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 related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
- Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Grain Free Chicken [M]
- Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Grain Free Small Breed (4.5 stars) [A]
Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Grain Free Chicken was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Freshpet Nature's Fresh Grain Free Chicken Recipe
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
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|
|Dry Matter Basis||49%||29%||15%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||37%||52%||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 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 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.
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 Review
Based on the ingredients alone, Freshpet Nature’s Fresh Dog Food looks like an above-average moist product.
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 66%.
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.
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.
Freshpet Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this Freshpet brand. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
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.
Notes and Updates
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
12/21/2019 Last Update