Pioneer Naturals Grain Free (Dry)

Rating:

Product May Have Been Discontinued
Unable to Locate Complete Label Info
On Company Website1

Pioneer Naturals Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Pioneer Naturals Grain Free Dog Food product line includes four dry recipes.

However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.

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

  • Pioneer Naturals Grain and Potato Free Chicken
  • Pioneer Naturals Grain and Potato Free Whitefish
  • Pioneer Naturals Grain and Potato Free Pork (4.5 stars)
  • Pioneer Naturals Grain and Potato Free Venison (4.5 stars)

Pioneer Naturals Grain and Potato Free Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Pioneer Naturals Grain and Potato Free Chicken

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 43%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, yams, freeze dried sweet potato, freeze dried chicken liver, freeze dried pumpkin, freeze dried red clover sprouts, freeze dried blueberries, bok choy, zucchini, squash, kale, freeze dried papaya, inulin, cranberries, parsley, probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, Lactobacillus casei fermentation product dehydrated, Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product dehydrated, Bifidobacterium thermophilum fermentation product dehydrated, Bifidobacterium longum fermentation product dehydrated, Enterococcus faecium fermentation product dehydrated, Bacillus subtillus fermentation product dehydrated), kelp, parsley, artichoke, salmon/herring oil, vitamins (dl-methionine, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, niacin supplement, folic acid, biotin), minerals (calcium pantothenate, zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, cobalt amino acid chelate)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis30%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%16%43%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%33%38%
Protein = 29% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 38%

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

The second ingredient includes yams. In much of North America, the word yam can be used interchangeably with the term sweet potatoes.

So, assuming this item is indeed sweet potatoes, it can be considered a good source of complex carbohydrates. In addition, yams are naturally rich in fiber, beta carotene and other healthy nutrients.

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

The fifth ingredient is freeze dried pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene 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 three notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal 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.

Pioneer Naturals Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Pioneer Naturals Grain Free Dog Food 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 33%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 43%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.

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

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Pioneer Naturals Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals 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.

Pioneer Naturals 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.

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Dog Food Coupons
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Important FDA Alert

The FDA is investigating a potential link between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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Notes and Updates

01/10/2017 Last Update

  1. 1/9/2017 Unable to contact company, no website, no phone