Nature’s Recipe Dog Food Review
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Every pet parent wants to help their dog live the best life possible. And for most, that starts with providing a healthy, nutritious, well-balanced diet. However, the cost of pet food has increased dramatically over recent years. According to one report, sales of dog food and treats soared 18 percent between 2021 and 2022, and premium pet food sales increased by 16 percent in that same period.
According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, pet parents saw an average year-over-year increase in pet food prices of 7.5 percent between September 2022 and 2023. And, compared to five years ago, the consumer price index for pet food has soared over 25 percent.
“Petflation” may have many pet parents thinking about trimming their budgets. But that doesn’t have to mean settling for a lower standard of nutrition for your pup…especially if you choose Nature’s Recipe, a brand that prides itself on providing premium, healthy dog food at affordable prices.
Over the past 40+ years, Nature’s Recipe dog food has earned an outstanding reputation for nourishing diets that help dogs of every age, stage, and size thrive. To help you decide if this established option is the right fit for your dog, here’s an overview of Nature’s Recipe dog food, its leading formulas, and what sets them apart from the competition.
What Is Nature’s Recipe?
For more than 40 years, Nature’s Recipe has been producing nutritious dog food made with quality, natural ingredients, along with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients essential to your dog’s overall health and well-being.
Developed in conjunction with veterinarians, nutrition experts, and scientists, Nature’s Recipe formulas feature quality ingredients chosen specifically for their nutritional and health benefits. These include:
- Real animal proteins, such as chicken, lamb, or salmon, to help support your dog’s muscle development and overall health
- Nutrient-dense sweet potatoes to help support vitality and energy needs
- Pumpkin, a natural source of fiber, to help promote healthy digestion
- Vitamin-rich carrots to support vision and strong joints
- Peas to support a healthy heart and immune system
- Oats to help support heart function
- Flaxseed for Omega-3 fatty acids, which help promote healthy skin and coat
Plus, Nature’s Recipe also offers a range of specialized formulas that cater to the unique needs of dogs based on their size, age, and dietary preferences.
According to Dr. Alejandro Caos, DVM, a veterinarian with The Vets, a healthy dog food is one that meets the specific needs of your dog. “Ultimately, healthy dog food should provide balanced nutrition, use high-quality ingredients, promote proper digestion, and be suitable for your dog’s life stage and any unique dietary considerations they may have,” he said.
Types of Nature’s Recipe Dog Food
Nature’s Recipe was built upon the belief that every dog has the right to eat nutritious food. So the brand manufactures a wide array of options for dogs of all sizes and life stages, as well as diets tailored to specialized nutritional needs.
If that sounds overwhelming, here’s a helpful breakdown of the categories of dog food Nature’s Recipe offers, so you can zero in on the best choices for your pup.
Whole Grain or Grain Free: Some dogs flourish on formulas that include whole grains, while others thrive on a grain-free diet. Nature’s Recipe offers wet and dry dog food made with healthy whole grains like rice and oatmeal instead of corn or wheat, as well as grain-free options made with nutrient-dense carbohydrate sources like sweet potato and pumpkin.
Easy-to-Digest: For dogs with sensitive stomachs, Nature’s Recipe offers highly digestible formulas made with prebiotics and natural fibers.
Life Stages: Depending on the age of your pet, Nature’s Recipe offers formulas for puppies (up to 1 year old), adults (dogs 1 to 7 years old), and seniors (meant for dogs 7 to 8 years and older).
Sizes: Recipes for small breed dogs (weighing less than 25 pounds) are energy-dense, lower in fat, and higher in fiber, and come in small-size kibble for little mouths. Formulas for large breed dogs (weighing more than 50 pounds) are lower in caloric density to promote a healthy weight and contain taurine and carnitine to support heart health.
All Nature’s Recipe diets are formulated without corn, wheat, poultry by-product meal, and artificial flavors and preservatives.
Nature’s Recipe Dog Food Formulas to Consider
Still not sure which Nature’s Recipe dog food formula fits your furry friend best? Here’s a deeper dive into some of the brand’s most popular diets.
Unlike cats, dogs are not obligate carnivores. Although meat should feature prominently in the canine diet, domestic dogs are in fact omnivores. That means they can digest and absorb nutrients from both meat and plant-based foods, including grains.
According to Nature’s Recipe, the key is to choose a healthy dog food that includes grains packed with nutritional benefits, like those found in such as Nature’s Recipe Chicken, Salmon, Turkey Variety Pack. This assortment features cups of rich, tender meat and fish shreds, complete with wholesome carbohydrates like sweet potato, pumpkin, brown rice, and barley, all surrounded by a delicious savory broth.
“Carbohydrates are an important energy source for dogs,” says Dr. Caos. “Look for whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, or quinoa as they provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals.”
Nature’s Recipe Whole Grain formulas are available in both wet and dry dog food options. Recipes feature real poultry, meat, or fish balanced with wholesome vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, plus added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. So you know your dog is getting a complete and well-balanced meal that’s packed with the flavors dogs love.
- High-quality protein from real animal sources to promote healthy muscle development
- Contains no poultry by-product meal
- Includes nutrient-dense, fiber-rich whole grains, including rice, oatmeal, and barley
- Formulated without corn, wheat, or soy
- No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- Dry dog food formula comes in two tasty flavors for adult dogs (Chicken, Barley & Brown Rice and Lamb, Barley & Brown Rice), plus specialized formulas for senior dogs (Lamb & Brown Rice), puppies (Lamb & Rice), and Small Bites featuring mini kibble pieces perfect for smaller mouths (Chicken, Barley & Brown Rice)
- Choose from cans of wet dog food formulated for adults (Chicken, Rice & Barley or Lamb, Rice & Barley), available in hearty stew texture or ground texture
- Or opt for adult wet dog food formulas available in convenient cups packed with tender meat or fish in a savory broth (Chicken & Brown Rice; Chicken, Wild Salmon & Brown Rice; Chicken, Barley & Turkey)
- Also available in Nature’s Recipe Chicken, Salmon, Turkey variety pack, so your dog can enjoy a rich, delicious, buffet of their favorite flavors.
For dogs who prefer a food without grain, Nature’s Recipe offers delicious grain-free wet and dry dog food formulas that provide complete nourishment, including healthy carbohydrates from natural, non-grain sources, such as sweet potato and pumpkin.
“Ultimately, the decision between grain-free formulas and regular diets should be based on careful consideration of your dog’s nutritional needs, health status, and professional guidance from a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist,” Dr. Caos says. “They can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your dog’s specific requirements.”
- Dry food formulas contain real chicken or salmon as the #1 ingredient
- Made with nutrient-dense alternatives to whole grains, including fiber-rich sweet potato and pumpkin
- May be easier for some dogs to digest
- Formulated without corn, wheat, or soy protein
- Contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- Contains no poultry by-product meal
- Choose between two tempting flavors of kibble for adult dogs (Chicken, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin or Lamb, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin)
- Chicken, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin kibble recipe is also available in specialized formulas for small-breed and large-breed adult dogs, as well as puppies
- Nature’s Recipe also offers two grain-free formulas designed for all life stages (Salmon, Sweet Potato & Pumpkin all-ages dry dog food and Chicken in Savory Broth all-ages wet dog food)
- For adult dogs who love plenty of options, Nature’s Recipe has a wide range of flavorful adult wet dog food choices featuring tender morsels in savory broth (Chicken & Venison, Chicken & Duck, Chicken & Beef, Chicken & Turkey, and Chicken & Lamb)
- For your convenience, grain-free variety packs of wet dog food are also available (Chicken, Venison, Duck Variety Pack or Chicken, Beef, Turkey, Lamb Variety Pack)
Nature’s Recipe Easy-to-Digest Dog Food
Although all Nature’s Recipe natural dog food formulas are highly digestible, the company also offers a dry food option that’s specially formulated to be extra gentle on your dog’s stomach.
It’s made with chicken meal, an easily digestible source of quality protein. Plus, it contains prebiotics and a proprietary blend of natural fibers to promote healthy digestion and bowel movements in your dog.
- High-quality protein from easy-to-digest chicken meal, so it’s easier on your dog’s stomach
- Contains natural prebiotics and fiber from whole grains like barley and brown rice to help support gut health and promote healthy digestive function
- Formulated without corn, wheat, or soy
- Made without artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
Which Nature’s Recipe Dog Food Formula is Right for Your Dog?
With so many healthy options to choose from, it can be hard to know which Nature’s Recipe formula might be best for your dog. All Nature’s Recipe dog food formulas provide complete and balanced nutrition for the life stage indicated on the label, according to the nutritional standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). So the choice often comes down to your dog’s individual nutrition requirements…and palate!
“When deciding on the best type of food for your dog, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian, who can evaluate your dog’s individual needs and make personalized recommendations based on factors such as age, size, breed, activity level, and overall health,” Dr. Caos says.
Foods formulated for puppies (sometimes called “growth diets”) contain different levels of nutrients to fuel healthy growth. Foods meant for adult dogs (sometimes called “maintenance diets”) provide balanced nutrition to maintain good health and an appropriate weight when fed in the proper amounts. Although senior dogs can eat food labeled for adults, some older pups benefit from a senior or “mature” diet, which is nutrient-dense and offers more protein
“If your dog is under a year old, they should be on puppy food. When they are 1 to 8 years old, they should be on adult food. And when they are over 8 years old, they should be on senior food,” says Dr. Nicole Savageau, DVM, who also works with The Vets.
“Many companies not only have specific small, medium, large, and giant breed dog foods, but they also make these foods for all of the different life stages, as well,” Dr. Savageau adds. “So you could buy small breed puppy food, adult food, and senior food to cover their entire life span.”
If you’re wondering whether dry food or wet food is better for your dog, Dr. Caos says both can be healthy options. “The choice between wet and dry food depends on factors such as your dog’s specific needs, preferences, health conditions, and any recommendations from your veterinarian. Some dog owners choose to feed a combination of both wet and dry food, which can offer the benefits of both types.”
In addition to talking with your veterinarian about what nutritional profile or type of food would benefit your dog the most, you can use a handy tool like this one from Nature’s Recipe. The Find My Recipe tool helps you narrow down your choices according to your dog’s nutritional needs.
Whether you’re looking for grain-free dog food, natural dog food with added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, easy-to-digest dog food, or whole-grain dog food, Nature’s Recipe offers something sure to delight your dog’s taste buds and support their overall health and well-being.
The author received compensation from PetSmart for their services in writing this article.