Natural Life Pet Products (Grasshopper Packing Company LLC) says they have been making pet food for more than 25 years on their web site. Per Dun & Bradstreet, the privately-owned company incorporated in the state of Kansas under this name in 2001. They are best known for making Lamaderm, a food for pets with allergies and food sensitivities. The company is located in Pittsburg, Kansas and their foods are made in Texas, Ohio, Kansas, Arkansas, and South Dakota.
Company Recalls And Quality Control
Cans of Natural Life pet food were recalled in 2007 at the time of the melamine recallswhich affected lots of companies but there are no recalls listed since that time.
According to the company they only use ingredients from the U.S., except for their lamb meal which comes from New Zealand and which is considered to be a superior source of lamb products. They say they use testing measures beyond U.S. standards for Salmonella, “Alfa toxin” (perhaps they mean alpha toxin or aflatoxin?), E. coli, and Enterobacteriaceae. And their plants pass Food Safety Audits by Silliker and the American Baking Institute.
Natural Life produces foods for both cats and dogs. Their foods are marketed as natural foods which are specially-designed for pets with allergies and food sensitivities, and for pets of all ages and sizes. The company says their foods are free of wheat, corn, dairy, yeast, soy, and artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. They say they have foods for all life stages, activity levels, and special dietary needs. They have both dry and canned foods. In February 2013 they introduced a line of grain free products.
- Adult Complete
- Puppy Lamaderm
- Adult Lamaderm
- Weight Management
- Adult Complete Duck Meal & Potato
- Adult Complete Turkey & Barley
- Grain Free Chicken & Potato
- Adult Complete
- Adult Lamaderm
- Puppy Lamaderm
- Puppy Complete
Review of Natural Life Adult Complete Duck Meal & Potato
Ingredients in Natural Life Adult Complete Duck Meal & Potato
Duck Meal, Potato, Ground Brown Rice, Ground Oats,Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and ascorbyl palmitate), Beet Pulp, Dried Egg Product, Peas, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Lecithin, Fish Oil, Dried Carrots, Dried Kelp, DiCalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Dried Blueberries, Peppermint, Dried Tomato, Rosemary, Dandelion, Salt, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Streptococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Ferrous Sulfate (source of iron), Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Biotin Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate (source of Iodine), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of Vitamin K activity), Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite (source of selenium)
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
Natural Life Adult Complete Duck Meal & Potato containsduck meal as its first ingredient. This is a good source of animal protein with several times as much protein as whole duck. It has had most of the moisture removed so it is a concentrated form of duck protein. Duck is less commonly used in dog food than chicken and turkey so if your dog has problems eating these other poultry products, he may be able to eat duck.
The next three ingredients are carbohydrates: potatoes, ground brown rice, and ground oats.
Potatoes provide good dietary fiber as well as a modest amount of vitamin C and vitamin B6 and potassium. They are usually well-tolerated by most dogs and fairly easy to digest when cooked well.
Ground brown rice is usually easy for dogs to digest and it’s a good source of manganese and selenium. Most dogs can digest ground oats well. They are a good source of dietary fiber, thiamin, magnesium and phosphorus, and a very good source of manganese. For the most part, these carbs are slow to digest so they won’t spike your dog’s blood sugar if that’s a concern.
The fifth ingredient is Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and ascorbyl palmitate). Chicken fat is a good named animal fat. Mixed tocopherols are a form of vitamin E which is considered to be a good natural preservative. Ascorbyl palmitate is an ester formed from ascorbic acid and palmitic acid. It’s a fat-soluble form of vitamin C and it’s used as an antioxidant. It’s sometimes called vitamin C ester (not to be confused with Ester C). So, both of these ingredients are natural preservatives for the chicken fat.
Additional Ingredients Breakdown
Beet pulp is the next ingredient. Some people object to beet pulp in dog food as a filler but it’s really a good dietary fiber that draws moisture to the colon and keeps things moving along. Dried egg product, the next ingredient, is a good source of protein and eggs have a high bioavailability meaning their nutrients are easily absorbed by your dog.
Peas and flaxseed are the next two ingredients. Both of these ingredients provide lots of fiber in the food. Peas are also high in protein so this has to be considered when looking at the protein percentage. Some dogs also have a hard time digesting peas which can lead to problems with diarrhea. Flaxseed provides many benefits and it’s a good source of omega-3 fatty acid. However, dog breeders should be careful feeding foods that contain flaxseed and flaxseed oil since flaxseed has phytoestrogens which can interfere with conception and breeding. We see fish oil in the ingredient list and this is a great animal source of omega-3 fatty acid. Animal sources of omega-3s are considered to be better than plant sources. It’s also a source of taurine which is good for the heart. Dried kelp is included. This is usually included as a source of trace minerals, including iodine.
The food contains blueberries which are an antioxidant, and rosemary which is a good natural preservative. Dogs which have epilepsy or which are subject to seizures may want to avoid eating foods that contain rosemary but it is found in many dog foods today. Yucca Schidigera Extract is added to many dog foods as a way to eliminate odor from dog stool.
The food also contains dried tomatoes but when they are found this far down the ingredient list they are probably added simply as a vegetable and not as a fiber. You sometimes see tomato pomace (the pulpy part of tomates) added as a fiber but they would appear higher in the list.
The food contains a number or pre- and probiotics to help with digestion. This is becoming standard in many better dog foods today. The food also containsDL-Methionine which reduces the pH in the dog’s urine and keeps it from damaging the grass.
Ferrous sulfate (a source of iron) is in the food. This is not uncommon. It often appears on labels as copperas. It’s used to fortify foods and treat for iron-deficiency anema. Constipation can be a side effect. You will also note ascorbic acid listed in the ingredients. This is vitamin C and it’s a natural preservative.
Finally, the food contains Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of Vitamin K activity) which is a synthetic source of vitamin K. AAFCO doesn’t require vitamin K in dog foods at all and there are many natural sources of vitamin K such as spinach and other leafy greens, alfalfa, kelp and other seaweeds, fish meal, and liver. It’s hard to say why a dog food company would add a less desirable ingredient to its food, such as this one, when it’s not necessary to add it at all, or when they could add a beneficial form of the ingredient.
Quality Of Ingredients
The overall quality of the ingredients looks above average. There is one source of meat protein but the eggs and peas will boost the protein percentage in the food. It has good fat sources with chicken fat, flaxseed, and fish oil. Fiber and carbs come from potatoes, ground brown rice, and ground oats, with additional fiber from beet pulp and flaxseed. Many people will like the addition of pre- and probiotics. The minerals added to the food do not appear to be chelated or bonded to amino acids for easier absorbtion.
Probably the biggest concern here is the synthetic vitamin K, especially when it’s not necessary to add vitamin K at all to dog foods. Although, if you are a dog breeder you should pay attention to the presence of flaxseed in the food since this could interfere with your conception rates.
- Crude Protein ….. 24.0% (min)
- Crude Fat ….. 15.0% (min)
- Crude Fiber ….. 3.50% (max)
- Moisture ….. 10.0% (max)
- Calcium ….. 1.20% (min)
- Phosphorus ….. 0.95% (min)
- Copper ….. 10.0 mg/kg
- *Omega 3 fatty acids ….. 0.53% (min)
- *Omega 6 fatty acids ….. 2.95% (min)
- * Glucosamine ….. 625 mg
- * Chondroitin Sulfate ….. 500 mg
- Vitamin A ….. 20,000 IU/kg
- Vitamin D ….. 32,000 IU/kg
- Vitamin E ….. 100.0 IU/kg
- Vitamin C ….. 50 mg/kg
* Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile
Calorie Content Metabolizable Energy (ME): Metabolized Energy (calculated) 3,660 Kcals/kg, 421 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated).
Natural Life Adult Complete Duck Meal & Potato provides 24 percent crude protein (Minimum), which is well above the government’s recommendations (18 percent for adult dogs). This is a little low for a premium quality food today. The 15 percent fat in Natural Life Adult Complete Duck Meal & Potato is at the upper end of the scale according to the government’s recommendations (9 to 15 percent for an adult dog) but there are many good dog foods that provide more fat from good sources. Fat from a good animal source is good for your dog. The fiber percentage is 3.5 which is a little low, per the government’s recommendations (4-4.5 percent).
Company Reputation And Quality Control Issues
Natural Life is best known for Lamaderm but I’m not sure how well-known they are for their other foods. I didn’t find any particular complaints about their foods online and the only time they have had a recall was in 2007 when they were affected by the melamine issue that affected many companies. They appear to have good quality control in place.
I would note that they need some work on their web site since there are some discrepancies, missing information in their articles, and they don’t list AAFCO statements.
Natural Life Adult Complete Duck Meal & Potato appears to be a good dog food with a single source of meat protein. However, it does contain eggs and peas which likely increase the protein percentage. Overall, the protein percentage is still on the low side for a premium dog food today at just 24 percent. The food also contains lots of carbs with potatoes, ground brown rice, and ground oats. Most dogs will probably do well on this food for adult maintenance.
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