Nature’s Select Dog Food Review (Dry)

Rating:

Nature’s Select Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Nature’s Select product line includes the 6 dry dog foods listed below.

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.

  • Nature’s Select Cold Water Recipe (4 stars) [A]
  • Nature’s Select Multi-Protein Recipe (4 stars) [A]
  • Nature’s Select New Zealand Recipe [A]
  • Nature’s Select Plus Recipe (3.5 stars) [M]
  • Nature’s Select Classic Nutrition Recipe (4 stars) [A]
  • Nature’s Select High Protein Recipe (5 stars) [A]

Nature’s Select New Zealand Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nature's Select New Zealand Recipe

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 51%

Ingredients: Lamb meal, whole grain millet, grain sorghum, brown rice, blood meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dehydrated alfalfa meal, pork meal, yeast culture, natural flavor, flax seed meal, potassium chloride, egg product, carrot powder, tomato pomace, cranberry powder, blueberry powder, taurine, salt, choline chloride, dried seaweed meal, dl-methionine, zinc methionine complex, vitamin E supplement, hydrolyzed yeast, iron amino acid complex, calcium carbonate, manganese amino acid complex, ferrous sulfate, l-carnitine, selenium yeast, copper sulfate, niacin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, powdered cellulose, brewers dried yeast, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, silicon dioxide, tetra sodium pyrophosphate, vegetable oil, rosemary extract, green tea extract, spearmint extract, lecithin, fructooligosaccharide, folic acid, and Yucca schidigera extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.5%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%13%51%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%29%46%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 29% | Carbs = 46%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

The second ingredient is millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.

The third ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

The next ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The fifth inclusion is blood meal. Blood meal is a by-product of slaughter and used to make high-protein (very low ash) animal feeds.

Yet even though some consider it a controversial ingredient, blood meal can still be considered a quality source of animal protein.

The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. This item is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is alfalfa meal. Although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

The eighth ingredient is pork meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The ninth ingredient lists yeast culture. Although yeast culture is high in B-vitamins and protein, it can also be used as a probiotic to aid in digestion.

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 Select product.

With 9 notable exceptions

First, we find flaxseed meal, one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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, we note the inclusion of 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.

In addition, this recipe contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

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.

Additionally, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

We also find vegetable oil, a generic oil of unknown origin. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in any oil is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).

Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of an item so vaguely described. However, compared to a named animal fat, a generic vegetable oil cannot be considered a quality ingredient.

This recipe also includes dried seaweed meal, a product made from a family of brown algae known as Fucaceae (Rockweed). Although it does contain a number of healthy nutrients, seaweed meal is primarily used as a source of inexpensive carbohydrates (about 60% dry matter).

This item is only rarely used to make pet food and is more typically found in feeds for cattle, horses, hogs, hens and sheep.

Next, powdered cellulose is a non-digestible plant fiber usually made from the by-products of vegetable processing. Except for the usual benefits of fiber, powdered cellulose provides no nutritional value to a dog.

And lastly, this food includes 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 Select Dog Food Review

Based on its ingredients alone, Nature’s Select Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 28%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 51%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 27% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

Which means this Nature’s Select product line contains…

Above-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 alfalfa meal, yeast and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nature’s Select is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Nature’s Select Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to Nature’s Select. 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.

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

07/14/2020 Last Update