Review of Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dog Food Trays
Nature’s Recipe Grain Free dog food in trays receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Nature’s Recipe Grain Free product line includes the 3 dog food trays listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
|Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Chicken Recipe||5||M|
|Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Chicken and Duck Recipe||5||M|
|Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Chicken and Venison Recipe||5||M|
Recipe and Label Analysis
Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Chicken Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Chicken Recipe
Wet Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, sweet potato, pumpkin, canola oil, tomato paste, tricalcium phosphate, guar gum, salt, calcium sulfate, potassium chloride, natural flavor, minerals (zinc glycine complex, iron glycine complex, copper glycine complex, manganese glycine complex, sodium selenite, potassium iodide), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, biotin supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, beta-carotene, folic acid), carrageenan, choline chloride, magnesium oxide
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.9%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||65%||12%||16%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||59%||26%||14%|
The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common component in many canned products.
The third ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The next ingredient is pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene and dietary fiber.
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 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 next ingredient is tomato paste. Unlike the controversial item, tomato pomace, the tomato paste detailed here does not include the skin or seeds of the fruit.
The seventh ingredient is tricalcium phosphate, a beneficial source of calcium and phosphorus. In addition, this additive is used in canned foods as an emulsifier — an agent designed to disperse a food’s fats more evenly in water.
The eighth ingredient is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.
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 3 notable exceptions…
First, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
The article, The Carrageenan Controversy, published in Scientific American, does a good job of addressing this topic.
Next, we note the use of 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.
And lastly, 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.
Based on its ingredients alone, Nature’s Recipe Grain Free dog food trays looks like an above-average wet product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 65% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 16% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 18%.
Which means this Nature’s Recipe product line contains…
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a canned dog food containing an abundance of meat.
Our Rating of Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dog Food Trays
Nature’s Recipe Grain Free is a wet dog food using a significant amount of named meats as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Nature’s Recipe Dog Food
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 related to Nature’s Recipe.
- Nature’s Recipe Dog Treats Recall (10/13/2012)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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More Nature’s Recipe Brand Reviews
The following Nature’s Recipe dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
- Nature’s Recipe Dog Food Review
- Nature’s Recipe Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Nature’s Recipe Dog Food Review (Trays)
- Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dog Food Review (Dry)
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.
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
01/25/2022 Last Update