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Dog Food Ratings

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 Dry Dog Food

by Nature's Recipe
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Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 7, 2019
Updated

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.

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TYPE
Dry Dog Food
PRICE
$
BREED SIZE
Small, Medium, Large Breeds
AGE
Adult
FEATURES
-
PACKAGE
4.5, 15, 30 lbs
MADE IN
United States
COMPANY
JM Smuckers

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Nutrition

Nutrition

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

Label Claim

Dry Matter

Min. Protein 23.33%

Min. Fat 13.33%

Min. Carbs 55.56%

Max. Fiber 4.44%

Max. Ash 7.78%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

Min. Protein: 20.0%

Min Fat: 12.00%

Min Carbs: N/A

Max Fiber: 4.00%

Max Ash: N/A

Max. Moisture: 10.00%

Calories

Calories

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.

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FDA Alert

FDA Alert

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.

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46.2%
WATCHDOG
SCORE
Score BannerOverall Rating Score
Ingredients

Ingredients

Score
41%
42
Total Ingredients
3
Controversial Ingredients

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.

  • Lamb Meal
    Lamb is generally a healthy dog food ingredient. Meat meals are the result of cooking. Water is removed from meats to create a protein-rich meal powder. Meat meals contain about four times the protein meats do, so generally, they're a good source of nutrients.
  • Barley
    Barley is a type of grass and a cereal grain. It is a source of calories and several nutrients, including protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, niacin and various minerals. Barley provides carbs, energy, fiber and other healthy nutrients for dogs. Barley is generally a healthy dog food ingredient.
  • Oatmeal
    Oats are a cereal grain and a source of carbs, protein, dietary fiber, several B vitamins and dietary minerals like manganese. They are a high-quality dog food ingredient that can potentially help with colon health. Oatmeal are oats that have been ground or cut.

  • Brewer’s Rice
    Brewer's rice is the small, broken fragments of white rice that are left over when rice is milled. It's used in dog food since it's not considered aesthetically pleasing enough for human food. It's a cheaper alternative to whole rice or other grains, providing calories but only modest nutritional value. It is missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground rice and brown rice. For these reasons, we do not consider this a high-quality dog food ingredient.

  • Poultry Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)
    While poultry fat is generally nutritious, this ingredient doesn't identify the species it comes from making it questionable and intransparent. This includes the potential that rancid, dead, dying, disabled or diseased meat sources could have been used. For that reason we do not consider this a high-quality ingredient. The other part of this ingredient is Mixed-Tocopherol, a natural preservative made from Vitamin E that helps keep food fresh.

Controversial Ingredients

  1. Brewer’s Rice
  2. Brewer's Rice is basically white rice that has been broken into smaller pieces. It's a waste product of the milling process and considered a low quality ingredient because it's missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground rice and brown rice.
  1. Poultry Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)
  2. While poultry fat is generally healthy for dogs, this ingredient doesn't identify the species it comes from making it questionable and intransparent. This includes the potential that rancid, dead, dying, disabled or diseased fat sources could have been used. For these reasons, we do not consider this a high-quality ingredient.
  1. Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex
  2. A synthetic version of Vitamin K (known as Menadione) which is added due to the lack or loss of Vitamin K in the food processing. Menadione supplements are banned by the FDA because of their potential toxicity in human use and can be found as 10+ different names on a label. While low amounts have been found to be safe, the consistent repetitive nature of a dogs diet results in the long-term exposure that should be considered.


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.


Artificial Preservatives

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.


Artificial Colors

No artificial colors, either. Excellent!


Artificial Flavors

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.

Recalls

Recalls

Score
80%
1
Brand Recalls

Compared to other brands we reviewed, Nature's Recipe has fewer than average dog food recalls.

Date:
10/12/2012
Recalled Products:
Nature's Recipe, Oven Baked Biscuits with Real Chicken, Made with sweet potatoes, oats, flaxseed., 19 ounces; UPC: 30521 51549
Cause:
Product may be contaminated with Salmonella.
Class:
I
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
Voluntary
Quantity:
4282 cases ( 6 unit/ case)
Source
Transparency

Transparency

Score
34%

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.

Nature's Recipe Adult Lamb Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

by Nature's Recipe
CHECK PRICE NOW
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