California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets (Dry)


Rating: ★★★☆☆

California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets product line includes 8 dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Chicken Meal and Rice Adult [M]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Herring and Sweet Potato Adult [M]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb Meal and Rice Puppy (4 stars) [A]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb Meal and Rice Adult Large Bites [M]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb Meal and Rice Adult Small Bites [M]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Chicken Meal and Rice Puppy (4 stars) [A]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Brown Rice and Lamb Meal Weight Management [M]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Brown Rice and Chicken Meal Weight Management [M]

California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb Meal and Rice Adult Small Bites was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

California Natural Lamb Meal and Rice Adult Small Bites

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 23% | Fat = 12% | Carbs = 57%

Ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, rice, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavors, salt, potassium chloride, taurine, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate), vitamins (betaine hydrochloride, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, beta carotene, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, folic acid), vitamin E supplement, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.8%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis21%11%NA
Dry Matter Basis23%12%57%
Calorie Weighted Basis21%27%52%
Protein = 21% | Fat = 27% | Carbs = 52%

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

The second 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 third 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 fourth ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

After the natural flavors, 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 two notable exceptions

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

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.

California Natural Limited
Ingredient Diets Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, California Natural 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 23%, a fat level of 12% 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 51%.

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?

California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.


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.

California Natural 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.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
and Discounts

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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

Notes and Updates

06/02/2017 Last Update

  • Amanda De Santi

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  • mahoraner niall

    hmm, maybe they took it off the website so that people dont stop buying it since the name would be right next to cesar and pedigree on the website,
    we’ll never know

  • Pitlove

    No it has not been discontinued. Mars is still the owner of all those brands. The store I work at carries all 3.

  • mahoraner niall

    was this discontinued or did mars just sell them? because they aren’t on the mars website any more,
    Also i dont see EVO or Nutro on there either

  • Doria

    My dogs have been eating California Natural Chicken and Rice for about 7 years now and they have not had any problems. The recalls were for the dry dog food and not the canned. After feeding the canned food to my dogs their fur has got shiney and their digestive and allergy issues have cleared up and got better. One of my dogs who someone gave to me, was so obese his belly dragged on the floor. After putting him on a diet and modifying his California Natural consumption, he has lost weight and looks and weighs like he is supposed to. He has now maintained his weight for over 6 months and hasn’t lost anymore. Dry dog food is full of calories an can dog food has less calories. They have so much more energy they act like puppies and they are both 13 years old.

  • Rochelle @ Newmac

    I’m also going to have to agree with the rep on that. Sort of, anyway. Your dog definitely could have disagreed with the food, but it would have had nothing to do with the recall. The recall was due to salmonella in their plants. Dogs have short digestive tracts and very acidic stomachs, which makes it very very difficult for bacteria to survive. The recall was not about a danger to the dogs, rather a danger to the humans feeding it. If people fed the dogs and did not properly wash their hands, there was a chance of contamination for people and their families. True, this is not an outstanding dog food, but you could do a lot worse than feeding this to your pet. Every dog is different. Some can thrive on a food like this, while others, like your dog, may not do so well at all. Acana is a great food, though, and I would recommend it over California Natural any day, but it’s just not in some people’s price ranges. This is a good food to feed if you care about your dogs and don’t have the money to spend on expensive, high end dog food.

  • Merry

    Have your dog tested for his sensitivities and save his health and your $$ in the long run. It is worth the small investment. Then put him on a meat diet and watch him thrive!

  • Merry

    Totally agree. More of us should move our dogs to a meat diet!

  • Merry

    We are what we eat, eats–if the wolf eats a buck, it is getting nutrients from the meat that got nutrients from what the buck ate, as well–vegetation, etc. Other things to be considered, but that is just a simplified way to look at how we get nutrition from what we consume. If I eat a grass-fed steak, I can guarantee you that I am going to digest it and feel better than if I ate a corn-fed steak. If you go to MarksDailyApple or RobbWolf or Whole9life, as well as the PaleoMom, you will learn great things about how we humans don’t need the grains of modern society. They are nothing like the grains of ancient society. Our IBS and celiac issues would be solved by eliminating grain from our diet.

  • Merry is a great place to learn why dogs should have a meat diet, just like their cousins the wolves, etc.

  • Merry

    go check out a site by a vet––if you want to have your dogs thrive!

  • Merry

    My dogs showed signs of allergies and I had their blood tested to find what they are allergic to. Best $150 ever spent on them. One dog is sensitive to fowl, the other to pork. I have them both on CN L.I.D. Lamb and Rice-no problems for the last 2 years. Skipped CN during recalls. Used Natural Balance in place of. I recommend you get your pup tested and end the guessing game of what will work for his individual needs–it will save you $$$ in vet bills!

  • Gary Alan

    Definitely, I will not feed my dogs any commercialized dog food ever. My two dogs also got sick and became very weak and ill while I was feeding them dog food. It came to a point that they never ate the dog food at all. I was really worried. Then a friend of mine advised me to feed my dogs home made dog food. So I tried it and it was really a life saver. My dogs gained their weight back, they became active and more energetic, and their fur became shiny and thick.

  • rawdog

    I feed my dogs raw and if you know what you are doing it’s more balanced than anything you can buy in a bag thanks

  • CurtQuayle

    And it’s absolutely not a balanced diet.

  • em

    @John – I have to agree with the company. My dog has been eating the food before and after the recall. She’s old, so a weak system, but she’s had ZERO problems with the food. There would have to be more than one isolated case for you to be able to say for certain it was from the CA Natural food.

  • em

    @John – I have to agree with the company. My dog has been eating the food before and after the recall. She’s old, so a weak system, but she’s had ZERO problems with the food. There would have to be more than one isolated case for you to be able to say for certain it was from the dog food.

  • sue66b

    My boy has bad allergys too & suffers from IBS. The vet put him on Eukanuba “Intestinal” this is a low residue kibble so he can digest & is low in fiber only 1.70 fat 10% No more sore red feet & purfect poos only 2 a day… Eukanuba also has a new grain free can see all their produst & whats in them on their site.. My boy was on the Hypoallergenic Royal Canin this made him so sick the food didnt digest just sat in his tummy so now I boil some water & put a kibble in the boiled water for 30-40sec then get a spoon a push down & see if the kibble breaks up, you’d be surprised some kibbles dont break up after being in boiled water for 1-2mins..

  • john

    That is BS – DOGS CAN GET SICK.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    my dog got very sick 2days after opening a NEW bag of cali natural lamb & rice.
    they paid forthe food but the rep does NOT want to pay the 300 plus vet bill we submitted.

  • john

    I will NEVER buy this dog food again.!!!!!!
    My terrier got very sick from California natural lamb $300 PLUS VET BILLS !!!!!!!!!
    And their rep is trying to say its not from it.
    Even though they recalled EVERYTHING they make.
    Our dog had never been sick before this and has NOT been sick since.
    We switched to Arcana and it is Great.!!!!!!!!!!
    Do Not Buy This Food If You Care AboutYour Dogs.

  • rrracing1rst

    I ‘ll continue to purchase real meat, chicken, and lamb from the meat section at my grocery store to feed my dogs. They absolutely love real meat.

  • Pattyvaughn

    This is not Natura or P&G. It is the Dog Food Advisor though.

  • george conley

    This is the second time I have had to dump large amounts of lame & rice and salmon and peas because of the recall? How about sending some free food when you finally get this sorted out and safe???

  • Pattyvaughn

    This is a US product.

  • Pattyvaughn

    No, The US is perfectly capable of making garbage or contaminating dog food. Think Diamond.

  • carolthompson

    ANOTHER recall? this product HAS to be made in CHINA>..I think that we need to start insisting that ALL products that originate in CHINA be declared on packaging

  • carolthompson

    where is this product made? Is it imported and then “packaged” in the US?

  • Yes “because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.”

    Many raw food contains salmonella too and it doesn’t effect dogs since their digestive tract is much smaller than humans.

    The recall is really due to humans, which shouldn’t be a problem if you wash you hands after feeding kibble and you should being doing that after handling kibble anyways!

    It’s time to take the tin foil hat off…..

  • Pattyvaughn
  • Sue

    We have a Novia Scotia Duck Retriever (some call them Yarmouth River Dogs). He is 9 years old and has been on California Naturals lamb and rice, low calorie, for at least 5 of those years and is doing fine. When was CL food recalled? We are still able to buy it at our local feed store. Also, I wonder which dog food was recalled or was it all of them?

  • Hi Debbie,

    The information regarding the Natura recall, which includes California Natural, is located here:

  • Debbie

    Just check out which food you pick. California Natural has been recalled…

  • Debbie

    Been Recalled…

  • Debbie

    California Natural has been recalled……

  • Debbie

    This is the third time I have wrote this, everytime I try to post it my computer needs to shut down. Again …READ THE DOG FOOD RECALL. California Natural HAS BEEN RECALLED!!! I already lost one sweet dog to chicken strips I sure don’t want to lose another..

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’m glad you found something that works for your dog. For some dogs, rice is a very bad ingredient, even for an upset stomach. And your right, potato isn’t any better, it a good thing that not all of the good dog foods have potatoes in them. Do you know that this company just had a recall?

  • tabitna

    I have been using the chicken and rice product for a while now and love it. My sharpie has allergies and it is mostly to all the fancy not needed ingredients in the more expensive dog foods. This dog food has a very limited ingredient list and is great for dogs with allergies. I bought more expensive dog foods but she does not do as well with them. Rice is not bad for dog. If you take a dog to a vet for a stomach ache they are going to put it on a cottage cheese and rice diet, it is because it is a bland diet and doesn’t upset the dogs stomach. Also if you look at the expensive dog foods they are all going to potato in their grain free formulas, if potatoes are not good for humans what makes you think they are good for dogs. Stick with sweet potatoes if you must. Overall I love this dog food and I am getting very discouraged since it is getting harder and harder to find.

  • My dog HATES this food. Not interested in eating it and stool comes out yellowish and very stinky. I’m going back to Newman’s Own. I think it’s interesting that Newman’s Own has a lower fat content than this food.

  • Kristi Furlong

    I have a blue heeler who will be 12 this year and she’s been on CN Lamb/rice small bites for approx 9-10 of those years( she doesnt like big kibble) we have never had any problems EVER!! I like this food very much and though P&G bought them, I must say I will be watching the ingredients a little more closely from now on. I really hope it stays the same.

  • InkedMarie

    You obviously have better eyes or comprehension than me, I don’t understand half of what they said.

  • Dogs are built to digest meat or animal-based proteins.. not carbs. That’s not to say dogs can’t digest some fruits, veggies, and grains (some wild dogs eat them too), but their short digestive tracts and lack of necessary digestive enzymes (like salivary amylase) make it difficult for them. So moving to a diet that’s mainly meat is a good idea for a dog trying to lose weight, as there’s no “waste”.

    Natural Balance is a fine food, especially for dogs that don’t need a higher protein diet and need a limited ingredient formula, but it is low in animal-based proteins and high in carbs.

    Oh, and why would someone give their dog a ton of supplements and medicines instead of just feeding the right food in the first place?

  • Hertagflores

    Are you saying your dog does not gain any weight, change the diet, dont give him raw meat, change to @natural [email protected] and give him Oel Capsules, Health and Shine from Dr. Foster, go online, plus you can boil or staem sweet Potatos, take the skin of, no salt, and mix it under his dry food N>B

  • Hertagflores

    First you have to get an Allergie test, and than you find out what is in the food he is getting is giving him all this scretching. You probaly have to go to all grainfree, allergiefree food, like natural Balance. But you have to change the food over for 10 days, otherwise he is getting diarhea and vomitting.
    I had to do this for my labrador, plus have to give him Benedryl as well as med from the vet, and the fleas are very bad this year also. I have to put fleaproctection Frontline plus give him Capstar every week.
    So you have to do a lot to help you little pet. But after that, he and you will be happy. My labrador was scretchng this morning I gave him with his food 1 Capstar, no more scretching. Because you do not see the fleas all the time.
    Good Luck!!!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Maybe try going grain free with your dog. A lot of dogs can’t handle grain in their diet.

  • Ggreenholt

     Hi.  I use the same food and added the flaxseed oil to help him poo.  His stool was very very hard and he had a lot of trouble going.  He still has the allergies however!

  • Carol

    Hi. I feed my westie CN venison and add the flax seed but he still is itching!  Ugh, so stressful.  Already went to vet and between the new food and the bathing in medicated shampoo I thought  my little guy would be better by now but not so.  What to do, what to do?

  • Optibev

    one of our dogs is on a raw meat diet because of low weight gain and stinky stool he has the same white dry poo. according to our vet It is very normal in a grain free diet because their bady is digesting all of the food so their is little to no waist. out other dogs are on the chicken CN grain free and have similar stool.

  • Pattyvaughn

    To remain unbiased and impartial, Dr Mike is careful to use like phrases for like ingredients, products, etc.  You will find that many reviews are similar in some ways, some are similar in many.  Some foods are made by the same company but for many different companies, like Diamond, so they may have a lot of similarities.

  • Clownputsch

    Your review of this California Natural is almost word for word identical to your review of Trader Joe’s Dog food.  ???

  • M Ward1993

    True, they should

  • ckoz

    bob k, you are absolutely right and we have an appt scheduled. he’s already been diagnosed with IBS. i guess i was more interested in finding out if anyone else was experiencing the dry, dusty stool with their dog(s) while being on CN grain free venison meal.

  • Bob K

     ckoz – Why don’t you take your dog to an allergy specialist for a proper diagnosis.  It sounds like you are playing a guessing game and your dog is suffering.

  • M Ward1993

    Well my dog is on Venison Natural Balance food and her stool is very dark… so idk, maybe it has to do with venison. One thing I dont like about CN Venison is that there is very little omega 3s. No flaxseed or salmon oil. Could that cause dry stool? Maybe you could try adding salmon/flaxseed oil. Or you could try similar products like NB.

  • ckoz

    Hi! So I have a four yr old pyreneese/collie mix who is allergic to pretty much everything (we’re not exactly sure what triggers his allergies). He has to be on a grain-free diet for sure. He was on CN venison for quite some time with no noticeable problems EXCEPT (and this is really weird) his stool became very dry, almost dusty–even with the addition of pumpkin to his diet every time I feed him, and he goes to the bathroom anywhere from 3-5 times on his first walk of the day. I changed his food after taking him to the vet and she pulled some stool out of him and it crumbled as she pulled it out. He’s since been on the kangaroo from CN, and some limited lamb ingredient (but I can’t remember which company). He had gas, vomiting, ear infections AND incesantly licking his rear from the other two foods. SO I put him back on the venison because aside from the weird stool, he’s okay on it. Has anyone else noticed this with their dogs being on the venison? AND does anyone have any advice on which food to try next? He can’t do poultry or chicken. I bought a bag of The Great LIfe anf read HORRIBLE reviews, so I returned it, then I picked up some samples of Taset of the Wild bison and venison, but then realized it’s manufactured by Diamond, which I’m not fond of. I will gladly take any advice…… 

  • Elizabeth

    since she has been on chicken and rice she hasn’t ate anything orange- she used to eat pumpkin treats everyday so when I’d see a tint of orange it never worried me.  Her liver levels were actually back to normal after being a tad high about 6 months ago, that was my vets first concern.  The vet also checked for blood, twice, and said the orangish tint did not look like blood in the stool.  It is very strange though, the vet mentioned possibly bile, and said that since she’s eating chicken and rice she is not eating any of the fillers shes used to, so as a result she thinks her body is absorbing most of what she eats instead of digesting it fully (or not digesting it fully?)-maybe causing the bile?  Like I said, she is in no pain, very happy and energetic, and eating and drinking fine, so I am trying not to worry too much, as she doesn’t seem to be! thanks for all of the help though, she really means so much to me, so I am hoping for a quick recovery. thanks!

  • Melissaandcrew


    I really have nothing to offer that has not been said, except, orange stool? I have never seen that occur with pancreatitis-it does however tend to appear with gastrointestinal bleeding and liver disease(or if the dog has been fed something orange-pumpkin etc) Definitely have boyfriend stop the table food.

  • Toxed2loss

    Thanks Hon!!! 🙂

  • Shawna

    During severe attack they used to recommend withholding food.  I think now they recommend giving food through a feeding tube. However once the crisis is over supplemental enzymes are recommended. 

    Enzymes in the food we eat (when not overly processed) begin breaking down food in the first portion of the stomach (the fundus).  By the time the food gets to the small intestines it has already been predigested by enzymes within the food — sparing the body from having to produce all the enzymes required for proper digestion. 

    Raw (with naturally occuring supplemental enzymes) is not counter indicated in pancreatitis so I’m not sure why a supplement would be?

    Dr. Becker recommends them “After the crisis has passed, the very best “insurance” that you can buy to lower your pet’s chances of having a repeat episode is to supply them with a rich source of digestive enzymes.”

  • Toxed2loss

    Thank you!!! Working with Shawna is always a pleasure!

    I posted some more info, but forgot to break up the links so got shuffled off to the spam folder. :-} so here’s the info again til it resurfaces, with my adoration and gratitude of Shawna,

    “Pancreatitis is caused by autodigestion of the pancreas thought to begin with a decrease in secretion of pancreatic enzymes in response to a stimulus,[6][7] which can be anything from table scraps to getting into the garbage to drugs,toxins and trauma.[3][8] The digestive enzymes are released too quickly and begin acting on the pancreas instead of the food they normally digest.[2][8][9][10] Once the process cascades, then inflammatory mediators and free radicals are released and pancreatitis develops, causing amplification of the process.[9]”

    That’s the part I’m sticking on. If this is true, in this kind of scenario could giving extra enzymes cause more problems?

    “There are no approved treatments for canine pancreatitis. Treatment for this disease is supportive, and may require hospitialization to attend to the dog’s nutritional and fluid needs, pain management, and addressing any other disease processes (infection, diabetes, etc.)[15] while letting the pancreas heal on its own.[3][11] Treatment often involves “resting” the pancreas for a short period of time…

    Canine pancreatitis is complex, often limiting the ability to approach the disease.”

    Some of the other things that could lead to pancreatitis,

    “The medications most suspected of causing pancreatitis include azathioprine (Imuran Rx), potassium bromide (used for seizure control), l-asparaginase ( a chemotherapeutic agent) and zinc used as a dietary supplement. There are a number of other medications that are sometimes mentioned as possible causes of pancreatitis but the relationship with it is less clear for most of those medications. Pets living in areas in which scorpions occur may develop pancreatitis after scorpion stings. Naturally occurring hypercalcemia ( too much calcium in the blood stream) can lead to pancreatitis and it is likely that over supplementation with calcium or calcitriol could also lead to pancreatitis ” www. vetinfo. com/dpancrea. html

    “Drugs / toxins

    organophosphates, azathioprine, thiazides,
    oestrogens, furosemide, sulphas, tetracycline,
    procainamide, asparaginase, bromide steroids,
    (Infections toxoplasma ± parvo,,toxoplasma ± parvo FIP cats)”
    www. bva. co. uk/public/documents/07congress_pancreatitis_watson_pp.pdf?oo=0

    And some EPI stuff incase it comes back. X fingers crossed for not!
    www. ask. com/wiki/Exocrine_pancreatic_insufficiency

  • Elizabeth

    thank you all soo much! The only symptoms she has are a little bit of gas, which is mostly gone, and very few bowel movements, with soft orange-ish stool when they do happen.  She seems to have no stomach pain, even when touched, and she seems pretty happy and energetic.  I am hoping we got lucky and found a problem before she develops any severe symptoms. We did a pretty comprehensive blood test, and the vet said all of her other organs/levels looked OK. 
    The vet said probiotics and enzymes would be beneficial for her, and suggested I add some plain yogurt to her diet for now.  I will certainly look more into all of the information you all have provided, and speak with my vet about our long term plan for her.  I try to keep her well taken care of though, only homemade pumpkin treats and some benedryl for her allergies, so I am thinking that my boyfriends table scraps are the culprit. I’ve been battling with her to lose weight, and although he denies it, I’ve caught him giving her table scraps, especially cheese, often.  I’m sure the hundreds of dollars in vet bills and new food will help him remember to stop though..
    I really appreciate everyone’s input, it’s hard to find a place to start looking when stuff like this happens, and you all are definitely helping me facilitate a long happy life for my fluffy baby 🙂 Thank you.

  • Shawna

    Thanks Patty 🙂  I’ve always said that Toxed “completes me”….

  • Pattyvaughn

    I love it when you two get together on a topic.  You each bring something else to the table…and a lot of it!

  • Toxed2loss

    You’re welcome Patty! but Shawna caught us both!! GFETE

  • Shawna

    California Naturals Senior is a lower fat food — however, quality fat does not cause pancreatitis.  Rancid fat could and fats go rancid when exposed to air (free feeding, sitting in a warehouse too long, air leaks in the bag etc).

    It is also a carb heavy food and as the others have mentioned — some feel that carb heavy diets cause the pancreas excess stress to produce enough amylase to digest all the carbs.  Since enzymes are made from amino acids, having a higher carb and low protein diet seems like a double whammy..  Others disagree with this line of thought but many (including vets) blame carb heavy diets on some cases of pancreatitis.

    The other thing that they know is that senior dogs need MORE protein then adult dogs as they are less efficient at digesting it.  The 24% in California Natural Senior is pretty low 🙁

    Many of us share our dinners with our pets — mine always get a little.  But it depends on what is shared.  Little pieces of meat or low glycemic veggies is great.  While carbs and highly processed foods are not the best to share..

  • Pattyvaughn

    Thanks Toxed!!!  You’re the best!  I knew you’d catch me.

  • Toxed2loss

    Oh, thank you Shawna!!!

    Here are some more recognized causes of pancreatitis that I’ve been reading up on… (And I recall seeing that information on lectins causing it, but can’t remember where).

    “Pancreatitis is caused by autodigestion of the pancreas thought to begin with a decrease in secretion of pancreatic enzymes in response to a stimulus,[6][7] which can be anything from table scraps to getting into the garbage to drugs,toxins and trauma.[3][8] The digestive enzymes are released too quickly and begin acting on the pancreas instead of the food they normally digest.[2][8][9][10] Once the process cascades, then inflammatory mediators and free radicals are released and pancreatitis develops, causing amplification of the process.[9]”

    That’s the part I’m sticking on. If this is true, in this kind of scenario could giving extra enzymes cause more problems?

    “There are no approved treatments for canine pancreatitis. Treatment for this disease is supportive, and may require hospitialization to attend to the dog’s nutritional and fluid needs, pain management, and addressing any other disease processes (infection, diabetes, etc.)[15] while letting the pancreas heal on its own.[3][11] Treatment often involves “resting” the pancreas for a short period of time by nil per os/nothing per os (NPO)/nil by mouth (NBM), in which the patient receives no food or fluids by mouth, but is fed and hydrated by intravenous fluids and a feeding tube.[8][12] Dehydration is also managed by the use of fluid therapy.[13][14][15]

    Canine pancreatitis is complex, often limiting the ability to approach the disease.”

    Some of the other things that could lead to pancreatitis,

    “The medications most suspected of causing pancreatitis include azathioprine (Imuran Rx), potassium bromide (used for seizure control), l-asparaginase ( a chemotherapeutic agent) and zinc used as a dietary supplement. There are a number of other medications that are sometimes mentioned as possible causes of pancreatitis but the relationship with it is less clear for most of those medications. Pets living in areas in which scorpions occur may develop pancreatitis after scorpion stings. Naturally occurring hypercalcemia ( too much calcium in the blood stream) can lead to pancreatitis and it is likely that over supplementation with calcium or calcitriol could also lead to pancreatitis ”

    “Drugs / toxins

    organophosphates, azathioprine, thiazides,
    oestrogens, furosemide, sulphas, tetracycline,
    procainamide, asparaginase, bromide steroids,
    (Infections toxoplasma ± parvo,,toxoplasma ± parvo FIP cats)”

    And I’m throwing in this link to

    Incase it s a blocked duct. :-}

  • Shawna

    WOW, you must be linked to my head Toxed…  I haven’t checked the site since much earlier.

    In severe pancreatitis the pancreas becomes so infammed that the duct allowing the enzymes into the small intestines closes off..  The enzymes then get stuck in the pancreas (where they were never meant to remain).  Lipase enzyme, from what I can tell, then begins to “digest” the pancreas which of course causes severe pain.  Both lipase and amylase are secreted but since there is no “carbs” in the pancreas the amylase has nothing to improperly digest..

    Even though I truly believe that eating a carb heavy diet causes undo stress and therefore inflammation, when having a pacreatic attack carbs is what you want to primarily feed.  Once the attack is over you can decide with your vet what is the best long term course…

    High quality fat does not cause pancreatitis but unless you can figure out why the pancreas became inflammed some feel it is best to feed a lower fat diet long term (for life). 

    Studies have shown that certain lectins cause lesions on the pancreas..  I would assume (but couldn’t find any definite data) that if there is lesions there is enough inflammation to cause pancreatitis.  Bacterial infections can also cause acute pancreatitis.  My guess is that vaccinations can as well. 

    It is my understanding that adding all digestive enzymes to the diet (during the attack and after) have a beneficial affect by requiring less work from the pancreas. 

    Adding organic virgin coconut oil to an already low/er fat diet can be beneficial too as some believe that coconut oil actually helps heal the pancreas.  Plus because only 25% of coconut oil requires enzymes from the pancreas it can be eaten in higher amounts then other forms of fat.  Seventy-five percent of coconut oil is digested in the first part of the stomache — requireing NO lypase from the pancreas.  Feeding omega 3 fats, being an anti-inflammatory, is beneficial too.

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi Patty,
    From what I can tell, and I’m no expert on pancreatitis, there are a lot of things that it could be. In some forms, boosting enzymes is exactly the right thing to do, and it does “rest” the pancreas. But some of the others, SMH, that’s not what they recommend. They simply don’t know enough about it. I have trouble with my pancreas, but a high fat diet makes it feel better. So, shrug, there’s a lot that I just don’t know. I wish Shawna would weigh in!!

    I do think that anything that stresses the endocrine system should be addressed, which will in turn support the pancreas and reduce inflammation.

    Grains are highly inflammatory, so that’s another good reason to omit them from the diet. We’ve both mentioned that the pancreas has to work harder to produce amylase…

    I didn’t say earlier that I have some reservations about interpretation of test results, cause it will muddy the waters. I went through a period of extremely high blood cholesterol & lipid levels and my doc freaked. But I’d already done the research on that. High blood cholesterol is a healthy response to toxins. It accompanies the bodies mechanism for trapping and excreting them. I resisted my doctors response to artificially lower them, and stayed out of my bodies way. It ended up that I made a dramatic improvement. But I just don’t know enough about all the forms of pancreatitis. The more I read, the more I need to dig. :-}

  • Toxed2loss

    With out further information and study, I would be uncomfortable hazarding a guess. That would be all it was – a guess.

    I would definitely want to know which enzyme it was. I’d want to know how often and what kind of table scraps she was fed. And it would be down to the food additives, too. If she’s eating anything that contains phyto estrogens, and is being exposed to xeno estrogens, those too, will have an effect on the pancreas. It’s part of the Endocrine system.

    I’ve learned it’s never JUST one aspect of a (person’s) life. If you live a highly fragrance/chemical filled life, that will adversely impact everyone’s health. Many of the chemicals in synthetic fragrances are toxic. All fragrances contain pesticides and petroleum by products. Many pesticides are endocrine system disruptors and all petroleum products are. Many of the other chemicals are xeno estrogens. It matters. If you only address diet, it may go away for awhile, but it will come back. The same applies to vaccines, wormers and flea treatments. They compromise the immune system and upset the hormone balance. That will effect all of her organ functions, including her pancreas.

    So, consider her environmental exposures, as well as dietary extravagance. I mean, your boyfriend has fed her table scraps before and she didn’t get sick… I can just hear him saying that… So why this time? It could be relevant.

    I guess that’s why I recommend holistic vets. They look at the whole, complex set of variables, rather than assuming the norm (high fat as problematic). Too often I’ve seen allopathic practioners play “guess & check.” They assume the norm, treat for the norm, if it doesn’t work they try something else. In other words, make another guess. That’s really hard on the patient.

    If you have a good vet, and he did note that it was lipase, but just didn’t tell you. Asking will encourage better dialog. I think I’d still cut carbs though. Since dogs don’t have a biological need for carbs and their pancreases have to work harder to make amylase… Which would cause inflammation, over all. That might be a very good time to boost Amylase with a supplement. But check with him/her for their opinion. Especially as the blood work showed elevated enzymes.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Toxed will catch me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that the enzymes are elevated because the pancreas is working that hard to deal with what she ate.  Adding enzymes means the pancreas doesn’t have to do that additional work. 

    By the way, dogs weren’t designed to handle a lot of carbs anyway.  They normally don’t produce much amylase so a carb heavy diet can put a lot of stress on a dogs pancreas. Some dogs seem to handle it OK, others don’t.  I don’t know specifically about CN, but a lot of senior and diet dog foods cut protein and add carbs when a senior and/or an overweight dog usually do better with more high quality protein.

  • Elizabeth

    She did not tell me which specific enzyme it was, but I will definitely ask her so we can come up with the right plan for her diet.  Do you think that enzymes would be beneficial either way though, or were you saying that they would not be beneficial if it was an elevated amylase or lipase enzyme? 
    thank you for the advice!

  • Toxed2loss

    Supplementing enzymes may help… But some forms of pancreatitis are a result of elevated amylase, the enzyme that the pancreas excretes to help digest starch and glycogen, or lipase, the enzyme for fat digestion. Did your vet do a blood test for elevated enzymes (amylase or lipase)?

    So if he did, and its amylase that’s elevate, you might want to restrict carbs, especially grains, as they are the hardest to digest, and generally highest in sugars.
    Not all pancreatitis is due to too much fat.

    Here’s a great link to an overview.

    I see you’re already on top of the “table scraps” issue. 😉

  • Elizabeth

    I will definitely look into both. thank you:). She’s my best friend so I hate seeing her sick. 

  • Pattyvaughn

    Try  I would definitely keep her on digestive enzymes and pre/probiotics.  Taking the weight off might help and getting her on a low fat/high quality protein might help.  I think the one everyone here recommends is Wellness Core Reduced Fat.  Anything you can do to reduce stress on the pancreas ought to help.

  • Elizabeth

    My 12 yr old is currently on Cal. Nat. Seniors.  A few weeks ago she started having bad gas, burping, and orangish/loose stool.  the vet gave medicine and said chicken and rice until shes better.  She didn’t get better and had a pure orange stool so I took her back and we did a blood test.  One of her pancreas enzymes was a little high, so vet thinks it might be a very mild bout of pancreatise.  My question is regarding the pre-pro biotic enzymes I am seeing mentioned in a lot of comments.  Can someone please explain where to get these and any that might be of help in my pups situation? I am putting her on a prescription diet and following vets orders until shes better, but I am wondering about long term general wellness that can help prevent any further pancreas issues/ any issues older dogs are more susceptible to.

    Also, as a side note, I do not believe the CN is causing her issue.  My boyfriend frequently shares his dinner with my dog, and she is a bit overweight, which obviously will have to change. I am looking for something to add into her diet to give her a boost, although I am open to switching her diet as long as its to a trusted brand that DOES NOT source from China/Asia.
    thanks for any/all help!

  • Dianne

     My dog is on Prescription Royal Canine as well and i am trying to switch him to a high protien high fat puppy kibble as he was undernourished and had bad coccidia and giardia. Can the parasite damage last  for several even if  he recovers from treatment? Can that cause formed but mushy stools.?

  • Luci5150

    I have a chocolate Lab that is 12 yrs old. She has always had problems with dog food.  I have home cooked for her until about 2 weeks ago.  Her allergies to foods and grass are ridiculous! That said, I tried California Natural venison meal because we have always given her venison once we knew she had poultry allergies.  I took 10 full days to cross over and she is doing remarkably well.  She is not itching her red spots that are her middle name are literally healing amazing. Animals are like people you just need to try unfortunately its expensive and frustrating until you succeed.  We believe we have found the formula for Emma!

  • BryanV21

    Perhaps adding a pro/pre-biotic with enzymes, which you can add to foods like Whole Earth, instead of bouncing around different foods. They’ll help the dog digest the food better, so that you don’t have issues with gas and diarrhea.

  • Shannonb

    Sorry-Maybe you CAN give me some advice-see I’m already flustered 🙂

  • Shannonb

    Maybe you give me some advice? I have a rescue dog who seems to have a sensitive stomach/intolerance to something. He was on whatever the rescue could get so he had terrible gas and diarrhea. Then I put him on Whole Earth Farms and he still has kind of loose stools and horrible constant gas. Also his coat is kind of ragged/rough and dull. I want to try and figure out what is going on with him, but I don’t know what food to go to. Obviously Brothers is good but I can’t afford that. I have two other dogs (plus it seems a small zoo) and would like to be able to feed them well too! I need some help and advice on what food to try.

  • BryanV21

    I don’t mean to say the problems with CN aren’t true, I just wanted to add that perhaps the problem isn’t with CN, but with a particular ingredient.

  • Melissaandcrew


    My dogs are fine with grains and had the same result with the cali Natural chicken variety(not grain free)

  • M Ward1993

    Mekales-  I would recommend Natural Balance LID as an alternative. These formulas have similar fat and protein levels to CN but the fats are healthier. They include flax and or salmon oil in nearly all their formulas. Also, they use sweet potato in most of their formulas as the main carb. I would add canned food to the dry to give the protein a boost.

  • horsepoor

    To address the question of which formula, for my JRT, the culprit was CN lamb meal and rice adult small bites. Wish I could specify more, like with an exp date, but we returned the bag and I no longer have it. Store was great, and we are trying another brand…so far, so good.

  • BryanV21

    I think it’s important to not only give the name of the brand one is feeding, but which formula.

    For example.. Fromm is one of my best selling foods, and for good reason. They are a reputable company, offer a large variety of formulas, and are reasonably priced. But if a dog has a grain allergy, that doesn’t mean the owner should cut out Fromm foods from their diet, it simply means they should look into Fromm’s grain-free formulas.

    What I’m getting at is maybe California Natural wasn’t the problem, but the particular formula of CN you were feeding.

    Then again, I’m not a big fan of Cal Nat anyway, as I feel it’s too low in protein. Especially considering that it’s not a cheap food, either.

    So I’m curious what formula you were feeding, as I’d love to give you some recommendations on other foods.

  • Jennifer Coleman

    No we haven’t tried lamb/rice.  I’m scared to give her anything other than the prescription Royal Canin food at the moment.  It’s taking a while to get her back to normal.  We have a follow up vet visit today and I plan to discuss what food we should change to.

  • Bj73

     Am in similar situation with my 5 mo old puppy.  Was feeding Earthborn HPV.  Opened new bag and have had loose stool problems since.  Ditto- vet visits, normal test results with chicken/rice or Hills ID resulting in normal poops.  After eliminating other variables we concluded must be food.  Tried transitioning to another brand – same issues.  CN lamb and rice was recommended by an independent pet store owner so am going to give it a go next feeding.  Am here checking reviews.  Very disappointed to hear of similar problems with chicken & rice.  Have you tried the lamb/rice?

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    I just thought I’d share my experience with Cal. Nat……at one time I needed a limited ingredient diet.  At the time I was using Natural Balance LIDs.  They worked fine, but I wanted another brand to rotate with so I tried California Natural.  First off, the dogs really didn’t care for it (I used the Chicken & Rice and the grainfree Chicken) and secondly, they had loose stool that I just couldn’t get to change.  I always thought this was weird seeing as how it’s supposed to be a hypoallergenic food, but oh well.  Another funny thing is that they like and do fine on the Cal. Nat. Chicken & Rice canned food and I sometimes use it in their rotation.  On a side note, my cat doesn’t like the brand either. 

  • Jennifer Coleman

    I came to this website doing some research on hypoallergenic dog food.  My 5 1/2 yr old Rottweiler has been having diarrhea for almost 3 weeks and we’ve been to the vet 5 times trying to figure out what is going on while spending a ton of money on meds, test and different foods.  She has been eating CN since birth so I am upset to find out this might be the cause of her issues.  We fed her prescription Hills ID for a week and saw improvement and then tried to work the CN back into her diet and had a huge set back so the knowing it might be the food helps.  We’ll be throwing that out and finding a different food.

  • horsepoor

    Just returning to say no parasites, no giardia, so it really is looking like the food was the issue. We’re on the hunt for something new. She’s doing great on boiled chicken and rice, but not a long term solution (though she loves it!).

  • Melissaandcrew


    That is similar to the issues I had. I actually mix foods to achieve a lower overall fat content, saw this and thought “Perfect-no mixing needed”. I never got that far. On about the 3 rd or 4th bag, we had major issues, and that was mixed with another food. Removed the Cali and problems solved.

  • horsepoor

    Reading old comments, the incidence of diarrhea have me wondering if the CN is the cause of our littledog’s recent bout. She’s been on CN for over a year, started a new bag Tues, and by Sat she had horrible diarrhea. Put her on chicken & rice only, got better and we reintroduced the CN … Diarrhea returned. We’re going to vet in morning to have her checked out (parasites or other cause?), but now reading the issues people have had, I really wonder if it is the food.

  • If you’re comfortabe with Daimond, find a formula with around 30% protein.  That is not high, just average.  I’m not familiar with Daimond recipes but she doesn’t need a senior formula. Giving probiotics/enzymes could benefit her also.  Look through the 4 star list.  And just reduce her feedings if she needs to lose weight.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    help –

    Dogs are carnivores, feeding them a low protein diet makes no sense as it’s not species appropriate. It is a myth that high levels of protein put stress on the organs, here are several studies:

    Senior dogs actually need MORE protein than adults:

    Also if your dog needs to lose weight a high protein food would be a better option, high carbs promote weight gain in dogs:

    I have a 3 month old puppy, a 1 1/2 year old adult, and a 7 year old senior they all eat the same diet – about 50-55% protein, 30-35% fat, 15-20% carbohydrates.

  • help?!

    I am a little concerned about switching her food to a food that is too high in protein, since she has been eating the other foods (diamond and gravy train) her whole 12 years of life.  I’m certainly no vet, but I’ve read that the higher protein content can put more stress on their organs (kidneys), and though I am sure they need a certain level of protein, I don’t want to add too much too fast- she had to have heart worm treatment about 6 months ago, so we’re being really careful with her.   Also, she’s a little overweight, so the vet recommended that I go with a senior formula.  If I’m not out walking her (which I do daily) she usually lays around a lot, so I think that too much protein would probably add to her weight problem.  I thought that for her specifically, CN would be safe choice for switching her to a more quality food, but if anyone has better ideas of what I could try, I’m open to ideas.  I’ll try adding water and see how she acts.  Again, any suggestions are welcome. thanks!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    help –

    Try mixing some extra water in with the kibble and canned food and see if that helps. Generally, I would recommend avoiding senior formulas as they’re generally lower in protein than the adult formulas but in this case it appears the CN senior actually has more protein than the adult which is a good thing. Personally if I had to feed CN – just a suggestion here – I would feed the puppy formula to any age dog.  The puppy, adult, and senior formulas are all too low in protein (imo) but the puppy formula has the most protein of the bunch.

  • InkedMarie

    Why do you need a senior food?

  • help?!

    I recently switched my 12 yr old retriever mix from Diamond hi energy dog food and canned gravy train to canned CN (California Naturals) and dry CN.  I am waiting on a CN senior formula, as no stores in the area carry it, but currently she is eating the Herring and Sweet Potato.  I switched the canned food about two weeks ago, and about a week ago began gradually adding in the dry food to her Diamond dry.  Since adding in the dry food, she is drinking more water.  I don’t think it’s necessarily excessive (she usually doesn’t drink very much at all), but after noticing I tried only feeding the canned CN and dry Diamond and the water consumption went back to normal.  The next day I added back in the dry CN, and the same thing, more water consumption.  I am wondering if this is normal, or something to be concerned about.  It seems that the protein of the two foods in the guaranteed analysis’ supplied on the packages are very similar.  She had blood work done a few months ago, kidneys were normal and one liver enzyme was a tiny bit high (vet says nothing troubling).  I switched her foods in an effort to better her health, not hurt it, so any suggestions would be helpful!

  • Mekales

    We have been huge fans of Calf. Natural products, but are now searching for a new food since Proctor and Gamble has bought out the company (Fall 2010) and standards have fallen dramatcally. The fat contents have increased significantly and the organic or human grade sources of protein has all but been eliminated from manufacturer, in order to, of course, make more money.


    we love this dog food but it looks as the store near us is not going to continue in carrying this we hope to be able in 
     buying this on line. are they not going to make this
    anymore? PAUL FROM INDIANA

  • BryanV21

    I don’t feed the food, just sell it, so a coupon wouldn’t help. But thanks.

  • melissa


    Okay, now that is funny! : )

  • doggonefedup

    That was a joke for/about the  Yentl alias’s…….
    Herpes,it may disappear from time to time but it never really goes away. It just keeps coming back over and over and annoying you forever….you can treat the symptoms but the disease lasts forever.    

  • The Dogfather

    Sorry I just saw your comment…Yeah you would think that they would know about it, but I’ve been so busy dealing with meds and finding a new food that I haven’t contacted P&G about it. I found a couple of foods that meet her sensitivities (VerUs L&R and Holistic Select L&R) so I’ll give them a try. Good luck to you!

  • Dee

     You don’t have to be a longtime poster to have an opinion/comment, come on. I am not a long time poster, but a long time reader who rarely makes a comment. I have asked a few questions on diff threads; does that make my contribution suspect just because you don’t recognize my name? Jeesh.

  • melissa


    why would you choose a name such as herpes? really??

  • doggonefedup

    sorry I just couldn’t resist ;o}

  • Herpes

    Hey Labs,
    AHH HA HA HA some people like to change their ID’s so they can argue even if its with themselves…

  • LabsRawesome

     WeimsSince67, like melissa said, changing ID’s is jacked up. It makes you look bad, like you have a personal vendetta against Cali naturals or P&G. Makes me wonder how many other names you might have posted under on this thread. Trolling is SO NOT COOL. Now I don’t know if I can trust any of the posts on this thread, as being truthful, that aren’t from long time posters.

  • melissa


    Posting it once will show up for all. No need to post 4 times. Also, why did you change your ID to post the x4 spam? Your first message shows your true ID WeimsSince67. Changing your ID is not cool w/out stating that you are a previous poster-oh, then you got rid of the Disque ID of Kjknkl so if one  clicks on the profile, its non existent.

  • Kjknkl

    please, doglovers — if you’ve had a problem with CA Naturals, call them and let them know — and then post about their response.  It was great food, and if it, and the response, isn’t good anymore, it’s time to call them on it.  But maybe it’s something they don’t know, like they trusted the Corporation’s suppliers instead of the ones they’ve used for years.  We need to know!  both about the food and their response.  The upside:  they will send you a coupon for a free bag of any of their brands, so you won’t lose anything.  1 800 532 7621.

  • Kjknkl

     The only way CN will know is if you contact them — so please do!!!  1 800 532 7261.  They say they’ve run tests since I contacted them but they keep repeating it must be something else since no one else has complained to them.  Let them know!  And see if they tell everyone that no one else has contacted them; then we’ll know if they just don’t know… or are trying to convince each customer it’s not their food.

  • Kjknkl

     Contact CA Natural’s maker at 800-532-7261, if they don’t get calls, they won’t be able to fix the problem — and also tell them you want a coupon, they’ll send one good for any of their brands

  • WeimsSince67

     Contact Natura Pet at 800-532-7261 and tell them you just had trouble — I called them and they said they haven’t had any other complaints; I suggested they hit some dog boards like this, and they just said they didn’t have any complaints but mine.  They did send me a coupon for a free bag, and now they’ve decided to have me send them a sample of the problem bag, they’re sending me a box and label for it.

  • melissa


    I had the same issues with Cal Naturals back last year( can’t remember the months as I rotate brands often) Dogs seemed to do fine on the first 6 or 7 bags, then suddenly, they started with horrible diarrhea, and gas. I stopped it immediately and have not gone back to trying it. I want to say that was march or april 11

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    I use Fromm and love the food.  Currently, I’m feeding their Gamebird grain free.  I’ve used the following with very good results:  Salmon Tunalini (grain free), Chicken (grain inclusive), Duck (grain inclusive), Whitefish (grain inclusive), Pork (grain inclusive) and the Salmon (grain inclusive).  I plan on trying the Beef grain free in the future.

  • Brag641

    I’m in GA with the bad batch…

  • BryanV21

    It must be a bad batch somewhere, because I’m in Columbus, OH and have sold quite a bit of it without any issue. I actually recommend the grain-free varieties quite often.

  • Teri

     I just read some of you comments about CN causing diarrhea. Just as a point of information, fortunately, I have not had any incidence of diarrhea.

  • Teri

    I have a purebred GSD. I first used Innova purchased only through specialty stores whose products were primarily holistic and organic. They deliver! However, because I am of the mind that canines are inherently carnivores I am not comfortable limiting his meals to dry food so I add meat. Innova was high in protein so staying with Natura products, I changed to California Natural which, as explained above, as a less meat ingredients.  I cook chicken breasts and thighs, break them up and add to his food. This has always been his diet. He is 5 yrs old and stays around 95lbs.

  • I first noticed it in Wenaewe food.  It might just catch  on like the use of lentils…

  • melissa

    Simply because this thread is active- But-

    Has anyone heard of foods starting to use Canola meal? I was looking at the Petco site which I do on occassion and saw they had a new line “canyon Creek”- I clicked on one of the formulas and was a little surprised to see canola meal as the second ingredient. I know this has been used in livestock feeds, but was unaware it was starting to be used in dog food?

  • PugsOnRaw has had it done.  It is talked about in this thread:

  • The Dogfather

    Thanks for the info and suggestions Sandy. I will give some of these foods a try….No I haven’t heard of the test you mentioned. I’ll have to ask my vet about getting it done. 

  • I think Nutro is a rice-based food.  The Nature’s Select has Lamb and Rice also has chicken and millet in it.  Zignature is a limited ingredient food with a lamb recipe. Grandma Lucy’s (both Artisan and Pureformance) has lamb. Earthborn Holistic Meadow Feast and Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain are lamb foods.  Acana Classic (Acana Singles) has a single protein lamb food as well – Lamb and Apple.

  • The Dogfather

    Yes she has had problems in the past with other protein sources besides lamb and I had to change her from her last food Avoderm L&R when they changed their formula and added tomato pomace. She’s pretty sensitive so I originally chose CN L&R because of the limited ingredients but now I’m not sure what to try with all the sensitivities. Any suggestions? Any feedback on Nature’s Select L&R or Advanced Pet Diets L&R? Others? Thanks.

  • Brag641

    Has anyone tried Fromm or Hi-Tek?

  • Brag641

    my dog ate CN too and the new bag did her in with diarrhea.
    CN must know about the problem??

  • Brag641

    This is terrible!  I posted about this too and went through the same thing as you did.  I posted mine so early and then didn’t see any other posts.  After viewing all these today, I am convinced it is bad CN.

  • Brag641

    I posted the same thing!  I couldn’t believe it.  There has to be something wrong with this batch of CN.  I switched!

  • Brag641

    me too!

  • Does your dog need to be on a lamb and rice food permanently?  Or are you looking into other options?

  • The Dogfather

    Sorry for taking up so much space. That is not how the text looked when I typed it. I’m not sure what happened. 

  • The Dogfather

    My dog has been on CN Lamb and Rice for a year
    now and done fine….until I bought a new bag and she started having diarrhea.
    I thought it was just her so I went to the vet, got her on meds & vet food
    and she was ok. Then I fed it again and she had more diarrhea. She’s now back
    on meds so we’ll see what happens. The most interesting thing is that she is
    NOT a picky eater, but has refused to eat it since buying the new bag. This is
    actually what led me to check the comments here lately, and unfortunately they
    match our situation. I may try to exchange for another bag from a different
    location and see what happens. If nothing changes it looks like I’ll be
    searching for another food. With all of these comments, with the same
    complaints, in the same time frame, it does seem suspicious. If Proctor &
    Gamble did change the formula or sourcing (not saying they did, just IF), don’t
    they realize how much business they will lose? Oh well, on the up side at least
    I’ve got DFA to help me find a new food.  

  • BryanV21

    Does anybody have any insight into what is going on? I recommend the grain-free Cal Natural quite a bit, but hearing all these diarrhea stories concerns me. And I can’t figure out what it may be. 

  • Cairnmom

    MY Cairn terrier  had been on CA Natural Lamb & Rice  kibble for  over five years without any  problems.  Last week I opened a new bag, fed him, and within four hours diarrhea started.   Gave him  only rice  and some chicken for the next few days, and then added some  kibble to the mix.  Diarrhea back and this time he was really distressed, panting, etc., so took him to the vet.    Stool test negative for parasites, vet thinks  the dog food was to blame.  I was traveling at the time and had purchased a large bag of kibble for my time away from home with him.  Very  dismayed to read  about  the problems dogs are having with CA Natural.  Shame on you P&G

  • Boston Dog Lover

    Does anyone have any insights as to whether CalNat has changed its recipe since Proctor & Gamble bought the company? Our Boston Terrier mix has done fine on it for years but recently started turning his nose up at it. Opinions?

  • Dee

    I decided to try CN Puppy Lamb Meal and Rice; fed it last nite, diarrhea this morning. Fed it this morning, diarrhea t/o the day. It’s funny how the same food can affect some dogs and not others.

  • Kell1181

    This is very interesting….We have a hound mix who has been on CN for 5 years with no problems. Two weeks ago began having diarrhea so we went to chicken and rice. He got better and this week we switched back to his regular food and today we are back to diarrhea. We were wondering if it wa the food since he was fine when not eating the food, but now after reading this we will be switching.

  • tubba0801

    I have 2 shih tzus that have been on CN for several years and for the last 5 days have had explosive diarrhea. I just opened this bag, so I am starting to wonder if CN is the cause. Especially since blogger, brag641 is experiencing the same issues.

  • Brag641

    yes, good advice!  will continue with cooking until she is well.
    It can get frustrating and not know where to go next.  I will look into NV. thanks.

  • Brag641

    I’ve used Canidae, but abandoned it b/c of the recall.  She never had a problem.  I’ve used Innova too with no problems.  But now need to change b/c of illness.

  • dog food expert

    Nature’s Variety. However, since she is sick, I would home cook until she is better. Chicken thigh meat and cooked barley or sweet potato would do just fine. 

  • Brag641

    Help! I bought a bag of California Natural and my dog had terrible diarrhea. I fed her rice and chicken and She went on meds from the vet and was better. She just went off the meds and has diarrhea again.  Could it be CN? She was on CN for 6 weeks before I bought the new bag, so it wasn’t a new transition. I’m scared she is sick from the food.
    Can you recommend another brand?

  • InkedMarie

    I have a coupon for $3 off any size bag or case of cans of California Natural. Email me at [email protected] with your name and address. I’m happy to send it to someone

  • hounddogmom12

    It’s only three stars because it’s wayyy too low in protein.

  • Smithac3

    I know this is an old post, but my dog breaks out in a rash and red skin when she eats any products with chicken. This could be the case or the grains being used. I am going to give the Lamb to her tomorrow and see how she does. Hope it’ll work for her. P.S. why is this just 3 stars, seems like a good kibble?

  • Boudicea333

    I trust this means you don’t sell any brands owned by Diamond or Menu either right?  Because if you do, you’re being extremely hypocritical about having a moral issue with P&G.

    And while I understand not wanting to support animal testing, it would be to your credit to NOT spread rumors and lies about a brand. Otherwise it just makes your business look bad and other brands will be hesitant to support your store if they know you are fine with libel.

    There is no law suit against P&G for a formula change. You obviously heard this from a competitor or from someone who read it on the internet or heard it from someone else. It’s a complete fabrication and IMO you would be wise to not repeat those sorts of rumors on the internet where they’re there in black and white for all to see.

    And as a customer, I would not want to shop at your store knowing that you are so quick to believe any little rumor you hear and also that you might discourage me from feeding a food that works for my pet simply because of a rumor.

  • Bob

    Natura sold out to P&G as everyone here seems to agree on. We own a pet boutique that carried all the one time great line of Natura products. 
    When they sold out to P&G, we also dropped them. We have morals to think about. P&G test on live animals as so we will not support this. Marie’s comments below that the boutique’s in her area lost her business when they stopped selling Natura’s lines is pure ignorance. How could you continue to support animal testing if you have and love pets yourself?
    Yes, they may have not changed the ingredients yet but you know they will. It’s all about the bottom line with companies like these. Can anyone say Iams???
    Of course they didn’t right away just to quite the gullible to believing them. But the WILL if they haven’t already. I heard they have a law suite against them for ingredient change.
    There are so many great foods out there, you don’t need to support these people and the testing that goes on. You should NEVER feed only one food from one company. Your pet should be fed a variety of foods from different companies. This creates a stronger digestive system. A stronger digestive system creates a strong immune system. This also helps should there be a recall of one or more companies, remember a few years ago?
    Don’t support P&G and their practices. Not only the pet foods but cleaning and the household products they produce. They don’t need to test on live animals for these products but they do. They even admit to it on their website. If they admit to it, you know a LOT more is going on they are not telling us about. It’s just cheaper and faster to test on pets.

  • boudiicea

     Hi, I cannot confirm that unfortunately. But if you’re concerned I recommend calling Natura to ask about the sourcing of the meat. Sorry I cannot be of more help.

  • boudiicea

    Thanks for pointing that out Ann. I think I was having a brain fart when I wrote “skew”. I’m not exactly the world’s best speller 😉 ‘though I do try to always proof read and spell check. 

  • Dog Food Expert Ann

    The owner personally told me that he only sold Innova to P&G and kept him on for a year. I asked him about the other varieties such as CN and Evo, and he said, “NO” he still owns them. That was a couple years ago so he may have sold out the other varieties by now. 

  • Dog Food Expert Ann

    Forgot to mention, SKU is not  spelled skew. The word skew means to twist something, such as the truth. SKU is a number assigned to a product and is not the same as the bar code. 

  • Dog Food Expert Ann

    Thank you so much for confirming that P&G has no plans to change the recipe. That was a wonderful bit of reassurance you have given. My question is not so much aimed at the recipe but the source of the meat. I spoke with the owner several years ago and he said that he and his wife use free range meat raised in the U.S. He didn’t say if the cows/chickens were raised on his farm by him or if he outsourced the meat. That is my issue with P&G taking over – that they will change the source of the meat from USDA free range to USDA slaughterhouse non-free range.  Just because meat is USDA does not make it high quality or human quality. Same goes for grain. Can you confirm? 

  • Boudicea

    Hi. I used to work for Natura Pet (my resigining had nothing to do with the quality of the food at all and I still feed it to my pets). I started working for the company before P&G bought it and I had been working for them for 2 years afterwards. I can tell you that I know the formulas of most of the skews backwards and forwards and I have not seen a change in any of them. It’s the same product and it makes no business sense for P&G to change the food as they are well aware what that would do to the sales of the food–they want to make a profit after all and if they change anything they know they will lose a lot of business. I have not talked with them but my old boss has at length and a pet food store owner I know well has also talked with them and they do not want to change the food.

    Please, when going with ANY pet food, make conscious choices using reason, not fear or emotion. I do understand if people are against P&G on principles. I know P&G has a history of animal testing which I can understand would put many people off. But don’t stop feeding a food that is working  for your pet because you think they might have changed the food. They haven’t. Go by evidence, not hearsay. Don’t even take my word for it, just keep track of the formulas and call and ask if they source anything from China.

    As it stands Natura has the most manufacturing certificates of any pet food company. They would be in hot water if they put anything in the food that they did not report on the label. They make a claim that nothing is sourced from China and if they suddenly started sourcing from China and kept saying that they weren’t they would also be in hot water.

    You should also know that a lot of Natura’s competitors took the opportunity to spread all sorts of stuff about them. You wouldn’t believe the stories I have heard when I worked for Natura. Recalls that never happened. Many dogs dying that of course never existed in the first place.

    I will continue to feed Evo to my cats as I believe it is the best commercial canned cat food out there. I used to feed raw–I did the whole thing, organic meat, Dr. Pierson’s recipe of vit/min. My cats are fussy and stopped eating it one day so I found the evo cans for them and they continue to do well on it. I know the formula and I will keep an eye on it. If I see a change believe me, I will be the first person to sing it all over the internet. But I have not seen a change.

    Sorry this is a long post. I really only meant to note that CN has one source of meat because it’s a limited ingredient diet designed to help dogs with allergies/sensitive stomachs and so  it’s not exactly comparable using the website’s standards for rating food. A lower protein can help sooth sensitive stomachs sometimes. A single source protein and single carb and single fat help narrow down the chances of an allergen. Evo or Orijin are great foods but put a sensitive dog on them and you will get diarrhea. Some dogs just do better on a limited diet like CN even though by the typical “3-4 sources of meat as the first ingredients etc.” type standards don’t apply.

    And the Herring & Sweet Potato has had barley and oatmeal in it since I started working for the company before P&G bought it. I personally don’t recommend that skew to many because I noticed that back then. Especially now there is the grain free salmon which IMO is superior anyway.

    Also whenever you have questions you can call Natura they have vet techs on the phone lines. I know people generally think pet food companies are evil but my old boss was just as devoted to animal health as I am. Just know your formula and keep an eye on it (with any pet food!) .

  • Kmecca

    The formula was changed after Proctor & Gamble bought the company.  We used the herring and sweet potato recipe for a number of years due to food allergies and the simple, limited and high quality ingredients. Sweet potato used to be one of the first 3 ingredients and now it is much further down the list. They have added barley and rice. Sweet potato used to be the only carb in that particular food. So now that P&G have added cheap fillers, they should lower the price.  I have stopped buying it.

  • Marie

    Yes, some of the boutiques I frequent in the Atlanta area have lost my business because they stopped carrying Natura products.

  • Traci Klimek

    I believe you are mistaken. California Natural, Innova and Evo are all Natura Pet and P&G bought Natura Pet- a few places in the Atlanta area stopped selling all em. Murray, my now 1yr lab is having allergy type issues again- itchy flakey vomiting up food ear problem which he’s never had before so yes we are going to the vet before assuming his calif natural grain free venison did it to him. Hard to say- but we do watch everything he eats- all same ol grain free no chicken or eggs or any sort of

  • Dog Food Expert Ann

    Just saw Googled the news that the Naturapet couple, succumbed to the millions that P&G must have paid them to get their excellent product (i.e. competition) off the market. As of 5/2010, always have your dog examined by a vet if you experience ANY reaction (other than allergy) from ANY food, not just foods P&G have bought out. 
    I am confident the recipe is still the same although the source of the meat and grain has most certainly changed… time for a call to P&G to confirm.

  • Dog Food Expert Ann

    Traci – the buy out was not the California Natural recipe, it was the company’s Innova product. The company still exists as it did before. California Natural is made by Naturapet. Innova is now owned by Proctor & Gamble (who kept Naturapet on for the first year to maintain the formulation.)

  • Dog Food Expert Ann

    Laura, Since your dogs were fine for a month on the food and it is just now a month later that your dogs are vomiting, I am suspect of your conclusion. You also gave us no details about the nature of the vomit (foamy, yellow, contains no food, etc.) Unsubstantiated statements = libel and it confuses those who aren’t medically knowledgeable. Maybe you should take your dogs to a vet before jumping to this conclusion. I am suspect that your dogs’ problem is from the food. I have fed CN to over 30 dogs (purebred and mixed breed rescue) for 10 years and never once had illness of any sort. Additionally, CN uses free-range meats, and at one point the couple who owned the company actually raised their own livestock here in America. I have a dog food analysis blog so, yes, I am more advanced on this topic than most, which is why your statement sounds fishy. Plus, $75 makes it sound like you are exaggerating. Most pet stores in my area sell bags ranging from $15 to $36. I am also surprised that Dog Food Advisor rated this so low when their conclusion contained few “red” notes.

  • Karen

    Tried it, but my sensitive girl got a rash after about a week. Have changed to another high grade food and she is back to normal. Don’t know why that happened but it did. 

  • sandy


    I have a 7 and 9 yr old pugs which do well on Brothers, Great Life GF, Amicus (in the past), Nutrisca (finishing this one up and rotating it out) and topped (occasionally) with Weruva, Addiction or Merrick.

  • Chel

    Got a 4.5 year old 60 lb.Terv Rescue at Thanksgiving and the bag of CN Chicken & Brown Rice came with him. He’d just started on it, so I have kept him on it to not upset him more. He’s doing well although I’ve had to add yogurt occasionally for constipation. It gave my other Terv diarrhea but she has a a finicky stomach and I only tried it a couple of times last spring.
    At the moment I have no complaints with CN for my male Terv and he adjusted quickly to it and is looking much better. I do rotate food and am researching where to go next. 

  • Susan

    Our two dogs have been on CN for many years now with NO issues. THey have eaten the Low Fat Lamb and Herring & Sweet Potato served with a topper of EVO canned or CN canned, plus human cooked food here and there…..I reduce the kibble to watch the calories.

    I tried switching them to EVO kibble, it did not work, no matter how gradual I tried, the high protein did not do well for my 8 and 7 year old dogs. I was blessed the store where I purchased the EVO from took it back for a store credit.

    What to feed your pets these days is such a “hot” topic.

  • Randie

    Has anyone tried their new grain-free limited-ingredients dog food – . They have several formulas: kangaroo, venison, lamb, salmon, chicken. Great for those who like to rotation diets.

  • melissa

    Just an update-

    Interesting enough, when I tried to bring the Cali Natural up higher than 50 percent, several of the dogs got the runs-bad-Since my dogs are typically fat sensitive, I never in a million years expected this from a food that listed 11% fat. I had used it many years ago and loved it. I did mix a bag of Innova in the rotation, and it was fine. For some reason, the Innova at a higher stated fat content was “less greasy” looking then the California Natural-Very disappointing!

  • melissa


    Your dogs may have a virus-

    I just added California Natural chicken/rice into my rotation as Acana Grasslands proved to be too “rich” for my dogs with pancreatitis issues “solo”-they were fine when the GF was mixed with a lower protein/fat food, but the moment I took it out-7-8 days later issues. I was able to add the Cal Natural in “cold turkey” at the rate of 50 percent(in a hurry to cut their fat intake) and voila-no stomach issues what so ever. I also added it to my rescue with skin problems, so will see how her skin responds to this food.

  • Gordon

    Laura – Take it back and complain! Stop feeding processed foods and maybe consider the dog’s natural alternative, like raw meats and bone.

  • Laura

    I have 3 dogs, all cocker spaniels. Since switching to California natural I now have 3 vomiting cocker spaniels. No other changes in environment but switched to California Natural about 1 month ago and this week everyone is vomiting. Just what I wanted from a dog food that I spent $75 per bag for.

  • Tasha

    All three of my dogs became ill with severe diarrhea after eating California Natural Lamb and Rice Small Bites. They required prescriptions from the vet and a special diet to recover. When the first one regained his health, I fed him the California Natural again (not knowing that was the cause of their diarrhea) and he became ill with severe diarrhea again. I started researching the internet today to find if others are having the same issues, and low and behold I find that P&G bought Natura. I will never trust or buy this brand again.

  • Traci

    I tried a few samples of ca nat’l venison on my 11 month black lab w/ grain allergies and intolerances with chicken, turkey, and egg products- once I decided to buy a bag, the pet store recommended that I not buy due to p&g buyout. I reluctantly went elsewhere to buy out of frustration trying to find suitable food that he can tolerate that was not too high in protein. There’s not many choices left! I’m still feeding him ca nat’l venison and he’s been doing soo good… shiny coat, no digestion issues and very happy & healthy. Of course if I notice adverse effects, I will address at then but I think p&g, even with the past reported animal testing and changes to iams, has hopefully learned not to mess with a good thing. Some dogs live hearty long years eating Ol Roy- but some have issues- IMO, it depends how each indiv dog is. Before my lab, I had 2 other dogs that ate eukanuba and lived until 14 & 15 yrs.. if it weren’t for all of the issues my lab had with allergies and intolerances, I’d probably be feeding him the same.

  • Robin Senor

    We have a Great Pyranees with a very sensitive digestive system, eruptive skin allergies, and we imagine something serious underlying (still trying to discover the underlying cause). We’ve gone from food to food, trying about 4 brands before CA natural. It has been a tremendous change for him- no more itching, eruption, or loose stools. Very happy with this food.

  • Meagan

    My puppy’s stools have finally firmed up after switching her from Diamond Naturals ALS to California Natural Lamb and Rice puppy formula. I am so happy!

  • jo firetto

    Since P&G bought out CN and all the other brands I have backed off purchesing any of them. Promises could change in time or maybe it already has. I will stick with my gut feeling.!!

  • Meagan

    I will be transitioning my pups the the Lamb and rice puppy formula.

  • Meagan

    The two puppy formulas look to be better than the adult formuls, both at 26% protein “as fed.” The adult formulas are at 21% “as fed.”

  • A class action lawsuit may affect your rights if you purchased Innova, EVO, California Natural, HealthWise, Mother Nature, or Karma dog or cat food products during the time period from March 20, 2005 to July 8, 2011

    The lawsuit claims Natura made false and misleading statements about the human grade quality of its food.

  • Matthew

    I think P & G won’t risk Naturas current loyal customers, but ya never know. My GS loves his CN & is doin really well on it so far. So like you said Mary, so far good.

  • Mary

    My lab-shep mix had terrible skin allergies until I put her on California Natural’s Herring and Sweet Potato. Total turnaround in just a week or so. I just adopted a very skinny stray, and am feeding her this as well. She’s gained weight and health quickly. I wrote to the company (Natura) about P & G and they swear nothing will change–so far, so good. so maybe nothing has.

  • Matthew

    Hi Matt, so far so good with this dog food dude. We feed our dog this one topped with CN canned lamb & rice. Our dog looks great, acts great , all great!

  • Hi Matt… Proctor and Gamble acquired Natura Pet (the maker of California Natural) back on May 5, 2010. And based upon P&G’s history, I can understand your concern. However, in the spirit of fairness to all (including pet food manufacturers), it’s unreasonable and unscientific to assume a merger will automatically produce inferior products.

    In any case, we try our best to intentionally ignore the never-ending barrage of unverifiable rumors and pet food industry politics. And we focus on the only source of information we feel we can reliably trust… government-regulated pet food labels. To see why we ignore almost everything else, you may wish to visit our article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews“.

    To hear what others have to say, why not browse the Comments section after each review in which you might have some personal interest. In any case, whether or not you choose to pay attention to the reports and opinions you read there is a decision you’ll ultimately have to make for yourself.

  • Matt

    Is it true that California Natural was sold to the Proctor and Gamble company?????
    Do you think it will ruin the California Natural Product?????
    Many are worried about this.

  • Joy

    my dog has pancreatitis so food choice is very tricky. This food (the lamb & rice large kibble) has been a HUGE saving grace. He does great on this. The low fat & relatively low (in comparasion) protein seems to be the trick. He also has a gluten allergy so this helps that too. I highly recommend this one to someone with a sensitive mess like I have in a dog. Good stuff.

    I understand the company sold this brand, so time will tell if the recipe gets changed, but so far so good.

  • Matthew

    My dog loves this kibble topped with CN canned lamb and rice. He’s doin awesome on it!

  • Hi Cory… Unfortunately, due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, I cannot provide customized reviews and product recommendations for each reader. For more help, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • Cory

    Hi Mike,

    This is my first time asking about any foods on here, but I have gotten some valuable information in the past for my Husky.

    My friend just got a Rottweiler puppy and they were told to give her Eukanuba because of it’s high nutrients and low calories. I told them not to use this food as it has awful reviews all over the web. I’ve been reading in forums, and I saw a really good review of Cali Natural Lamb and Rice. They said they don’t feed their rottie puppy foods because it makes them grow faster, and Rotts bones should grow slower to prevent issues with their joints later on in life.

    My question to you is, would you recommend this food for their rott puppy? Or is there another food with high nutrients and low calories you would suggest they use? I want them to enjoy their puppy for a long time, so any help is appreciated.

    Thank you in advance.

  • Solom Fay

    Cool mann you got this rated. my pit bull loves tis food. and she doin good on it!

  • Hi Ryan… As long as your dog is considered by experts (English Bulldog breeders) as an adult, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t switch your dog to an adult recipe. In addition, I’m not a huge fan of breed-specific recipes. Most of the very best foods out there that work well for one breed probably work for all.

    I’m sure you’ll be able to find a 3, 4 or 5-star dog food that be nutritious for your dog.

    In any case, due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, I cannot provide customized reviews and product recommendations for each reader. For more help, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • Ryan

    Hi Mike,
    I have a nine month old English Bulldog…We are thinking about phasing him out of puppy food and into regular adult food. So I have two questions. (1) Do you think this is too soon (2) Would you recommend a California Natural product for this breed. We hear some many different things from owners/”experts”, we are just looking for something healthy for his skin, insides and weight. Thanks

  • Hi Kristin… I’m sorry to hear about your dog’s down pasterns. Unfortunately, due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, I cannot provide customized reviews and product comparisons for each reader. For more help, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • Kristin

    My 4 month old GSD puppy has downed pasterns and I’ve read that he should be on a lower protein (less that 23%) and lower calcium diet. which of your foods would you recommend for him? thanks!

  • Melissa


    Unfortuently that email you received does not tell what the problem was, what the diagnosis was, or in fact if the food has anything to do with the dogs passing. I am not saying it didn’t, but the email lacks any definitive information to suggest that it does. I fed one of my dogs once a small piece of cooked steak-dog went into full blown pancreatitis and was hospitalized for 4 days-cost me a bundle. Should I then scream from the rooftop that steak nearly killed my dog? While it did, it was not as a result of “bad steak” but rather an underlying medical issue within the dog. Not fair to give meat a bad rap based on one dog’s issue. I would be interested in hearing why the owner feels this and what the dogs medical diagnosis was-ie poisoning versus individual dog reaction.

  • Here is part of an e-mail that I received yesterday from a VERY reliable person: “I know someone who lost her dog to CA Naturals recently – the sweet potato diet. She’s been fighting through all the testing and worry. Trying to do the right thing for her dog. It’s just sad”.
    P&G is all I am going to say, don’t ever trust this co.

    —–Original Message—–

  • Hi Karen… Unfortunately, since I’m not a veterinarian, I cannot provide specific health advice or product recommendations. Please see our FAQ page and our reviews for more information. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help with your dog’s IBD.

  • Karen

    What would you recommend for a dog with Irritable Bowel Disease?

  • Jonathan

    Cindy, further more, even if the “rice” listed and the “sunflower oil” listed were the lowest quality versions of each, this would still be a three star food. And not because it’s so great. But because other foods in the two star category are so bad.

    Look at this food. It may not have a rip-roaring amount of meat, and the question of the quality of two ingredients is valid, but it doesn’t contain any by-products, chemical preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, or generic animal fat.

    All those things are potentially worse that two “questionable” ingredients, which, by the way, still wouldn’t be awful (compared to, say, “feed grade” corn and wheat) even if they were the lesser quality variety.

    I would think you could recognize that this is a better food than Purina Pro Plan, right?

  • Cindy… The following is taken directly from this review:

    “The fourth ingredient lists sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is high in linoleic acid… an essential omega-6 fat needed by every dog to sustain life.

    “But the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in a food is nutritionally critical… and can vary significantly (depending on the quality of the source ingredient itself).

    “There are several different types of sunflower oil… some better than others. Without knowing more, it is impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.”

    If you actually read my article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews”, I did my very best to share with my readers how incredibly challenging the whole subject of ingredient quality really is. We only can trust what we know on the label. What about corn and its different grades. What about all the ingredients on the list. How could any of us possibly know more?

  • Cindy

    I am curious about something with your reviews of these foods and it is demonstrated on this page and many others.
    It seems like when an ingredient, for example, is labeled “rice” or “sunflower oil”, with no more label description to its quality, there may be an assumption that it is the best possible “rice” or “sunflower oil” out of the possibilities, which include lower quality versions.

    This product contains a couple ingredients that are “unknown” as to quality, but the food is still awarded a decent 3-star rating. Does this mean if those unknown ingredients were of the worst quality they could be out of the possibilities, the food as a whole would still get this 3-star rating or does it not play into your ratings at all?
    I am just curios how you deal with the unknown, as it seems like it could potentially affect a rating pretty dramatically.
    And, yes, I have read your article “the problem with dog food reviews.”

  • Hi Steve… I’ve always been a devoted fan for mixing a quality canned food (like California Natural) with a good dry food. You’ll definitely be boosting the meat protein content of the kibble.

  • Steve

    Our cocker spaniel is doing great on CA Lamb & Rice, no skin problems ever, but we’re now wanting to bump the amount of protein in the food. Would adding the canned version of this food be enough? I’m aware I would need to decrease the amount of dry if I add wet.

  • Dawn

    Our Australian shepherd had horrible allergies to dry food as a puppy, we tried multiple brands and his skin allergies and diarrhea never got better until a friend recommended California Natural puppy food to us. Within a week our puppy was no longer scratching and our diarrhea nightmare was over. I would recommend this food to any dog owner/lover that has a dog with allergies or is overly sensitive to dog foods!

  • Hi Shelby… You are correct in noticing we’ve changed those ratings. We try to revisit our reviews at least once (or twice) a year. And sometimes, when we do, we notice something that compels us to adjust a rating up or down to more accurately reflect the quality of a product. This most often occurs whenever a particular recipe is sitting on the fence between two categories (as they were here). After revisiting these two products, our estimate of meat content was downgraded or upgraded enough to reflect the changes in our opinion. Not a change in the food itself (or the company’s ownership). Hope this helps explain our actions.

  • Shelby

    WOW. I am shocked! In one month, the rating for California Natural went down from 4 stars to 3 stars!! What made you decide to change the rating? Proctor and Gamble? The low protein levels?

    I also noticed that you bumped up more positive ratings for Healthwise. Right now, I am feeding my dogs Healthwise, and they are doing well.

  • Hi Eileen… Dogs are a lot like us humans. Each responds to a particular food in its own unique way. Because of this issue (and since I’m not a veterinarian), it would be misleading for me to assure you a particular food would control your dog’s diarrhea problems. Besides, your dog’s GI problems may not even be related to the food.

    Unfortunately, for most of us, choosing the right dog food can involve a lot of trial and error. You may want to consider a limited ingredient recipe to help nail down the offending ingredient. You can find a few of these brands listed in my report, “Suggested Hypoallergenic Dog Foods“. Hope this helps.

  • Eileen

    I have a 3/1/2 yr old shitsu w/diareah problems. I have tried at least 6 different kibbles in the last 2 yrs and he always winds up w/diareah. He cannot tolerate grain-free he gets diareah by the 2nd or 3rd day. The one he did the best on was calif natutral herring & sweet potatoe. He was good for 3 mos, ( I was told that ad the least ingredients) and then he fot diarea. I always go back to Purina EN in the can (beef)
    but they now have changed the formula to chicken. I think i once triedinstinct – rabbit & tapioca and he did go on that for a while then diareaa. I don’t know if he just can’t have kibble, but he did have kibble for those three months w/a little EN also. What do you recommend? Do younthink I should just look for a fish in a canned food ?Or is there a certain food you would recommend? I have had him to3 different vets and they all say nothing is wrong , he might ave ibs and i just have to find the right food? any suggestions?

  • Hi Lindsay… Since I’m not a veterinarian, it would be misleading for me to assure you a particular dog food would provide the specific health benefits you’re looking for. There are a number of brands that claim some of their products are good for dogs with digestive intolerances. Try clicking the “Tags” tab at the top of every page on my website and look for the link that’s labeled “Digestive”. Selecting that will give you a list of brands that I’ve tagged because the lines contain “digestive” dog foods.

    By the way, it’s my understanding that after GI surgery to remove an obstruction it’s not uncommon to see these issues. I’d suggest feeding more but smaller meals until the problem resolves. And of course, be sure to run this by your vet. Hope this helps.

  • Lindsay

    Hi, 10 month old american bulldog puppy had a bowel ostruction last month. He’s been on the dry large breed puppy innova since we got him, but after his surgery we fed him the low residue i/d that the vets told us, and eventually went back to his innova. The problem now is that he throws up once in awhile, and when he does it doesn’t look as if he digested his food, and he tends to throw up a lot- it looks like atleast 2 cups of the food. this may be a motility issue and have nothing to do with the innova but incase it is related we were thinking of switching to a different brand. Is there anything you can recommend? Is innova too good a food for him? (i know that sounds counter-intuitive, but we thought maybe he needs something easier on his digestive system. thanks!

  • Hi Diane… The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in an oil can be critical. And (as I mention) it can vary significantly. I’m not sure how many different kinds are available on the open market. In any case, due to a dog’s natural bias toward meat, we would tend to favor animal fats sourced from a named-species over any vegetable oil. Hope this helps.

  • I use to buy CN until a few years ago, Solid Gold on their advertisements, were stating that sunflower oil is bad for dogs. Do you happen to know why & how many different types of sunflower oils are out there that companies can use in dog food?

  • Samantha

    Just an addendum to the above – we actualy switched to Taste of the Wild – bison/venison. Great improvement! No more gas/belching, very nice stools and his coat is gorgeous. He also really likes it! So glad we switched.

  • Marci Fox

    We have also had issues with episodes of diarrhea while on California Naturals Chicken and Rice–and vicious gas. Since switching to Fromm Gold Large Breed we have noticed a HUGE improvement in stools, gas, and my show Rottweiler actually EATS it–before it was difficult to maintain her show weight but now she’s holding steady at 88 lbs, looks wonderful, and has a brilliant coat!

  • Samantha

    Hi – we didn’t know about the sale to P&G until yesterday. Our dog has been eating CN for 8 years. For the last few months, we noticed him getting very gassy and belchy and sort of assumed it was his age. Then about 6 weeks ago we began a series of diarrhea episodes. 2 full vettings with blood work and poop and we finally found out about the food. My dog sitter had told me about Iam/Eukanuba but didn’t say that CA had been bought by them. They say they didn’t change it – my dog’s gut is telling us they did! We are now looking into a higher end, higher protein food – Fromm is the suggestion. My dog is 60 pounds, an English SetterX, 8 years old. Great site, BTW!

  • Hi Mel… Dietary protein can be a controversial issue. Although many still believe dogs need less protein as they age, more recent research suggests older dogs can have difficulty absorbing protein (especially the lower quality vegetable-based types).

    Today, many canine professionals are beginning to recommend maintaining higher dietary protein for dogs. The article “Senior Dogs and Special Needs” by respected nutritionist Dr. Lew Olson presents the more modern view.

    Another source of excellent information about protein in a dog’s diet can be found in a white paper entitled “The Biologically Appropriate Food Concept and the Dietary Needs of Dogs and Cats“. This article is published by Champion Petfoods… the makers of Orijen and Acana dog foods.

    I believe you’ll find these two articles very reassuring regarding high protein diets.

    Hope this helps.

    Tag: sr

  • Mel

    Thanks for an informative site on dog food ingredients. I’ve been feeding CN for a few years and I chose Natura for the minimal ingredients and the lower protein mainly because 3 of my 4 dogs are senior and sedentary. I know that high protein can be hard on the kidneys. Is this a wrong way of thinking?
    I was feeding Herring & sweet potatoe which they did very well on and just recently bought a Chicken & Rice for a different source of protein but I was interested to see your comments on level of chicken protein vs. fish/lamb/etc. I do add to the kibble – sometimes greek yogurt, sometimes a tablespoon of canned high quality food such as CN salmon & sweet potatoe, lamb and brown rice, Chicken Soup senior, Innova, etc.

  • Hi Raquel… There are many other (and sometimes serious) reasons besides allergies that could be causing your dog’s problems. Since I’m not a vet, I feel it would be misleading for me to suggest that feeding a particular dog food (like Cal Natural) might provide specific results. If you haven’t already done so, please be sure to discuss this problem with your vet.

    Tag: ag

  • Raquel

    I have a 8yr old min pin with allergies, He’s been on Bil Jac since a puppy. He developed allergies and started getting sores inbetween his toes, no grain, corn or wheat now and we switched his food to Blue sensitive with salmon n that doesnt seem to help. My question is do you think the California Natural would be good for this?

  • Hi Jessy… Blood in the stool can be worrisome and may (or may not) be associated with your dog’s diet. I’d recommend checking with your vet as soon as possible.

  • Jessy

    I have a 10 month old frenchie on Wellness Core (grainfree). He’s been on this for 4 months. His stool looks pretty healthy but he’s been having a little bit of blood in his stool, on and off the last month. I’m not sure if the grainfree is too rich and switching him to something that’s easier to digest might do it. He also regurgitates often. Do you think California Natural Puppy formula would help?

  • Hi Stephanie… I wish I could give you a specific recommendation, but I fear it would be misleading to others for me to endorse a specific food just for Lulu. Since small breeds like yours are still considered puppies up to about 6 months, why not find a 4 or 5-star puppy food (or one designed for “all life stages”). Hope this helps.

  • Stephanie

    Hi Mike! I have a 3lb 8 oz five month old chihuahua. She has a strange stomache and does not eat a lot. We recently received a free coupon for any Natura brand food. Right now she is on Merrick Whole Earth Puppy Formula but she is having some trouble with the size of the kibbles.

    Anyway my question is, what food would you recommend for my baby Lulu? I figured it couldn’t hurt to try a new brand since she is not a huge fan of the Merrick. Our choices are California Natural, Evo, Innova or Healthwise. What do you think?

  • Danes and Doxies

    Hi Mike. Let me start by saying…wow…your website is so informative. I truly appreciate the work you’ve done.

    I thought I would share my experience with this brand.

    We feed the Sweet Potato and Herring formula to our dogs. We have great danes and feeding them a low protein diet is important to us. We also had some skin issues with previous foods but this one really seems to work well for us. No more doggy acne!

    We also have dachshunds and I do get concerned that this food is too low in protein for them. We’ve tried switching but the logistics of feeding different foods was challenging and we really couldn’t find anything that the doxies loved as much as the CN. It must be that stinky fish smell :). Fortunately their recent blood work indicates that they are very healthy pups so we’re sticking with this formula for now.

  • Hi Akita Mom… thanks for the tip. We’ll begin our research right away. Look for a review in the near future. So, be sure to check back again soon.

  • Akita Mom

    Hi Mike, I was wondering if you could review the new grain-free versions of California Natural kibble (chicken, lamb, and venison varieties)? I bought a small bag of the grain free chicken, primarily because I noticed on the label that CN excluded potatoe as a binder (lamb and venison included potatoe). I would really appreciate your thoughts on this product. Thanks!

  • Hi Kellie… No, not if she’s allergic to anything on that list. The whole point of a limited ingredient diet is to help you isolate the offending culprit. This is a lot easier to do with a short list than a long one. Good luck… and in a situation like this, be sure to buy the smallest package you can find.

  • Kellie

    Thanks Mike – So is it okay to give my female who doesn’t have allergy a limited ingredient diet?
    Again thanks so much!

  • Hi Kellie… trying to pick the “perfect” food for our babies is a lesson in frustration and futility. That’s because (of course) the perfect food doesn’t exist.

    What’s more, I definitely wouldn’t be too concerned whether a dog food rates 4 or 5 stars… for we are surely not “accurate” enough in our judgment skills to place each food in its “perfect” rating category.

    That said, all three Before Grain dry products contain chicken meal. Allergies are almost always “learned” by the immune system… which implies your dog has had a previous exposure to a particular ingredient.

    You may want to try something new (like salmon, etc.). Another suggestion… go to the top navigation bar on our website and click the “Tag Cloud”. Select the tag called “hypoallergenic”. These brand reviews contain some foods manufacturers (not us) claim to be hypoallergenic.

    But beware… each review focuses on a “brand” and not on each individual product. So, when we say a brand is “3 stars” or “hypoallergenic”, we never intend to say each product in that brand is 3 stars or hypoallergenic. You’ll still have to do some detective work.

    All in all, as much as I wish I could single out a brand for you… the job is technically impossible. And picking that special one will drive you crazy. There are simply too many foods (each with too many ingredients) to predictably solve this allergy riddle. Pick any 4 or 5 star (even 3 star) food you like, check it for your dog’s known allergies and go with it.

    Your dogs are lucky you care.

  • Kellie

    Mike – I love this website and can’t believe you have done all this for us dog owners!
    So my question / advice needed is as follows:
    I have a 93lbs. male, 3 year old English Choc. Lab and just recently rescued a 45 lbs. petite female, 9mo. old Lab mix who had a bad break that mostly all better.
    My male has horrible allergies (egg (highly), lamb, rice soy, corn, a bunch of grasses etc.) and has been on Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Fish Dry and most of his life. I recently switched him to California Natural Fish Dry because I thought it was better. I give both dogs kongs with frozen wet food (Cal. Natural Fish) as a treat when I leave in the am so they get 1/4-1/3 can of wet a day.
    My female is on Before Grain Chicken mostly because her foster mom wanted to make sure she stays nice and slim because of her break and she felt grain free was better all around.
    Soooo here’s what I need help with – I’d prefer one food for both dogs and want to stick with the Dry food with a kong full of frozen wet for treats.
    I see Before Grain gets 5 stars, but I’m worried about Chicken for my allergy male even though it didn’t show up on his allergy tests, but eggs did. I like the California Natural but after reading a lot on your site not sure if it’s a bit too low in protein and it has 4 stars vs. 5.
    I’m open to other brands as well and have thought about Wellness Core Dry, Orijin, etc. but am a bit confused as to what to do.
    I want the best food for both dogs with the right balance of protein, fat, carbs etc. and would love your thoughts on picking the hopefully perfect one (or maybe the top 3 choices).
    Oh and also use small treats for training (Nat. Balance Sweet Potato & Fish).
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  • Hi Echo… Many share your concerns about Proctor and Gamble’s purchase of Natura Pet. P & G would be making a huge mistake to tamper with the reputation and philosophy of such a great dog food company.

    Let’s hope the parent company (P & G) respects Natura’s long-time, established brand. We’ll all be watching this situation as it unfolds. In the meantime, I wouldn’t panic or jump ship yet. I believe Natura should be given the opportunity to prove itself… for our dog’s sakes. Of course, time will tell.

  • Echo

    Just found out Natura (maker of Innova, Evo, California Natural , etc) sold out to Procter and Gamble earlier this month 🙁

  • Hi Echo… I think the very best way to help a dog to lose weight is to use a high quality (regular, non weight control) dog food… and simply feed less of it. To reduce fats and calories, many companies produce reduced-calorie weight loss products which (mistakenly, I believe) cut back severely on meat… and replace that meat with carbs.

    I think (from a nutritional quality standpoint) is a huge mistake. They lower calories by lowering the product’s nutrient quality… so one can feed the same “volume” of food.

    We recommend feeding quality… but less of it. You’ll not only save calories… you’ll save money, too… and all without sacrificing nutrition. Hope this helps.

  • Echo

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for replying. Yes, the reason is for weight loss. My pug is 26 pounds (about 6 pounds over weight). I’ve had him on different weight loss and mangement foods. He gets fed 1/2 cup twice a day of dry. Since these servings are already so low, I wanted to put him on something you would rate at 4 stars for chubby dogs (seems like the highest ratings I’ve found was 3 stars)

  • Hi Echo… that’s a tough one. You see, with its below average protein level, California Natural just barely qualified for 4 stars anyway. But I’d still give the Low Fat products four stars because of good ingredient quality… not because of meat quantity (a bit low).

    Actually, you never mentioned why you’re looking for a low fat dog food. Unless your pet is prone to pancreatitis, low fat almost always means low protein, too.

    You may want to read my article, “Low Fat Dog Food… Good or Bad for Your Pet“.

    If you’re after weight loss, just select a great dog food and simply feed less… and then weigh less. And be sure to stick with a MEASURED amount with each meal.

  • Echo

    Hey Mike,

    Would you rate the California Natural Low Fat ones at 4 stars too? I’ve been looking for a high rating low fat or low carb one

  • Hi Melanie… for a healthy dog, I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t feed one of the puppy formulas to your adult dog. With the exception of the two “lite” recipes and the herring flavor (approved for adult maintenance only), all the other California Natural kibbles meet nutrient profiles “for all life stages”.

    Actually, your higher meat content idea makes a lot of sense to me. Bravo, Melanie!

  • melanie

    would you say it is safe to feed the puppy formula to adult dogs to take advantage of the higher protein content? the ingredients are almost identical between the adult and puppy formulas.