Good Natured Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★☆

Good Natured Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Good Natured product line includes 6 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.

  • Good Natured Chicken and Barley Puppy [U]
  • Good Natured Grain Free Salmon and Pea [U]
  • Good Natured Chicken and Barley Adult (3.5 stars) [U]
  • Good Natured Chicken and Barley Small Breed Adult [U]
  • Good Natured Chicken and Barley Large Breed Puppy [U]
  • Good Natured Chicken and Barley Large Breed Adult (3.5 stars) [U]

Good Natured Chicken and Barley Small Breed Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Good Natured Chicken and Barley Small Breed Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 50%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, ground barley, brewers rice, dried beet pulp, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, fish meal (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried egg product, dried carrots, dried peas, ground flaxseed, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, dried tomato pomace, dried apple pomace, dl-methionine, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of ascorbic acid), copper sulfate, niacin supplement, manganese sulfate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium iodate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, sodium selenite, rosemary extract, green tea extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis25%13%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%14%50%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%31%45%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 31% | Carbs = 45%

The first ingredient in this dog food is 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 account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

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

The third 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 fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The sixth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

The seventh ingredient is poultry fat. Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).

After the natural flavor, we find fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

The next item is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

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 six notable exceptions

First, we find dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

Next, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

In addition, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

We also note the inclusion of apple pomace, which includes the pulpy solids that remain after pressing apples to extract the juice. It is most likely used here for its fiber content.

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

And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

Good Natured Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Good Natured Dog Food looks like 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 28%, a fat level of 14% and estimated carbohydrates of about 50%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 53%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the dried peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Good Natured 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 4 stars.

Highly 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.

Good Natured 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.

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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".

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Notes and Updates

09/01/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Crazy4cats

    I’m guessing American Nutrition, but don’t know for a fact. They manufacture their Authority line and are also making the bags of pet food that PetSmart has pledged to donate based on how many bags they sell.

    Contact American Nutrition and ask them for confirmation.

  • Bill Randall

    The Good Natured salmon and pea recipe is no longer made, but was manufactured for PetSmart by some other company. Does anyone have a guess who that company may be?

  • caninecrusdar

    We recently used the puppy variety of Chicken and Barley for a litter of Lab/Shepherd mix puppies I rescued. We started on a high end brand, but had to find another food at a better cost by the time the puppies were 5 weeks old and eating 10 cups a day or more. Their vet commented how gorgeous and health they looked. Perfect and easy to pick up bowel movements too. The cost is about $1 per pound of dry food. We have been feeding our dogs Taste of the Wild for nearly a decade. TOTW is $55 for 30 lbs. I’m considering trying our dogs on this food and see how they do.

  • Emily

    It sounded good, but my maltese mix wasn’t having it. After a slow transition and a week of just the Good Natured, he still wasn’t having it. I tried ro use what I had to switched him to a new food and je picked all this one out and only ate the new one. The ingrediants are great, but not the best for picky eaters.

  • Christina P

    It was $29 for a 23lb bag. That’s pretty good for a grain free. I have GS mix and she always has skin allergies. She’s done real well on this and looks gorgeous. I also notice the high fiber content. We have 2 pups of hers that have been getting colitis so I’m going to try this out on them. We used to love Victor brand but the doggies’ needs have changed.

  • mahoraner niall

    Wow, if im correct, it was either $19 or $29 for a big bag (it looked like 15-20 lbs) at pet smart when i was there the other day. Nice price for good ingredients!