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Prairie Dog Food Review, Recalls & Coupons 2021

Prairie dog food review

Formerly known as Prairie, this range has now been repackaged as the Instinct Be Natural line by Nature’s Variety, the same company that manufactures a wide range of Instinct products. 

What makes the Be Natural line unique is that it is designed to offer wholesome, natural nutrition to pets at an affordable price point.

This brand uses five different varieties of fresh meat as well as whole grains, healthy fats, and fresh fruits and vegetables in each of its recipes to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

The products are designed in keeping with a holistic approach to pet nutrition, utilizing all of the key nutrients your dog needs and nothing he doesn’t.

This brand believes that a high-quality diet for pets starts with pure, unaltered, whole foods that complement their physiology while nourishing your dog’s body from the inside out.


Here at DogFood.Guide we have a dedicated mission to provide dog owners like you with well-researched information so they can provide the best care and nutrition to their dogs.

Our readers rely upon the dog food reviews, articles and recall alerts that we research and publish. We also routinely update and review our own reviews ensuring that any changes by manufacturers are brought to your attention.

DogFood.Guide is maintained by Mary Nielsen & her staff. Mary is an animal lover of both dogs and cats. She and her staff are passionate about animals and work hard to provide you with a wealth of information for you and your dog.

Manufacturer Information

The Be Natural range of dog food is produced and manufactured by Nature’s Variety. This company is privately owned and based in St. Louis, Missouri, though its production facilities are located in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The company was founded in 2001 with the goal of becoming a leader in the natural pet food industry. Not only has Nature’s Variety accomplished this goal, but it has also branched out to provide many different product lines and two distinct brands.

Prairie Dog Food Reviews

Prairie Dog Food Review, Recalls & Coupons [year] 2
Instinct Be Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice for Puppies
  • Specifically formulated for puppies
  • Crafted with cage-free chicken first
  • 100% free of fillers, corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-product meal
Prairie Dog Food Review, Recalls & Coupons [year] 3
Instinct Be Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • With added vitamins and minerals
  • Raw on every piece as the kibble is tumbled
  • With minimally-processed, crushed freeze-dried raw chicken
Prairie Dog Food Review, Recalls & Coupons [year] 4
Instinct Be Natural Real Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Made in the USA with the finest ingredients
  • Made with wild-caught salmon as the first ingredient
  • Poultry-free so it’s great for dogs with food sensitivities
Prairie Dog Food Review, Recalls & Coupons [year] 5
Instinct Be Natural Real Lamb & Oatmeal Recipe
  • A complete and balanced diet
  • With crushed freeze-dried raw lamb
  • Made with grass-fed lamb as #1 ingredient
Prairie Dog Food Review, Recalls & Coupons [year] 6
Instinct Be Natural Real Beef & Barley Recipe
  • A complete and balanced diet
  • Made with USA-raised beef as top ingredient
  • With minimally-processed, crushed freeze-dried raw beef

As a whole, the Nature’s Variety company receives excellent reviews for the quality of its products. Not only do customers love the quality of its pet foods, but they love the unique blend of ingredients as well. As for the Be Natural dog food reviews, there are many positive ones out there as well.

This line is on the same quality bracket as most of the Instinct range because it features premium ingredients in healthy, holistic, and balanced formulas. 

  1. Instinct Be Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice for Puppies
  2. Instinct Be Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  3. Instinct Be Natural Real Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe
  4. Instinct Be Natural Real Lamb & Oatmeal Recipe
  5. Instinct Be Natural Real Beef & Barley Recipe
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1. Instinct Be Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice for Puppies

Prairie Dog Food Review, Recalls & Coupons [year] 7
This all-natural kibble is made in the USA and tumbled with raw cage-free chicken that’s been crushed and freeze-dried to help preserve its nutrients and flavor.

An all-natural kibble, this recipe uses cage-free chicken as its starring protein. The chicken (liver and heart) has been crushed and freeze-dried to preserve most of its nutrients to give your pups optimal levels of protein for strong muscles; calcium and phosphorus for teeth and bones; and DHA for proper brain and eye development.

The first ingredient is fresh chicken, while the second is chicken meal. Chicken meal is hardly a low-quality ingredient. In fact, it’s even better than fresh chicken — which is made up of 80% water — since chicken meal is meat cooked to remove the moisture, thereby making it a more concentrated source of protein. 

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Aside from these main proteins, there are also other animal protein sources further down the list. There is menhaden fish meal and lamb meal too, to take up the protein content to a nicely high 25%. And of course, the freeze-dried chicken organs help too, plus they give the food added palatability.

The barley, brown rice, and oatmeal provide much of the carbohydrates that your pup needs for quick energy, as well as the dietary fiber that will aid his digestion and regular bowel movement. These three are whole grains that are considered highly digestible for many dogs.

The main source of fat in this formulation is chicken fat, providing another source of concentrated energy. Flaxseed also contributes fat, while salmon oil has plenty of DHA and EPA — two types of omega-3 fatty acids. 

A medley of fruits and vegetables like carrots, cranberries, apples, and blueberries keep the food more balanced, while supplemental vitamins and minerals, plus probiotics help complete the recipe. 

The guaranteed analysis for this recipe is listed below:

Crude Protein 25%
Crude Fat 18%
Crude Fiber 4%

Dry Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

From customer feedback, 87% recommend this recipe to other doggo owners. The kibbles are in just the right size for puppies to eat.

Puppy stools, while on this diet, have been reported to be nicely firm and solid, and little dogs just seem to love the formula’s flavor. 

There are also a couple of negative feedback. The first is about her dogs not wanting to touch the food, while the second reviewer used to buy the same recipe but her pup would no longer eat it like before, which had her questioning if the product formulation has changed. 

This is a good recipe overall due to its lack of ‘red flag’ ingredients. There are no byproducts, fillers, artificial flavors or colors, nor cheap ingredients like brewers rice.

The inclusion of DHA is a nice touch, since DHA supports the healthy development of young brains and eyes. We also commend the high protein content that puppies need in their growing stage.

2. Instinct Be Natural Real Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Prairie Dog Food Review, Recalls & Coupons [year] 8
The recipe starts with cage-free chicken for plenty of all-natural protein to support healthy, lean muscles, and never contains any fillers, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meals or artificial preservatives and colors.

Formulated for all dog breeds and all life stages, this recipe promises a natural and wholesome food that is devoid of fillers, wheat, corn, byproduct meals, soy, or anything artificial (colors, flavors, and preservatives).

The first five ingredients in this formulation are chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, oatmeal, and barley.

The fresh chicken here is raw and freeze-dried for better nutrient retention, while the chicken meal is cooked to remove most of the moisture and make it a more concentrated protein source.

Unlike other recipes that use cheap grain ingredients, the grains here are whole and considered quality ones.

They’re also highly digestible and will provide your pup the energy he needs to burn for his usual daily activities. Not to mention, grains are also full of dietary fiber that makes stools solid and more regularly eliminated.

There are supporting meats in the recipe too. Turkey meal and menhaden fish meal make the food more meaty and up the protein content to 25%.

For extra energy and cushioning, there is chicken fat. The fat, combined with the fish ingredient and the flaxseed, contribute the omega fatty acids that your dog needs to maintain a healthy skin and fur.

Since this is a be Natural recipe, it wouldn’t be complete without a heaping helping of fruits and probiotics for an overall balanced diet. 

The guaranteed analysis for this recipe is listed below:

Crude Protein 25%
Crude Fat 14%
Crude Fiber 5%

Dry Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Majority of reviewers love the product, with 85% of the 80 reviewers recommending it to other pet owners. Many reported about their dogs liking the flavor, and one customer even detailed that his dogs kept tearing into the bags of food for more. 

One review that caught our attention is about a senior dog that has improved with a daily feeding of this Be Natural recipe. He put on needed weight, the stools became less but firmer, the skin became healthier instead of dry, and the fur looked better.

On the other hand, five customers also noted that their dogs would not touch the food. Since dogs do have their own food preferences and most canines favored the food, we did not factor this into our rating much. 

We’re happy to note that there are no troubling ingredients in this food, and everything seems to be as high-quality as you can get in dog food.

The raw and freeze-dried chicken liver and chicken heart that has been added to the kibbles make it more enticing to dogs, as well as give the food better nutrition in terms of more mineral support.

3. Instinct Be Natural Real Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe

Prairie Dog Food Review, Recalls & Coupons [year] 9
Made with wild-caught salmon as the first ingredient for lean, healthy muscles, plus whole grains like brown rice and barley.

Wild-caught salmon leads the list of ingredients here. It’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that not only help make dogs’ hair and skin look healthy, they also support the immune system and decrease inflammation.

Fresh salmon is joined by menhaden fish meal and salmon meal for more of a protein boost. It works because the minimum crude protein level for this recipe is 25%, already an excellent level for dog food.

And since this is the Be Natural Instinct line, there is also crushed freeze-dried cod fish in it to raise the bar in flavor, and of course, nutrition.

Instinct uses only premium whole grains in its recipes because those are proven to be healthier. Grains that have gone through the milling process lose most of the nutrients contained in them.

Barley, brown rice, and oatmeal are all high in fiber aside from containing a plethora of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. 

Barley and oats both contain soluble fiber that regulates blood glucose levels and help dogs have a more regular bowel movement.

Brown rice, on the other hand, has insoluble fiber that helps attract moisture to the stool, preventing constipation and keeping the intestines healthy.

The fish ingredients provide a lot of the omega fatty acids, mostly omega-3. While the canola oil in the food provides the linoleic acid (or omega-6). 

While there are chelated minerals and vitamin supplements in the food, a lot of the nutrients are naturally-sourced due to the presence of carrots, apples, blueberries, and cranberries in the formulation.

Rounding off all ingredients is the inclusion of probiotics that support a healthy gastrointestinal tract for your pooch.

The guaranteed analysis for this recipe is listed below:

Crude Protein 25%
Crude Fat 14%
Crude Fiber 4.5%

Dry Rating: 4/5 Stars

93% of 73 reviewers highly recommend the food to other paw parents. 81% of them gave the food 5 stars for providing food-sensitive dogs an excellent meal alternative.

Many pet owners who have pets that battled severe food allergies swear by this formulation for giving their pups’ energy back, making dull hair shiny again, and cutting down on gas and poop issues.

There is only one 1-star rating on Chewy so far, and it mainly had to do with one dog not liking the food. Not every canine will like every dish, so it all boils down to preference. Since the majority of dogs fed the kibble liked it, we’re factoring that into our rating. 

We’ve evaluated the ingredients in this formula and also took into account all the feedback regarding the recipe. While we liked most of the ingredients in the food, the inclusion of canola oil gave us pause.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s not toxic. But unless it’s organic canola, the oil has definitely gone through a lot of processing. There are healthier alternatives out there. 

4. Instinct Be Natural Real Lamb & Oatmeal Recipe

Prairie Dog Food Review, Recalls & Coupons [year] 10
Made with grass-fed lamb as the first ingredient for lean, healthy muscles with added vitamins and minerals so it’s a complete and balanced diet in every bowl for dogs of all ages.

Grass-fed lamb is the real star of this formulation that’s crafted for dogs of all ages and breeds.

The food  features plenty of all-natural protein from premium meat sources but does not contain any filler, artificial ingredients, soy, wheat, or corn. It’s a good food alternative for your sensitive dog if he is okay with lamb, fish, or turkey.

As implied above, the first ingredient is lamb. It makes up the bulk of the recipe and is one of the best sources of protein.

If your pup happens to be allergic to beef, lamb has almost the same calorie profile as beef, but lamb is richer in zinc and iron. It also has a higher omega-3 fatty acid content.

Menhaden fish meal and turkey meal add more protein to the recipe as well as a meatier flavor. Since meals are the same as fresh meat with the exception that their moisture has been cooked away, meals are a more concentrated source of protein. 

Three kinds of whole grains provide the carbohydrate and fiber content of the kibbles. Millet is high in phosphorus (healthy bones), B-vitamins, and iron. Barley is low in cholesterol and high in fiber. And oats are full of linoleic acid.

A mixture of vegetables and fruits provide naturally-sourced nutrients to the meal, which are also boosted further with supplemental vitamins and minerals. Canola oil provides the fat. 

Unlike the other Be Natural formulations which contain two kinds of freeze-dried meat, this lamb and oatmeal recipe contains four. All are lamb organ meats, such as lamb liver, lamb spleen, lamb heart, and lamb kidney.

The guaranteed analysis for this recipe is listed below:

Crude Protein 25%
Crude Fat 14%
Crude Fiber 6%

Out of 94 reviews, 86% of them recommend this lamb and oatmeal recipe. Plenty of the positive feedback is due to the quality ingredients.

Quite a few reported that their pups’ stools became firmer and more regular when placed on this diet, and the GI issues seem to have stopped. Aside from that, many dogs promptly devour their food during meal times.

While there were 73% who rated the food five-stars, 6% gave it a one-star score. Their dogs did not like the food. One had to add warm water to the kibble to help pull the flavor from the freeze-dried bits just to make her pet eat. 

We can’t find much to fault the recipe with, except for the canola oil. It’s not harmful and it has nutrients, but canola goes through a lot of processing before it can be used.

There are so many more healthier oils around that can provide the fat that your dog needs. Aside from the inclusion of canola oil, overall, this is still a good recipe to give your doggo for his daily feeding.

5. Instinct Be Natural Real Beef & Barley Recipe

Prairie Dog Food Review, Recalls & Coupons [year] 11
The recipe starts with USA-raised beef. It is raw on every piece as the kibble is tumbled with minimally-processed, crushed freeze-dried raw beef for real meat and flavorful nutrition.

Designed for all dog breeds and from puppies to seniors, this Instinct Be Natural recipe contains all the necessary proteins your canine needs to support the development or maintenance of lean and healthy muscles.

Like all of the brand’s formulas, there are no fillers, soy, corn, or byproduct meals to be found here. Artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives are also not present.

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Made primarily with beef, it has a meaty taste that canine fans of red meat will love. It’s not a single animal protein food, though.

Turkey meal and menhaden fish meal provide additional protein support as well as the raw freeze-dried coating that’s made from beef liver, beef heart, beef kidney, and beef spleen.

Barley, oatmeal, and brown rice are the grains that provide the dietary fiber and carbohydrates your pup needs. These are highly digestible as well as high in vitamins and minerals.

Brown rice, for example, is much more nutritious than white since it still has its seed coat where all of the nutrients are stored, unlike white rice.

A high-quality fat supply is provided by chicken fat. It provides your dog with energy, keeps his hair and skin healthy, and helps the organs function properly. Chicken fat also improves the taste and palatability of dog food.

The guaranteed analysis for this recipe is listed below:

Crude Protein 24%
Crude Fat 13%
Crude Fiber 5%

Dry Rating: 4.5/5 Star

From 36 reviewers, 92% recommend this meal to fellow pet parents. Many mentioned that their dogs would happily eat this specific Instinct recipe, even picky ones who skip meals often were excited to chow down when switched to this recipe. One reviewer also noted that her pets’ hair got shinier since eating this food. 

From the negative feedback, we gathered that some pups did not like the food. In some cases, it made the dogs itch or sick. This could be down to sensitivities the pups have to some of the ingredients in the formulation.

As for our review, we like how this recipe does not use any artificial ingredients or fillers. There are no problematic ingredients included, the food is balanced and complete, and the nutritional levels are just right.

Though it’s not a single animal protein diet, if your pup is not sensitive to beef, turkey, fish, or grains, we believe that this is a good choice for his daily feeding. 

Prairie Dog Food Review, Recalls & Coupons [year] 12

Made in the USA?

Produced by the Nature’s Variety company, the Instinct Be Natural brand is made in the United States. Company headquarters are located in St. Louis, though the brand’s manufacturing facilities are in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Not only does the company website provide information to back up these claims, but each bag of dog food carries the following statement, “Manufactured in USA facilities and distributed by Nature’s Variety, St. Louis, MO.”

Ingredient Sourcing

As one of the leading brands of raw pet food products, Nature’s Variety is committed to providing pet parents with wholesome, natural products for their pets.

While the Instinct brand is designed in keeping with the principles of raw nutrition, Instinct Be Natural is all about holistic but affordable nutrition using whole grains and simple, natural ingredients.

When it comes to those ingredients, the brand sources many of its ingredients from independent farmers in America’s heartland who follow sustainable agricultural practices.

The brand doesn’t state whether all of its ingredients are sourced in the country, but as a U.S.-based company, it is safe to assume that many (if not all) of its ingredients come from the U.S.

prairie dog food

Prairie Recall History

Not only is this Instinct line dedicated to keeping all of its products affordable, but it also strives to ensure the quality and safety of every product it makes.

The Be Natural range uses only fresh, wholesome ingredients in holistic, nutritionally balanced formulas that are made in company-owned facilities.

Though the Nature’s Variety company has had several recalls, there are no Instinct Be Natural recalls to date. Nor were there any when the line was still named Prairie. Here is an overview of Nature’s Variety recalls in recent history:

  • In February 2010, the FDA issued a recall for 3-pound chicken medallions, 6-pound chicken patties, and 2-pound chicken chubs due to potentially salmonella contamination.
  • In February 2013, the FDA issued a recall for Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula medallions in 3-pound bags and 6-pound patties due to foreign bodies and choking hazards.
  • In July 2015, the FDA issued a recall for Instinct Raw Chicken Formula Bites and Patties due to potential salmonella contamination.
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How Expensive Are Their Products?

Though many of Nature’s Variety’s products are very expensive, the Instinct Be Natural line of products is designed for affordability.

For a 25-pound bag of kibble, you’ll pay between $25 and $50, depending on the recipe – these products are also available in 4.5-pound bags.

List of Current Products Available

The Instinct Be Natural brand of dog food is primarily designed for affordability so it doesn’t offer as wide a selection as some of the other brands on the market. As of this writing, the Be Natural line only has 5 dry products, no wet nor treats yet.

Each of these products is designed to deliver optimal nourishment through the use of simple, natural ingredients like fresh meat, poultry, and fish as well as whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.

All of this brand’s products are free from corn, wheat, and soy as well as artificial additives.

Prairie Dog Food Review, Recalls & Coupons [year] 13

Dry Products

This brand currently only offers five recipes for kibble (four for all life stages and one for puppies), though each one is made with the ideal blend of real meat, hearty whole grains, and healthy fruits and vegetables.

All dry food products are supplemented with omega fatty acids for skin and coat health as well as dietary fiber for healthy digestion. Here is a list of the brand’s dry recipes:

  • Chicken Recipe
  • Chicken Recipe for Puppies
  • Beef Recipe
  • Lamb Recipe
  • Salmon Recipe

Is instinct be natural a good dog food?

Instinct Be Natural is a grain-inclusive dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars from Dog Food Advisor.

What company makes instinct dog food?

Nature's Variety owns and manages the Instinct and Prairie brands. Instinct is a full line of grain-free and gluten-free foods for dogs and cats available in a variety of forms and flavors.

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 their ingredients from the U.S. where possible, but their first priority is superior quality.

Is instinct dog food Aafco approved?

Yes. Their frozen Instinct Raw and Raw Signature recipes offer complete and balanced nutrition, following the AAFCO dog and cat food nutrient profiles. Their recipes provide all the nutrition your pet needs, so it's not necessary to supplement their diet with other foods or vitamins.

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