Nature’s Recipe (Canned)


Rating: ★★★☆☆

Nature’s Recipe canned dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Nature’s Recipe product line includes 5 canned 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.

  • Nature’s Recipe Easy to Digest Lamb, Rice & Barley Ground [M]
  • Nature’s Recipe Stew Healthy Skin Vegetarian Cuts (2 stars) [M]
  • Nature’s Recipe Easy to Digest Chicken, Rice & Barley Ground [M]
  • Nature’s Recipe Easy to Digest Lamb, Rice & Barley Cuts in Gravy (3.5 stars) [M]
  • Nature’s Recipe Easy to Digest Chicken, Rice & Barley Cuts in Gravy (3.5 stars) [M]

Nature’s Recipe Easy to Digest Chicken, Rice & Barley Ground recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nature's Recipe Easy to Digest Chicken, Rice and Barley Ground

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 21% | Carbs = 38%

Ingredients: Water sufficient for processing, chicken, soybean meal, chicken liver, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), brewers rice, cracked barley, potatoes, carrots, peas, dicalcium phosphate, salt, potassium chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, inositol, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, vitamin A supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, beta-carotene, pyridoxine hydrochloride, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), choline chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.2%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis8%5%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%21%38%
Calorie Weighted Basis27%42%31%
Protein = 27% | Fat = 42% | Carbs = 31%

The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.

The second ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The third ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.

Although soybean meal contains 48% 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 fourth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fifth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The sixth 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 seventh 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 eighth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

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, we find 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.

Next, 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.

And lastly, this recipe includes menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.

Nature’s Recipe Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Recipe canned dog food looks like an average wet 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 33%, a fat level of 21% and estimated carbohydrates of about 38%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 33% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 41% for the overall product line.

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

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean meal and peas, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nature’s Recipe is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 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 Recipe 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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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.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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 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

06/25/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • larsp

    why is the “meat” in all the Nature’sRecipe chicken/rice canned dog food gray?? NR szs they changed the recipe & this is normal, but the product looks seriously compromised. I took photos of the stuff we receive via Chewy & the stuff sold @ Petsmart…..there is a distinct difference. I’ve cancelled my Chewy account & switched over to Fromm.

  • John Mooter

    My dog loves Nature’s Recipe Vegetarian sStew. He is now 12 and eats both this and Natural Balance products. The vet is very impressed with his health at 12. He is a very healthy rescue toy poodle, and has had only plant-based food for 4 years. I know many others who use these plant-based products with their dogs, and they are all doing great. Your reviews are biased and without any real science behind them. One of teh oldest dogs lived to be 28 I believe, in India on a diet of rice and lentils!

  • circe801

    i recently found this at a reasonable price. it was the lamb stew. i did note they are no longer using the menadione and the soy is now in the form of soy protein concentrate rather than soybean meal. also, it does contain dried egg product, which, apparently, is an accepted and good protein item, save for the possible sources. however, there are chelated minerals, which i do deem an important feature–and they do not seem to appear in any lower-quality foods–in fact, do not appear in too many high-end foods, either…

  • Betsy Greer

    I thought that I had recently read that the parent company of this product had changed. It looks like they’re currently owned by Del Monte so I don’t know if that’s something new or not. Nature’s Recipe did have a treat recall in 2012.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’ve actually seen several comments about this food recently, but they were all on other threads for wharever reason. Most were along the lines of NR no longer works for me so I switched to XYZ, but some were XYZ no longer works for me so I switched to NR. Go figure.

  • Nick

    Did the quillity of this food get better ??? Last post was 2 years ago. Thanks

  • Weruva is made in a human food plant.  Their website gives the plant info so I’m ok with it.  But some other brands don’t give that kind of info so I would be relunctant to use it.  Even the new Ol’ Roy Tubs are a product of Thailand but from what kind of plant, who knows.

  • peril

    I use Weruva, it is made in Thailand,which worried me but they did get 5stars, and it is grain free..I noticed NR selects were from Thailand too could even be the same plant. I haven’t seen any recalls on Weruva yet..and I hope none..

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  • Mike P

    Thanks Mike , returning that junk back tomorrow . Exchanging for wilderness blend canned . I just thought venison would be a good change from all the chicken and turkey . I read your story about Penny and it hit home . Thanks bud …

  • Mike P… Where the water (or broth) appears on an ingredients list is for the most part an insignificant matter whenever you’re evaluating any canned pet food. With a wet food, water (or broth) is almost always the first or second ingredient anyway.

    And just like any other ingredient, its position can be manipulated by the producer by splitting other ingredients following it. The only reliable way to evaluate this (or any canned food) is by mathematically removing 100% of the moisture and using either dry matter (or energy weighted) basis for proper comparison.

    No. This NB canned product is certainly not a great food. That;’s why it only gets 3 stars. I certainly wouldn’t buy it again. However, whether you find this enough of a reason to go through the trouble of returning it remains a personal choice. Hope this helps.

  • Mike P

    Big help Mike . Thanks . Jubilee gets a raw meaty bone this afternoon . We have a date to watch the Cubs game in the mancave . The bone is the only way she will watch those lousey Cubs play . I have to bribe her …

  • Hi Mike P… For the short term, I wouldn’t be too concerned about feeding this product. So, it’s probably OK to keep the cans you already purchased. This line is apparently a little low in meat content. But I wouldn’t consider it toxic. Hope this helps.

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Mike P – My vote is that you return the NR cans. In addition to the Red Flag ingredients, water is the first ingredient in the cans. The other ‘better’ canned brands you buy – aren’t they grain-free? And do your ‘better’ cans have water as the first ingredient? If the ‘better’ cans are $2.00 per can, you are probably getting better quality and better ‘bang for your buck’ than NR $1.25 per can.

  • Mike P

    I bought 3 cans of NR venison and 2 cans NR lamb gound that I use solely as a topper . 1/3 can per 2 cups of before grain kibble . This is the first 3 star food I’ve fed her . As we are all watching our wallets these days , it was on sale for $1.25 per can . Now reading the ingredients list and seeing the red flags I wonder if I should return the the other 4 cans ? Do you think this NR is ok just as a topper ? I will not buy anymore of this .

  • Cathy

    To Liz and others,
    In addition to many controversial ingredients in Nature’s Recipe cans (and NR dry foods!), it’s wise to know where the product is manufactured. Last I looked, the NR cans don’t list where they are manufactured, but the cans of Nature’s Recipe Farmstands Select are ‘Product of Thailand’. Some other food brands also are from Thailand, so be sure to bring reading glasses to the store to scrutinize the tiny print on those cans!

  • LIZ


  • Hi Fran… Since dogs are a lot like us humans, each responds to a particular food in its own way. So, there’s no way I (or anyone else) can possibly know what food your dog will like or could assure you would meet all the requirements you mention in your note. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  • FRAN

    I have a 9 year old Maltese. I have fed him Natures Reciept for many years. He seems to do well on it. However, reading this information you have on the product makes me want a better food for him. He does not like any kind of dry food. Please tell me the best food to buy for him? I am paying $1.49 now a can which is very expensive but please let me know what you think. He weights 8 lbs. He just lost his brother of 11 years a month ago. I truly appreciate hearing back from you soon.

  • David

    I bought four cans of the 2 star version even after reading the label mainly because it’s a step up from the other brand I had bought before finding this site. Yes, I had bought quite a few cans of Gravy Train from a dollar store thinking it was such a good deal.
    I have spending most of my time researching dry dog food, but still I should have known lamb stock is nothing like what I thought it should be. Lamb stock is used to make soups and sauces, right? Lamb by-products, well at least there’s no feathers or beaks and no I don’t want to know what there is instead. Ok, I caved-in at seeing the $1.25 sale price.

    Personally, I’d like to dump all canned dog food from the menu and stick with real meat mixed in with 4-5 star kibble.

    I’m not saying all canned dog food is bad. I’m sure there are great brands, it’s the shelf tags that scare me.
    Live and learn.