By Nature Grain Free (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★★

By Nature Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The By Nature Grain Free product line lists one dry dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

By Nature Grain Free Chicken and Potato Flavor

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 41% | Fat = 22% | Carbs = 29%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, potato meal, chicken fat (stabilized with mixed tocopherols), flaxseed meal, dried egg product, sweet potato meal, alfalfa meal, tomato pomace, natural chicken flavor, salmon, yeast culture, potassium chloride, salt, l-lysine monohydrochloride, dried carrots, dried chicory root, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, blueberries, cranberries, turmeric, raspberries, ginger, niacin supplement, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, vitamin B12 supplement, herring oil, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, betaine, calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, selenium yeast

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis37%20%NA
Dry Matter Basis41%22%29%
Calorie Weighted Basis33%44%23%
Protein = 33% | Fat = 44% | Carbs = 23%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second ingredient is potato meal, a dry item made from the by-products of potato processing. In most cases, potato can contain about 10% dry matter protein which can have a slight affect on our estimate of the total meat content of this recipe.

The third 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.

The fourth ingredient is flaxseed meal, one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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 fifth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The sixth ingredient includes sweet potato meal. Sweet potato meal is a dehydrated product made from whole sweet potatoes. Containing just 9% protein, this item should have only minimal effect on the total protein reported in this recipe.

The seventh 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.

The eighth 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.

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, 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.

And lastly, this recipe includes selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

By Nature Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, By Nature Grain Free 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 41%, a fat level of 22% and estimated carbohydrates of about 29%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the potato meals, flaxseed and alfalfa meals, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

By Nature Grain Free is a meat-based dry dog food using a significant amount of named meat meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically 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.

By Nature 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.

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Notes and Updates

01/14/2018 Last Update