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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 Grain-Free Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe

by Nature's Recipe
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Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 7, 2019
Updated

Nature's Recipe Grain-Free Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe is a low-priced dog food with average quality. This product has 2 controversial ingredients but does not have any artificial preservatives, colors or 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
Toy, Small Breeds
AGE
Adult
FEATURES
Grain-Free
PACKAGE
3 oz, 4.5 lbs
MADE IN
United States
COMPANY
JM Smuckers

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Nutrition

Nutrition

This food has a fair amount of protein fat but is high in carbs, which is lowering the fat content slightly and making it less nutritionally balanced compared to other dog foods we evaluated. Carbohydrates are cheap so they keep the food’s cost low. 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 30.00%

Min. Fat 13.33%

Min. Carbs 48.89%

Max. Fiber 4.44%

Max. Ash 7.78%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

Min. Protein: 27.0%

Min Fat: 12.00%

Min Carbs: N/A

Max Fiber: 4.00%

Max Ash: N/A

Max. Moisture: 10.00%

Calories

Calories

337 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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72.4%
WATCHDOG
SCORE
Score BannerOverall Rating Score
Ingredients

Ingredients

Score
76%
45
Total Ingredients
2
Controversial Ingredients

Salmon, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Pea Protein, Salmon Meal, Poultry Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Pumpkin, Natural Flavor, Dried Tomato Pomace, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-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, Citric Acid (Used As A Preservative), Yucca Schidigera Extract, Rosemary Extract.

The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 2 total controversial ingredients.


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.

Salmon, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Pea Protein, Salmon Meal

  • Salmon
    Salmon offers one of the highest Omega-3 contents of any type of fish. Raw meat contains about 75% water which is cooked off during the making of dog food. This leaves only a fraction of the protein content in the final product weight. We recommend looking for dog foods that also include meat meals in the first five ingredients (pre-cooked meat powder that contains four times the amount of protein). Salmon is generally a healthy dog food ingredient.
  • Garbanzo Beans
    Garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) are a legume that provides nutrients such as protein, fiber, folate, iron and phosphorus. They are generally a healthy dog food ingredient.
  • Peas
    Peas are a good source of carbs, fiber and protein. Peas are starchy but high in vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc. We consider this a healthy dog food ingredient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that there is a potential link between peas and canine heart disease. It is still too early to draw conclusions so we cannot yet say if peas are a generally high-quality dog food ingredient or should be avoided.

  • Pea Protein
    Pea protein is an extract of the pea plant. Peas are a good source of carbs, fiber and protein. Peas are starchy but high in vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc. We consider this a healthy dog food ingredient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that there is a potential link between peas and canine heart disease. It is still too early to draw conclusions so we cannot yet say if peas are a generally high-quality dog food ingredient or should be avoided.

  • Salmon Meal
    Salmon meal is generally a healthy dog food ingredient. Salmon offers one of the highest Omega-3 contents of any type of fish. 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.

Controversial Ingredients

  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

Salmon and Salmon Meal are the clearly labelled protein sources but the added Poultry Fat is much more intransparent. It doesn’t tell you which animal(s) it’s made from, making the quality potentially questionable.


Artificial Preservatives

This product contains 0 controversial artificial preservatives. 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.


Artificial Colors

No artificial colors, either. Excellent!


Artificial Flavors

Last but not least, we didn’t see 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 Grain-Free Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Recipe

by Nature's Recipe
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