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Please be aware that Hill’s is voluntarily recalling some canned dog food due to potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D. More information here.
Nature's Recipe Adult Lamb Meal & Rice Recipe is a low-priced dog food with overall lower quality. This product has 3 controversial ingredients but no artificial preservatives, colors and flavors. The food has a high amount of carbs, compared to its protein and fat with mixed meat and fat quality. Nature's Recipe has a below-average number of recalls but was not very transparent when answering our questions.Read the Full Review Below
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This dog food review was created by experts who love dogs. Find out more about our team and mission.About Watchdog Labs
The food has high carbs and low protein and fats, making it less nutritionally balanced compared to other dog foods we evaluated. Carbohydrates are cheap so they keep the food’s cost low and they are nutritionally useful to dogs in the right amounts. However, high amounts of carbs can reduce the much-needed meat-based protein and fat content.
To evaluate dog foods, we first calculate out the moisture. This is called the “dry matter basis” and shows you only the solid ingredients in the food. These estimated “dry matter” numbers are different from the food label, but a better way to understand the real nutritional value of the food. We also calculate the carbs. Find out more
Min. Protein 23.33%
Min. Fat 13.33%
Min. Carbs 55.56%
Max. Fiber 4.44%
Max. Ash 7.78%
Max. Moisture 0.00%
Min. Protein: 20.0%
Min Fat: 12.00%
Min Carbs: N/A
Max Fiber: 4.00%
Max Ash: N/A
Max. Moisture: 10.00%
312 Calories per Cup
This product has a relatively low amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. Low-calorie foods like this can be for weight loss or less active dogs who require fewer daily calories. Based on your dog's current weight and activity level you may want to feed more or less than the recommended amount. It's helpful to know that weight loss foods often have fewer than 340 calories per cup, weight maintenance foods typically range from 340-380 calories, and high-activity dog foods are usually over 400 calories.
Grain-Free Dog Foods
This is a grain-free dog food. The FDA is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and canine heart disease. There is not enough evidence yet to affect our ratings but we've created an article for you explaining the topic.Learn More
Lamb Meal, Barley, Oatmeal, Brewers Rice, Poultry Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Tomato Pomace, Dried Brewers Yeast, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbly-2-Polyphosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), Inositol, Niacin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Beta-Carotene, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Copper sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Lactic Acid, Choline Chloride, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Citric Acid (Used As A Preservative), Rosemary Extract
The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 3 total controversial ingredients and 2 of them are found in the first five ingredients. This is concerning because the first 5 ingredients make up most of the product.
Top 5 Ingredients
Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at a dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.
Country of Origin
Nature's Recipe is USA-made. We like dog foods made in the United States, Canada and Europe because of those regions’ high dog food safety regulations.
Meat & Fat Quality
Lamb Meal is the main meat in this food and Poultry Fat the added animal fat. The former is a named meat source, that’s good. The latter, however, leaves us guessing as to which poultry animal(s) it comes from, not good.
This product contains 0 controversial artificial preservatives - really great! Here’s a quick primer on this topic: It’s good to know that not all artificial preservatives are bad. That’s because they serve an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, we consider 11 artificial preservatives controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions. Luckily, this dog food includes none of them.
No artificial colors, either. Excellent!
Last but not least, we didn’t find artificial flavors in this dog food. No controversial artificial preservatives, colors or flavors - this product aced all three.
Compared to other brands we reviewed, Nature's Recipe has fewer than average dog food recalls.
We love dog food brands that are committed to transparent business practices. If you make quality dog food you should be willing to openly talk about how it’s sourced and produced. That’s why we reached out to pet food companies, asking questions about all their brands and products. Each company had three weeks to reply to our messages.
How Easy Was it to Reach the Company?
Nature’s Recipe is part of the Big Heart Brand, which is owned by JM Smucker. They responded to the first email after 4 days, but did not respond to the follow-up message addressing some of the missed questions. This response was however provided:
Please be aware that Rachael Ray Nutrish is owned by JM Smucker Company. This is the same company for the Big Heart Brand. Please refer to the responses received previously for Big Heart Brand. Thank you for your interest in our products!
This suggests that all brands should receive the same answers to the following questions. So for the following brands you will find the same responses: Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘n Bits, Nature’s Recipe, and Rachael Ray Nutrish.
Does Nature’s Recipe have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?
Gravy Train™ [Nature’s Recipe] products are manufactured by The J.M. Smucker Company, where a veterinary nutritionist is on staff.
Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?
At The J.M. Smucker Company, quality products begin with quality ingredients. A dedicated team formulates Gravy Train™ [Nature’s Recipe] products to ensure they are nutritionally complete and balanced. Some teams involved include Research and Development, Quality Assurance and Marketing. Our products are produced to be nutritionally complete and balanced, and products are labeled in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. In addition, our team works with veterinarians to provide the information they need to make the right dietary choice for the animal in their care..
Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?
No response was provided.
What country are your products manufactured?
No response was provided.
Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?
At this time, we do not offer tours of our facilities to the public.
What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?
No response was provided.
Does Nature’s Recipe own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?
No response was provided.
Do any parts of your product come from China?
We source ingredients from various places. Ingredients are sourced from North America but will also source internationally if the situation demands it, due to the inconsistent availability of ingredients. Regardless of location, all ingredients are inspected to ensure they meet our high-quality standards.
This does not answer the actual question.
Linda P Case, MS; Daniel P Carey, DVM; and Diane A Hirakawa, PhD, Canine and Feline Nutrition A Resource for Companion Animal Professionals, Mosby-Year Book, Inc.