VitaLife Natural Diets Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The VitaLife Natural Diets product line includes 3 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.
Use links below to compare price and package sizes at Amazon.
- VitaLife Natural Diets Chicken and Sweet Potato [A]
- VitaLife Natural Diets Salmon and Sweet Potato [A]
- VitaLife Natural Diets Lamb and Lentil (4 stars) [A]
VitaLife Natural Diets Chicken and Sweet Potato was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
VitaLife Natural Diets Chicken and Sweet Potato
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, sweet potato, peas, lentils, chickpeas, chicken fat, flaxseed, natural flavour, freeze dried chicken, calcium carbonate, apple, carrot, pumpkin, salt, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, thiamine, pyridoxine, folic acid, vitamin B12, chicory, choline chloride, potassium chloride, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, Bifidobacterium bifidium thermophilum fermentation product, Enterococcus faecium fermentation product
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.3%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||16%||41%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||33%||36%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient lists 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.
It’s important to note that the next three ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legume:
Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.
If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.
In addition, legumes contain about 25% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
The eighth ingredient is flaxseed, 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.
The ninth ingredient lists freeze-dried chicken. It should be noted the meat used here has been freeze-dried prior to use in this recipe. Because of the gentleness of the process used to create this item, freeze-dried ingredients can be considered nutritionally superior to meat meals.
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, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
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.
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.
VitaLife Natural Diets
Dog Food Review
Judging by its ingredients alone, VitaLife Natural Diets 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 35% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 41% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 45%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, lentils, chickpeas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.
VitaLife Natural Diets is a grain-free dry dog food using a notable amount of named meat meals as its main source 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.
VitaLife Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to VitaLife Dog Food. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
Readers interested in VitaLife dog food may also wish to check out these popular pages, too…
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
05/25/2019 Last Update