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
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|
|Dry Matter Basis||25%||11%||56%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||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.
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.
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.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
05/18/2014 Last Update
- 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) ↩