Simply Nourish Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Simply Nourish Grain Free product line includes four 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 Grain Free Adult
- Simply Nourish Grain Free Puppy
- Simply Nourish Grain Free Large Breed Adult
- Simply Nourish Grain Free Adult Small Breed
Simply Nourish Grain Free Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Simply Nourish Grain Free Adult
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, dried peas, dried potatoes, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), flaxseed, tomato pomace, natural flavors, salt, dried chicory root, dried carrots, dried spinach, dried sweet potatoes, dried pumpkin, dried blueberries, choline chloride, minerals (zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite), calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-polyphosphate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, vitamin D supplement, vitamin B12 supplement), dried chicken cartilage, potassium chloride, l-carnitine
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.7%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||30%||18%||44%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||26%||37%||38%|
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 dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.
However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The fourth ingredient is dried potato, a dehydrated item usually made from the by-products of potato processing. In most cases, dried potato can contain about 10% dry matter protein which can affect our estimate of the total meat content of this recipe.
The fifth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because some worry that canola oil is made from rapeseed, a genetically modified (GMO) raw material.
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 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.
The seventh 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 salt (also known as sodium chloride). Salt is a common additive in many dog foods. That’s because sodium is a necessary mineral for all animals — including humans.
However, since the actual amount of salt added to this recipe isn’t disclosed on the list of ingredients, it’s impossible to judge the nutritional value of this item.
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 chicory root. Chicory 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, chicken cartilage is a source of both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate — natural substances believed to support joint health.
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 Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Simply Nourish Grain Free looks like an above-average dry 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 30% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the dried peas, dried potatoes and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble still containing a moderate amount of meat.
Simply Nourish Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken and chicken meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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
06/16/2013 Original review
12/29/2013 Review updated
12/29/2013 Last Update