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Now Fresh Dog Food Review

Now Fresh Dog Food Review
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Now Fresh is a Canadian company that was established in 2007 as a family operation in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, but there are no further details about its founders or if they are still involved. The company appears to be based in Chilliwack, BC.

Now Fresh comes under the Petcurean umbrella of pet food products that also include GO! SOLUTIONS™ and GATHER™ for dogs and cats. These pet foods are sold in Canada, the United States, and more than 35 countries internationally.

It’s unclear whether the foods are manufactured in-house or by a third party manufacturer.

For our Now Fresh dog food review, we’ll look at the food ingredient quality and safety of each line of food. Our dog food reviews are based on these criteria.

Now Fresh Dry Review

Score: 2.5/10

Package Ingredients For Now Fresh Fish Adult Dog Recipe: De-boned trout, whole dried egg, peas, potatoes, pea flour, potato flour, flaxseed, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavour, de-boned salmon, de-boned herring, calcium carbonate, monocalcium phosphate, apples, coconut oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), tomato, suncured alfalfa, pea fibre, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, squash, bananas, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, pomegranate, papayas, lentils, broccoli, dried chicory root, salt, choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of vitamin C), niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, beta-carotene, vitamin B12 supplement, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid.), minerals (ferrous sulphate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, selenium yeast, zinc oxide, copper sulphate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate.), taurine, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, DL-methionine, L-lysine, potassium chloride, L-carnitine, dried rosemary.

Using our evaluation criteria, Now Fresh Dry is considered a high risk dog food. Here are our concerns:

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are several concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

High In Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates in this line average 37% as calculated which is excessive. Dogs have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrate but starch is required for extrusion in dry foods like these. Excessive carbohydrateas are an indicator of low quality foods as they are used to keep costs down. Large amounts of starch can increase insulin levels, cause obesity and negatively impact gut balance. 

Excessive Added Vitamins and Minerals: This line loses ingredient quality points for excessive added vitamins and minerals. This usually reflects poor quality or overly processed ingredients. Ideally, these nutrients should come from whole food sources. Vitamin and mineral excesses, especially vitamin D and copper, can also result from vitamin premixes.

Added Amino Acids: Foods with lower amounts of animal protein often need to add amino acids to compensate, so 2 or more added amino acids can be a marker of cheap, lower quality ingredients Protein from animals is more complete in amino acids than protein from plants – plus it’s more expensive.

Seed Oil: Some of these recipes contain canola oil, which is a highly processed and highly inflammatory oil. It’s an inexpensive alternative to higher quality animal fats and oils. It’s also a genetically modified crop. 

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with Now Fresh Dry line:

Ultra-Processed: On the ingredient safety side, this line loses significant points for being an ultra-processed dog food. The individual ingredients in dry dog foods are heated several times during processing, which can cause a significant loss of enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. Processed foods are also linked to higher mortality rates in many species. 

High Pesticide/Herbicide Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients: These recipes contain foods in the top 5 ingredients that are known to carry large pesticide/herbicide residues. Unless organic, when crops are spray-dried with Roundup, it leaves them with more glyphosate/herbicide residue than other crops, even genetically modified ones. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and has been linked to cancer and other diseases. 

GMO Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients: Recipes in this line contain known GMO crops in the top 5 ingredients, including potatoes, as well as alfalfa lower on the list. There are limited safety studies on genetically modified and Roundup Ready crops although they are lacking in nutrients compared to non-GMO foods. GMO crops also strip nutrients from soils, require increased pesticide risk and may be involved in bee die-off. 

Natural Flavor: Recipes in this line contain natural flavor, which is added to make processed food more palatable. But natural flavor is often either MSG or animal digest, both low quality ingredients with limited safety studies.

View The Entire Review on Dog Food Reviews 

Now Fresh Wet Review

Score: 6.8/10

Package Ingredients For Turkey Stew And Bone Broth Recipe: De-boned turkey, turkey bone broth, potatoes, peas, carrots, tapioca, cranberries, sweet potatoes, apples, de-boned salmon, flaxseed, tricalcium phosphate, canola oil, coconut oil, sodium phosphate, potassium chloride, salt, dried kelp, vitamins (vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement.), minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, selenium yeast.).

Using our evaluation criteria, Now Fresh Wet is considered a moderate risk dog food. Here are our concerns:

Ingredient Quality

Overall, there are a few concerns when it comes to ingredient quality:

Moderately High In Carbohydrate: The carbohydrates vary in this line from 14% to 17%, as calculated on a dry matter basis, with 2 recipes higher in carbs than we’d like. This is a fairly average range for wet food. Excessive carbohydrates are an indicator of low quality foods as they are used to keep costs down. Large amounts of starch can increase insulin levels, cause obesity and negatively impact gut balance. 

Excessive Added Vitamins and Minerals: This line loses ingredient quality points for excessive added vitamins and minerals. This usually reflects poor quality or overly processed ingredients. Ideally, these nutrients should come from whole food sources. Vitamin and mineral excesses, especially vitamin D and copper, can also result from vitamin premixes.

Seed Oil: Some of these recipes contain canola oil, which is a highly processed and highly inflammatory oil. It’s an inexpensive alternative to higher quality animal fats and oils. It’s also a known GMO crop. 

Ingredient Safety

Many pet food ingredients are unsafe or are grown using unsafe chemicals. Here are some of the issues with Now Fresh Wet line:

Moderately Processed: This food loses minor points for being boxed, with some heat used in processing. Heating foods will cause losses in some active enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients. Minimal or no processing is preferred.

High Pesticide/Herbicide Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients: These recipes contain foods in the top 5 ingredients that are known to carry a large pesticide/herbicide residue, including peas. Unless organic, when crops are spray-dried with Roundup, it leaves them with more glyphosate/herbicide residue than other crops, even genetically modified ones. Glyphosate is an antibiotic that can kill beneficial gut bacteria and has been linked to cancer and other diseases. 

GMO Foods In The Top 5 Ingredients: One recipe in this line contains known GMO crops in the top 5 ingredients (potatoes). There are limited safety studies on genetically modified and Roundup Ready crops although they are lacking in nutrients compared to non-GMO foods. GMO crops also strip nutrients from soils, require increased pesticide risk and may be involved in bee die-off. 

Benefits 

Here is a noteworthy benefit of these foods.

High Protein: Lower protein is expected in processed food yet the average protein content for Now Fresh Wet is 46% on a dry matter basis, which is good to see.

View The Entire Review on Dog Food Reviews 

Is Now Fresh A Good Dog Food? 

Now Fresh produces 2 lines of dog food. The dry line has 13 recipes and is considered a high risk dog food. The wet line has 5 recipes and is considered a moderate risk dog food. It scores better than the dry foods due to less processing and lower carbohydrates but there are other concerns. 

The company provides very little transparency about quality or sourcing of ingredients beyond generalizations.

Now Fresh advocates for minimally processed dog foods but there are no details describing its processing protocol. The website states foods are extruded “at temperatures which are lower than typical baking” but this is a broad statement without any specific details. It’s therefore assumed that the dry foods are an extruded kibble, which is ultra-processed using several stages of heat, leading to a reduction of nutrients and enzymes. 

Now Fresh is a Canadian company with pet food products made in the USA and Canada. It states meats and produce are fit for human consumption. They state they use pasture-raised lamb and grass-fed venison sourced from Australia and New Zealand, but these are marketing terms that have no legal meaning under pet food standards and the company offers no certifications to confirm otherwise.  

There are additional concerns with the food and marketing. These don’t affect the Now Fresh dog food reviews score, but they’re worth mentioning:

Glam Ingredients: Some of Now Fresh Dry recipes contain glam ingredients. These are expensive or desirable ingredients (in this case New Zealand green mussels) often added to appeal to consumers but are in minuscule amounts because they appear below the salt. They contribute little or no nutritional value to your dog. 

Ingredient Splitting: This is a technique of splitting ingredients into sub-categories to move certain ingredients higher or lower on the ingredient list. This is often used to disguise the amount of lower quality ingredients in the food, such as corn, potatoes or peas, and moves desirable ingredients, like animal proteins, higher.

Coconut Oil: The use of coconut oil doesn’t cost points but it should be noted that it may be harmful to gut health as it’s been shown to cause undesirable changes in the gut lining. 

Does Not Provide Omega-6:Omega-3 Ratio: It’s also worth noting that Now Fresh does not state the omega6:omega-3 ratio in their foods. While this is true of most foods, it’s a concern because AAFCO allows a very inflammatory limit of 30:1. Diets rich in omega-6 fats can cause chronic inflammation and disease.

Does Not State Farmed Vs Wild Caught Fish: These foods don’t specify whether the fish is farmed or wild caught. Farmed fish is less nutritious than wild caught fish and does not contain the same healthy fatty acid balance. 

Now Fresh DOG FOOD RECALLS

Now Fresh has had no dog food recalls.

Evaluation Criteria

We evaluate and score dog foods based on two criteria:

Are the Ingredients High Quality?

Here are some common low quality ingredients or markers we look for:

  • Is there excessive carbohydrate content, which can cause gut imbalances?
  • Does the food contain unnamed proteins, which are low quality?
  • Does the food use cellulose (wood pulp) as a source of fiber instead of real food?
  • Are there excessive vitamins and minerals added in place of real food nutrition?
  • Are there excessive added amino acids or plant proteins instead of expensive meat protein?
  • Does the food contain inflammatory processed seed oils?

How Safe Are the Ingredients?

Many ingredients come from unhealthy, inflammatory sources or are full of pesticides so we look for:

  • How processed is the food?
  • Does the food contain known genetically modified foods?
  • Does the food contain ingredients known to be high in pesticides?
  • Does the food contain natural flavor, which are often MSG or animal digest?
  • Does the food contain rice, which is high in arsenic?

Each food is objectively evaluated by these criteria and a score is assigned using the average of ingredient quality and safety. This is NOT a paid list and there are no affiliate links. Dogs Naturally has partnered with DogFoodReviews.com to make sure dog owners have unbiased, objective criteria to help them choose the best dog food on the market. You can view the full Evaluation Criteria at DogFoodReviews.com.

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