Food scores are based on ingredient quality and safety. For more information, view our evaluation criteria.
The New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. Freeze-Dried dog foods are considered a low risk food with a rating of 8.8/10. There are 3 recipes that score 10/10 for ingredient safety.
However, it’s worth noting that some recipes (chicken and beef) include kale and apples. These are crops that are often high in pesticide/herbicide residues. However, when questioned about pesticide use, the company explained that their supplier is working towards organic certification. We therefore did not deduct safety points for these ingredients.
These 3 recipes average 46.7% protein and 11% carbohydrate as calculated, which are good levels for an air-dried dog food.
The air-dried line scores well for ingredient quality with the exception of the Chicken Recipe has a few added vitamins. These are minimal amounts but we prefer to see these come from whole food sources that include the full spectrum of cofactors, which makes them safe and bioavailable.
Ingredient quality is lower in all recipes for using Manuka honey which is viewed as a sugar. Admittedly, Manuka honey has benefits as an antibacterial and antimicrobial supplement and has other nutrients, but it’s not something that needs to be included in a dog’s food every day.
These air-dried foods are minimally processed. Raw foods are air-dried by continually circulating air that slowly evaporates moisture leaving a minimal amount. This is contrary to ultra-processed foods like kibble where several stages of heating destroy active enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients.
One concern with this food is the addition of coconut oil. This ingredient is rich in saturated fats and lauric acid, which some studies show can increase gut inflammation and permeability. It doesn’t cost points but it’s something to be aware of.
It’s not mentioned whether the hoki is wild caught or farmed. Wild caught fish is preferred as it’s more nutritious and has a better fatty acid balance. Lastly, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids isn’t disclosed. This is a concern because AAFCO allows a very inflammatory level of 30:1.