Nature’s Recipe Pure Essentials Limited Ingredient (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Product Has Been Discontinued
Confirmed by the Company1

Nature’s Recipe Pure Essentials Limited Ingredient Recipe canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Nature’s Recipe Pure Essentials product line includes three 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.

  • Pure Essentials Grain Free Lamb Recipe [A]
  • Pure Essentials Grain Free Salmon Recipe [A]
  • Pure Essentials Grain Free Chicken Recipe [A]

Pure Essentials Grain Free Lamb Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Pure Essentials Grain Free Lamb Recipe

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 56% | Fat = 14% | Carbs = 23%

Ingredients: Lamb, chicken broth, chicken, water, sweet potato, green beans, modified tapioca starch, sunflower oil, tricalcium phosphate, salt, guar gum, natural flavor, potassium chloride, 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), minerals (zinc glycine complex, iron glycine complex, copper glycine complex, manganese glycine complex, sodium selenite, potassium iodide), choline chloride, parsley, magnesium oxide

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis10%3%NA
Dry Matter Basis56%14%23%
Calorie Weighted Basis50%30%20%
Protein = 50% | Fat = 30% | Carbs = 20%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Lamb is considered “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered” lamb and associated with skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.2

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

The second ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The third ingredient is chicken, another quality raw item. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.3

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

The fourth ingredient is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.

The fifth ingredient includes sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The sixth ingredient includes green beans, a healthy vegetable notable for its vitamin, mineral and natural fiber content.

The seventh ingredient is tapioca starch, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The eighth ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

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 one notable exception

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 Pure Essentials
Limited Ingredient Recipe Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Recipe Pure Essentials Limited Ingredient Recipe looks like an above-average canned dog food.

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 56%, a fat level of 14% and estimated carbohydrates of about 23%.

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%.

Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nature’s Recipe Pure Essentials Limited Ingredient is a meat-based wet dog food using a significant amount of various species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically 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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Dog Food Coupons
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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

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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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Notes and Updates

08/11/2017 Last Update

  1. “Last Update” field at the end of this review reflects the last time we attempted to visit this product’s website. The current review itself was last updated 3/4/2016
  2. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for beef published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition
  3. Association of American Feed Control Officials
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