Karma Organic Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Product May Have Been Discontinued
Unable to Locate Complete Label Info
On Company Website1

Karma Organic Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Karma Organic Dog Food product line includes just one kibble claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

Karma Organic

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 22% | Fat = 9% | Carbs = 61%

Ingredients: Organic chicken, organic brown rice, organic oats, organic barley, organic rye, organic pea protein, organic flaxseed, yeast extract, organic carrots, organic beets, organic sunflower oil (naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols), calcium carbonate, organic broccoli, organic cranberries, dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, herring oil (naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols), minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate), vitamins (ascorbic acid, vitamin E supplement, betaine hydrochloride, niacin supplement, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, beta carotene, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid), salt, direct fed microbials (dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis20%8%NA
Dry Matter Basis22%9%61%
Calorie Weighted Basis21%21%58%
Protein = 21% | Fat = 21% | Carbs = 58%

The first ingredient in this dog food lists 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 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 third item is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.

The fourth item is rye, a cereal grain nutritionally similar to barley.

The fifth ingredient lists 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 actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient lists 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.

The seventh ingredient is yeast extract is the common name for a broad group of products made by removing the cell wall from the yeast organism.

A significant number of these ingredients are added as specialized nutritional supplements while others are used as flavor enhancers.

However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in a minority of yeast extracts can be controversial.

That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration designated these food additives to be safe decades ago2, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.

So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.

In any case, since the label reveals little about the the actual type of yeast extract included in any recipe, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this ingredient.

Four of the next six items include a series of nutrient-rich organic fruits and vegetables

  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cranberries

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, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

Next, 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.

Then, we also find herring oil. Herring oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, herring oil should be considered a commendable addition.

And lastly, this food also contains chelated mineralsminerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Karma Organic Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Since this recipe contains a number of quality organic ingredients, we feel compelled to accord this line somewhat favored status as we consider its final rating.

That’s because organic ingredients must comply with notably more stringent government standards — standards which significantly restrict the use of any synthetic pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, hormones or antibiotics.

Just the same, we still need to evaluate the product’s protein, fat and carbohydrate content.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 22%, a fat level of 9% and an estimated carbohydrate content of 61%.

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea protein, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a limited amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Karma Organic Dog Food is a plant-based organic kibble utilizing a limited amount of chicken as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.


A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

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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".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

04/03/2010 Original review
02/22/2014 Product may have been discontinued

02/22/2014 Last Update

  1. As of 5/19/2016
  2. L-Glutamic Acid, FDA Select Committee on GRAS Substances
  • Dog Food Ninja

    Dwolfett, I would not recommend adding this to any dog’s diet.  What you are feeding now is good, provided you are getting the nutrient ratios correct as Mike pointed out.  So to ensure proper nutrients, you could add a kibble.  But if you added THIS kibble, you would be loading your dog up with ANTI-nutrients.  Grains, beans, and white potatoes actually contain things that inhibit the body from proper nutrient absorption.  They are not actually food, but rather an inedible part of a plant’s growing cycle.  the “food” made from these items are a concocted, processed product of human invention.  There are some birds that eat grass seeds, but they have evolved an anti-anti-nutrient enzyme in their gut that our and our dog’s DNA has never heard of.  So if you’re looking for a kibble to add, go with a high protein grain-free kibble, and even white potato-free would be preferable.        

  • Hi Dwolfett,

    Sounds like you’ve got the start of a great feeding plan. However, any diet deficient in one or more nutrients can have very negative long term effects on any animal’s health.

    If you’re not feeding raw bone or supplementing the diet in some measured way with calcium, then it’s always possible your pet isn’t getting adequate nutrition.

    So, be sure to get professional advice from an expert (a nutritionally knowledgeable vet, an experienced raw feeder or even some of the helpful raw regulars on our website).

    For without a properly balanced raw diet, you may be even worse off than with some generic supermarket kibble.

    To see what I mean and if you haven’t already done so, please be sure to watch this revealing video by Dr. Karen Becker.

    Hope this helps.

  • sandy

    Brothers Complete and Great Life have not been recalled.  I use the grain free kibble, not canned.

  • Dwolfett

    My question is Since I feed real chicken breast to my dogs, would this food then be a 5 star balanced addition? I feed sweet potatoes, other veggies, plain Greek yogurt, bones/ beef stock with seaweed etc. All these things in correct portions and mixed/spaced out over the week. Chicken breast daily though. Im seeking foods 5 star that have never hit the FDA recall list. I use Acana, Orijen now but am seeking others.

  • sandy

    I’ve often heard 20% of unbalanced.

  • aimee


    I don’t know if this will help or not… but a general rule of thumb I’ve heard is if adding an unbalanced food to a balanced diet ( like you are doing) you should limit the amount of the unbalanced food to 10% of the total daily calories fed.

  • Hi Wayne… Overfeeding has to do with calories rather than protein. Unfortunately, since the number of calories is determined by the portions you’re feeding, you’ll have to weight the chicken (in ounces) and then multiply that figure by the number of calories per ounce. Plus you’ll need to figure how many calories that are in each serving of Karma.

    Here’s a better idea…

    Since each dog has its own unique energy requirements (just like people), there’s no way to reliably predict the exact serving size that’s right for each pet — especially since you’re mixing 2 different foods together (a feeding method known as “topping”).

    So, I’d suggest starting with the Karma package’s feeding instructions. Then eyeballing a mixture of both foods.

    Of course, always measure the Karma with a real measuring cup. Not a scoop. Never guess. Keep an accurate record of how much you’re feeding.

    Be sure to weigh your dog periodically (every few weeks or so). Then, simply adjust (titrate) that serving size up or down to establish and maintain your pet’s ideal weight.

    In the end, it’s the only real life method you can scientifically rely on. Hope this helps.

  • Wayne

    Thank you Mike. While looking at organic dry some sites had given it a 5 and then reduced it to 3 stars because of P&G. And the below average amount of meat is why I am trying to find out how much to give my 21lbs dog and ratio of chicken meal to mixed in dry Karma per day so he gets the right amount of meat and dry food a day. Best of both.
    Is there somewhere I could look I know there is no way to know the
    meat porteint of what the chicken meal i am giving him I just do not want to over feed him. And give enough of Karma so he gets enough.

  • Hi Wayne… The reason Karma receives only 3 stars is explained in “The Bottom Line” section of this review. Please notice this rating has nothing whatsoever to do with the P&G purchase of the company last year. It’s just that Karma appears to contain a below average amount of meat compared to other kibbles. Hope this helps.

  • Wayne

    I giving my 21 lbs dog Karma Dog Food with frozen organic chicken meal. Could you tell me how much Karma dry to chicken meal give him per day. So he get right amount of dry and meat.
    Thank You. I live in Toronto Canada and what organic dry dog food I can buy Karma only one thats 95% organic. the others ingredients chicken meal,chicken fat (not listed as organic) and some rosemary. When looking at what food to get this site Reviews help alot on which to pick. Only 3 stars because it sold to p&g ? I hope they leave the Dog Food alone. I cook the chicken meal and add Karma dry and then grind them together for my dog to eat will not eat raw. Just need to know 3 parts meal to 1 part dry food ?? then how much a day to give him Thanks Again

  • A class action lawsuit may affect your rights if you purchased Innova, EVO, California Natural, HealthWise, Mother Nature, or Karma dog or cat food products during the time period from March 20, 2005 to July 8, 2011

    The lawsuit claims Natura made false and misleading statements about the human grade quality of its food.