Which Instinct Limited Ingredient Dry Recipes Get
Our Best Ratings?
Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.
The Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet product line includes the 3 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
|Instinct LID Grain Free Recipe with Real Turkey||5||M|
|Instinct LID Grain Free Recipe with Real Salmon||5||M|
|Instinct LID Grain Free Recipe with Real Lamb||2||M|
Recipe and Label Analysis
Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Recipe with Real Turkey was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.
Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.
Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Recipe with Real Turkey
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Turkey meal, peas, turkey, tapioca, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), montmorillonite clay, natural flavor, coconut oil, salt, potassium chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin), choline chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, ethylenediamine dihydriodide), freeze dried turkey, freeze dried turkey liver, pumpkinseeds, freeze dried turkey heart, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||29%||20%||43%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||24%||40%||36%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.
The second 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 third ingredient is turkey. Although it is a quality item, raw turkey contains up to 73% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.
After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.
The fourth ingredient is tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.
The fifth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.
Yet others cite the fact that canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.
The sixth 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).
After the natural flavor, we find coconut oil, a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.1
Because of its proven safety2 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.
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 Variety product.
With 3 notable exceptions…
First, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
Next, 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.
And lastly, this recipe contains sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.
Based on its ingredients alone, Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet looks like an above-average dry dog food.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 21%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 74%.
Which means this Instinct 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 peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.
Our Rating of Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food
Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet is a grain-free dry dog food using a significant amount of named meat meals as its dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
Instinct Dog Food Recall History
The following automated list (if present) includes all dog food recalls related to Nature’s Variety through December 2023.
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Dog Food Recall of July 2015 (7/24/2015)
- Nature’s Variety Dog Food Recall February 2013 (2/15/2013)
- Nature’s Variety Dog Food Recall July 2012 (7/12/2012)
- Nature’s Variety Dog Food Recall March 2010 (3/9/2010)
- Nature’s Variety Dog Food Recall February 2010 (2/14/2010)
You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls since 2009 here.
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More Instinct Reviews
The following Nature’s Variety dog food reviews are also posted on this website:
- Instinct Be Natural Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Instinct Dog Food Review
- Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Instinct Original Dog Food Review (Canned)
- Instinct Raw Boost Dog Food Review (Dry)
- Instinct Raw Frozen Diets Dog Food Review (Raw Frozen)
A Final Word
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- Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754 ↩
- Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9. ↩