Earth Naturals Dog Food (Dry)

Rating:

PRODUCT HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED

Earth Naturals Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4.5 stars.

The Earth Naturals product line includes three dry dog foods… each meeting AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

  • Earth Naturals All Life Stages Formula
  • Earth Naturals Active Adult and Puppy Formula
  • Earth Naturals Hypoallergenic Grain Free Formula

Earth Naturals Active Adult and Puppy Formula was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.

Earth Naturals Active Adult and Puppy Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 31% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 44%

Ingredients: Deboned chicken, brown rice, chicken meal (a natural source of glucosamine), oat meal, whole grain rye, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of natural vitamin E), lamb meal, fish meal (select ocean blend), whole grain sorghum, ground flax seed, alfalfa meal, alfalfa nutrient concentrate, fruits & vegetables (carrots, peas, tomato, celery, beet, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, cranberries, blueberries), pumpkin meal, natural chicken flavor, canola oil, potassium chloride, kelp meal (Ascophyllum nodosum), new zealand green mussel, sea cucumber, eggshell meal, chicken cartilage (source of glucosamine), vitamins & minerals (zinc sulfate, calcium carbonate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, selenium yeast, copper sulfate, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate (source of vitamin B5), copper amino acid chelate, manganese sulfate, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), biotin, manganese amino acid chelate, magnesium amino acid chelate, riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), lecithin, dried chicory root, folic acid, cobalt carbonate), hydrolyzed yeast, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, Lactobacillus fermentum fermentation product, Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, taurine, vitamin E supplement, Yucca schidigera extract, natural preservative (natural mixed tocopherols, citric acid), rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis28%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis31%18%44%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%37%37%
Protein = 26% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 37%

The first ingredient in this dog food is deboned chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost… reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably occupy a lower position on the list.

Which brings us to brown rice… the second and (more likely) the dominant ingredient in this dog food.

Brown rice is a quality ingredient… a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) is fairly easy to digest.

The third ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The fourth ingredient is oatmeal… a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, fiber and is also (unlike many other grains) gluten-free.

The fifth ingredient is rye. Rye is a cereal grain nutritionally similar to barley.

The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken… a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid… an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is lamb meal… yet one more protein-rich meat concentrate.

The eighth item is fish meal… once again, another quality protein.

Unfortunately, the controversial chemical ethoxyquin is frequently used as a preservative in fish meals.

But because it’s usually added to the raw fish before processing, the chemical does not have to be reported to consumers.

We find no public assurances from the company this product is ethoxyquin-free.

Without knowing more, and based upon this fish meal’s location on the list of ingredients, we would expect to find only a trace of ethoxyquin in the finished product.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With three notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of canola oil. Most applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content… while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.

Current thinking (ours included) finds the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.1

Next, the manufacturer appears to have applied friendly bacteria to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.

And lastly, this food also contains chelated mineralsminerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Earth Naturals Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Earth Naturals Dog Food appears to be an above-average kibble.

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 31%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 44%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.

Above-average protein. Average fat. And below-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 respectable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Excluding the grain free recipe, Earth Naturals is a rice-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein… thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

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Notes and Updates

12/17/2010 Original review

09/15/2012 Last Update

  1. Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005)