Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Dog Food (Pouch)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Freshpet Nature’s Fresh pouched dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Freshpet Nature’s Fresh product line includes one pouched dog food, a recipe claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

Freshpet Nature's Fresh Grain Free Chicken Recipe

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 49% | Fat = 29% | Carbs = 15%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken liver, carrots, pea protein, eggs, natural flavors, pea fiber, spinach, vinegar, salt, carrageenan, potassium chloride, peas, inulin, beta-carotene, celery powder, vitamins: choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, biotin, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, minerals: dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.9%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis17%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis49%29%15%
Calorie Weighted Basis37%52%11%
Protein = 37% | Fat = 52% | Carbs = 11%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The third ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The fourth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

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

After the natural flavors, we find pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.

The next ingredient is spinach. Due to its exceptional vitamin and mineral content, spinach exhibits a remarkably high nutrient Completeness Score2 of 91.

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

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

With four notable exceptions

First, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.

Next, we note the use of peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

In addition, this recipe includes inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

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.

Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Pouched Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Freshpet Nature’s Fresh pouched dog food looks like an above-average moist product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 49%, a fat level of 29% and estimated carbohydrates of about 15%.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea products, this looks like the profile of a moist product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Freshpet Nature’s Fresh is a grain-free, meat-based moist dog food using a significant amount of named meat as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Freshpet 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.

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Special 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.

A Final Word

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Notes and Updates

07/12/2018 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Completeness Score is a measure of a food’s relative nutrient content and is computed by NutritionData.com from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
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