Confirmed by the Manufacturer1
Innova Nature’s Table Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Innova Nature’s Table product line lists five dry dog foods, three recipes claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages and two recipes for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Innova Nature’s Table Beef and Red Lentils
- Innova Nature’s Table Venison and Split Peas
- Innova Nature’s Table Bison and Green Lentils
- Innova Nature’s Table Chicken and Savory Turkey
- Innova Nature’s Table Cold Water Salmon and Wild Herring
Nature’s Table Beef and Red Lentils was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Innova Nature's Table Beef and Red Lentils
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef, lamb meal, red lentils, green lentils, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), flaxseed, pea fiber, menhaden oil, apples, natural flavors, pumpkin, carrots, salt, cottage cheese, alfalfa sprouts, dried chicory root extract, ascorbic acid, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate), taurine, vitamins (betaine hydrochloride, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, beta carotene, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, folic acid), dl-methionine, vitamin E supplement, direct fed microbials (dried Enterococcus faecium, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus, dried Lactobacillus casei), rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||39%||18%||35%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||33%||37%||30%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef 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 lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.
The third and fourth ingredients are red and green lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
The sixth ingredient is flaxseed, 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.
The seventh ingredient is 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 nutritional value to a dog.
The eighth ingredient is menhaden oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.
What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not as likely to be exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deep water species.
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, this recipe includes cottage cheese. Compared to other dairy products, cottage cheese is high in protein yet contains 70% less lactose than whole milk.
Next, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
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.
Innova Nature’s Table Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Innova Nature’s Table Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 37% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 37% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the lentils and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Innova Nature’s Table is a meat-based, grain-free dog food using a significant amount of various species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
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.
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
- As of 7/13/2015 ↩
07/13/2015 Last Update