Native Performance Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Native Performance product line includes 5 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.
- Native Performance Energy Level 2 (4 stars) [A]
- Native Performance Energy Level 3 (5 stars) [A]
- Native Performance Energy Level 4 (5 stars) [A]
- Native Performance Energy Level 1 (3.5 stars) [A]
- Native Performance Energy Level 3 Puppy (5 stars) [A]
Native Performance Energy Level 3 was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Native Performance Energy Level 3
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, ground rice, ground barley, chicken fat (mixed tocopherols preservative), fish meal, dried beet pulp, dried egg, ground flaxseed, natural flavor, yeast culture, potassium chloride, salt, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, biotin, read-sedge peat, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, l-lysine monohydrochloride, zinc proteinate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, dl-methionine, niacin supplement, vitamin A supplement, sodium selenite, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, mixed tocopherols (preservative), citric acid (preservative), rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||22%||37%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||44%||30%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second ingredient is ground rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
The third 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 fourth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The fifth ingredient is 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 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 dried egg, 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.
The eighth 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.
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 two notable exceptions…
First, we note the use of an ingredient called reed-sedge peat. Peat is a product of partially decayed vegetation.
Although we can’t be certain as to why this ingredient has been included here, some reports suggest peat can aid in digestion, growth and immune function of certain animals.2
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.
Native Performance Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, Native Performance 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 32% and a mean fat level of 21%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 39% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 66%.
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 flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Native Performance is a plant-based dry dog food using a significant amount of named meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 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.
Native Performance Dog Food
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.
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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Important FDA Alert
The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free recipes and dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
08/31/2018 Last Update