Friday, November 13, 2015

Food Friday: Nature's Variety Instinct Canned Dog Food

Instinct is the grain-free dog food line by Nature's Variety. This company makes raw, kibble, and canned pet food using a variety of protein sources. They have a surprisingly large number of products, some of which are extremely similar to one another. We tried the venison and rabbit varieties, but not the Limited Ingredient Diet versions which look almost exactly the same.
dog food and dinosaurs

The Company

I think this may have been one of the brands of raw food Brisbane ate as a baby, but I can't even find any information about how long the company has been around so I could be wrong. Though most of the information available about Nature's Variety states they are an independent company, investor Catterton Partners appears to have bought them out in 2008. I definitely recall people having issues with ingredient changes, like pork being added to the raw rabbit food, right around that time. 

 Nature's Variety does not have their own manufacturing facility. Their kibbles are co packed by CJ Foods in Nebraska, along with Timberwolf and some Blue Buffalo foods. The cans are co packed by Simmons Pet Food along with a ton of other brands including Petcurean, Dogswell, Ol' Roy, Canidae, Blue Buffalo, Life's Abundance, Nature's Logic, and Evolve to name a few.
dog food and dinosaurs

The Food

This is a loaf-style food that can be used in a variety of different ways. I sometimes give Brisbane his pills in a spoonful of it. Mixed with a little warm water, it also convinces Sisci to eat when she's not so sure about the kibble of the day.

Both the rabbit and the venison formulas have pork liver in them, which is the major difference between the regular varieties and the limited ingredient formulas. Besides the main ingredient meat and the pork liver, they just have some flaxseed and some peas and carrots. 

The Verdict

I like the Instinct foods because they offer a variety of protein sources that work well for dogs with allergies. I'm pleased that neither includes sweet potatoes, which feel like they are in all things grain-free. Sisci and Ru both enjoyed the rabbit and venison cans, and Brisbane of course devoured everything because he loves any kind of food. 

Instinct canned formulas rate five out of five stars on the Dog Food Advisor site. There have been a couple of recalls for Nature's Variety raw foods, but I can't find any recalls for their canned or dry foods. I found these at Petco, so they are probably widely available. This makes them a welcome addition to our meandering rotational diet.

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