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Nature’s Intent Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Nature’s Intent product line includes two grain-free dry recipes, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Nature’s Intent Adult Dog Formula with Lamb
- Nature’s Intent Adult Dog Formula with Chicken
Nature’s Intent Adult Dog Formula with Lamb was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Nature's Intent Adult Dog Formula with Lamb
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Pork meal, green peas, chickpeas, yellow peas, chicken fat, lamb, suncured alfalfa, flaxseed, natural flavor, butternut squash, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green apples, carrots, blueberries, parsley, sage, minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, mixed tocopherols
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||12%||52%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||27%||48%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is pork meal. Pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork. Yet it can also be high in ash — about 25-30%.
However, the ash content of the final product is typically adjusted in the recipe to allow its mineral profile to meet AAFCO guidelines.
The second and fourth ingredients include green and yellow 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.
The third ingredient includes chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.
However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
It’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:
- Green peas
- Yellow peas
Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.
You see, if we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would almost certainly occupy a higher position on the list — possibly making legumes (not meat) the predominant ingredient in this recipe.
The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb 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 seventh ingredient is suncured alfalfa. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
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.
After the natural flavor, we find squash. Squash is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
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 one notable exception…
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.
Nature’s Intent Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Intent 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 28% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.
Near-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 peas, chickpeas, alfalfa and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Nature’s Intent Dog Food is a grain-free plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of pork meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 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.
Nature’s Intent 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.
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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
09/26/2015 Last Update
- As of 4/3/2017 ↩