Nature’s Variety Dog Food Reviews

Pet parents who strongly believe in the importance of using only the highest possible quality raw ingredients in dog food can surely appreciate what Nature’s Variety canine diets stand for. The brand is well known for utilizing pure and real ingredients to give pets the right types of nutrients in the right amounts that their ancestors did. A number of Nature’s Variety dog food reviews speak highly of the brand, although there have been a few concerns about its new formulations. Only time will tell whether this change in formulation will adversely affect its appeal to pet parents or not. This review of Nature’s Variety dog food should help you decide whether to give the brand to your pet or not.

Company Information

Nature’s Variety started in Lincoln, Nebraska with the principal purpose of empowering people to help in transforming the lives of pets. The company strongly believes in the value of adhering to the principles of raw canine nutrition in that it somehow mimics the very same diet that the ancestors of man’s best friend ate during their time. The brand emphasizes all-natural ingredients utilized in a holistic manner to replicate the nutrient profile of nutrient-rich raw dog food.

Each recipe that the company makes is guaranteed to be free from soy, wheat, and corn as well as high glycemic foods like potatoes. It also does away with artificial preservatives, flavor enhancers, and color enhancers. Instead, the brand uses only natural ingredients that can serve such functions.

nature’s variety dog foods

We’ve tried looking for information as to the date of establishment of the brand. Unfortunately, its official website doesn’t provide any information as to its date of establishment. The only information related to its inception is that it started in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Since 2009, the company has had 5 product recalls, twice in 2010 and once each in 2012, 2013, and 2015. The February 2010 product recall was related to possible salmonella contamination of the Chicken Formula of the brand’s Raw Frozen Diet. This was repeated a month after. In July 2012, the Prairie Beef Meal was recalled because of the observation that the recipe developed an unusual odor over a period of time. In February 2013, a batch of its Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula was voluntarily recalled because of the risk of choking attributed to pieces of plastic in the dog food bags. In July 2015, the brand recalled its Instinct Raw Chicken Formula for fears of salmonella contamination.

While the Nature’s Variety dog food products we have included in this review were never recalled, it simply puts a very big question mark in the quality control protocols of the company.

Why Choose this Brand?

If you’re a pet parent who believes in the importance of raw food for your pet dog, then this brand is for you. The philosophy of the company is based on the use of raw nutrition to bring out the best in every single pet. This means you get the best possible ingredients sourced from reputable farmers and suppliers.

Proponents of a grain free diet for dogs will also love the brand as it makes sure that all of its variants don’t have soy, wheat, or corn or any other ingredient that can cause gluten allergies in dogs. While there are some pet parents and veterinarians who say that the issue of gluten allergy is more of a projection of the so-called experiences of humans regarding gluten allergies, it is still a valid concern especially if you’re one who strongly believes that your dog’s tummy is not built for such food items.

Pet parents who don’t like the idea of giving their pets harmful chemicals can rest assured that there’s none in any variant of Nature’s Variety. The brand doesn’t use artificial flavor enhancers, color additives, and preservatives. In instances where they need to provide more flavor or to prolong the shelf-life of their products, they make sure to use only all-natural ingredients to ensure the safety of their products.

If you want a well-balanced diet that provides the right amounts of nutrients for your pet, then the Nature’s Variety dog food brand is for you. It more than meets the standards set by AAFCO and NRC so you’ll know your dog gets the right and complete nutrition necessary for its well-being, optimum development, and quality of life.

Ingredient Analysis

Dogs require the right amounts of nutrients for them to really grow healthy and strong. Here’s how we analyzed the ingredients of this dog food brand.

  • Moderate to above-average proteins

The four dry variants of Nature’s Variety dog food that we’ve included in this review come in with an average crude protein content of 30.625%, recomputed to 34% when only the dry matter equivalent is considered. There’s remarkable variability in the protein content of the brand. It can be as low as 23.5% or as high as 37%. The canned version naturally has higher protein content on a dry matter basis, 45.45%.

The overall protein content of Nature’s Variety places it as average or above-average since there are some brands that can go as high as 40% for the dry matter weight on dog kibbles and up to 55% on wet or canned versions. Still, compared to some very popular brands the protein composition of Nature’s Variety Instinct dog food is a lot better.

However, there are some points that had to be made. We noticed that some of the formulations actually incorporate pea protein in the top 5 ingredient list. This is in addition to the proteins already found in natural peas. As such, one may think that the high protein content of these dog food products do not necessarily come from animal sources alone.

We are not against plant proteins. Sadly, there are some essential amino acids that are missing in such protein sources. These amino acids are vital for a variety of functions. To obtain a complete range of essential amino acids only animal proteins can be given. It is for this reason that the current feeding recommendation for dogs is to provide food whose first ingredient is an animal protein. Of course, there will be instances when a plant-based ingredient will be called for as the top ingredient. However, these are usually prescription diets and should never replace a meal where a named animal protein is the top ingredient.

  • Moderate fats

Like the protein content of the 4 products we’ve reviewed here, their fat composition is also very variable. It can be as low as 14% or as high as 20.5% with the highest at 29.54% for the computed dry matter weight of the canned version. On the average, the dry version comes with 17.75% or about 19.7% when only the dry matter is considered. It is well within the fat composition of many dog food products today.

The brand also includes essential fatty acids in its formulation. Sadly, a review of the ratio of omega 6s to omega 3s, it was nowhere near the ideal. In most cases, the essential fatty acid ratio closely mimics that seen in modern humans. This has significant implications since a disproportionately larger omega-6 concentration can have more negative effects on the health of the dog.

  • Below-average to average carbs

Computing for the dry matter equivalents for proteins and fats puts the carbohydrate content of Nature’s Variety to be 36.3% for its dry versions and 25% for its canned version. This is definitely remarkable since most dog food brands come with 50 to 60 percent carbs. The recipe also doesn’t use high glycemic foods like potatoes and has clearly done away with allergenic grains.

  • Micronutrients

Nature’s Variety dog food meets the nutrient requirements that have been stipulated by both NRC and AAFCO. Our only lament is that there are no joint-friendly substances in the 5 products that we’ve reviewed. The inclusion of probiotics is a nice touch, nevertheless.

natural variety food for dogs

Pros
  • Moderate to above-average levels of proteins
  • Utilizes high-quality all-natural animal proteins in recipes
  • Observes the ‘animal protein first’ principle of dog food formulation
  • Doesn’t include high glycemic foods like potatoes and allergenic grains like soy, corn, and wheat
  • Includes wholesome lentils, fruits, and vegetables
  • Meets the required nutrients as specified by AAFCO and the NRC
  • Utilizes high pressure procession for ensuring optimum dog food safety
  • Doesn’t contain artificial ingredients like artificial preservatives, colorings, and flavorings
  • Includes probiotic microorganisms in most formulations
Cons
  • Includes plant proteins in the formulation to boost protein levels
  • No information on the inclusion of other beneficial substances like chondroitin and glucosamine
  • History of product recalls
  • Unusually higher calorie content
  • Pricier than other brands that come with almost the same ingredient composition
  • Grain-free, but still includes chicken as main ingredient in many recipes

Nature’s Variety dog food products offer pet parents an excellent choice for optimum canine nutrition; that is if you don’t mind the price tag. It’s considered as one of the best and safest dog food brands one can give to his or her pet. Unfortunately, recent product offerings have been met with resistance underscoring a reduction in the quality of its formulations as well as a history of several product recalls. It still is a good dog food to give to your pet, nevertheless, especially if you manage to pick the right variant.

Olivia Williams
Olivia is our head of content for MyPetNeedsThat.com, mum of one and a true animal lover. With 12 different types of animal in her family, it's never a dull moment. When she isn't walking the dogs, feeding the cats or playing with her pet Parrot Charlie, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest products for your pets!
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