Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Dog Food Review (Pouch)

Natures Fresh Grain Free Chicken Recipe Dry Food

Review of Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Pouched Dog Food

Rating:

Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Dog Food in pouches receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Freshpet Nature’s Fresh product line includes the 2 pouched dog foods listed below.

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product Rating AAFCO
Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Grain Free Chicken 5 M
Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Grain Free Small Breed 4.5 A

Recipe and Label Analysis

Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Grain Free Chicken was selected to represent both products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.


Freshpet Nature's Fresh Grain Free Chicken Recipe

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

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

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

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.3%

Red denotes controversial item

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

Ingredient Analysis

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

The third 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 fourth 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 vinegar, an item of only modest nutritional value to a dog. We would assume it’s used here to adjust the pH of this recipe.

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 Freshpet product.

With 4 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.

The article, The Carrageenan Controversy, published in Scientific American, does a good job of addressing this topic.

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.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on the ingredients alone, Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Dog Food looks like an above-average moist product.

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

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 46% and a mean fat level of 31%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 16% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.

Which means this Freshpet product line contains…

Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical moist 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.

Our Rating of Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Pouched Dog Food

Freshpet Nature’s Fresh is a grain-free refrigerated 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.

Has Freshpet Dog Food Been Recalled?

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Freshpet.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

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More Freshpet Brand Reviews

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A Final Word

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Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

References

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials

06/21/2021 Last Update