Simply Nourish Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Simply Nourish Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Simply Nourish product line includes 15 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.

  • Simply Nourish Adult Chicken and Brown Rice
  • Simply Nourish Healthy Weight Adult (3.5 stars)
  • Simply Nourish Healthy Weight Large Breed Adult
  • Simply Nourish Healthy Weight Small Breed Adult
  • Simply Nourish Adult Limited Ingredient Lamb and Pea
  • Simply Nourish Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice (5 stars)
  • Simply Nourish Senior Chicken and Brown Rice (2.5 stars)
  • Simply Nourish Large Breed Adult Chicken and Brown Rice
  • Simply Nourish Small Breed Adult Chicken and Brown Rice
  • Simply Nourish Large Breed Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice
  • Simply Nourish Adult Limited Ingredient Sweet Potato and Salmon
  • Simply Nourish Senior Limited Ingredient Sweet Potato and Salmon
  • Simply Nourish Small Breed Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice (5 stars)
  • Simply Nourish Small Breed Senior Chicken and Brown Rice (3.5 stars)
  • Simply Nourish Puppy Limited Ingredient Sweet Potato and Salmon (5 stars)

Simply Nourish Small Breed Adult Chicken and Brown Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Simply Nourish Small Breed Adult Chicken and Brown Rice

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 29% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 45%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal (source of glucosamine and chondroitin), oatmeal, brown rice, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato pomace, natural flavor, flaxseed, dried chicory root, dried carrots, dried spinach, dried sweet potatoes, dried pumpkin, dried blueberries, salt, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-polyphosphate (source of ascorbic acid), niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, vitamin D supplement, vitamin B12 supplement), minerals (zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, calcium carbonate, sodium selenite), potassium chloride, choline chloride

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis26%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis29%18%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%37%39%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 39%

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 oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The sixth ingredient is tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

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, 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.

Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

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.

Simply Nourish Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Simply Nourish 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 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Simply Nourish is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of poultry, fish or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly 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.

Simply Nourish Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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A Final Word

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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.

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Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

01/21/2016 Last Update

  • H Smith

    I never bother writing reviews but this has got me pretty angry! We’ve been feeding our dog this type of food for the past 6 months, we thought we’d read all of the reviews (they seemed to suggest it was a good dog food) and to be honest it’s never easy finding a food that’s okay for our little guy. He was fine on this for months but more recently he has gone off of his food, fussy we initially thought, but after a while I thought I’d double check this website and saw all of the reviews about bugs! However, since they were dating back months and we hadn’t noticed anything in his food thus far I purchased another bag of this food yesterday and have just opened it to find it full of flying bugs – Indian Moths (which look more like a fly than a moth). I am so angry that this company think it’s okay to continue to produce bags of this food that contain bugs – it’s not like it’s only just happened (seems to have been going on for years). How can this company think it’s okay to allow bugs to continue to appear in dog food? Surely it’s starting in the factory if it’s being seen so widespread? I’m disgusted with the response that people seem to be getting from the company, we won’t be buying any of this brand again!

  • Heather

    I just bought a bag from Pet smart. Get it home and its full of bugs. All Pet smart will do so far is return money and coupons.

  • Judy Presler

    also when you change a dog or cats food to another.. you must mix the one that you are changing to the new one… if not your dog with get upset stomach and diarrhea. my dog eats the grain free simply nourish for adult dogs no problem with bugs.

  • Carolyn Lambert

    I have been feeding this for little over two months the last bad had bugs in the bottom and it had some pieces of other dog food in it not sure what kind of dog food but was shapes like friskies cat food. I decided to feed this because of its review and the fact that my one dog is allergic to fish and feathers

  • Antoinette Rodrigues

    I prefer to pass on “Science Diet”, thank you very much! Research with your own mind is your best alternative, which many people do. If you research ingredients in Science Diet, “Natural” makes more sense, as is also true for human diets! Homeopathic medicine is a business, as is Science Diet!!