Nature’s Variety Instinct (Canned)


Rating: ★★★★★

Nature’s Variety Instinct canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Nature’s Variety Instinct product line includes seven grain free 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.

  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Beef [A]
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Lamb [A]
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Rabbit [A]
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Salmon [A]
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Venison [A]
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Chicken [A]
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Duck (4.5 stars) [A]

Nature’s Variety Instinct Salmon recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nature's Variety Instinct Salmon

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 43% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 31%

Ingredients: Salmon, salmon broth, pork liver, ground flaxseed, montmorillonite clay, eggs, peas, carrots, potassium chloride, salt, lecithin, dried kelp, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, cobalt proteinate, potassium iodide), vitamins (thiamine mononitrate, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid), taurine, choline chloride, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, artichokes, cranberries, pumpkin, tomato, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, kale, parsley

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 9.1%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis10%4%NA
Dry Matter Basis43%18%31%
Calorie Weighted Basis37%38%26%
Protein = 37% | Fat = 38% | Carbs = 26%

The first ingredient in this dog food is salmon. Salmon is an oily marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.

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

The third ingredient is pork liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fourth ingredient is ground flaxseed, one of the best plant 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.

The fifth ingredient is montmorillonite clay, a naturally occurring compound rich in many trace minerals. Montmorillonite has been approved for use in USDA Organic Certified products.

Reported benefits include the binding of certain mold-based toxins and even controlling diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The sixth ingredient includes eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The seventh ingredient lists 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 eighth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

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 Variety Instinct
Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Variety Instinct looks like an above-average wet 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 43%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 31%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 46% and a mean fat level of 25%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 21% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and peas, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nature’s Variety Instinct is a grain-free, meat-based canned dog food using a significant amount of named meats 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.

Those looking for a nice kibble to go with this product may wish to visit our review of Nature’s Variety Instinct dry dog food.

Nature’s Variety 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.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
and Discounts

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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

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.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

11/07/2016 Last Update

  • SUnsan

    Has the pork been discontinued?

  • Kylimayrow

    Everything is manufactured in the USA in their facilities and animals are farmed raised in USA. Rabbit is raised in France which has higher standards in farming due to the EU. Venison is from New Zealand, again higher standards than the USDA.

  • Karen

    They do not source from China. Read the link provided above.

  • Susan

    It used to be sourced from China, so I guess this is an improvement.

  • Elaina Eakle

    Does anyone know if the salmon used in Instinct is wild caught or farm raised?

  • Karen Rapport Bernstein

    I thought I had spotted it on older cans but since I posted this I do not see it listed either. I could of made a mistake but not sure!

  • Karen

    Karen R B I am looking at the ingredients labels for both the beef and salmon Nature’s Variety Instinct and do not see any Menadiome (vit k) listed. Where do you see it listed? Thank you.

  • Karen Rapport Bernstein

    Just read that Menadiome (Vit K-3) is toxic to the liver. I found this ingredient in the Beef & Salmon cans. Been using this for years and now I am looking to switch brands. I use the Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Bites kibble
    and it does not have this ingredient, just some of the cans.

  • Callie

    Hi Dee, our Shih Tzu is also prone to struvites. We have been trying the dry as well as a small amount of canned and adding a tiny bit of Grandma Lucy’s grain free freezed dried food. So far so good, she isn’t having any problems and appears quite healthy. Both Instinct products have cranberry added. This is for urinary health.

  • theBCnut

    YAY!! What a nice success story.

  • vooploop

    My 11 year old chihuahua developed COPD over the years. We fed her Moist and Meaty for a long time, never thinking of looking into the food. When our other rescue chihuahua got sick, we looked up review on that food, and I couldn’t believe we had been feeding that to our three dogs! We recently switched to Natures Variety wet dog food and the dog that has COPD has slimmed down and is no longer having as bad of coughing fits! She plays more and longer without constant coughing and wheezing like before. We love this brand and what it has done for our dogs!

  • Marlin Jackson

    Does this dog food have any meat-by-products and does anything come from china and where is it made?

  • The 5 star rating is for the brand as a whole. Any formulas that are not 5 stars are notated, such as the duck. In the last section called “A Final Word” there’s a blue link “our ratings” that takes you to the article “How We Rate Dog Food”. Also check out the sentence below “Enthusiastically recommended”.

  • Kate

    Towards the bottom of this review it says the duck is 5 stars but at the top it says the duck is 4.5 stars. I gather from the comments the 4 flavors with 4.5 stars were somewhat recently downgraded yet I see absolutely no explanation of this. Is this website even legit or is it just random? I find the inconsistencies and lack of info a bit disturbing.

  • Emily

    I was on the phone earlier this week with a company rep, and all rabbit is now being sourced from France. Also, muscle meat and liver are the only rabbit parts used in the canned food.

  • Zyekitty

    lol. dchassett is right Zyekies is my yorkie. I’ll tell him to start working on creating a line of wet food 🙂

  • LabsRawesome

    LOL. 🙂

  • Kim Millard

    Oh, Duhhh!! I read it and thought it was some brand of wet food I had not seen or tried before so I was looking where to find it!!

  • LabsRawesome

    Actually it’s Zyekitty.

  • dchassett

    I think that’s the name of her pet.

  • Kim Millard

    What is Zyekies???

  • Crazy4cats

    You could always contact Natures Variety for the information.

  • k9education


  • Ariana

    Cant you guys show the old review compared to the new one so we know what changed?

  • Their moisture content is different (Wysong and Instinct beef). That also makes a difference when converted to dry matter. I was looking at Wysong Au Jus beef. Is that the one you’re talking about? I feed several foods and really don’t mind mixing in 4, 4.5 and 5 star foods. Just as long as I serve a variety. Even a 3 star food can be improved upon by adding in quality canned food or other quality toppers.

  • ChiChi

    Yea I realized my mistake after. I have a can of Beef Instinct and Beef Wysong and mixed up the two.

    Though the Wysong is 10% protein and 7% fat and gets 5 stars. Ah well the 1% or half star doesn’t matter to me. Was just wondering why the difference 🙂

  • No, the Beef is 11% protein, 7% fat and the Pork is 10% protein and 7% fat. When converted to dry matter, it made just enough difference.

  • ChiChi

    How did Pork and Salmon get a lower rating?? The Pork for instance has the exact same guaranteed analysis number as the Beef, which got 5 stars. Makes absolutely no sense.

  • Zyekitty

    Thanks I’ll try the psyllium.

  • Pattyvaughn

    A lot of small dogs need more fiber or their poop gets too dry and doesn’t move through their system easily. Adding a spoonful of pumpkin or a sprinkle of psyllium or some other fiber source may solve the problem quickly. My JRT has this issue.

  • Zyekitty

    I fed Instinct canned to my yorkie for 4 months. In the beginning he had some “pooping problems”…he couldn’t quite get the entire poop out (sorry…a bit disgusting) it only happened 2x the first month, but then once a week the next month and started occurring more and more often. Last week it happened 3 days in a row, so I switched him back to Wellness Core Dry, which he was eating before instinct and I had been mixing with the instinct. The problem cleared up within 24 hours.

    I would like to feed Zyekies wet food, but I’m not sure if his problem was caused by the food just being wet food or if it was something in instinct. Instinct looks like a very good food and that’s why I chose it.

    I would appreciate any advice.

  • Joe

    I personally would not feed my dog cat food since dog food is specifically designed for dogs and cat food is specifically designed for cats.Too little or too much protein or fat both can cause issues. It is up to us to find the right balance depending on the activity levels and needs of the particular breeds.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Someone told you wrong, but only somewhat. Some cat foods are higher in fat and cause problems for some dogs. Some dogs have problems with just about everything, because they have been conditioned to only eat one food, so any change can really mess them up. There is nothing in cat food that healthy dogs can’t have and truly high quality dog foods are very close to being the same as cat food. They just might be missing enough taurine for cats.

  • Melissa Westhouse

    so this may be a dumb question but i have always been told that cat food has too much protein for dogs that it builds up and can cause a pancratitis or liver problems so how is it that this can food is good for both cats and dogs. they use the same exact formula for both. other then that it looks great with the lack of cariggean and am thinking of switching my boy to it.

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  • beaglemom

    I noticed the same thing the first time I used the venison cans. I did a google search for something vague (like “nature’s variety instinct cans white blobs”) and it brought up a number of questions from other pet parents about the same thing. A response from Nature’s Variety confirmed that it is indeed fat – and for some reason is fairly common in their red meat formulas (venison, lamb, possibly beef). You could email them again just to confirm but it shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

  • Zyekitty

    That’s what I was thinking it might be. It does look a bit like congealed fat. Its not fuzzy like mold.

  • Crazy4dogs

    I don’t feed Veal, but it could be fat. Does it look like congealed fat?

  • Zyekitty

    I switched Zyekies to Instinct about 2 months ago, I have gotten the Veal twice and both times it had white stuff on the top. Has anybody else seen this?

  • schnauzer

    where do you see that it is sourced from china? I see usa on the can?

  • Pattyvaughn

    You have to call the individual company and ask.

  • Mary McCulley

    where do you find this information?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Nature’s Variety just launched two new varieties of the Instinct canned foods: Pork and Salmon.

  • Mary Lou

    I did a quick scan of foods that he does eat, and some have flax seed. That does seem strange to me. He has allergies; so I did Dr. Dodds NutriScan. There is not any one protein that he has higher than a weak reaction; so I don’t think it is any protein source. I do keep him away from warming foods because I have noticed bloodshot eyes. He has had the NV Instinct canned non-LID with the same results. It may just remain a mystery. : )

  • Hound Dog Mom

    The only difference I see (assuming you’re feeding the limited ingredient canned foods and not the regular) is the inclusion of flax oil – none of the limited ingredient dry formulas include flax oil. I would have a hard time believing that’s the cause of the issue though, as typically it’s the protein in a food item that causes the reaction and oil should be free of protein. I’ve heard of flax seed causing itching in some dogs – but the seed would contain the flax protein, the oil wouldn’t. Typically small cans are the cans that don’t contain BPA (haven’t verified if NV uses BPA in their small cans, but most companies use BPA in their large cans and not in their small cans). Does he eat any other foods with flax oil?

  • Mary Lou

    Our guy does well on Instinct LID kibble (have not tried the non-LID) and frozen. The canned sends him into a scratching, chewing frenzy. Has anyone experienced this, or have any thoughts? His food journal now says NO Nature’s Variety canned. I have even tried the LID canned with the same results. He does great on Weruva (his mainstay) and a few others in the canned department. He rarely eats kibble, but does eat the NV raw frozen. I just can’t imagine what the issue is. I buy the small cans, if that matters in regard to can lining. It doesn’t matter in the long run, but I sure am curious as to what the issue could be with the canned.

  • Donnybelle

    It should be clear that lecithin can be derived from a number of plant and animal sources. The lecithin used in NV products is not derived from soy, but rather eggs. ALL Nature’s Variety products are completely corn, wheat and soy free, which is why I feed them to my dog and cat.

  • melissa


    The rabbit shortage is “old news” It was out of stock for months and just recently came back. I purchased a 25lb bag from Petco about 2-3 weeks ago. The other store I shop at had the “no rabbit” sign up for months, and they too just got it back in stock last week. They do have it back in stock, but it may not be in huge supply. Tell your local store to call their distributor and see if they can get some if that is what you want-they may be unaware that it has “returned’

  • Hound Dog Mom

    It says the 25 lb. bags and canned food is in-stock on

  • Betsy10360

    Yep. A rep from Nature’s Variety told me they were having difficulty obtaining the rabbit from their current source. I recently purchased a bag online at It looks like they currently have 4.4 lbs bags for $13.99, but the larger size bags are out of stock. A sign at my local store said it would be unavailable until next year.

  • Dave’s Hounds

     I have seen it in the pet stores – I stopped using the rabbit because it is sourced from China but Wysong and Ziwipeak have rabbit if you can’t find Instinct. I think Wysoung Au jus is about the same price

  • ARK

    Is anyone else running into problems getting the Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-free Rabbit formula? 

  • Daylecarter

    Our Silky Terrier loved the Wet Can Chicken Nature’s Variety Instinct. Grain-free, mixed with Instinct Raw Boost Grain-free. We have tried just about every dog food there is on the market.

  • Cervi_jean

    Good food EXCEPT that like many high-end brands, they get vitamins and minerals from China and other Asian countries. Important to find out where your brand gets their products.

  • Amynash1631

    My 10 year old Aussie Shepherd has a kitchen sink of ailments. He is almost 2 years in remission from lymphoma. He was diagnosed with Valley Fever last summer. And last month, he was diagnosed with mid-stage liver disease, hepatocutaneous syndrome and insulin dependent diabetes. He has just finished his third amino acid drip (they are done weekly). Between all of these ailments, I have tried more dog foods than I care to even remember. He dropped quite a few pounds since last month because he doesn’t want home cooked food any longer. I happened to pick up some Nature’s Variety Instinct Duck because of the higher calorie and protein content (we were striving to get Maddux to eat at least 1,000 calories per day with a target of eventually 1,700 calories per day). At one point, he would only eat Beneful tubs and those equal about 500 calories per day. When I put the NV into his dish, he gobbled it up right away. I’ve since been bouncing between NV and Blue Buffalo Wilderness because he gets bored super quickly. So far, in the last week, we have managed to get 3 cans of dog food per day down him. I am beyond excited and our vet is very pleased to see him eating. Maddux really likes the Duck Formula and we have found a local feed/seed/pet store that carries it for only $2.69 per can. They order me a case or two at a time so that we have it on hand. Maybe there are better dog foods, but at this point, we have to give Maddux whatever he will eat so that he can get his insulin and I am so grateful that he loves NV. It has literally been a lifesaver for him. I know that every dog food may have something wrong (whether it is imported ingredients, BPA, etc.), but for Maddux, I have to take that chance. He has survived 26 weeks of chemotherapy, a year of fungal medication which damages the liver and now weekly amino acid drips, bi-weekly glucose curves and daily insulin injections. This dog takes 10 pills a day and even after all of this, he is running in the yard with his fur siblings, playing with his toys, hanging by the pool…all things that he has not done for over two months.

  • Hound Dog Mom


    This is an article about BPA in cans and lists some companies that don’t use BPA (it doesn’t mention Nature’s Variety):

    Merrick doesn’t use BPA and they manufacture Whole Earth Farms. Whole Earth Farms would be a good choice for large dogs as it’s very reasonably priced at about $1.60 per can. It’s grain-free and rated 5-stars.

  • sheila

    Mike, in regards to Nature’s Variety Instinct canned, the review on Petsumer says that the 13.2 oz cans are lined with BPA and the 5.5 oz are not. For this reason I would not buy the large cans. The cost of the small cans would be horrific for me with 5 large dogs!!!  I currently feed either Orijen Adult or Instinct Chicken Dry and cook lean ground beef to add.  I’d like to keep some canned on hand but would like to confirm if the large cans really are lined with BPA!  Thanks,  Sheila  

  • Dave’s Hounds

    I also use Instinct canned ll varieties but rabbit as it is sourced from China. I do use Wysong Rabbit and Ziwipeak Rabbit.

  • Stephencisco

    I have been using natures variety instinct wet food for a few days longer then a month,I have noticed something different about Skippy,so have many people who have daily contact with him,his fur is much thicker and he was always bald on his belly,no more,he is developing a beautiful smooth soft coat,instinct dog food as I just found out on their website will help dogs re fur,I can’t beleive it,he was beautiful and now he is gorgeous ,10 stars for natures variety instinct

  • Integmanr

    and the MOON is still made of Cheese!

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  • Mataviam

    My Yorkie Amara is a picky. 90% my fault. I recently switched her to Acana and mixed a bit of the canned chicken. She was unsure at first. But she devoured it. Licked her bowl clean. It has a very appetizing smell even for me. I’m very happy with this food and company.

  • Mataviam

    That is awesome.

  • Stephencisco

    My dog was such a poor eater,I made him food,never canned or dry food,always prepared fresh and I followed very specific recipes to ensure his good health,I was in a bind and needed to buy some food,my local pet shop recommended natures variety instinct wet food,My Skippy went for the food faster then I could put his bowl down,after researching this product,I was very impressed at the quality and high ratings attached to this food,I now buy the majority of his food and only cook for a special treat,I’m glad I found this high quality food for my boy

  • imsohot

    I recently contacted Nature’s Variety to get a better idea of how much rabbit vs. liver

  • Mary Lou

    Thanks, Sandy!  He eats the freeze-dried Stella & Chewy’s.  We tried the frozen, and the Primal turkey and sardine.  Neither went over very well. Besides his allergies, he also has a sensitive tummy.  He is high maintenance for sure, but a cutie and such a love!  ; )

  • LabsRawesome

     LMD, Yeah they admit it. So what? Most vitamin/mineral supplements for dog food are sourced from China too. You have probably eaten something from there too.

  • LMD
  • sandy

    Stella & Chewys Duck is 39% fat (dry matter) and Primal Duck is 34%.  Primal lamb is 33%, Natures Variety lamb is 18%.

  • sandy

    Strange indeed!  I wonder if someone asked them again today about the rabbit, what would they say this time?

  • Dave’s Hounds

    Sandy that is interesting I have an email about 8 months old in which they told me the canned rabbit was sourced from France and the Kibble from China…..Strange

  • Mary Lou

    No, I haven’t gotten that far yet.  He eats the Stella & Chewy’s Duck and ZiwiPeak Lamb.  He is one of those dogs that just doesn’t do well with variety.  I am trying to get some lower fat into his diet.  Both of those foods are high fat.

  • sandy

    This is taken from an old post from June 2011 from the Natures Variety Summary Review.  I had copied and saved it.

    “Our ingredients are sourced from different locations, depending on the time of year and batch. The rabbit protein we use in our raw diet is from China. The rabbit in our canned is sourced from Italy and China, while the rabbit in our kibble is from France. We employ a U.S. educated food scientist in China to oversee our rabbit sourcing. All rabbit protein is tested before shipment from China and again after it arrives in the U.S. and is processed into our raw diet. We feel very confident in how we handle our sourcing from China.

    All poultry, pork, and beef come from the U.S. and our lamb and venison is imported from Australia and New Zealand. All of our products are manufactured in the U.S., including the packaging we use. Vegetables and fruits are sourced from the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East, depending on the ingredients. Our grains and starches are sourced from the U.S., Canada, and Brazil – herbs and spices from North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Our pharmaceutical grade vitamins and minerals are from North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Most all of our ingredients are organic and we try to source them from the U.S. and turn to other locations only as needed. We are very stringent on our sourcing and have good relationships built with our vendors for quality ingredients.

    Our meats and vegetables arrive from our suppliers on a regular basis (fresh or frozen) and they’re inspected to meet our qualifications.
    Chicken, bison, lamb, venison, and rabbit are all certified antibiotic-free with no added growth hormones. Due to the small number of cattle raised without antibiotics and hormones, it is not possible for Nature’s Variety to guarantee that the cattle have never been administered these drugs. However, all cattle must go through a required “withdrawal” period and are tested for residues prior to slaughter.”

  • sandy

    Have you looked at Canine Caviar?  They have some limited ingredient foods – a duck one too – “Open Sky”.  Were you feeding Stella & Chewys Duck?

  • Bob K

    Sandy – All that means is they bought them in the USA, that does not mean they originated in the USA.  Tracking the source origin of the ingredients is not always clear.  You buy an American car from an American dealer in your city but often 50% of the parts are non US.   I highly doubt they would have bought the ingredients from Brazil or China.    Its like someone calling themselves a mfg but they mfg. nothing, they are just the mfg. of record in legal papers.   

  • Mary Lou

    Thanks, Sandy.  I’ll look into that later tonight.  I had just asked Shawna yesterday what she thought about that food for Dupree.  Have only had a chance to glance at her email because my granddaughter is here. 

  • sandy

    Their FAQ page says all their ingredients are USA sourced.

  • Mary Lou

    sandy ~ do you know off the top of your head where Grandma Lucy’s sources their rabbit from? 

  • sandy

    There’s Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance Rabbit (dehydrated), Primal Raw Rabbit (frozen), Addiction Rabbit & Blueberries (can).  What was your pug eating before?  Sometimes going to a grainfree food helps with allergies. 

  • Beverly Miller

    My Pug has allergies and recently our vet recommended Instinct rabbit canned food. The pet food store in my area charged over $4.00 per 12oz. can so I went online hoping to find a lower price. While browsing, I read a customer review that claimed the rabbit used in this brand is sourced from China. The vet and I both called the company, Nature’s Variety, and the spokesperson confirmed ‘some’ rabbit is sourced from China. Personally, I am preparing to cook for my Pugs because I have come to believe dog food manufacturers have no integrity. 

  • Elaine Smothers

    Thank you Shawna. I was a little worried before reading the replies from you & Mike. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

  • Elaine Smothers

    Thank you for your timely response. I feel better after reading this & considering how well they’re responding to this diet, I think we’ll stay with it.

  • Shawna

    Elaine ~~ in my opinion, liver warnings are more relevant in non AAFCO compliant canned, raw and home made diets.  Liver is an excellent source of vitamins A and D.  Because A and D are fat soluble vitamins they can, it is believed, be consumed in excess and cause illness.  In a raw diet the amount of liver included should not exceed 5 to 10% of the entire diet for this reason.

    In a AAFCO compliant food however an excess should not happen simply because those nutrients have safe upper limits established and compliant foods can not legally go above those safe upper limits.

    Here’s the AAFCO guidelines if you are interested

    Per Nature’s Variety’s website, the canned duck formula is well within acceptable guidelines for vitamins A and D.

  • Hi Elaine,

    I’m not aware of any published scientific maximum for any nutritious (natural) organ ingredient.

    So, if the liver is of good quality and from an otherwise healthy animal, I doubt an above-average content of liver in the diet would be cause for concern. And my precautionary statement here would likely have little importance.

  • Elaine Smothers

    “The second item is turkey liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal. So long as it’s not over-weighted in a dog food, turkey liver is a beneficial component.” … The smell & consistency of this food, along with the fact it’s the #2 ingredient indicates that turkey liver makes up a a large part of this food. How do you determine if it’s ‘over-weighted’ and how bad is this for your dog if it is?
    I switched my 2 chihuahuas to a mixture of the Instinct Canned Duck & Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey Kibble a little over a week ago. Not only do they love, but their coats are already softer and their constant itching has decreased.

    Thank you for this website. It’s made researching food for them so much easier!

  • Heather

    I have two Chihuahuas (5lbs and 8lbs) which LOVE this food. They are
    literally psychotic when it’s time to eat. My older dog has sensitive stomach
    issues and allergies and has responded very well to this food. I have tried a number of dog foods to reduce the vomiting/stomach issues (used to feed dry now feed combo of wet and Pinnacle dry) and so far this food is working just fine.

  • Gordon

    Sue Swett – Your comment is a testimony to the fact that the lower the carbohydrate level and with no grains, just how more controllable and placid a dog can be. Good going!

  • Sue Swett

    I just wanted to say how wonderful I think this canned food is. We have a rescue Cavalier with a pretty nad over bite which made it hard for him to eat. Along with emotional issues, I had the hardest time findindng a food he would find irrestible enough makr him ignore his anxiety long enough tp eat. He was very thin. This is his third food and he loves it. We give him a variety of different flavors, and each time he eats as if starving. His fur is looking great and he was more focused enoigh for his private training lessons. He is well on his way to a full recovery

  • Hi Anne,
    Shawna (who posts here) is my favorite ‘holistic nutritionist’ she just recommended that I read Steve Brown’s “Unlocking the Ancestral Diet…” its a great book and Steve has a great deal of valuable dietary information. His protocol works well for people who like to feed kibble. 🙂 I got my Copy off amazon (kindle for $9.45)

  • Annie Tryon

    I have been feeding Instinct dry, now I am being told (by a vet) that if you are not feeding raw you should be feeding aafco approved canned dog food. Even though the dry is grain free it is still dry. I am not sure I can afford to feed canned. What are your thoughts. Thanks

  • Hi Barbara… Finding the cause of itchiness can be a frustrating experience. And as you mentioned, the cause may not even be related to your dog’s diet.

    Unfortunately, due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, it would be misleading for me to provide a meaningful recommendation for you.

    Just in case your dog does have an allergy, you may wish to visit my FAQ page and look for the topic, “Dog Food Allergies”. Hope this helps.

  • Barbara Elliott

    Hi Dr. Sagman,
    An incomplete e-mail may reach you. We got an adult dog from the SPCA in Feb. He was a stray. He’s great but is itchy much of the time. I’ve switched from Science Digest to Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover. Now I’m going to look for the canned Nature’s Instinct. Do you have any other suggestions? I do realize it may not be a food allergy. I’ll also try switching from frontline to advantage ticks. Any help would be welcome. Thanks!

  • Hi Rain… Oops, you’re right. I’ve now corrected my review to read “turkey liver”. Thanks for the tip.

  • Rain

    A little thing… under turkey liver, you finished the third sentence with chicken liver.

  • Henna

    I guess I read wrong oops!

  • Hi Henna… No error. Please note you must first convert your figures to dry matter basis (as they are here). 40 (DM protein) + 30 (DM fat) + 8 (DM ash) + 22 (DM carbs) = 100

  • Henna

    I think you got your math wrong on this one, oops! 40 + 30 + 12= 82 and 100 – 82= 18% Carbs+Ash 😉 (I was just making a list of foods for my own reference & doing the math for each formula, so I thought I’d help out and correct a math error :P)

  • Hi MDW1… Triglycerides are the main type of molecule found in dietary fats and oils. If you’ve been told by your vet your dog is exhibiting a high triglyceride level in his blood (a condition known as hyperlipidemia), then you may want to consider a dog food with a lower fat content. Unfortunately, since I’m not a veterinarian and due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, it would be inappropriate for me to provide specific health advice or product recommendations. Please see our FAQ page and our reviews for more information. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • mdw1

    What to look for or avoid with high triglycerin???

  • Hi Dee… Please visit our FAQ page and look for the topic, “Diabetic Dog Food”. Hope this helps.

  • Dee

    Hi, I’m wondering about this food for a diabetic dog? The above average fat content has me concerned. The dog also has a tendency to form bladder stones so we’re looking for a good food to control that too.

  • Hi Gale… I’m so sorry to hear about your dog’s diagnosis. To those readers unfamiliar with masticatory muscle myositis, this condition involves the muscles around the mouth of a dog and can be very painful and challenging for the pet and the owner. Unfortunately, since I’m not a veterinarian, it would be inappropriate for me to provide specific health advice or product recommendations. Whoever, you may wish to check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • gale

    my 6 year old lab has mmm what do you recommend

  • Hi Lynn… Thanks to your question, we were able to determine there had been a small change to the recipe for the canned NV Instinct product line. So, I’ve just updated the review. You should now be able to find a brief description of the montmorillonite clay ingredient you asked about. Hope this helps.

  • lynn

    I have been feeding my 5 lb chihuahuas this dog food and they do like it but i have noticed my little male gets constipated every once in awhile from it. his poop is darker than the average brown and hard when it does come out. could it be the clay I see in the ingredients? what is the clay for? thank you