tomato, garlic, parsley, spinach), flax seed (source of omega 3), salt, potassium chloride, vitamins (choline chloride, a-tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, folic acid), minerals (zinc sulfate, zinc amino acid chelate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, manganese amino acid chelate, copper sulfate, copper amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate), kelp meal, rosemary extract, sage extract, pineapple stem (source of bromelain), papain, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis26%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%13%50%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%29%45%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (pulse) family of vegetables.

Garbanzos contain about 22% protein, something which must be considered when evaluating the total protein reported in this food.

The fourth ingredient is 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.

The fifth ingredient is pea flour, a powder made from roasted yellow peas. Pea flour contains as much as 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is tapioca flour, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The seventh 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.

After the natural flavor, we find a series of vegetables including:

  • Carrots
  • Bell pepper
  • Celery
  • Tomato
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Spinach

The next 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 three notable exceptions

First, we’d like to note that garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.1

However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).

Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

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.

Simply Natural Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Simply Natural Grain Free 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 29%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 50%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the garbanzo beans, pea products and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Simply Natural Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken or beef as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

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.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

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Notes and Updates

06/09/2014 Last Update

  1. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)
  • Jensea

    We’ve been using it and its been fine but I’m switching back to Canidae. If you read the serving suggestions, it requires giving 1-2 cups more compared to other above averàge or recommended pet foods. That tends to be costly because you are having to give more.

  • Johnandchristo

    Hi Christine S

    Very cute dogs. The black lab looks like a pup. They are both beautiful. I really love black labs, does he swim?

  • Christine S

    I just put my two boys on it. (11 yr. Pit) and (9 yr. Lab) Due to my Pit’s dual knee surgeries, he was on Hill’s Rx r/d formula. He has been on it for 5 plus years and being that it was expensive I thought it was time to move him to it. So now we have been using the Simply Natural Dry…
    Currently they are on 50% 50% of both of them until they are completely used to it. Once I get them 100% on this brand completely, I will post my feedback. 
    But so far, they love it.

  • Lobaluna

    This brand is handle by Breeders,  same people of Avoderm and others.   I know this after calling the number on the bag to ask why there is so little info about Simply Natural available online.   The person that answered told me Breeders obtained that brand and decided to discontinue it.   They suggest I tried the new Avo Revolving brand.   I returned the bag to the store because I didnt want to start my dogs in a food brand that I couldn’t continue.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZOHT6ZZJUDBYNJDVMFQM6KVOWU TheyCallUsMonmouth

    Whoever uses this, could you please write your experience with it or if there were problems? I’m thinking of switching to it due to its conservative price.