Nature’s Recipe (Canned)

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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
MethodProteinFatCarbs
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.

Recommended.

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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Special FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

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.

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In any case, please be assured it is always our intention to remain objective, impartial and unbiased when conducting our analysis.

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Notes and Updates

06/25/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
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