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Nature’s Variety Information

Nature’s Variety is a privately-held, natural pet food company located in St Louis, which is in the Midwest of the United States. They have two sub-brands, Instinct and Prairie.

Instinct is best known for its raw and semi-raw pet food recipes where it is a market leader. Many pet owners are afraid of raw recipes but Instinct has successfully bridged the gap between niche raw food and maintain pet food.

Nature’s Variety Instinct is manufactured at a privately-owned site in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Nature’s Variety is available across the United States in many of the large and chain pet stores such as PetSmart or PetCo.

You can also purchase Nature’s Variety at most of the large online pet food websites like Amazon, Chewy, and Petflow.

Nature’s Variety Product Range

Dog Food

As we mentioned earlier, Nature’s Variety Instinct is best known for its raw or semi-raw dog food products. While the idea of raw or semi-raw dog scares many dog owners, it is safe if stored properly.

Instinct also produces traditional dry dog food, limited ingredient formulas, and wet dog food. The sheer size of the Instinct range makes it one of the most popular brands as there is a recipe for every taste or need.

Prairie, on the other hand, has a much smaller product range and does not produce any raw recipes. However, they produce traditional types of dog foods and treats.

Cat Food

Nature’s Variety Instinct’s cat food range is also of a substantial size. In many ways, it mirrors the dog food range and includes many of the sub-types, such as the Original Range, Ultimate Protein Range, and Limited Ingredient Range.

However, there are slightly fewer formulas to choose from within the cat food range, but this is not abnormal among pet food brands.

Nature’s Variety Nutrition

Dog Food

Nature’s Variety provides some of the best nutrition of any dog food brands, let alone those that it competes within its price range.

High levels of protein and fat are at the core of the majority of Nature’s Variety’s recipes but, in particular, their Original range. The proportion of carbohydrates in these recipes is modest and not excessive.

Below is an example of the nutrition provided by a Nature’s Variety Instinct Original recipe.

Nature's Variety Instinct Original Salmon Calorie Breakdown Chart

Nature’s Variety Instinct’s Limited Ingredient range does have slightly inferior nutrition in comparison to the Original range, but this is understandable given the context.

Despite this, the nutrition offered by the recipes is still far above average when compared to other limited ingredient recipes.

Cat Food

The nutrition offered by Nature’s Variety products is significantly above average when compared to other cat food brands. The portion of protein and fat is significant, and the portion of carbohydrates is modest.

However, despite this, most of Nature’s Variety’s dry cat food products still do not provide ideal nutrition.

This is as cats are not obligate carnivores, and their digestive system is not designed to consume large quantities of carbohydrates.

On the other hand, Nature’s Variety’s wet cat food products provide close to ideal nutrition for cats with a very high portion of protein and fat and a negligible portion of carbohydrates.

Nature’s Variety Ingredients

High-Quality Ingredients

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Salmon
  • Rabbit
  • Venison

Nature’s Variety formulas contain a wide range of ingredients, with a majority of these being considered high-quality. They use most of the common meat and fish ingredients, including Chicken, Turkey, Salmon, and Beef.

But they also have recipes that have less common meat or fish ingredients such as their Rabbit and Venison. Exotic or less common meat ingredients such as this are often called Novel Meats.

Novel Meats can be a lifeline for those with severe allergies. Learn more about Novel Meat diets in our article Best Hypoallergenic Dog Foods Guide or discover the best Venison and Rabbit recipes in our articles Best Dog Foods With RabbitBest Dog Foods With Venison.

Rabbit Close Up

Other Notable Ingredients

Nature’s Variety Instinct is one of a few brands that make extensive use of Tapioca as a source of carbohydrates and as a binding agent.

Tapioca is a root vegetable similar to Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes and is commonly found and consumed in Southern America.

Find out more about Tapioca in our Tapioca In Dog Food article.


Another ingredient commonly found in Nature’s Variety Instinct’s recipes is Menhaden Fish Meal.

Menhaden Fish Meal is a regular ingredient in premium dog food products and is often used to provide additional protein and fat without splashing out on more expensive whole ingredients.

Find out more about Menhaden Fish Meal in our Menhaden Fish Meal in Dog Food article.

Canola Oil, along with Sunflower Oil, is a vegetable oil that is commonplace in pet food.

They are used to boost the levels of fat, as well as add flavor and the level of beneficial fatty acids like the Omega Fatty Acids. Canola Oil is present in a large number of Instinct’s recipes.

Learn more about Canola Oil in our article Canola Oil In Dog Food.

Canola Plant

Tomato Pomace is an ingredient that most consumers will be unfamiliar with; however, it is a regular feature in dog food.

It is made up of the indigestible fibrous content of Tomatoes and is used to aid digestion.

While there are some concerns at the level of pesticides in Tomatoes, the portion of Tomato Pomace is small enough that it is not worthy of concern.

Learn more about Tomato Pomace in our article, Tomato Pomace, as a Pet Food Ingredient?.

Nature’s Variety Animal Testing

On Nature’s Variety Instinct’s website, they state that passionate about the health and wellbeing of all pets and that they wish for all animals to be treated with compassion.

They also state that all testing facilities that they use are under federal inspection and that all the animals are cared for within the appropriate legislation around sanitation and welfare.

Finally, they insist that use voluntary or at-home testing from volunteers and loyal customers whenever possible.

While we would prefer that Nature’s Variety does not conduct any animal testing, this statement at least acknowledges some of the opposition to animal testing and Nature’s Variety’s interest in minimizing their impact.

Nature’s Variety Recalls

Our research has found that Nature’s Variety has three recorded recalls.

While this might sound low, even a single recent recall is worrying and could suggest that Nature’s Variety’s production and manufacturing processes are not adequately safe and thorough.

In addition, some brands have a large list of recalls, but the majority of them are a significant length of time ago; however, all three of Nature’s Variety’s recalls are within the last decade and therefore, cannot be dismissed so easily.

July 2015 – Potential Salmonella Contamination

Salmonella poses a serious risk, and potential contaminations are dealt with swiftly. The major risk is as Salmonella can affect humans and pets. Learn more about the risks of Salmonella in pet food in this article by Banfield Pet Hospital.

February 2013 – Potential Foreign Body / Choking Hazard

February 2010 – Potential Salmonella Contamination

Nature’s Variety Featured Articles

Best Dog Food Without Peas

Best Dog Food Without Potatoes

Best Dog Food Without Chicken

Best Dog Food With Lamb

Best Dog Food With Chicken & Rice

Best Dog Food With Salmon

Best Dog Food For Border Collies

Best Senior Dog Food

Best Dog Food For Great Danes

Best Puppy Food

Best Canned Dog Food

Best Dog Food For Dalmatians

Best Dog Food For Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Best Dog Food With Rabbit

Best High Protein Dog Food

Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Best Dog Food With Venison

Best of Nature’s Variety

Dry Dog Food

Instinct Original – Salmon Review

Nature's Variety Instinct Original Real Salmon Packaging

Check Price On Chewy

As mentioned earlier, Instinct’s Original range offers excellent nutrition at an appropriate price range. The range does this by using a large portion of meat and fish ingredients combined with whole vegetables.

The Salmon recipe is our favorite from this range. This is as Salmon offers additional benefits beyond its protein and fat content.

Salmon is one of the best sources of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids. These fatty acids offer a range of health benefits, such as improving the condition of a dog’s skin and fur to improving cognitive function.

Limited Ingredient Dog Food

Instinct – Limited Ingredient Diet – Turkey Review

Nature's Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet - Turkey Packaging

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Nature’s Variety Instinct’s Limited Ingredient range does not offer quite as impressive nutritional profile as its original or ultimate protein range, but it is still satisfactory.

Of all the recipes, the Turkey recipe offers the largest proportion fo protein and fat thanks to the generous portions of Turkey-based ingredients it utilizes.

What makes the recipe suitable for dogs with allergies is its very simple and small ingredient list.

The only notable ingredients it contains beyond its turkey content are Peas, Tapioca, and Canola Oil. These ingredients provide carbohydrate content and added fat.

Raw Dog Food

Instinct Raw Boost Real Lamb Review

Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Boost With Real Lamb Packaging

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As we discussed earlier, the idea of raw ingredients scares many dog owners, especially those with new puppies.

However, while extra precautions may have to be taken, it is not something to be deeply afraid of, and it can be advantageous.

Some of these benefits or advantages include cleaner teeth, more energy, and improved skin and coat.

Also, Instinct Raw Boost with Real Lamb is only a semi-raw formula and still contains a significant portion of pre-cooked ingredients.

The formula contains a mix of meat and fish ingredients, including Lamb, Salmon, and Whitefish, which are all high-quality ingredients that can provide a plentiful supply of protein and fat.

Also, the formula contains the ever staple Peas for carbohydrates and fiber alongside a smaller portion of Tapioca. Finally, the formula also includes Flaxseed to help boost the level of the Omega Fatty Acids.

Canned Dog Food

Nature's Variety Instinct Rabbit Canned

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Dry Cat Food

Instinct Original Chicken Cat Food

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Limited Ingredient Cat Food

Nature's Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Salmon Cat Food

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Raw Cat Food

Instinct Raw Boost Duck Cat Food

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Canned Cat Food

Instinct Original Lamb Wet Cat Food

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Nature’s Variety Full Products Range

Dog Food

Limited Ingredient Diet Range

Limited Ingredient Diet – Turkey for Small Breed Dogs

Limited Ingredient Diet – Duck

Limited Ingredient Diet – Turkey

Limited Ingredient Diet – Lamb

Limited Ingredient Diet – Salmon

Ultimate Protein Range

Ultimate Protein – Chicken

Ultimate Protein – Duck

Ultimate Protein – Chicken for Small Breed Dogs

Original Range

Original Beef

Original Chicken

Original Duck

Original Salmon

Original Rabbit

Original Chicken for Small Breed Dogs

Raw Boost

Raw Boost With Beef

Raw Boost With Chicken

Raw Boost With Duck

Raw Boost With Venison

Raw Boost With Salmon

Raw Boost Gut Health

Raw Boost Skin & Coat Health

Raw Boost With Beef For Small Breed Dogs

Raw Boost With Chicken For Small Breed Dogs

Raw Boost With Duck For Small Breed Dogs

Raw Boost With Chicken For Toy Breed Dogs

Raw Boost With Chicken For Puppies

Raw Boost With Real Chicken For Large Breed Puppies

Raw Boost With Real Chicken For Senior Dogs

Raw Boost With Chicken For Healthy Weight

Raw Boost Beef Mixer

Raw Boost Chicken Mixer

Raw Boost Lamb Mixer

Raw Boost Immune Health Mixer

Raw Boost Mobility Support Mixer

Raw Boost Gut Health Mixer

Raw Boost Skin & Coat Health Mixer

Raw Boost Beef Mixer Blend

Raw Boost Chicken Mixer Blend

Be Natural Range

Be Natural Beef

Be Natural Chicken

Be Natural Lamb

Be Natural Salmon

Be Natural Chicken For Puppies

Raw Range

Raw Beef Bites

Raw Chicken Bites

Raw Lamb Bites

Raw Beef Bites For Small Breed

Raw Chicken Bites For Small Breeds

Raw Frozen Beef Medallions

Raw Frozen Chicken Medallions

Raw Frozen Lamb Medallions

Raw Beef Patties

Raw Chicken Patties

Raw Signature Range

Raw Beef Bites

Raw Chicken Bites

Raw Duck Bites

Raw Lamb Bites

Raw Rabbit Bites

Raw Venison Bites

Raw Beef Medallions

Raw Chicken Medallions

Raw Duck Medallions

Raw Lamb Medallions

Raw Rabbit Medallions

Raw Venison Medallions

Raw Beef Patties

Raw Chicken Patties

Raw Duck Patties

Raw Lamb Patties

Raw Rabbit Patties

Raw Venison Patties

Wet Dog Food

Original Chicken for Small Breed Dogs

Original Beef for Small Breed Dogs

Original Chicken For Puppies

Beef Stew

Chicken Stew

Lamb Stew

Turkey and Cod Stew

Turkey and Duck Stew

Original Beef

Original Chicken

Original Duck

Original Lamb

Original Rabbit

Original Venison

Limited Ingredient Diet – Lamb

Limited Ingredient Diet – Rabbit

Limited Ingredient Diet – Turkey

Ultimate Protein – Beef

Ultimate Protein – Chicken

Healthy Cravings Pouch – Beef

Healthy Cravings Pouch – Chicken

Healthy Cravings Pouch – Lamb

Healthy Cravings Pouch – Salmon

Dog Treats

Original Biscuits – Chicken

Original Biscuits – Rabbit

Original Biscuits – Duck