Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★½

Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet product line includes 5 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.

  • Instinct LID with Real Duck [M]
  • Instinct LID with Real Turkey [M]
  • Instinct LID with Real Salmon [M]
  • Instinct LID with Real Lamb (3.5 stars) [M]
  • Instinct LID Small Breed with Real Turkey (5 stars) [M]

Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient with Real Duck was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nature's Variety Instinct LID with Real Duck

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 30% | Fat = 19% | Carbs = 43%

Ingredients: Duck meal, peas, tapioca, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), duck, montmorillonite clay, natural flavor, coconut oil, choline chloride, 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), salt, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, ethylenediamine dihydriodide), freeze dried duck (including freeze dried ground duck bone), pumpkinseeds, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis27%17%NA
Dry Matter Basis30%19%43%
Calorie Weighted Basis25%39%36%
Protein = 25% | Fat = 39% | Carbs = 36%

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

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 tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The fourth 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 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 fifth ingredient is duck. Although it is a quality item, raw duck contains about 80% 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 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 product.

With two notable exceptions

First, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

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 Variety Instinct
Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 30%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 43%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly 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.

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

06/15/2017 Last Update

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  • Albany Duran

    I think I’m going to try out the instincts LID turkey.. I’ll let you know the results! 😀 thanks for your help!

  • haleycookie

    Have you been to the vet to rule out any health problems? The plants outside aren’t the same as the plants you feed in a dog food. You will be extremely hard pressed to find a lid food with no peas or potatoes. If you’re looking for that you’re better of going to a holistic nutritionist and having a raw/cooked recipe put together. There are also several website you can go and buy balanced meal plans.

  • Albany Duran

    Everything I want to avoid because she gets hives almost every so often from the plants outside and she’ll have outbreaks to certain treats we have given her.. I’m not too sure what’s causing it. Also I’ve been trying out different foods because she throws up on a lot of them?? I’m not too sure why but I was reading about food intolerances 🙁

  • Briggs

    Haha!!!! We’ve had picky eaters before and they can really be challenging!! =D

    Are they allergic to chickpeas, peas, eggs, dairy, chicken and beef or is it just something you want to avoid?

  • Briggs

    I wouldn’t worry too much about protein unless you’ve got dogs with serious liver ailments (shunt, end stage liver failure, etc.) but even then it’s the type of protein and the ammonia produced, not so much the protein itself! =)
    Our dogs get practically zero carbohydrates and we feed a LOT of food to keep their weight up!

  • Albany Duran

    One of my dogs is allergic to potato and my other dog is allergic to almost everything. I didn’t want any kind of potatoes, chickpeas, pea protein, eggs, dairy, chicken, beef… they hate salmon.. not allergic but refuses to eat it.. I have picky eaters lol

  • haleycookie

    Protein doesn’t cause much weight gain. It’s fat, carbs, over feeding, and lack of exercise. Also the majority of lid foods are going to be pea or potatoe based. It’s nearly impossible to find an lid food that’s more meat than vegetables simply because if the company used mainly one meat source and not a lot of anything else you’d be paying a fortune for the bag. If you scroll around on this page you’ll see these foods are plant based unfortunetly. Is there a particular reason you’re using lid? Is your dog allergic to something? Nature variety is a good brand not a fan of their lids though but if you don’t have any other option the turkey would be the way to go.

  • Albany Duran

    I’m scared to switch to LID turkey because of the high protein.. I don’t want my dogs gaining a bunch of weight. Dod anybody else have this problem? I wanted the LID duck but they didn’t have the 11 lb bag. I’ve also heard the LID lamb is made with pea protein..

  • Nancy Castaneda

    Canidea pure bison or boar are also good and chicken free. My dog is also super allergic to chicken and I have to be careful to read all dog food ingredients. I tend to stay away from anything that has any kind of poultry or fowl.

  • anon101

    Zignature has no chicken and is an excellent kibble, my dogs do well on the whitefish formula as a base.
    See Chewy dot com for nutritional info
    Also, if those symptoms continue, consider seeing a veterinary dermatologist, it may be environmental allergies, they tend to wax and wane.
    You could try a prescription/elimination diet, ask your vet. The only way to avoid reactions to proteins.
    Otherwise, all commercial dog foods have some cross-contamination.

  • Linda Pieske

    If my Bulldog is allergic to chicken would he also be allergic to any fowl? I just started him on Natural Limited Beef. but, wondering if this was the best choice. Tried him on Salmon but, was gaggy after-eating it. Watery eyes, yeasty ears, licking paws, itchy, and red places with hair loss.

  • Erik Ruiz

    Hi. Susan. Thanks for your comments, I´ll keep in mind the thing about trying to know what ingredient was the problem. Zignature is not available in Mexico, so I think I will stay on Instinct. Best Regards

  • Susan

    Hi, your dog may have food intolerances & reacted to a certain ingredient in the kibbles you have tried & now you have found a kibble that works for your boy,…..The only way to know what foods he can eat is once he’s doing real good on the LID Duck formula kibble after 3 months with no sloppy poo’s then start adding 1 new cooked ingredient with his meal for 6 weeks & see does he react, if poos go sloppy stop adding the ingredient & write it in a diary…..It can take 1 day up to 6 weeks for a dog to react to an ingredient he’s sensitive too.. Have you tried Zignature Duck?? Zignature has a heap of single protein limited ingredient formula’s…Pork, Catfish, Kangaroo, Duck, Lamb, Venison, Salmon, Turkey the only problem with Zignature it’s very pea heavy….
    My IBD boy doesn’t do well on chickpeas & lentils, too hard to digest.. just keep Zignature in mind if you want to rotate with another kibble & try another protein, I have found rotating between a few different brands with a different protein strengthens the immune system….My boy does best on Pork & Lamb..

  • Erik Ruiz

    Hi. I have a basset hound 1.5 years. I had tried with so many brands because his poop was watery. I tried proplan, hills, diamond naturals, and with taste of the wild waterlands improved a lot. Finally i tried Intinct Lid duck, and he finally is ok. May be he is alergic to an ingridient and this limited ingridient diet solved my problem. I’ll try with anothet flavor lid turkey because is cheaper. But never lamb, I have read that it is not the same quality as the other two.

  • lynn seegers

    I am 4 weeks into my first bag of this in the LID Lamb and Pea. My dog (9 yr old mix Bichon Frise/Chow/mutt) has had horrible allergies and yeast in her ears her entire life. I have noted a tremendous reduction in her scratching and sensitivity to her ears. Her energy level has increased, she sleeps more comfortably, seems much happier to me. I have tried many different foods hoping to find one that helps. This has netted the best results for me. I am going to try another flavor on her next bag.

  • Veronika

    What on earth are you talking about? their not trying to sell anything to me, it’s a guy who cares about dogs what’s wrong with that, the proof is right there you just don’t want to see it that’s not my problem.

    And human health setiously? Who cares, it’s dog health I care about, 6 years of research ongoing.

  • Susan

    Gee there’s no need to be sooo nasty, nastiness & being so biter also causes cancer….

  • Susan

    This dog in the video “Cali” had yes HAD an aggressive cancer called Hemangiosarcoma…. She was NOT feed a dry over processed high carb kibble after owner found out she was dying she was feed a Ketopet diet
    also no one is selling anything…..

  • fredmertz

    Well, if it’s on the Facebook page of someone trying to sell it to you, it must work. Here’s to hoping you’re never responsible for the health and welfare of a child.

  • Veronika

    It’s up to you whether you believe it or not, but I do and I plan on telling people about it when I get a future career in holistic nutrition and homeopathy.

  • fredmertz

    Can you please share your source for this information? I have never seen a credible medical study indicating any connection between cancer tumors and carbs.

  • Veronika

    These foods aren’t good for cancer, some dog had 6 tumors all of which were cured on a ketogenic diet, cancer feeds off of starches and makes it worse, you should try to find foods with 20% or less carbs for a better quality of life for your dog.
    With both that and allergies might be best to just get a freeze dried food, most have no carb sources since they don’t need them.

  • Krista Wallis

    I bought mine on and got 20% off being a new customer plus an additional 5% by signing up for the auto-ship. I ended up with the 25 pound bag of food and healthy treats for only $40. I know its just once to get that great of a deal but at least you won’t spend an arm and a leg “trying” something you aren’t sure is going to work. It also came with free 1 to 2 day fedex shipping so I got it 2 days later 🙂

  • Mia Winters

    Thank you for this review! My dog has allergies too and cancer so I was wondering about this one because I was looking for fish free and high protein/fat because he needs to gain weight. I’m going to give it a try 🙂

  • Krista Wallis

    I just started the Instinct LID Turkey Meal Formula with our lab who has allergies. Its only been less than a week but I can tell she is feeling better already. I chose this food due to the fact that labs food allergies are caused by allergic reactions to common ingredients in dog food such as beef, corn, soy, fish, wheat, chicken, and chicken eggs. This was one of the only foods I could find that was free of grain, gluten, potato, dairy, eggs, chicken, beef and fish. Her allergies caused her eyes to weep, chew her toes and she has heavy yeast in her ears which I have to clean every few days. Her eyes have all but stopped watering, she doesn’t chew her feet anymore and her waking up in the middle of the night to shake her head due to her ears itching has almost stopped (it used to be violent and for hours).

    I will say that we switched both of our dogs to this food just for convenience. Our other dog is a 13 year old miniature dachshund and he seemed to really like it. Last night though he didn’t eat his dinner and then he threw up in the middle of the night what looked like a mass of “poop”. It was undigested food or at least that’s my best guess. This morning he hopped right up and at his breakfast with no problems.

    Like I said, my lab loves it, has no issues with it and it seems to be working great for her but I’m going to keep an eye on my little one and if it doesn’t agree with him I will find something else cheaper since he doesn’t have allergies or sensitivities. He was raised on another cheaper brand of food and never had a problem.

    I would highly recommend this food!

  • Mia Winters

    Anyone that feeds their dog this how are they doing? I haven’t seen a review in 3 years. I’m certainly feeding my dog Rachel ray grain free and freshpet grain free but I’m looking for something else and better

  • Mia Winters

    Maybe the dog foods expired

  • Shonya S

    I don’t believe there’s a single kibble on Dog Advisor’ s limited ingredients list that doesn’t have pea protein or peas in it. Very bad. I realize there has to be a binder, but has anyone found a food that isn’t loaded with peas and beans? My experience has taught me these are very poor ingredients for dogs.

  • DogFoodie

    I agree with BC’s post below.

    I figured something had changed when the packaging had changed a bit.

    Odd thing is, in this case, that the ingredients are actually the same, they’re just ordered differently, with peas being higher on the ingredient list.

  • theBCnut

    Unfortunately, it is almost completely unheard of for a company to inform consumers ahead of time about a change in foods. There are only two companies that I know of that do this. One was Hill’s, the makers of Science Diet, and another was Champion, who makes Orijen and Acana.

  • Steve

    Will do. The dogs in question include 2 GSDs and a GSD-APBT mix so they could half a cup to the entire bag and potentially trigger a reaction (only half joking). The responsible thing for the company to do would have been to note these changes on the bag, especially considering it’s a LID food and most of the dogs eating it are doing so due to allergies and/or particularly sensitive digestive systems.

  • DogFoodie

    You can compare the old ingredients to the new here:

    Most of the new formulas have far more peas than the old. You might want to look for something to switch to that doesn’t contain peas as a binder. In the meantime, try a spoonful of plain, canned pumpkin with their meals and see if that helps while you look for something else.

    FWIW, my dog with food intolerance issues is doing great on the NVI LID Turkey right now.

  • Steve


    They haven’t switched foods. They have been on the NV Instinct LID Turkey for ancouple years. They were doing fine on it until a couple months ago after we finished a batch of 17 bags that I had purchased back in January. The 4 dogs on HS have had no problems despite living in the same house, drinking the same water, going for the same walks, etc.

  • Susan

    Hi Steve, Holistic Select kibbles have a lower fat% the NV LID is higher in fat % maybe that is causing the loose stools, I can get the Rabbit LID in Australia but when I saw the fat% I didn’t bother, Fat was toooo high for my boys GI problems, its ashame NV should make just one of their kibbles with lower fat % around 12%..

  • Steve

    Garlic is toxic to dogs at a cellular level at ANY amount. The minimal health benefits are far outweighed by the cellular damage it causes.

  • Steve

    They continue to have intermittent loose stools after several months so there’s more to it than simply a dietary change.

  • DogFoodie

    NVI LIDs have recently been reformulated. If your dogs aren’t accustomed to switching foods, the ingredient change might have caused the loose stool.

  • Steve

    We have 3 dogs on this NV Instinct LID Turkey and 4 dogs on Holistic Select. The dogs on the NV have all had intermittent issues with diarrhea for the past few months. My wife thought I was being paranoid when I suggested it might be the food, but after reading all of these complaints, I feel more confident in my assertion. I’ll have to see what else I can get that doesn’t have any potato in it.

  • Lefty

    My dog also had a big problem with the new formula after loving this food for many years. I have decided to try another brand because I do not trust the company, they may also change the formula for their other foods without letting the public know. Luckily there is a great pet store in my area that will let me return unused foods if my dog cannot handle it.

  • lmspen83

    I’ve had no changes with my dog’s stools or any itching or issues. We switched to duck after we saw the change in the Lamb formula and it’s been absolutely fine.

    My dog takes potassium bromide to help combat his epilepsy so switching foods is near impossible, because the salt change will throw off his meds and cause seizures. I’m really happy that NV LID makes different protein varieties so I could easily switch him to a new flavor.

  • Tammy

    I too have similar issues with the recent formulation. Shame on Nature’s Variety and I plan on sending a letter to the company. My dog was diagnosed with IBD and this was one of the foods that she tolerated and I was a loyal customer for 2 years. I managed to find a store with one bag of the old formula left and will be feeding that and switching to Zignature.

  • jess

    I had also switched my poodle from Merrick Grain Free Duck to Zignature Duck LID. He had terrible skin allergy with red spots, itchiness & also shed a lot when he was on Merrick. Took him to the vet thrice but not much help until I bought Zignature Duck to just give it a try as I had tried many premium food on top of Merrick. My poodle has been doing quite well on this food. He has now less itchiness & able to gobble up the kibbles without any wet food on top. The only problem is he poops a lot. Almost 4-5 times a day. The appearance of his stool is far more than usual & also much fluffier. Anyway, I hope this helps him with his scooting and no more backed up. Believes it is also because this food is high in fiber (6.5%). You can give it a try.

  • Nichole Clagett

    Erin, we had the same issues with our dog in the LID Lamb formula – we ended up switching to Zignature Lamb Limited Ingredient over a 14 day period since it had similar crude protein, fat, etc as Natures Variety before the reformulation. Our dog has been doing very well with the switch so far. Sorry to hear about your westie!

  • Betsy Greer

    What about the possibility of switching to one of the other varieties? None of them use pea protein, only peas. Obviously, it’s not a good idea to feed anything long term and I would recommend rotating proteins and binders, but at least that might buy you a little time.

    If you’re still needing a LID, take a look at Wellness LIDs.

  • Angela

    They added pea protein. In the old formulas they just used pea. Now its pea protein and pea. pea protein completely lets them change the protein source. On the lamb, it went from 29% to 22% protein and now most of that is from pea. completely different for your dogs digestion. My dog is not doing well. I will be switching for sure!!!

  • Betsy Greer

    Did his symptoms resolve completely on this food?

    I’m just surprised that his reaction was so strong when the ingredients didn’t really change, but we’re just reordered.

    Did NV tell you that there was some ingredient changes beyond less tapioca and more peas?

  • Erin

    Hi has been on it since January with no issues whatsoever.

    When he was a puppy he was scratching constantly, so I brought it up to the vet and they put him on a hypoallergenic food. He is our first pup, so I just went with what the vet said.

    I have known for a while that it wasn’t the best food for him and so after a lot of research and consultation with a local pet store (who are beyond amazing and extremely well educated) we decided to switch to this brand and formula because he has always been on hypoallergenic food before.

    Thanks for the advice about picking out some new food, I will definitely do that!

  • Betsy Greer

    How long has he been eating it?

    It’s he eating a LID diet because of food intolerance / allergy issues?

    Whatever food you replace it with, I would make sure to choose not only a different protein, but also a different binder.

  • Erin

    Yes he has always been on the duck formula. I actually spoke with the company this afternoon and they did confirm slight changes in all formulas.

  • Betsy Greer

    The ingredients in the duck formula are the same, they’re just in a different order. Peas used to be the third ingredient and tapioca third, but now they’re reversed. Was your dog eating the duck before?

  • Erin

    Bought a new bag of Nature’s Variety Limited Ingredient duck kibble and my Westie has been on the new bag for a week. He has had soft stools, is itchy and has developed something almost like seborrhea. Very disappointed as he has been doing extremely well before the ingredient change. Will be switching to another brand.

  • Crazy4cats

    That’s crazy for the amount they charge for that food! I hope you can find something else.

  • Nichole Clagett

    I got through almost the entire bag with puddle poops every day and after a lot of research we are switching to zignature lamb limited ingredient. It looks like they have a lot better controls over their supply chains and all food is usda certified. We are making the switch over a 14 day period. I’m so very disappointed with natures variety – we have been loyal customers for 2 years.

  • Betsy Greer

    I noticed that too, Nichole. I wasn’t happy about it either. The protein and fat have both dropped. They changed from peas to press protein. The turkey now has the highest protein at 25%.

    I have a Golden with lots of food intolerance issues and found that he could eat this one particular food last month. I intended to keep him on it for at least eight weeks and will now begin looking for other foods with which to rotate the NVI LID. I started adding the corresponding canned food to increase the protein.

  • Nichole Clagett

    Nature’s variety just reformulated the lamb limited ingredient and my golden retriever has truly suffered – the minimum crude protein was decreased from 29% to 22% which is the difference between a high end and low end food – and they are charging the same price!!! We have had to switch our golden off of this food since it is making her so sick.

  • Pearl

    After researching I am considering Natures Variety LID lamb for my 11 month old OLd English Sheepdog. He was on IAMs Chicken as that was what the breeder was using, and Orijen LBP…consistently itchy in the groin, biting paws, and had anal gland issues. Switched him to Acana Pacifica, no more anal gland issues however still itchy. We have been to the vet two times already for antibiotics, etc.
    I want a good dry food for a large breed dog with limited ingredients. However we are concerned with the Montmorillonite Clay in Natures Variety. Is this something to be worried about? Any feedback is appreciated! Thank you!

  • SandyandMila

    Awesome! Enjoy your day!!

  • SandyandMila

    The same store I mentioned sells a sprouter jar so maybe that something I could research and do myself. I know See Spot Live Longer and other premixes recommend mixing oils so I wasn’t sure if the one tin of sardines a week would be enough or if I needed to add fish oils as well, so thanks for clearing that up. If I’m feeding the one meal of a Hares salmon grind I wouldn’t need to add the multi to that right, maybe just a whole food green multi or fruit and veggies? I’m definently excited to go all in with the raw, I’m appreciate you helping me. I just need to everything and learn as I go. I was planning on rotating between all the diets methods that you mentioned, so I’m glad that it’s ok and recommended by you. 🙂

  • Hound Dog Mom

    You had perfect timing – I was just checking DFA before leaving for work! 🙂

  • SandyandMila

    That was quick! I hope you and your pups have an amazing day. Thanks for everything!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    It’s fine to rotate between methods – I do it all the time. In fact rotating between different recipes and recipes balanced with whole foods vs. recipes balanced with a multivitamin supplement and even feeding some commercial raw or using a pre-mix once in awhile will be better assurance that the dog is getting a balanced diet (imo).

    My favorite nuts and seeds to use are sprouted sunflower seeds and sprouted pumpkin seeds. I order them from Just run them through a coffee grinder.

    As long as your feeding Mila a tin of sardines once a week you shouldn’t need to add any fish oil. You could also do a meal a week using one of the sardine or salmon grinds from Hare – either way would work. For Gertie and Mabel they each get 1 tin of sardines, 1 small tin of salmon and 3 cage free eggs per week for their omega 3’s. They’re probably a little bigger than Mila though.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    The a multi or a recipe balanced from scratch should be balanced without the glandular. I just use the glandular as an additional supplement for the health benefits, I don’t factor it into the nutritional analysis (the serving is so small I doubt it would make much of a difference). Therefore, it can be used with any recipe.

  • SandyandMila

    I hope this will be my last question. 🙂 When using a glandular supplement, can it be used with a multi (like Twinlab Daily One or Solgar Formula VM 75) or is it to be used when making the diet from scratch with whole foods? I guess I’m asking whether or not the multi already supplies those nutrients you would get from the glandular supplement? I found them at the natural food store as well.

  • SandyandMila

    Thanks for everything, HDM! I think I will check out the book so that I can see the recipes. I know with your busy schedule you’ve been using the multi route. Could you rotate from one day using the multi and another using whole foods or is it better to stick to one method? I do feed dairy, eggs, sardines, just haven’t used seeds/nuts yet but I’m sure it’s simple enough. When using the Dinner Mix (probably 3 meals a week) should I add a fish oil (salmon, anchovy/sardine, etc) or will coconut oil be fine and continue feeding a can of sardines once a week? Or maybe make one meal a week be ground salmon or sardines? I know you’ve probably answered the same questions before, I apologize.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Unlocking the Canine Ancestral diet will provide balanced recipes using whole food ingredients (I believe the only vitamin that needs to be added it vitamin e). I like the See Spot Live Longer Dinner Mix a lot as well – I like it because it doesn’t contain all the veggies and fruit and other extras so I have the freedom to add them on my own, I also find that the pre-mixes which contain fruits and veggies have them in a dehydrated form and they tend not to digest well.

    Basically, balancing recipes from whole food ingredients alone does involve lots of calculating but once you do it for awhile you’ll start to gain a feel for which foods are dense in which nutrients and which foods are lacking in certain nutrients and you’ll then be able to intuitively begin forming recipes that only involve some minor tweaking. For example, when I formulated the recipes I have posted in the forums which are AAFCO compliant, I made the recipe then ran the nutrient analysis and there were only maybe one or two trace nutrients that were slightly below AAFCO standards which I had to make adjustments for.

  • SandyandMila

    I know you’re busy that’s why I appreciate so much you helping me and everyone else on DFA. It’d be nice to do everything from scratch but easy is good too. I’ll try it both ways if I can. Would the book Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet go more into depth of the calculations and how to balance the diet? I plan on purchasing the book (so I can stop bugging you lol) and using See Spot Live Longer dinner mix as well. (I like the ingredients and it seems to be easier than using other premix) I think I could figure it out from everything you’ve said but like you said there’s a lot of calculating and measuring so maybe the book or other resources could help?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I prefer to balance everything using whole foods, I believe that
    whole food-derived nutrients are superior to synthetic nutrients.
    However, balancing recipes using whole foods only is a lot more time
    intensive – it involves a lot of calculations, a lot of measuring and a
    lot of ingredients (making it more expensive). I don’t always have time
    to do this, especially now that my schedule is so hectic with being back
    in school. So sometimes it’s just easier to take a pound of meat and
    mix in a multi, some calcium, some veggies and some fish oil and call it
    a day!

    As long as you’re feeding equal (or close to equal)
    amounts of both red meat and poultry you shouldn’t need to worry about
    balancing the feeds and, for this reason, shouldn’t need to add any
    plant-based fats – just add some fish or fish oil. The plant-based fats
    are just to balance the fatty acid profiles if the diet is predominantly
    one type of protein.

  • SandyandMila

    Thank you so very much for your time and quick reply. I feel I’m understanding it a lot better. I appreciate you being very thorough in all my questions. I save them all so I can go back as a frame of reference. I apologize for so many of them. Do you get better results from using the multi or by adding the cod liver oil, vitamin e, and other whole food supplements? Is it better to do both in the rotation? When feeding different proteins like llama/alpaca, goat, rabbit, or tripe/organ mix (all I’ve never fed before) which plant based omegas would you add to them or do you just add a multi and not worry about it? Sorry for all the questions again, I appreciate whatever info you can help me with.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Sandy –

    I use the Twinlab Daily One with iron. The reason for this is that, depending on what type of meat and extras you use, the recipe may or may not have adequate levels of iron. The AAFCO minimum is 80 mg/kg. Chicken breast (assuming ~80% moisture) has only 35 mg./kg and ground pork has only 45 mg/kg. Now if you were to use beef (about 100 mg./kg) or some organ meat or oysters or added some iron rich veggies (like dark leafy greens) you would likely have adequate levels, but with the iron inclusive supplement you have that extra insurance. You also don’t have to worry about providing toxic levels of iron because there is only 10 mg. per capsule (AAFCO max is 3,000 mg/kg). I give Gertie and Mabel each one when I use them. If Mila weighs over 50 lbs. I’d say you should be fine giving her one per day.

    I’ve used both the gel caps and the bottled cod liver oil from Carlson’s although I think I prefer the caps because I don’t have to measure. If you’re using a multivitamin you don’t need to use cod liver oil though – I just use that for vitamin d when I’m balancing from scratch. The multi has vitamin d. I’ve always used the non-flavored, but I don’t see why the lemon flavoring would hurt the dog if it’s all you could find.

    If you can’t find organic walnut oil regular is okay. But as long as you aren’t feeding predominantly red meat you shouldn’t need walnut oil. That’s just used to balance the fats if you’re feeding only red meat. Hempseeds can also be used. Expeller-pressed means pressure is used to extract the oil – this may or may not involve heat. True cold-pressed oils are best, but as long as the oil is from a trusted company it should be fine. Oils are one of the ingredients you don’t want to go cheap on.

    Solger or Twinlab vitamin e should both be fine. Although I prefer supplements that contain both mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols. I use NOW Foods Advanced Gamma E Complex – it contains the full spectrum of tocopherols and tocotrienols. Although if you’re using the multivitamin you don’t need to add vitamin e. There’s adequate vitamin e in the multi. If you make meals without the multi, I’d give her 100-200 IU per day (if you use 400 IU caps you can give one every other day).

    I’ve never used honey in my dog’s recipes, just bee pollen but I’d say probably just a teaspoon or so. Raw honey is healthy but it’s also high in sugar so you don’t want to go overboard.

    Both of those products you liked to look fine to include in meals.