California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets (Dry)

(3 / 5)

The California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets product line includes 8 dry dog foods.

California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets (Dry)

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Chicken Meal and Rice Adult [M]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Herring and Sweet Potato Adult [M]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb Meal and Rice Puppy (4 stars) [A]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb Meal and Rice Adult Large Bites [M]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb Meal and Rice Adult Small Bites [M]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Chicken Meal and Rice Puppy (4 stars) [A]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Brown Rice and Lamb Meal Weight Management [M]
  • California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Brown Rice and Chicken Meal Weight Management [M]

California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets Lamb Meal and Rice Adult Small Bites was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein 23

Fat 12

Carbs 57

Ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, rice, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavors, salt, potassium chloride, taurine, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate), vitamins (betaine hydrochloride, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, beta carotene, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, folic acid), vitamin E supplement, rosemary extract

Estimated Nutrient Content
Method Protein Fat Carbs
Guaranteed Analysis 21% 11% NA
Dry Matter Basis 23% 12% 57%
Calorie Weighted Basis 21% 27% 52%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

The second ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The third ingredient is rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.

The fourth ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

After the natural flavors, we find salt (also known as sodium chloride). Salt is a common additive in many dog foods. That’s because sodium is a necessary mineral for all animals — including humans.

However, since the actual amount of salt added to this recipe isn’t disclosed on the list of ingredients, it’s impossible to judge the nutritional value of this item.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With two notable exceptions

First, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

California Natural Limited
Ingredient Diets Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, California Natural looks like an above-average dry dog food.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 23%, a fat level of 12% and estimated carbohydrates of about 56%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 25% and a mean fat level of 13%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 55% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

California Natural Limited Ingredient Diets is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

Recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.