Nature’s Select Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Nature’s Select product line includes 6 dry 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.
Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.
- Nature’s Select Cold Water Recipe [A]
- Nature’s Select Multi-Protein Recipe [A]
- Nature’s Select New Zealand Recipe [A]
- Nature’s Select Plus Recipe (3.5 stars) [M]
- Nature’s Select Classic Nutrition Recipe [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
Ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, pearled millet, feeding oatmeal, peas, pork meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dehydrated alfalfa meal, flaxseed (a source of omega 3 fatty acid), dried egg product, potassium chloride, dried kelp, yeast culture, carrot pomace, tomato pomace, celery pomace, beet pomace, parsley pomace, lettuce pomace, watercress pomace, spinach pomace, cranberry, blueberry, choline chloride, hydrolyzed yeast, dried chicory root, taurine, zinc amino acid complex, vitamin E supplement, iron amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex, selenium yeast, l-carnitine, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D supplement, copper amino acid complex, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, magnesium amino acid chelate, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, lecithin, fructooligosaccharide, folic acid, yeast extract, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, Yucca schidigera extract, citric acid, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||13%||51%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||29%||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 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 third 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 fourth ingredient is feeding oatmeal. Feeding oatmeal is a by-product of rolled oats “and consists of broken oat groats, oat groat chips, and floury portions of the oat groats, with only such quantity of finely ground oat hulls as is unavoidable in the usual process of commercial milling”.1
This inexpensive cereal grain by-product is only rarely used to make pet food and is more typically found in cattle and hog feeds.
The fifth ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient is pork meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat 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 eighth 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 ninth ingredient lists 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.
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 five notable exceptions…
First, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
Next, we note the inclusion of yeast extract, the common name for a broad group of products made by removing the cell wall from the yeast organism.
A significant number of these ingredients are added as specialized nutritional supplements while others are used as flavor enhancers.
However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in a minority of yeast extracts can be controversial.
That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration designated these food additives to be safe decades ago2, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.
So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.
In any case, since the label reveals little about the the actual type of yeast extract included in any recipe, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this ingredient.
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.
The formula also contains several types of vegetable pomace, the solid by-product of vegetables after pressing for juice or oil. This item contains the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of the fruit.
And lastly, this food also 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
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Select Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
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.
Excluding the Grain Free Formula, 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%.
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, alfalfa meal and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Nature’s Select is a dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
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 Select Dog Food
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.
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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.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
01/29/2019 Last Update