Nutrition - 10/10
Ingredients - 10/10
Instinct Original – Salmon is a high-quality dry dog food. Its nutrient profile is significantly above average and it provides a significantly above average proportion of protein and fat and a significantly below average proportion of carbohydrates.
This nutrient profile is very satisfactory the majority of dogs. It has a range of high-quality meat and fish ingredients such as Salmon and Herring. In addition, it contains a range of legumes such as Peas and Chickpeas. These contribute high-quality carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
The large number of ingredients present including fish will mean it is unlikely that this dog food is suitable for dogs with serious dietary allergies or sensitivities. However, for those without dietary issues, this is a very nutritious and high-quality dog food.
Very Satisfactory Nutrition Profile
Excellent Quality Ingredients
High Level of Omega Fatty Acids
No Grains or By-products
Full review of Instinct Original – Salmon by Nature’s Variety
The ideal nutrition for a dog is entirely dependant on their unique circumstances. However, a high proportion of protein and fat combined with a lower proportion of carbohydrates is most appropriate nutrition profile for the vast majority of dogs. Dog’s are very capable of consuming a high proportion of carbohydrates, but a diet high in protein and fat is more appropriate and a better reflection of their natural ancestral diet.
Carbohydrate Content Analysis
Dogs use carbohydrates as a simple energy source. Dogs do not require significant carbohydrates in their diet and they are commonly added to reduce cost and increase shelf life. As the chart above displays, a maximum of 23% of Instinct Original – Salmon calories are derived from carbohydrates. Please note that this is the maximum amount of carbohydrates as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of carbohydrates is likely to be a lot lower. This is significantly below average for a Dry Dog Food.
The carbohydrates present are from a range of legumes such as Peas. Legumes such as these are considered high-quality sources of carbohydrates. This proportion of carbohydrates is low. While slightly above what we would consider ideal it is very satisfactory. This would be well suited for the majority of dogs.
Protein Content Analysis
Dogs use Protein for growth, development, and maintenance. Excess protein can be burned as calories. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 35% of Instinct Original – Salmon calories are derived from protein. Please note that this is the minimum amount of protein as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of protein is likely to be higher. This is significantly above average for a Dry Dog Food.
The protein is sourced from the Salmon, Menhaden Fish, and Herring present. Fish-based proteins such as Salmon are the preferred source and can provide complete amino acid coverage. This protein content will be sufficient for dogs of all activity levels including those who are very active. Only the most active of dogs could possibly need more protein than this.
Fat Content Analysis
Dogs use fat as a concentrated energy source. In addition, fats also play a role in development and maintenance. As the chart above displays, a minimum of 42% of Instinct Original – Salmon calories are derived from fat. Please note that this is the minimum amount of fat as calculated by the guaranteed analysis. In reality, this value of fat is likely to be a lot higher. This is significantly above average for a Dry Dog Food.
The fat present appears to be from the Salmon, Menhaden Fish, and Herring ingredients. Fish-based fats are the natural sources of fat in a dog’s diet. This level of fat is sufficient to satisfy the energy needs of the vast majority of dogs. In addition, the fish ingredients contribute a very high level of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids which are known to provide a range of health benefits.
Overall Instinct Original – Salmon contains an average of 4,450 kcal/kg or 523 kcal/cup
Once again please note that the values in this section are calculated using the products guaranteed analysis. The guaranteed analysis only lists the minimum and maximum values and as a consequence, these can sometimes be an inaccurate representation. As a rule of thumb, most dog foods will contain slightly more protein and considerably more fat than their guaranteed analysis. This will have the knock-on effect of reducing the relative amount of carbohydrates present. However also note that every dog food is different and some will be considerably closer to the guaranteed analysis than others.
Guaranteed Analysis – Instinct Original – Salmon
Pet foods in the United States are legally required by the AAFCO to have a guaranteed analysis on their packaging. A guaranteed analysis must display certain nutritional information. This is similar to how nutritional values are now commonly displayed on food for human consumption. The information that must be displayed includes Crude Protein, Crude Fat, Crude Fiber, and Moisture. Some guaranteed analysis will contain additional information. The guaranteed analysis for this product is listed below.
- Crude Protein (Min) – 37.50%
- Crude Fat (Min) – 20.00%
- Crude Fiber (Max) – 3.50%
- Moisture (Max) – 10.00%
- Omega 6 Fatty Acids (Min) – 2.7%
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Min) – 1.8%
The ingredients of pet food are disclosed on the packaging of the product as a list in descending order. Therefore the ingredients at the start of the list make up the bulk of the pet foods content. As a consequence, the quality of these primary ingredients is the most significant factor in determining the quality of pet food.
However, ingredients listed further down the ingredient list should not be ignored, especially if they could have adverse or harmful effects on a pet.
- Menhaden Fish Meal
- Herring Meal
- Salmon Meal
Dangerous / Harmful Ingredients
In-Depth Meat/Fish Ingredient Review
The meat and fish ingredients of dog food are without a doubt the most important. They are critical as they provide the majority of the protein and fat that dogs desperately need. Also, these ingredients would have made up the bulk of dogs ancestors diet. Therefore, the quality of a dog food formulas meat and fish ingredients is crucial. Instinct Original – Salmon contains one source of meat or fish.
The primary fish source present is Salmon. Salmon is considered a high-quality source of protein. Salmons most abundant minerals are Vitamin B12 and Selenium. Just like other fish, Salmon contains a large quantity of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Unfortunately just as with meat, Salmon contains a high concentration of water. Much of this water is evaporated during the cooking process leaving a lesser proportion of Salmon. However given that Salmon is the first listed ingredient, its quantity after cooking is likely to still be relatively high.
Another fish source present is Menhaden Fish Meal. Menhaden Fish Meal is considered an average-quality source of fish. Menhaden Fish are small oily fish that are not fit for human consumption. The oil is removed from these fish and the leftover flesh is turned into fish meal. This fish meal is high in protein. Unfortunately, as most of the oil has been removed Menhaden Fish Meal is not high in the beneficial Omega Fatty Acids like other fish.
Another fish source present is Herring Meal. Herring Meal is considered a high-quality source of protein. Fish Meal is a concentrated form of fish that has already had the majority of its moisture removed. This means that gram for gram it is much richer in protein and other nutrients. Herring Meal will contain the same vitamins and minerals as Herring but in higher concentrations. This includes the high levels of Vitamin B12 and the Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
Another fish source present is Salmon Meal. Salmon Meal is considered a high-quality source of protein. Fish Meal is a concentrated form of fish that has already had the majority of its moisture removed. This means that gram for gram it is much richer in protein and other nutrients. Salmon Meal will contain the same vitamins and minerals as Whitefish but in higher concentrations. This includes Vitamin B12 and Selenium.
In-Depth None-Meat Ingredient Review
Peas are a member of the legume family of vegetables. Legumes are famous for having a relatively high amount of protein for a vegetable. Legumes also contain a high amount of fiber, which is important for healthy digestion. Pet foods often use legumes as a replacement for in grain-free pet food. Protein from vegetables such as legumes should not be a replacement for protein from meat. Instead, it should act as an additional protein source.
Canola Oil is derived from a modified version of Rapeseed. Canola Oil is most commonly added to dog food to supplement the levels of the Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids. These Fatty Acids are crucial for a dogs skin, coat and brain development. While Canola Oil is not the ideal source of the Omega Fatty Acids, it does have a high ratio of Omega 3 Fatty Acids to Omega 6 Fatty Acids. Sources with high ratios, such as Canola Oil, are considered superior. However, Canola Oil can be a controversial ingredient due to the fact it is genetically modified.
Tapioca is a starchy vegetable and a source of complex carbohydrates. Tapioca, which is also known as Cassava Root, is a staple of South America and is rarely seen in the western world. This means it is often used as a novel ingredient for dogs with allergies or sensitivities to other ingredients such as Peas and Potatoes. Tapioca does not contribute substantial nutrition beyond its carbohydrate content but does contain the some B Vitamins such as Folate and the Vitamin B6.
A noteworthy ingredient present in this formula is Tomato Pomace. Tomato Pomace is made up of tomato skin, seeds, and pulp. Its most beneficial feature is that it contains very high levels of soluble fiber which can aid and regulate digestion. Those high levels of fiber are the primary motivation behind this ingredients inclusion in most formulas as Tomato Pomace has little nutritional value.
Salmon Oil is a reliable source of the Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids. In fact, Salmon Oil is particularly high in the Omega 3 Fatty Acid which is considered to be the more beneficial of the two. The Omega Fatty Acids are essential for an extensive range of reasons. They can help maintain a dogs skin and coat, they can reduce inflammation and they can help fight heart disease. The full list of potential benefits of the Omega Fatty Acids is far too numerous to list.
Full Ingredient List – Instinct Original – Salmon
Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Herring Meal, Peas, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Salmon Meal, Tapioca, Dried Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil, Montmorillonite Clay, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Carrots, Apples, Cranberries, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Freeze Dried Cod, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.