Three Dog Bakery Bake to Nature (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★½☆

Three Dog Bakery Bake to Nature Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Three Dog Bakery Bake to Nature product line includes four dry dog foods, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one for growth (puppies).

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

  • Bake to Nature Chicken Recipe Adult
  • Bake to Nature Fish and Sweet Potato Adult
  • Bake to Nature Chicken Recipe Puppy (4 stars)
  • Bake to Nature Chicken Recipe Healthy Weight Adult (2.5 stars)

Three Dog Bakery Bake to Nature Chicken Recipe Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Three Dog Bakery Bake to Nature Chicken Recipe Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 25% | Fat = 11% | Carbs = 56%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, ground barley, rice, rice bran, flaxseed, egg, alfalfa meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, choline chloride, potassium chloride, tomato pomace, taurine, carrots, spinach, apples, blueberries, chicory root extract, garlic, Yucca schidigera extract, green tea extract, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, beta carotene)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.7%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis22%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis25%11%56%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%26%51%

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 barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient is rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.

The sixth ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.

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.

The eighth ingredient is eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The ninth ingredient is alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

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 four notable exceptions

First, 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.

Next, 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.

In addition, 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).

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.

Three Dog Bakery Bake to Nature Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Three Dog Bakery Bake to Nature 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 25%, a fat level of 11% and estimated carbohydrates of about 56%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 25% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 55% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

Below-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 flaxseed and alfalfa meal, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Three Dog Bakery Bake to Nature is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken or fish meals 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.

Special Alert

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

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.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

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

Notes and Updates

05/18/2014 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)
  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VANJDSC3QOFVIW25NUS2TUGESU Lora

    My dogs use to eat the three dog bakery food (Lamb) until about 2 yrs ago they changed the formula. When i called they said they didn’t change anything, but i’m not blind i could see it was a different color. Now to the point when they changed it my male started to puke also, so they did something to the food. Now they eat Fromms grain free. I have read soooo mannyy dog food reviews and ingredents that i just bout lost my mind lol.

  • Amber

    You should be able to order their food online. I always use threedogindy.com

  • Seahorsestamper

    Started my dogs on bakery blend adult and all their itching and ear infections went away…but now can’t find the product in stores previously found at Walmart and whole foods. My poor dogs are back to itchiness and ear problems.

  • Allen

     Have you tried California Natural dog food? It’s just a good quality basic dog food with no additives. All ingredients come from the USA and not China too. This is what I am using with my Labs and have good results. And it’s not too expensive either.

  • melissa

     hounddogmom12-

    I really think it depends on the dog. When I went from Purina to a higher quality food, I had the same result-firm, darker and small. However, that was not the case for one of my dobes. To this day, she can only eat certain foods with out having large stinky “cow patty” poo. It seems that most of the richer grain frees causes issues for her. If only life were easy, lol.

  • melissa

    Goldeagle502-

    There is a difference between human grade foods and feeding them human food. Your vet is referring to actual human cooked meals(although not all are bad imo) Not all foods agree with every dog, and holistic or not will not make a difference if the food is not “for” your dog.

    If within your budget, I would suggest trying the Champion Acana brand(either grain inclusive or grain free) I have put dogs on this ‘cold turkey” and have never had a stool problem.

  • hounddogmom12

    That’s strange, when I first switched from Purina to a higher quality kibble I saw a drastic reduction in stool volume and frequency. I’ve since switched to raw and my dogs have gone from eliminating 3 – 4 times a day (large smelly stools) to once a day (very small, firm, dark stools that don’t seem to smell as bad).

  • Goldeagle502

    We got a bag of Three Dog Bakery for our bulldog. He has thrown up 3x since eating it. I’m not knocking any dog food company out there but now agree with the Vet. They are seeing just as many problems with the all natural, holistic, etc. – They say do not give pets human food yet most dog foods today say human grade ingredients.
    Dog food companies are knocking each other. Our dog was doing good on Eukanuba but now were afraid to feed him anything. Any dog food you try to research says something bad. Not only that when our dog eats foods containing beet pulp he’s great. Now we are having a hard time finding a good food with beet pulp. We refuse to buy anything made by Diamond pet foods. But I now agree with the Vet – The all natural, holistic is causing some animals problems. And no he has never recommended any food from his office. He said try Nutro but were to afraid to because if you read up on it everyone says their dogs are sick eating it. But we have tried every holistic brand out there and his stools went from firm and not smelly to very loose and smelly on the holistic.
    Need to find a good basic dog food.

  • Pingback: All Different Dog Food Brands & Types | My Blog

  • Cherie

    Mike ,
    Do you have rating for Three bakery  bakery Blend dog food?

  • Anonymous

    I started mixing the Bake to Nature Chicken dog food with my Emily’s Iams last night intending to switch her to the Bake to Nature food.  She is a six year old lab. She had two massive seizures today.  She had a seizure several years ago, and the vet had advised putting her on a grain-free diet.  I stuck with grain-free foods pretty religiously for a while, but had begun to experiment with other high quality dog foods in the last year or so.  I am stunned that she has had two such severe seizures again.  My neighbors use Bake to Nature for their dogs and love it, and the other two dogs in the house have had no problems.  Could Emily have grain allergies that are severe enough to have been triggered by Bake to Nature Chicken when she had been doing fine on Iams, or was this purely coincidental?  

  • Anonymous

    I started mixing the Bake to Nature Chicken dog food with my Emily’s Iams last night intending to switch her to the Bake to Nature food.  She is a six year old lab. She had two massive seizures today.  She had a seizure several years ago, and the vet had advised putting her on a grain-free diet.  I stuck with grain-free foods pretty religiously for a while, but had begun to experiment with other high quality dog foods in the last year or so.  I am stunned that she has had two such severe seizures again.  My neighbors use Bake to Nature for their dogs and love it, and the other two dogs in the house have had no problems.  Could Emily have grain allergies that are severe enough to have been triggered by Bake to Nature Chicken when she had been doing fine on Iams, or was this purely coincidental?  

  • http://brotherscomplete.com Richard Darlington

    Shameless
    I have placed a call to the microbiologist who invented this process to see if I can get you some data. I have not personally run the tests but know that they’ve been run because the encapsulated probiotics are used on other animal feeds…and only recently on dog food. The rumor is that this is due to the diligence and persistence of one dog food manufacturer in particular…but it’s just a rumor.

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Richard – You write about “the common practice, we have discussed before, where probiotics are simply sprayed on the exterior of the kibble and are then activated prematurely by the moisture in the kibble and are dead by the time the dog ingests them (or the lab tests them as is the case in this article where there could not find strains listed as present).”

    Will you provide an example of a lab test on Brothers Complete dog food so that we readers can see how your probiotics are listed as actual contents in the food? Also, how long after production date is the kibble sent to the lab for these tests?

  • http://www.whosyourvet.com Sandi

    Richard, I’d like to point out this study was done by J. Scott Weese and Luis Arroyo 2003 March; 44(3): 212–215
    Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1.

    Technology does change as seen in this article: New probiotic production method tested by researchers in Germany
    http://www.petfoodindustry.com/7623.html

    As noted on Brothers Grain Free
    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/brothers-complete-grain-free-dog-food/

    “I finally got the president and inventor on the phone and wore him down over an hour long conversation and he revealed the truth. So now I must adjust the Brothers Document I wrote and posted on the Brothers site to reflect my new awareness.”

    We’ll be anxiously awaiting your findings.

  • http://www.whosyourvet.com Sandi

    re: molasses – I’m referring to dog treats.

  • http://www.whosyourvet.com Sandi

    Jake – may I ask if you work in the pet food industry?

    Per Three Dog Bakery:
    Molasses is made during the sugar refining process and is commonly used (by us) to sweeten foods. Here’s what people don’t realize. Molasses is a great source for iron, copper, manganese, potassium and magnesium. Molasses may be slow, but your pup won’t be!

    What type of molasses – cane or blackstrap? Can’t mfgrs. use other sources of minerals that isn’t high in sugar?

    Cancer pets should avoid “sugar” that feed the cancer cells.

  • http://www.whosyourvet.com Sandi

    I don’t have a problem seeing garlic in any pet food since the amount is minimal. I believe they are referring to people who might home cook or feed raw who add garlic. It can cause “Heinz factor” anemia if fed in large amounts. If used in a reasonable amount, I think it should be ok.

    http://www.azmira.com/PublicationGarlicTheFacts.htm

    re: Pre & Probiotics –

    http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/vet-dept/small-animal-dept/prebiotics-probiotics-and-intestinal-health.aspx?cm_mmc=4910765

    http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/07/12/dietary-fiber-in-processed-pet-food.aspx

    I’m not a big fan of yogurt – it contains high sugar and causes “mucous”. There are numerous brands out there that can be added to the food. I don’t base my decision on choosing a pet food because it does or doesn’t contain probiotics. I also add enzymes.

  • “Ryo”

    They just started carrying TDB’s pouched foods at Kroger. I have no clue about the dry kibble.
    I also heard, although this is just a rumor, that better pet food brands like AvoDerm and Whole Earth Farms are making a slightly cheaper product to sell at grocery stores. Those, along with TDB, Newman’s Own, and Fresh Pet Select, with certainly make dogs owned by those who are simply too lazy to go out and buy food from a pet store healthier! :P

  • http://brotherscomplete.com Richard Darlington

    “Buy a food for your dog without gimmicky probiotics, and use the savings to buy yogurt with live cultures to mix into your dog’s diet.”

    This generalization in Jake’s comment above is based on the article he refers to: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC340078/
    and is unfortunately very true in almost all cases…as we have discussed on DFA numerous times before. His reference to “gimmicky probiotics” must necessarily refer to the common practice, we have discussed before, where probiotics are simply sprayed on the exterior of the kibble and are then activated prematurely by the moisture in the kibble and are dead by the time the dog ingests them (or the lab tests them as is the case in this article where there could not find strains listed as present).

    It is worth mentioning that his next recommendation “to buy yogurt with live cultures to mix into your dog’s diet” is a good idea but only if you use yogurt with the correct strains in it, as the article he refers to states later on…

    “… Most yogurt products contain L. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which are NOT regarded as being probiotics because they are poorly able to survive bile environments and are TYPICALLY UNABLE TO COLONIZE THE INTESTINAL TRACT” (my capitalization).

    I bring this up because, while Jake’s comments regarding probiotics, in standard kibbles, are sadly and generally true, there are exceptions. I want to be sure that no one goes away with the feeling that probiotics are not extremely beneficial WHEN they are successfully protected and delivered in proper numbers, in useful strains, INTACT and ALIVE to the gut of the dog or cat. In fact his quote…

    “helps form a protective coating on the intestinal walls; helps eliminate pathogenic organisms; destroys deadly viruses; encourages growth of friendly bacteria; helps conquer lower grade intestinal infections; reduces inflammation and swelling; reduces intestinal symptoms, and disorders; decreases accumulation and growth of intestinal wastes in the colon; is beneficial in colitis, and diverticulitis; dissolves out and eliminates intestinal mucus and the wastes on the intestinal lining; and relieves constipation, intermittent diarrhea, intestinal gas, cramping, and abdominal pains.”

    …accurately describes the benefits of introducing the proper number, and strains of viable PROBIOTICS into the colon. He attributes these benefits to the “Yucca schidigerra” which he describes as a PREbiotic (not a PRObiotic) and which Mike S has correctly found is most commonly used in animal feeds for the reduction of waste odors, (I have also seen where it is believed to increase the absorption of minerals as well but can’t confirm that). I have not seen it described as a prebiotic but perhaps someone else has. However, attributing the benefits of a PRObiotic to a PREbiotic is a bit of a leap. The roll PREbiotics play is essentially providing a “breeding ground” for the PRObiotics. It’s actually the PRObiotics that do all the good work.

    There are now ways to include PRObiotics on a kibble that keep the PRObiotics alive and well until they are delivered to the dogs gut – you can probably guess which dog food I’m referring to.

  • Jake Campbell

    Again, I thank you for your thoughtful research and this website to give people food for thought. I’m sure you don’t single out any company for critique; this just happened to be the first. I typically shun arbitrary systems used to rate dog and cat foods, preferring instead to educate people how to understand AAFCO labeling rules for themselves. But not everyone has the time or inclination to do his own research, and your site seems to provide generally even-handed reviews.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Jake… No where do I say I downgraded this product due to its garlic content. I did not intentionally single out Three Dog Bakery for including this ingredient. I automatically red bold every one of the more than 500 products that list this controversial item.

    Please re-read my review. You are selectively focusing on the wrong reasons this food “only” received its “highly recommended” 4-star rating. Compared to the more than 2,000 recipes in my database, this product simply did not qualify for our 5-star rating.

    So you won’t get the “false impression” this food was downgraded for any other reason, please re-read my closing summary for this recipe’s justified rating…

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

    Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

    Bottom line?

    Three Dog Bakery Bake to Nature is a grain-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken, lamb or fish as its main source of animal protein… thus earning the brand four stars.

    Highly recommended.”

  • Jake Campbell

    There are several viable reasons why a company might add Yucca Schidigera to its products. While I have listed several–namely for its multiple intestinal benefits–you add yet another. It is nonetheless a beneficial prebiotic that can help eliminate the necessity to provide probiotics, which are rarely added to dig food in truly therapeutic doses anyway.

    Anyway, at this point, I’m looking forward to reading reviews of other products to see how they might measure up to the ideal.

    Thank you for providing the forum to share healthy discourse on the subject.

  • Jake Campbell

    Please understand that the endorsement of garlic is not necessarily mine, but certainly that of many veterinarians, as well as the many reputable companies that use it in their foods and treats. It should never be used without veterinary supervision. And to be sure, numerous companies use it in infinitesimally small amounts as a flavor enhancer easily detected by the ~220M receptors in a dog’s nose by contrast with the ~2M in ours, which, if we were eating it, would necessitate much higher doses for us to taste it. As a flavor enhancer, there is zero controversy about it’s use in pet foods and treats.

    Listing garlic here in bold red to indicate warning gives the apparently false impression that the downgrade from 5 stars to 4 was due at least in part to its inclusion in the product.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Jake… Nowhere in my report do I state this food was downgraded because it doesn’t contain probiotics. And unlike chicory root (which I describe here as a prebiotic), Yucca schidigera is primary used in pet food as a natural way to to reduce the ammonia odor associated with the animals’ urine and feces.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Jake… I described garlic as controversial because throughout forums and websites here on the Internet it unfortunately is. So, unlike your endorsement of garlic, I presented both sides of the controversy by also stating, “the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic… especially in small amounts (as it is here).” This product was not downgraded because it contained garlic.

  • Jake Campbell

    No dry dog food should be downgraded for not having PROBIOTICS. Science has shown that for probiotics to be beneficial, they must be LIVE micro-orgamisms. Although many pet foods include probiotics in their ingredient listing, they do not typically contain live, viable organisms–as they tend to be obliterated in baking or extrusion.  Of nineteen commercial pet foods tested in one study, twelve contained a probiotic variety (bacterial fermentation products), that were not true live beneficial organisms.  Further, no pet foods contained all of the probiotics listed on the label.  “Overall, the actual contents of the diets were not accurately represented by the label descriptions.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC340078/

    Buy a food for your dog without gimmicky probiotics, and use the savings to buy yogurt with live cultures to mix into your dog’s diet. Ad you can also buy lactobacillus acidophilus supplements cheaply at your local health food store.

    For Three Dog Bakery’s part, PREbiotics such as yucca schidigera ARE included. Yucca schidigera helps form a protective coating on the intestinal walls; helps eliminate pathogenic organisms; destroys deadly viruses; encourages growth of friendly bacteria; helps conquer lower grade intestinal infections; reduces inflammation and swelling; reduces intestinal symptoms, and disorders; decreases accumulation and growth of intestinal wastes in the colon; is beneficial in colitis, and diverticulitis; dissolves out and eliminates intestinal mucus and the wastes on the intestinal lining; and relieves constipation, intermittent diarrhea, intestinal gas, cramping, and abdominal pains.

  • Jake Campbell

    As with garlic, pomace from the tomato or grape can have great benefits if added to foods in quantities that exploit such benefits and not added in voluminos quantities as filler. For example, rich in licopene, tomato pomace has a nutritional profile of about 20% protein, 13-15% fat, 3-5% fat, and 25-57% crude fiber. The fiber includes 4% soluble fibers- the stuff that primarily supports probiotic populations in the gut, which can help keep stool from being too firm and too loose. The fact that pomace is the result of ketchup production is a non sequitur. If it has benefits, is inexpensive, and is not used as filler, then God bless the pomace!

  • Jake Campbell

    The amount of GARLIC used to flavor dog foods is statistically insignificant and could never cause Heinz body anemia as is alluded to in this review–which seems to regurgitate the same information provided elsewhere regarding garlic and other ingredients instead of addressing the amount used in the individual products reviewed. Additionally, fresh garlic in amounts far exceeding what is found in dog food–as much as 1 clove per 10 – 30 lbs of bodyweight–is used in dogs to stimulate white blood cell counts, decrease triglycerides, and treat infections: NATURAL HEALTH BIBLE FOR DOGS & CATS, Shawn Messonnier, D.V.M.