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Nature’s Variety Dog Food: 2020 Review, Recalls & Coupons

Nature's Variety

When it comes to quality and nutritional value, you can’t do better than Nature’s Variety. This may not be one of the oldest brands on the market, but it is undoubtedly one of the best. This brand is aptly named because, not only do they use the best ingredients that nature has to offer, but they have one of the most varied lineups of product choices.

Even with dozens and dozens of different recipes to their name, Nature’s Variety is uncompromising when it comes to their products. Each recipe features a premium-quality protein and is formulated to deliver optimal nutrition and maximum flavor. No matter which recipe you choose, Nature’s Variety is always a good choice.

Who Makes Nature’s Variety Dog Food?

The Nature’s Variety brand of dog food is made by Nature’s Variety, Inc. This company was founded by Bob Milligan and the first Nature’s Variety product hit pet store shelves in 2002. As a privately held company, Nature’s Variety makes all of their own products in company-owned facilities in the U.S.

Is Nature’s Variety Made in the United States?

The Nature’s Variety company is a privately held company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Not only is Nature’s Variety a U.S.-based company, but they produce and manufacture all of their products in the United States.

This brand uses company-owned manufacturing facilities located in Lincoln, Nebraska to manufacture all of their products including classic, grain-free, and holistic dog foods. Not only does this company avoid outsourcing the manufacture of their products, but they employ an expert team made up of holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists to formulate their products.

Nature’s Variety Instinct Dog Food Review

As you have already learned, Nature’s Variety dog food products can be divided into two product line – Instinct and Prairie. With two entirely separate lines of products, this brand offers an extremely wide variety of products. While sometimes this is a hallmark of a lower quality brand, that is not the case for Nature’s Variety – this brand is nothing but the best.

The Instinct line includes high-protein and holistic recipes made with premium meats, wholesome carbohydrates, healthy fats, and beneficial supplements. The Prairie line of dry foods and wet foods are all holistic and natural, made with the highest quality ingredients available.

That includes fresh meats, poultry and fish as well as wholesome grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. These recipes are all free from corn, wheat, and soy ingredients, designed in keeping with a holistic nutritional philosophy.

1. Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Duck & Turkey Meal Formula

This Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Duck & Turkey Meal Formula Dry Food is a high-protein, grain-free, and gluten-free diet formulated for dogs in all life stages. It features 70% pure animal ingredients and nutritious oils with 30% fruits, vegetables, and other wholesome ingredients. In addition to being loaded with healthy proteins, each kibble is sprayed with a freeze-dried raw coating for a boost of nutrition and flavor. Plus, with a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, this formula will help to keep your dog’s coat shiny and smooth.

The first ingredient in this formula is fresh duck. While fresh meats are high in moisture (up to 80% by volume), it won’t be a problem for this ingredient if the volume changes as moisture is lost during cooking because there are plenty of other proteins.

Following the duck comes turkey meal and salmon meal with duck meal appearing later on the list. Meat meals have already been cooked to remove moisture which makes these ingredients highly concentrated in terms of protein content.

Your dog will also get some plant protein from the peas and suncured alfalfa meal, but most of it comes from animal-based ingredients which offer excellent bio availability.

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The main source of carbohydrate energy in this Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Duck & Turkey Meal Formula Dry Food formula is tapioca, a gluten-free and grain-free carbohydrate. This ingredient is supplemented by green peas and suncured alfalfa meal.

You will also find a number of fresh fruits and vegetables on the list which supplement the fiber sources (tomato pomace and ground flaxseed) while also acting as natural sources for key vitamins and minerals.

For fats, this formula relies primarily on chicken fat which is a highly nutritious source of fat and concentrated energy for dogs. The remaining ingredients consist mostly of natural flavors and supplements. It is good to see that most of the minerals are chelated and there are also dried fermentation products included which act as probiotics.

Overall, this Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Duck & Turkey Meal Formula Dry Food is a high-quality ingredient formulated to meet the nutritional needs of dogs in all life stages. This formula starts off strong with three meat-based ingredients at the top of the list followed by a highly digestible grain-free carbohydrate.

There are plenty of healthy fats in this formula as well as natural sources for key nutrients. All in all, this is an excellent source of nutrition and natural flavor that any dog would be lucky to receive.

2. Nature’s Variety Homestyle Prairie Lamb Stew

This Nature’s Variety Homestyle Prairie Lamb Stew is described as a wholesome and nutritious recipe made with real lamb, oatmeal, peas, and carrots. This formula is a chunky stew slathered in thick gravy, guaranteed to make the mouth of even the pickiest dog water.

Complete and balanced for puppies as well as adult dogs, this recipe is specially formulated for rotation feeding. Plus, because it is balanced with natural ingredients as well as vitamins and minerals, you can rest assured that it will not just meet your dog’s minimum nutritional requirements – it will exceed them.

The first ingredient in this recipe is lamb broth, followed by fresh lamb and lamb liver. It isn’t a problem that the first ingredient on the list is not a protein –  it is very common for canned foods to list water or broth as the first ingredient.

What is important is that multiple sources of quality protein follow this first ingredient, contributing to a crude protein content of 8% (that translates to nearly 87%). Not only do these meat ingredients provide plenty of protein, but they contain healthy animal fats as well as plenty of natural flavor. There are also some supplementary fats including sunflower oil and menhaden fish oil – these combine to provide a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

The main carbohydrates in this formula are potato starch, oatmeal, carrots, and peas. All of these are considered highly digestible for most dogs, though if your dog has a sensitivity to grains the oatmeal could cause a problem.

This recipe is gluten-free, however, so it may not be an issue. There are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in this formula which provide carbohydrate energy as well as supplementary fiber – they are also natural sources for key nutrients. This formula still needs some synthetic supplements to ensure balanced nutrition but most of the minerals are chelated which helps to maximize their absorption.

Overall, this Nature’s Variety Homestyle Prairie Lamb Stew is an excellent source of quality nutrition for puppies as well as adult dogs. Even though this formula lists a liquid as the first ingredient, it is still plenty rich in protein.

Supplemented with wholesome carbohydrates and fresh veggies, this recipe is highly digestible and loaded with natural sources for key nutrients. It does rely on a few supplements for complete nutrition, but the minerals are chelated which helps to ensure maximum absorption.

Overall there are no “bad” ingredients in this formula, though some grain-sensitive dogs may have trouble with the oatmeal. All in all, it’s a great product.

Where Does Nature’s Variety Get Their Ingredients?

According to the FAQ section of the Nature’s Variety website, all of the ingredients used in their products are of the highest quality. The materials used in Instinct raw and raw frozen products are obtained from USDA-inspected facilities.

The pork and poultry Nature’s Variety uses in their products comes entirely the United States, though they do get some of their beef, lamb, and venison from Australia and New Zealand. The rabbit Nature’s Variety uses comes exclusively from Italy and France.

Nature’s Variety doesn’t say exactly where the rest of their ingredients come from but they do say that they are very stringent in their sourcing standards and they make an effort to build close relationships with their vendors.

Nature's Variety Dog Food: 2020 Review, Recalls & Coupons 1

Nature’s Variety Dog Food Recall History

Nature’s Variety is one of the top pet food brands on the market. Not only do they offer some of the greatest variety in dog food products, but they use only the highest quality ingredients in their recipes.

Although this brand holds themselves to a high standard for the quality and safety of their products, having such a large product lineup leaves a lot of room for error. Even so, Nature’s Variety has only had four fairly minor product recalls in the history of the brand. Here are the details of those recalls:

In July 2015, the Nature’s Variety company issued a voluntary withdrawal of a few Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Chicken Formula dog food products due to a concern regarding potential salmonella contamination.

In February 2010, the FDA issued a recall for several Nature’s Variety Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diet dog food and cat foods products due to a concern of potential salmonella contamination. This recall was later expanded in March of 2010.

In February 2013, the FDA issued a recall for several runs of Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula medallions due to potential choking hazards caused by foreign bodies.

In July 2012, the Nature’s Variety company itself issued a voluntary withdrawal for some of their Prairie Beef Meal and Barley Medley dog food kibbles due to an unusual odor.

Is Nature’s Variety Dog Food Expensive?

The Nature’s Variety brand of dog food is a very high-quality brand which means that it can get a little pricey, depending which recipe you choose. For a 23.5-pound bag of Instinct Raw Boost kibble you will pay $75 to $115 and for a 20-pound bag of Ultimate Protein kibble you’ll pay about $75.

A 35.3-pound bag of Instinct Grain-Free or Limited Ingredient Diet kibble costs $55 to $90. Nature’s Variety Prairie kibbles are a little more affordable than anything in the Instinct line. For a 27-pound bag of Prairie dry dog food you will pay between $40 and $65. Most Nature’s Variety canned foods come in 13.2-ounce sizes and sell for between $33 and $68 for a case of 12.

What Kind of Dog Food Does Nature’s Variety Offer?

Nature's Variety Dog Food: 2020 Review, Recalls & Coupons 2

The Nature’s Variety company is known not only for the quality of their products, but also for their variety. Nature’s Variety dog food products can be divided into two different product lines – Instinct and Prairie.

The Prairie line of products includes dry food and wet food recipes for holistic foods made using simple but natural ingredients like fresh meat, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. The Instinct brand includes a wide assortment of different products from traditional kibble and canned foods to high-protein recipes, limited ingredient diets, raw frozen foods, and freeze-dried formulas.

Nature’s Variety Dry Products

The Nature’s Variety brand of dog food actually includes two product lines – Prairie and Instinct. In the Prairie line there are four dry food recipes made with quality proteins like chicken, beef, lamb, and salmon.

The Instinct brand offers a much wider variety of dry foods in several lines including high-protein, raw boost, and limited ingredient formulas. Here is a list of Nature’s Variety dry dog food recipes:

Grain-Free Dry Dog Food Recipes:

Prairie Dry Dog Food Recipes:

Nature's Variety Dog Food: 2020 Review, Recalls & Coupons 3

  • Chicken Recipe
  • Beef Recipe
  • Lamb Recipe
  • Salmon Recipe

Instinct Raw Boost Kibble Recipes:

  • Puppy Chicken Formula
  • Large Breed Puppy Chicken Formula
  • Adult Beef & Lamb Meal Formula
  • Adult Chicken Meal Formula
  • Adult Duck & Turkey Meal Formula
  • Adult Lamb & Salmon Meal Formula
  • Adult Venison & Lamb Meal Formula
  • Small Breed Chicken Meal Formula
  • Small Breed Duck & Turkey Formula
  • Toy Breed Chicken Meal Formula
  • Senior Chicken Meal Formula
  • Healthy Weight Chicken Meal Formula

Nature's Variety Dog Food: 2020 Review, Recalls & Coupons 4

Instinct Originals Dry Food Recipes:

  • Chicken Meal Formula
  • Salmon Meal Formula
  • Rabbit Meal Formula
  • Duck & Turkey Meal Formula
  • Beef & Lamb Meal Formula
  • Small Breed Chicken Meal Formula

Instinct Ultimate Protein Dry Food Recipes:

  • Chicken Formula
  • Duck Formula
  • Small Breed Chicken Formula

Nature's Variety Dog Food: 2020 Review, Recalls & Coupons 5

Instinct LID Dry Food Recipes:

  • Duck Meal Formula
  • Turkey Meal Formula
  • Lamb Meal & Peas Formula
  • Small Breed Turkey Meal Formula

Nature’s Variety Canned Products

In addition to a wide variety of dry food options, Nature’s Variety also offers many options for wet food. The Prairie line only offers seven recipes for homestyle wet food, but the Instinct line includes over a dozen options.

Here is a list of Nature’s Variety canned dog food recipes:

Prairie Homestyle Wet Food Recipes:

  • Chicken Stew
  • Beef Stew
  • Lamb Stew
  • Salmon Stew
  • Turkey & Duck Stew
  • Beef & Bison Stew
  • Pork & Sweet Potato Stew

Nature's Variety Dog Food: 2020 Review, Recalls & Coupons 6

Instinct Originals Wet Food Recipes:

  • 95% Beef Formula
  • 95% Chicken Formula
  • 95% Venison Formula
  • 95% Salmon Formula
  • 95% Rabbit Formula
  • 95% Lamb Formula
  • 95% Duck Formula
  • Small Breed GF Chicken Formula
  • Small Breed GF Salmon Formula
  • Healthy Cravings Chicken Recipe in Savory Gravy
  • Healthy Cravings Beef Recipe in Savory Gravy

Instinct Ultimate Protein Wet Food Recipes:

  • Beef Formula
  • Chicken Formula

Instinct LID Wet Food Recipes:

  • Lamb Formula
  • Rabbit Formula
  • Duck Formula
  • Turkey Formula

Nature’s Variety Raw Food: While Nature’s Variety does offer an assortment of kibbles and canned foods, some of their most unique offerings are raw frozen and freeze-dried products in the Instinct lineup.

Nature’s Variety offers several recipes for raw frozen foods as well as freeze-dried meal blends. They also offer freeze-dried and frozen “raw boost” mixers which can be added to your dog’s dry or wet food diet. Here is a list of Nature’s Variety raw food options:

Nature's Variety Dog Food: 2020 Review, Recalls & Coupons 7

Instinct Raw Frozen Recipes:

  • Chicken Formula Raw Bites
  • Beef Formula Raw Bites
  • Chicken & Tuna Formula Raw Bites
  • Turkey Formula Raw Bites
  • Duck Formula Raw Bites
  • Lamb Formula Raw Bites
  • Rabbit Formula Raw Bites
  • Beef Formula Raw Medallions
  • Chicken Formula Raw Medallions
  • Duck Formula Raw Medallions
  • Rabbit Formula Raw Medallions
  • Lamb Formula Raw Medallions
  • Beef Formula Raw Patties
  • Chicken & Tuna Formula Raw Patties
  • Duck Formula Raw Patties
  • Lamb Formula Raw Patties
  • Rabbit Formula Raw Patties
  • Turkey Formula Raw Patties
  • Chicken Formula Raw Patties
  • Small Breed Chicken Recipe Raw Bites
  • Small Breed Duck Recipe Raw Bites

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Instinct Raw Market Freeze-Dried Recipes:

  • Beef Recipe Meal Blends
  • Chicken Recipe Meal Blends
  • Beef Recipe Nuggets
  • Chicken Recipe Nuggets
  • Lamb Recipe Nuggets

Instinct Raw Boost Mixers:

  • Frozen Chicken Formula
  • Frozen Beef Formula
  • Frozen Lamb Formula
  • Freeze-Dried Chicken Formula
  • Freeze-Dried Lamb Formula
  • Freeze-Dried Beef Formula
  • Freeze-Dried Turkey Formula

Nature’s Variety Dog Treats

Both the Prairie and Instinct product lines by Nature’s Variety offer a variety of choices for dog treats. The Prairie product line includes oven-baked biscuits while the Instinct line includes raw boost treats as well as biscuits. Here is a list of Nature’s Variety dog treats:

Nature's Variety Treats

Prairie Oven-Baked Biscuits:

  • Pumpkin & Cranberries
  • Peanut Butter & Bananas
  • Chicken & Cheddar Cheese
  • Bacon & Apples

Instinct Raw Boost Treats:

  • Chicken Formula Munchies
  • Beef Formula Munchies
  • Lamb Formula Munchies
  • Duck Formula Mini Treats
  • Chicken Formula Mini Treats

Instinct Originals Dog Treats:

  • Slow Roasted Beef Treats
  • Duck Meal & Sweet Potato Biscuits
  • Rabbit Meal & Apple Biscuits
  • Chicken Meal & Cranberry Biscuits

Is Nature's Variety a good dog food?

Nature's Variety Dog Food has real ingredients and is better for the dog than other varieties. The texture of the food is hard, but it doesn't smell bad. Dogs seem to love this food and prefer it over other varieties. It has natural ingredients that I feel are good for any dog's health.

Who owns Nature's Variety dog food?

Nature's Variety is a pet food company, wholly owned by Barcelona, Spain–based Agrolimen. With manufacturing facilities in Lincoln, Nebraska, and headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, Nature's Variety specializes in natural, raw, and grain-free foods for dogs and cats, including dry kibble and canned varieties.

Is Instinct dog food made in USA?

Yes, all of their foods are Made in the USA. They make their raw recipes – including the freeze-dried raw that is included on their dry kibble – in their company- owned facility in Lincoln, Nebraska. They strive to source all ingredients from the U.S. where possible, but their first priority is superior quality.

Nature's variety dog food safe?

Instinct by Nature's Variety is an excellent line of dog food. The company is fantastic, and they genuinely care about the well-being and nutritional needs of your dog. Nature's Variety uses only the best and natural ingredients in their products, making their dog food stand out from other brands of a similar price.


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