Nature’s Select Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Nature’s Select Grain Free product line includes the 3 dry 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.
- Nature’s Select Grain Free Farm Fresh [M]
- Nature’s Select Grain Free Range Hearty [A]
- Nature’s Select Grain Free Coastline Catch [M]
Nature’s Select Grain Free Farm Fresh Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nature's Select Grain Free Farm Fresh Recipe
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, sweet potato, garbanzo beans, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), yeast culture, peas, blood meal, duck meal, flax seed meal, dehydrated alfalfa meal, egg product, natural flavor, cranberry powder, potassium chloride, blueberry powder, carrot powder, tomato pomace (source of lycopene), celery pomace, beet pomace, parsley pomace, lettuce pomace, watercress pomace, spinach pomace, taurine, salt, choline chloride, dried seaweed meal, zinc methionine complex, vitamin E supplement, hydrolyzed yeast, iron amino acid complex, calcium carbonate, manganese amino acid complex, ferrous sulfate, dl-methionine, l-carnitine, glucosamine hydrochloride, selenium yeast, copper sulfate, niacin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, chondroitin sulfate, 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) = 3.8%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||18%||38%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||37%||33%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second ingredient is 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 third ingredient includes garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas. Like peas, beans and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (pulse) family of vegetables.
Garbanzos contain about 22% protein, something which must be considered when evaluating the total protein reported in this food.
The next 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 fifth ingredient is yeast culture. Although yeast culture is high in B-vitamins and protein, it can also be used as a probiotic to aid in digestion.
Next, we find peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber and contain about 25% protein.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is duck meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The ninth ingredient is 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.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But realistically, 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 8 notable exceptions…
First, we find alfalfa meal. Although this item is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
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.
This recipe also includes several kinds 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.
Vegetable pomace can be a controversial ingredient. Some praise pomace for its high fiber, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough vegetable pomace here to make much of a difference.
Next, 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 will be considered when judging the actual meat content of this product.
Additionally, we find 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 inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.
This product also uses 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.
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 Select Grain Free
Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, Nature’s Select Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 36% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 38% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.
Which means this Nature’s Select product line contains…
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the legumes, yeast, alfalfa meal and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Nature’s Select Grain Free is a dry dog food using a significant amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus receiving 5 stars.
Those looking for a conventional grain-friendly kibble may wish to visit our review of Nature’s Select dry dog food.
Nature’s Select Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this Nature’s Select brand. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
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
03/20/2020 Last Update