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On Company Website1
Nature’s Variety Prairie Homestyle canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Nature’s Variety Prairie Homestyle product line includes 7 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.
Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.
- Nature’s Variety Homestyle Beef Stew [A]
- Nature’s Variety Homestyle Lamb Stew [A]
- Nature’s Variety Homestyle Chicken Stew (4 stars) [A]
- Nature’s Variety Homestyle Salmon and Wild Rice Stew [A]
- Nature’s Variety Homestyle Pork and Sweet Potato Stew [A]
- Nature’s Variety Homestyle Beef and Bison Stew (4 stars) [A]
- Nature’s Variety Homestyle Turkey and Duck Stew (4 stars) [A]
Nature’s Variety Homestyle Turkey and Duck Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Nature's Variety Prairie Homestyle Turkey and Duck Stew
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Turkey broth, turkey, turkey liver, chicken, duck, egg whites, brown rice, potato starch, sweet potatoes, peas, spinach, oats, ground flaxseed, montmorillonite clay, guar gum, red peppers, natural flavor, tricalcium phosphate, sodium phosphate, menhaden fish oil, dried kelp, potassium chloride, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, cobalt proteinate, potassium iodide, parsley, sunflower oil, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, garlic powder, taurine, choline chloride, calcium carbonate, flaxseed oil, salt, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, sage, rosemary, artichokes, cranberries, pumpkin, tomato, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, kale
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||38%||23%||32%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||30%||44%||26%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food, they are a common addition component in many canned products.
The second ingredient is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.2
Turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third ingredient is turkey liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The next two items include chicken and duck which are additional sources of quality animal protein and essential amino acids.
The sixth ingredient lists egg whites. Eggs are highly digestible and an excellent source of usable protein.
The seventh ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The eighth ingredient is potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.
The ninth 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.
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 six notable exceptions…
First, we find 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.
Next, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.
However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
In addition, montmorillonite clay is 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).
Next, we find sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
So, one must weigh the potential benefits of feeding garlic against its proven tendency to cause subclinical damage to the red blood cells of the animal.
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 Prairie
Homestyle Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Variety Prairie Homestyle canned dog food looks like an above-average wet 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 39% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 31% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.
Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a notable amount of meat.
Nature’s Variety Prairie Homestyle is a meat-based canned dog food using a notable amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
Those looking for a product with a still higher meat content may wish to check out our review of the company’s 5-star flagship… Nature’s Variety Instinct Canned Dog Food.
Nature’s Variety Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
- 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)
To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.
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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
- “Last Update” field at the end of this review reflects the last time we attempted to visit this product’s website. The current review itself was last updated 6/3/2017 ↩
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition ↩
- Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005) ↩
06/03/2017 Last Update