Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Dog Food Review (Trays)


Nature’s Recipe Grain Free wet dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5.

The Nature’s Recipe Grain Free product line includes the 5 moist 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 check prices and package sizes at an online retailer.

Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Chicken and Duck Recipe Tray was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nature's Recipe Grain Free Chicken and Duck Recipe Tray

Wet Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 65% | Fat = 12% | Carbs = 16%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, pumpkin, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), duck, potato starch, tomato puree, tricalcium phosphate, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, beta-carotene), potassium chloride, guar gum, salt, calcium sulfate, minerals (zinc glycine complex, iron glycine complex, copper glycine complex, manganese glycine complex, potassium iodide, sodium selenite), choline chloride, natural flavor, carrageenan, taurine, magnesium sulfate, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.8%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis11%2%NA
Dry Matter Basis65%12%16%
Calorie Weighted Basis59%26%14%
Protein = 59% | Fat = 26% | Carbs = 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 pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene and dietary fiber.

The next 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 fifth ingredient is duck. Duck is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of duck”.2

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

The next ingredient is potato starch, which is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.

The seventh ingredient is tomato puree, a smooth, creamy blend of crushed tomatoes. Whole tomato is a nutrient rich vegetable consisting of about 72% carbohydrates.

The eighth 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.

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.

Next, we note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.

Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.

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.

Nature’s Recipe Grain Free
Wet Dog Food Review

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

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 65%, a fat level of 12% and estimated carbohydrates of about 16%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 59% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 20% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 22%.

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.

Bottom line?

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.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Nature’s Recipe Dog Food
Recall History

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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

More Nature’s Recipe Reviews

The following Nature’s Recipe reviews are also posted on this website:

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

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor from the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition

08/01/2020 Last Update