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Nature’s Recipe Dog Food Review (Canned)

Mike Sagman  Karan French

By

Mike Sagman
Mike Sagman

Mike Sagman

Founder

Dr Mike Sagman is the creator of the Dog Food Advisor. He founded the website in 2008, after his unquestioning trust in commercial dog food led to the tragic death of his dog Penny.

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&
Karan French
Karan French

Karan French

Senior Researcher

Karan is a senior researcher at the Dog Food Advisor, working closely with our in-house pet nutritionist, Laura Ward, to give pet parents all the information they need to find the best food for their dog.

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Updated: June 4, 2024

Verified by Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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Laura Ward

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Our Verdict

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Nature’s Recipe canned product range is made up of four recipes with ratings varying from 2.5 to 3.5 stars. The average rating of the whole range is 3.5 stars.

The table below shows each recipe in this range including our rating and the AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Recipe and Label Analysis

Nature’s Recipe Ground Chicken, Rice and Barley was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Nature's Recipe Original Ground Chicken, Rice and Barley

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

33.3%

Protein

16.7%

Fat

42%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Water sufficient for processing, chicken, soybean meal, chicken liver, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), brewer's rice, barley, potatoes, carrots, peas, vitamins (l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid), guar gum, salt, dicalcium phosphate, minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), potassium chloride, choline chloride, rosemary extract


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1%

Red denotes any controversial items

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 8% 4% NA
Dry Matter Basis 33% 17% 42%
Calorie Weighted Basis 29% 35% 36%

Ingredients Analysis

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 next ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fifth item 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 that 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, 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 next 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 Nature’s Recipe product line.

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 includes 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 contains sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Nature’s Recipe canned dog food looks like an above-average wet product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 33%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 42%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 40% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

Which means this Nature’s Recipe product line contains…

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean meal and peas in this recipe, and the soy and pea proteins included in some other recipes, this looks like the profile of a moist dog food containing a moderate amount of meat, except for the Vegetarian recipe.

Nature's Recipe Dog Food Recall History

The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Nature's Recipe through July 2024.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.

Our Rating of Nature's Recipe Dog Food

Nature’s Recipe is a grain-inclusive canned dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

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Recommended with Reservations

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

A Final Word

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