Branded on their selection of natural sources, Nature’s Recipe has a reputation of providing quality pet food at an approachable price. But who are they? Where is their dog food produced? Are their products really as good as they say they are?
Nature’s Recipe is an old brand. They’ve been around for over 30 years, and they’ve been producing dog food based on natural ingredients since their inception. Since their acquisition by Smucker’s in 2015, they’ve been a part of their line of pet food brands.
This Nature’s Recipe review will take a closer look at their recipe based on venison and rice and give you several alternatives before that. The detailed analysis should clear things up and give you an idea about what kind of a brand Nature’s Recipe is.
We have also helpfully included the AAFCO profile of each selected product, helping you to differentiate between food meant for All Life Stages, Maintenance, Supplemental, Growth, or Unspecified.
Nature's Recipe Dog Food Comparison
Grain Free Formula – Support Muscle Development
This recipe is based on chicken as its primary source of protein, providing all your dog needs for healthy and strong muscles. It also includes pumpkin and sweet potatoes as sources of carbohydrates to deliver the energy your pet requires.
This combination of protein and carbohydrate sources is easy on your dog’s digestion, and it provides more than enough nutrients to keep your adult dog healthy and active. Apart from those ingredients, this formula also contains supplements of vitamins C, E, B12, and D, among others, as well as minerals such as iron, zinc, and copper, which means your dog will get all he needs to stay healthy.
At the same time, this formula is free of wheat, corn, and soy, as well as artificial ingredients such as colors, flavors, or preservatives, making it safe for dogs with sensitive digestion or those with food-related allergies.
This formula provides a well-balanced diet specialized in maintaining the health and energy levels of adult dogs, and is a good general choice.
Adult Formula – High Quality Protein
Formulated on lamb as the primary source of protein, this recipe should provide everything dogs need to sustain their health and energy at a high level. Lamb provides all the material your dog needs to maintain his muscles, and it is, at the same time, a good source of vitamins and minerals.
This formula uses rice as the main source of carbohydrates, which also come from barley and oatmeal. Whole grains provide the necessary fiber, ensuring your dog’s digestion works properly, and at the same time, that all the useful nutrients get absorbed.
Vitamin and mineral supplements complement the ingredients and make sure the food contains enough to keep your dog healthy. At the same time, to ease the burden on your pet’s digestion, this formula doesn’t contain any corn, wheat, or soy, nor does it have any artificial ingredients, colors, or flavors.
Overall, this is a well-rounded formula which aims to provide your dog with everything he needs to maintain his body and health.
Small Breed Formula – Grain Free Recipe
While earlier formulas were fit for all sizes, this one is made specifically for small breeds. That means, while the kibbles are of smaller sizes, they are at the same time more nutrient-dense, as little dogs have tiny stomachs.
As it is based on chicken, it provides all the protein your dog needs to remain healthy. At the same time, garbanzo beans and peas, combined with pumpkin and sweet potatoes, provide the energy to keep him going. The fiber keeps his digestion moving, ensuring proper absorption of all the necessary nutrients.
Vitamins and minerals coming from fruits and vegetables are accompanied by additives to make this food even more nutrient-rich, and to provide your dog with everything he needs. It also contains enough antioxidants, all from natural sources, to keep your dog youthful and healthy longer.
This recipe should provide all your little pooch needs to remain healthy and full of energy, as it is specialized for him. The kibbles are smaller, and at the same time, packed with nutrients, ensuring he gets all he needs from his meals.
Puppy Formula – Support Healthy Brain and Vision
Catered specifically towards puppies, this formula contains all they need for them to grow into healthy adults. The protein comes from chicken, and there is enough to feed their developing bodies. Pumpkin and sweet potato provide the carbs, ensuring your puppy has enough energy for his daily activities.
Furthermore, this recipe also contains DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid vital for the development of puppies’ brains and nervous systems. To further provide for your pup’s growth, it is also loaded with vitamins and minerals, some from natural sources, others as supplements.
To make sure it doesn’t strain your puppy’s digestion, this formula doesn’t contain any corn, wheat, or soy. At the same time, it also doesn’t have any artificial ingredients, making it safe for dogs with food sensitivities.
So, if you’re a proud owner of a puppy, and want to get him a right Nature’s Recipe formula, this one has our recommendation. It contains all he needs to grow into a healthy adult while avoiding the ingredients that might cause discomfort.
Salmon Recipe – Ideal for Sensitive Stomach
Based on salmon as the primary source of protein, this formula is a perfect choice for dogs with poultry related sensitivities. And as salmon is a healthy and high-quality ingredient and source of protein, all that makes this formula even more enticing.
The carbs come from pumpkin and sweet potatoes, ensuring that your dog gets all the energy he needs. And to further boost the nutritious value, this recipe also includes fruits and vegetables as sources of vitamins and minerals, which are further enhanced with supplements, ensuring your pet gets all the nutrients he needs. It also has peas and chickpeas as sources of fiber, ensuring your dog’s digestion keeps moving, as well as making sure all the nutrients get absorbed.
To make it even more suitable for sensitive dogs, this recipe doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients such as flavors, preservatives, or colors, nor does it have any wheat, corn, or soy.
All these ingredients should provide everything your dog needs, while at the same time avoiding most common allergens, making it a safe bet for the owners of dogs with food-related sensitivities.
Senior Formula – Best for Weight Management
As dogs get older, their nutritional requirements change. They need more protein, and at the same time, they need fewer calories. If their food doesn’t reflect that difference, they can gain weight, and with that, develop other serious conditions.
This Nature’s Recipe formula is just such a product. Obtaining its protein from lamb, it provides more than enough to maintain the health of your aging pet, while not enough to cause weight problems. Its caloric value is also decreased to reflect the change in your elder’s lifestyle.
At the same time, it contains more antioxidants to help slow the aging process, as well as vitamins and minerals to maintain your dog’s health. It even includes omega-3 fatty acids to help your aging dog’s joints remain healthy and mobile.
Also included are extra sources of fiber, all to make sure your dog’s digestive system doesn’t slow down with the advanced age. Along with that, it doesn’t include any artificial ingredients, nor does it contain wheat, soy, or corn, which means it will not further strain your pet’s digestion.
Being specifically balanced for senior dogs, this formula should provide all your pet needs to maintain a quality of life in his advanced years.
Large Breed Formula – Best Tasting
This grain-free recipe is specifically tailored for large dogs, as their nutritional requirements are different than the needs of their smaller cousins. As their stomachs are larger, their food doesn’t need to be as dense. And as the main source of protein comes from chicken, your dog will get all he needs to remain lean and strong.
As with other formulas, the carbs come from pumpkin and sweet potatoes, and they will provide your dog with more than enough energy. Garbanzo beans and peas provide fiber to boost your dogs’ digestion and to help better absorb all the useful nutrients.
Alongside that, this recipe also contains fruits and vegetables as sources of antioxidants to help your pet’s immune system, as well as vitamins and minerals to maintain his overall health. The latter is further boosted with supplements.
And, as with other formulas, this one is free of artificial ingredients, as well, so it should be safe for sensitive dogs. It also doesn’t contain any wheat, corn, or soy.
So, to the owners of large dogs looking for Nature’s Recipe product tailored specifically for them, this one has our recommendation.
Healthy Skin Recipe – For Dogs With Allergies
If your dog has sensitivities to meat-based proteins, or you simply want to feed him a vegetarian diet, this formula should accommodate your needs. It uses soybean meals as a primary source of protein, and it should give your dog all the protein he needs.
And, as this formula belongs to Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin line of products, it contains all the ingredients needed to care for your pet’s skin and coat. Omega fatty acids from canola oil provide that, as well as numerous other benefits.
It also contains fruits and veggies as sources of vitamins and minerals, so your dog should get everything he needs to keep him healthy and full of energy. This recipe is also full of fiber coming from barley and brewer’s rice, so it should keep his digestion going, and ensure the proper absorption of all the vital nutrients.
To make it even safer, this recipe is free of wheat or corn or other such fillers, and it doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients.
This formula should provide a well-rounded alternative meant for dogs with meat-related sensitivities, providing them with all they need to lead a healthy life despite their problems.
Chicken & Rice Recipe – Best For Adult Dogs
As an alternative to all the formulas containing pumpkin and sweet potatoes as sources of carbohydrates, this recipe gets the carbs from rice, which should still be enough to deliver all the energy your dog needs daily. And, since it gets its protein from chicken, it should provide more than enough to keep your dog strong and healthy.
In addition to chicken and rice, this recipe contains barley and oatmeal as sources of fiber, all to ensure your dog’s digestion keeps moving, and to boost the absorption of nutrients. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals, which further are strengthened by supplements.
And, to make sure this formula is safe for dogs with sensitivities, it doesn’t contain common allergens such as wheat, soy, or corn, nor does it have any artificial ingredients which may needlessly strain your dog’s digestion.
So, if your dog doesn’t like the taste of sweet potatoes and pumpkin, this formula might be ideal for him. It provides all the necessary nutrients, and avoids cheap and harmful ingredients, so it should be safe.
Easy-To-Digest Recipe – All Life Stages
This chicken-based recipe, while similar to the previous one, does differ in several key aspects. Where the previous formula was meant for maintenance, this one is appropriate for all life stages. It is also more geared towards dogs with sensitive digestions, those that need a more specific diet.
To further boost the digestibility, this formula contains probiotics, as well as easily-digestible sources of fiber. It contains natural sources of vitamins and minerals to help maintain your dog’s overall health, and the antioxidants will help him stay healthy longer.
And, as with the previous formula, the protein comes from chicken, while rice provides the carbohydrates, while barley and oatmeal deliver the fiber. Likewise, it doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients, colors, flavors, or preservatives, nor does it contain common allergens.
All that makes this recipe ideal for dogs with sensitive digestions, providing them with all the necessary nutrients, while avoiding artificial components, as well as cheap fillers.
What Buyers Say
- Budget-friendly. Most of Nature’s Recipe products are affordable, while still providing quality.
- Variety of sources and products. They have many lines of products, some specialized in healthy skin, others in ease of digestion, and they have a variety of products covering all ages and sizes of dogs.
- Most formulas contain quality sources of protein, all from named sources. Meat meals are used in some formulas as primary sources, however.
- Quality sources of carbs. Most of their products obtain the carbohydrates from pumpkin and sweet potatoes, while others source them from rice.
- No fillers, by-products, which should enhance the digestibility.
- No artificial flavors, colors, preservatives to needlessly strain your dog’s metabolism.
- Most recipes aren’t grain free. The grain contained, however, is usually whole grain, which should be safe for most dogs.
- Most formulas aren’t meant for sensitive dogs. They do, however, have their Easy-To-Digest line of products just for those cases.
- Picky dogs might have problems eating some recipes, especially if they don’t like pumpkin or sweet potatoes, the ingredients many Nature’s Recipe formulas are based on.
Nutrient Content Information
This section should cover the basic nutritional information about Nature’s Recipe product based on venison and rice. As it is rated for Maintenance, it should have everything an adult dog needs from a balanced daily diet.
This formula contains about 22% protein, and most of it is obtained from named sources. Most of it comes from venison, its primary source, and the rest, from the chicken meal. It should provide enough protein for adult dogs, but it may not be enough for puppies or lactating females.
At 12% fat, this formula should provide all your dog needs daily. It mostly comes from meat, but it has additional sources such as poultry fat. And as it doesn’t contain that much fat, it could be appropriate for dogs with weight problems.
While dogs don’t usually need carbohydrates as sources of energy, they are a useful addition to any recipe. With over 50% carbs, it is an above-average formula. Sourced mainly from rice and barley, this recipe contains enough carbohydrates to provide enough energy even for active or working dogs.
Nature's Recipe Healthy Skin Venison Meal Ingredients
In this section we will analyze the ingredients in this formula to provide a clearer picture of this product, while providing basic information on each.
As the primary source of protein, venison meal is generally considered to be a quality ingredient. It is a processed variant of venison meat, skin, and bones, ground up and dehydrated. Along with protein, it also provides zinc, copper, and selenium, which boost the health of your dog’s skin and coat.
This is the secondary source of protein, and it represents processed, dehydrated, and ground chicken meat, bones, and skin. Generally, it is a safe ingredient, and it provides additional protein, so unless your dog has poultry-related allergies, he should be unharmed by this component.
While it can be considered controversial, poultry fat is basically the fat skimmed off the top of poultry broth, and in most cases, it is regarded as safe. It is, however, an inferior option, especially compared to named sources such as ‘Chicken Fat,’ ‘Pork Fat,’ or similar.
As a source of carbohydrates, brown rice is a safe and easily-digestible component. It is also a natural source of vitamin B, as well as assorted minerals, which, along with easy digestibility, makes it a desirable ingredient.
After milling whole rice, the leftover cereal by-product is called brewer’s rice. It is primarily a source of carbohydrates, and it is a controversial ingredient, as it doesn’t have much worth apart from its caloric value.
This is another quality ingredient. Barley provides fiber to keep your dog’s digestion moving while boosting the absorption of useful nutrients. It is also valuable as a source of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
Potato flour, or potato starch, is used in grain-free dog foods as a binding agent to maintain the integrity of kibbles. Nutritionally, it is only marginally valuable as a source of energy. Beyond that, it doesn’t have nutritional value for dogs.
Oatmeal is another valuable ingredient common in grain-free dog foods. It provides fiber to boost your dog’s digestion, while also serving as a source of vitamin B.
While it is often used as a source of carbohydrates, peas also provide fiber and protein, further boosting other ingredients. It is a common ingredient of higher-quality formulas. There have been, however, news of potential heart problems peas in dog food can cause.
As a byproduct in beer production, brewer’s yeast can have positive effects on dog food. While it is a controversial ingredient, it has been said to boost the dog’s immune system, as well as help repel fleas.
When minerals are chemically connected to a protein, the result is chelated mineral. They are a quality ingredient, as they are easier to absorb, and are usually found in higher-quality dog foods.
This is a form of vitamin K, a normally useful nutrient. It is, however, a synthetic variant of it, and there have been controversies over its inclusion in animal food. In small doses, it should still be safe.
Nature's Recipe Recall History
Our careful research into Nature’s Recipe’s recall history only returned one result: in 2012, they had to recall one of their dog treats products. It was, however, voluntary, and it happened due to a possibility of salmonella infection.
After that, there has been no other recall.
After a careful analysis, we have concluded that Nature’s Recipe’s products are of a higher than average quality. They use quality natural sources of protein, always using named meats. They even provide vegetarian options.
The carbs in their formulas also come from fruits and vegetables, mostly either from pumpkin and sweet potatoes or from rice. And while there may be some controversial ingredients in some of their products, most of the time, their effects are negligible.
Their recipe based on venison and rice should be worth its price. It provides more than enough nutrients for adult dogs to maintain their weight and lifestyle. And should your dog dislike venison, they offer a wide variety of products based on many other primary ingredients.
And, if you’re feeding a puppy or an elder, they have products for those age groups, as well as foods specialized in different sizes of dogs, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the perfect formula for your furry friend.