Disclosure: When you buy through links on this site, we may earn a commission.

Disclosure: Watchdog Labs is free to use. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn a commission.

Please be aware that Hill’s is voluntarily recalling some canned dog food due to potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D. More information here.

Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food

by Now Fresh
Review Product PhotoReview Product Photo
Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 7, 2019

Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Recipe is a high-priced dog food with exceptional quality. Here is what makes this food so good: It has 0 controversial ingredients and includes no artificial preservatives, colors and flavors. The food has well-balanced amounts of protein, fat and carbs with excellent meat and fat quality. Now Fresh also has no dog food recalls. Additionally, the company was very transparent when answering our questions. Watchdog Labs highly recommends this product.

Read the Full Review Below
Dry Dog Food
Small, Toy Breeds
Grain-Free, No Corn Wheat or Soy, Gluten-Free
6 lbs
Petcurean Pet Nutrition

Created By Dog Lovers Like You

Product Reviews
3,173 Dog Foods
Expert Interviews
11 Experts
Dog Food Research
900+ Hours
of Research
100% Independent
& Zero Ads
Just Getting Started?

Just Getting Started?

Learn what makes a great dog food and get expert advice on how to choose the best food for your dog.

Learn MoreJust Getting Started?

Meet Our Team & Advisors

This dog food review was created by experts who love dogs. Find out more about our team and mission.

About Watchdog Labs


This food has well-balanced amounts of protein, fat, and carbs. Diets that are high in protein and fat, with moderate to low carbs, are ideal for most dogs.

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 31.11%

Min. Fat 20.00%

Min. Carbs 41.11%

Max. Fiber 5.00%

Max. Ash 7.78%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

Min. Protein: 28.0%

Min Fat: 18.0%

Min Carbs: N/A

Max Fiber: 4.0%

Max Ash: N/A

Max. Moisture: 10.0%



416 Calories per Cup

This product has a relatively high amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. If your dog has fair to low activity levels, you may want to feed less than the labels recommend amount, since high-calorie foods like this are often feed to more active dogs who require a higher amount of daily calories. 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.

FDA Alert

Help Other Dogs

Share Watchdog With Your Friends

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.

Learn More
Score BannerOverall Rating Score


Total Ingredients
Controversial Ingredients

De-Boned Turkey, Whole Dried Egg, Peas, Pea Flour, Potatoes, Potato Flour, Flaxseed, Natural Flavour, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Apples, De-Boned Salmon, De-Boned Duck, Coconut Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Tomato, Alfalfa, Carrots, Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes, Squash, Bananas, Blueberries, Cranberries, Blackberries, Pomegranate, Papayas, Lentils, Broccoli, Dried Chicory Root, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Inositol, Niacin, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (a Source of Vitamin C), D-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Beta-Carotene, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Proteinate, Copper sulphate, Ferrous Sulphate, Calcium Iodate, Manganous Oxide, Selenium Yeast), Taurine, Dl-Methionine, L-Lysine, Algae Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, L-Carnitine, Dried Rosemary.

The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 0 controversial ingredients - we love it.

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.

  • De-Boned Turkey
    Turkey is generally a healthy dog food ingredient that provides nutrients like protein, fat and B vitamins. 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's 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). De-boned simply means that the bones have been removed.
  • Whole Dried Egg
    Dried eggs are a powder made by drying shell-free egg whites. Eggs are a high-quality protein source that offers excellent amino acid availability to dogs. They also provide healthy nutrients like vitamin A, calcium and iron. We consider this 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 Flour
    Pea flour is produced by heating or roasting peas. This allows for greater nutritional value because it gives greater biological access to protein and starch. 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.

  • Potatoes
    Potatoes provide carbohydrates (mostly starch) and are a rich source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that there is a potential link between potatoes and canine heart disease. It is still too early to draw conclusions so we cannot yet say if potatoes are a generally high-quality dog food ingredient or should be avoided.

Controversial Ingredients
No controversial ingredients to be found on this dog food label, that’s what we like to see!

Country of Origin

Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Recipe is made in Canada. Similar to the U.S., Canada enforces strict food safety laws for dog food brands.

Meat & Fat Quality

De-Boned Turkey and Canola Oil are the major meat and fat sources here, with protein and oils also coming from the other plant ingredients. Both De-Boned Turkey and Canola Oil clearly show us what animal and plant they are sources from, which is a very 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.

Artificial Colors

No artificial colors, either. That’s how it should be, nice.

Artificial Flavors

Last but not least, we didn’t find artificial flavors in this dog food. No controversial artificial preservatives, colors or flavors - we love when dog food brands skip all of them. Well done!



Brand Recalls

This dog food brand has a below-average number of 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?

Now Fresh is part of the Petcurean Brand. They responded quickly, answering all the questions in two days. Its worthing noting that compared to other companies, these are some of the most complete and detailed answers that we received.

Does Now Fresh (Petcurean) have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?

Petcurean recipes have been developed by a team of qualified and passionate nutritionists. Our Senior Nutritionist Dr. Jennifer Adolphe, has a PhD in companion animal nutrition from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, a Master of Science degree in nutrition from the University of Saskatchewan, a Bachelor of Human Ecology degree in nutrition from the University of Manitoba, and is a registered dietitian with the College of Dietitians of British Columbia. She has  completed a four year bachelor degree, a one year dietetic internship, a two year Master’s degree and a four year PhD. Thus, she has 11 years of training specializing in nutrition plus additional work experience.

Also on the nutrition team is a nutritionist with a Master of Science in animal nutrition and a Bachelor of Science in animal science, both from the University of Guelph. Our product development assistant has a Master of Science in animal nutrition from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Science in animal science from the University of Vermont

Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?

See above.

Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?

Petcurean has been in the business of pet nutrition for 19 years. Our products are formulated to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for the stated life stage. Raw ingredients and finished products are laboratory tested for nutrient composition. We also perform digestibility, palatability, stool consistency, and urine pH testing in dogs and cats during our product development process.

What country are your products manufactured?

Our dry kibble is manufactured at our plant in Elmira, ON. Our canned GO! products are produced at plants in Canada and the US, and our NOW FRESH wet foods in tetra packs are made in Wisconsin.

Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?

No, unfortunately due to insurance and safety concerns we do not allow visits by the public. Our plant is certified by the European Union who have the highest standards in the world for manufacturing and cleanliness. Public tours would compromise those standards with the potential for outside contamination and cross contamination..

What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?

We approach the quality and safety of our pet foods with utmost care and we set extremely high quality and safety standards for ourselves and all of our suppliers and partners. Petcurean products are manufactured at plants which are EU, FDA, BRC and CFIA certified, meaning they must meet a very high standard of sanitation, cleanliness and manufacturing practices. Our unique recipes are crafted using the highest quality ingredients. Other plant safeguards include: commissioning independent audits by the British Retail Consortium (also used for human food audits). We test our ingredients prior to receiving them at the plant; quality assurance tests include, but are not limited to, vomitoxin, aflatoxin, zearalenone, nutritional integrity and moisture levels. Testing continues on every batch at each part of the manufacturing process using standards set by Health Canada. These tests include but are not limited to, enterobacteriaceae such as salmonella and e-coli. We use Near Infra Red [NIR] technology during production to accurately measure the fat, protein and moisture content of the food. Food is only shipped, when favorable results are returned. We thoroughly clean and sanitize the manufacturing equipment between production runs to ensure the integrity of our recipes. We take important steps to avoid cross-contamination by requiring that employees in different areas of the production facility follow strict quality assurance protocols. We keep final tested food samples of all lots produced in our head office. All lot numbers can be tracked immediately using our complete and thorough tracking protocol. We update and monitor our quality control procedures regularly. As pet owners and animal lovers ourselves, we are committed to the health and safety of your pets and will continue to work diligently to ensure the quality and safety of all our products.

No response was provided.

Does Now Fresh (Petcurean) own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?

In 2015, Petcurean opened a new manufacturing facility in partnership with Elmira Pet Products to ensure a secure supply for our growing customer base and provide us with a solid foundation to continually innovate the best, premium pet food recipes that our customers have come to know and expect. The new facility features state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, which is owned by Petcurean and which is run by Elmira’s dedicated and knowledgeable operations staff.

Do any parts of your product come from China?

When it comes to our ingredient sourcing, you can rest assured that the animal source proteins, grains, cereals, fruits and vegetables in our GO! SOLUTIONS, NOW FRESH, GATHER and SUMMIT Original recipes are sourced from North America (as close to the production facility as possible). Our primary suppliers are based in Canada, however, due to some limits on availability, we have some USA based ingredient suppliers. Also, our venison and pasture raised lamb is sourced from New Zealand and Australia. Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient for pets, so we chose to continue to include it to remain uncompromising in the nutritional adequacy of our foods. We source vitamin B6 and L-carnitine through a world leader in vitamin production, headquartered in the Netherlands with over 85 years of experience in both human and pet foods. We use Vitamin B6 and L-carnitine produced in one of their manufacturing facilities located in China since due to recent changes in the global supply chain Vitamin B6 is not available anywhere else. Our trusted supplier utilizes strict quality control procedures and is compliant with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Animal Food Rule of 2011, in addition to being registered to an International Quality Management Standard. Their vitamins are tested for microbiological contaminants and heavy metals and are analyzed for potency prior to being released for sale. We do not source any other ingredients, vitamins or supplements from China.

Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Puppy Recipe Dry Dog Food

by Now Fresh
Other Products From This Brand

Other Food From This Brand

Educational Resources

Educational Resources




Made with love in Cambridge, MA.
© 2019 Watchdog Labs Inc. All rights reserved.

Watchdog Labs, Watchdog Score and watchdoglabs.com are trademarks of Watchdog Labs Inc.


DISCLAIMER: All content on this website, including but not limited to statements about products are to be construed as opinions only. All statements made by or associated with Watchdog Labs, Inc., including but not limited to text, graphics, videos, web content, social media content, e-mails, marketing and informational materials, advertisements, statements made by company representatives, and repeated statements which originated from third-party sources are to be construed as opinions only. Watchdog Labs, Inc. is not responsible for the quality or the veracity of statements or information from third-party sources. Third-party sources shall include but not be limited to labs, online stores, sellers, other websites, brands and manufacturers.


DISCLAIMER: Our reviews and testing are necessarily limited in scope, and products may vary significantly from one package to another and from one store to another. We may only test one batch of a product from one store and not all reviewed products have undergone lab tests. Our opinion is based on that limited testing.


DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinary professional before choosing any products for your pet.


DISCLAIMER: Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and different information than what is shown on this website. Always read all labels, warnings, and directions before using a product.


DISCLOSURE: When readers buy products on this site, we earn a commission that supports our work.


Watchdog Labs is not affiliated, associated, authorized by, endorsed by, or in any way connected to the brands and companies mentioned on this website. All trademarks, copyrights, and other rights are the property of their respective owners. See our Terms of Service for DMCA notices.


As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON SERVICES LLC. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. All prices on this site may change and those considered valid are displayed on Amazon.com