Nature’s Recipe Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Nature’s Recipe product line includes the 7 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
Use the links to compare price and package size information at an online retailer.
- Nature’s Recipe Original Small Bites [A]
- Nature’s Recipe Original Puppy Lamb Meal and Rice (4 stars) [A]
- Nature’s Recipe Easy to Digest Chicken Meal (4 stars) [A]
- Nature’s Recipe Original Adult Lamb Meal and Rice [M]
- Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Vegetarian (not rated) [M]
- Nature’s Recipe Original Adult Chicken Meal and Rice [M]
- Nature’s Recipe Senior Lamb Meal and Rice (3 stars) [M]
Nature’s Recipe Original Small Bites was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nature's Recipe Original Small Bites
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, brewers rice, barley, oatmeal, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, dried tomato pomace, salt, choline chloride, flaxseed, potassium chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), inositol, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, beta-carotene, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin), taurine, minerals (ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), lactic acid, Yucca schidigera extract, citric acid (used as a preservative), rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||24%||13%||54%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||29%||49%|
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 includes 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 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 next ingredient is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.
The fifth ingredient is poultry fat. This item is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.
However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).
After the natural flavor, we find tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
The eighth ingredient is salt (also known as sodium chloride). Salt is a common additive in many dog foods. That’s because sodium is a necessary mineral for all animals — including humans.
However, since the actual amount of salt added to this recipe isn’t disclosed on the list of ingredients, it’s impossible to judge the nutritional value of this item.
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.
With 4 notable exceptions…
First, we find 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.
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.
In addition, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
And lastly, this food 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 Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, Nature’s Recipe dog food looks like an average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 24% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 55% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.
Which means this Nature’s Recipe product line contains…
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-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 moderate amount of meat.
Excluding the Vegetarian formula, Nature’s Recipe is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus receiving 3.5 stars.
Nature’s Recipe Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Nature’s Recipe. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- Nature’s Recipe Dog Treats Recall (10/13/2012)
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
05/02/2020 Last Update