Nature’s Variety Prairie Raw (Raw Frozen)

Rating:

Product Has Been Discontinued
Confirmed by the Company1

Nature’s Variety Prairie Raw Dog Food earns the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Nature’s Variety Prairie Raw product line includes four raw frozen recipes, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.

The product is available in both Raw Patties and Raw Bites.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Prairie Raw Beef Recipe with Carrots
  • Prairie Raw Chicken Recipe with Apples
  • Prairie Raw Lamb Recipe with Sweet Potatoes
  • Prairie Raw Duck Recipe with Cranberry (4 stars)

Nature’s Variety Prairie Raw Beef Recipe with Carrots was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Nature's Variety Prairie Raw Beef Recipe with Carrots

Raw Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 27% | Carbs = 32%

Ingredients: Beef, beef liver, beef kidney, beef heart, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, apples, peas, kale, dicalcium phosphate, montmorillonite clay, salt, potassium chloride, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, sodium selenite, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 10%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis10%8%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%27%32%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%50%25%
Protein = 26% | Fat = 50% | Carbs = 25%

The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.2

Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

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

The third ingredient is beef kidney, an organ meat low in fat and rich in protein and essential minerals.

The fourth ingredient is beef heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing to us humans, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat. It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.

The fifth item includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The sixth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The seventh ingredient is squash. Squash is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

The eighth ingredient includes apples, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.

The ninth 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.

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 note the inclusion of 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).

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 Raw Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Nature’s Variety Prairie Raw looks like an above-average 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 33%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 32%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 35% and a mean fat level of 26%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 31% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 75%.

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical raw dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a raw dog food containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Nature’s Variety Prairie Raw is a meat-based frozen dog food using a moderate amount of various species as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

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.

Important FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free recipes and dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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Notes and Updates

12/03/2014 Last Update

  1. As of 6/8/2016
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials