Spring Naturals Dog Food Review – Fighting the China Syndrome

For years I’ve avoided buying products made in China. People thought I was nuts. But since 2008 when both milk products and pet supplements from China were found tainted with melamine, I’ve been one of a crowd.

Meet Spring Naturals

Spring Naturals food and treatsSeeing a strong consumer demand for pet food and treats made from safe sources, the Performance Pet Products introduced a line of food and treats this year under the Spring Naturals name. Ingredients come from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe with lamb coming from New Zealand. And the recipes avoid high-glycemic index (and cheap) foods like corn, wheat, soy, and potato starch.

The grain free turkey treats we sampled contain the following ingredients in order:

  • turkey (95% of the recipe according to the package)
  • natural flavor (?)
  • salt (possibly a little high on the ingredient list)
  • molasses
  • chickpeas
  • spinach
  • blueberries
  • cranberries
  • flaxseed
  • rosemary extract
  • apricots
  • dandelion greens (they have to be good for something)
  • calcium propionate (a naturally-occurring preservative)
  • zinc propionate (a supplement)

With such a high percentage of the ingredient list dedicated to turkey, the amount of those other ingredients is quite small. But I must admit, I find it appealing to see a pet food made from ingredients I not only recognize but am willing to eat myself.

Spring Naturals, Meet Honey

Honey the Golden Retriever

Sure, I’ll be a food tester. This doesn’t mean you’ll be digging around in my poop, though, does it?

But the more important question is, what did Honey think?

We fed Honey a half portion of the Chicken and Quinoa kibble in her Kong wobbler. We continued to feed Honey half of her usual food. 

She approached the kibble with vigor and seemed to enjoying chasing kibble around the floor again as it fell out of her food toy.

The treats were an even bigger hit. She definitely preferred them to our usual crispy treat.

Of course, when trying a new food, I pay more attention to what it looks like coming out than what it looks like going in. I find that if food is high quality, I don’t see any changes in Honey’s digestion. And, while we were feeding Honey Spring Naturals with her regular food, we saw no sign that it upset her system.

The Answer to Unsafe Pet Foods?

Spring Naturals came about in response to pet caregivers fearing dangerous ingredients from China. And the ingredients list is good. It’s certainly a food option worth considering.

Food safety, for humans and animals, is a huge and complex issue. Hopefully consumer vigilance will hold U.S. companies and government inspectors accountable for providing safe food for all animals, including humans.

Spring Naturals responded. Let’s hope others do as well.

Disclosure: I received a sample of the food and treats from Spring Naturals to review. I was not paid to write a review and the opinions are entirely my own.

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  1. Hey – great product! Tashi has no trouble eating this kibble – something I have not been able to feed him at all due to serious digestive issues…from both ends. I was so pleased and amazed. He adores the cookies (treats) too =) I was so happy they were so straight forward with his answers about China on the AC podcast, and about the difference in quality of ingredients their company chooses over the norm!

  2. I haven’t seen this in stores but it sounds like a great option. I love how common good quality brands like these are becomming. It’s a long way from what I remember as a kid.

  3. Quinoa is an excellent food–not surprising dogs love it too!

  4. I’ve been unhappy with my dog food maker since I found out that they outsourced the making of their product, not to China, but to South Carolina where a lot of cheap and premium dog food is made. The factory seems to be a cesspool of contamination. Our food wasn’t on the recall list, but i was most unhappy to learn where it was made.

    • I understand your concerns, Jan. Many meat-based businesses, both for humans and dogs, are mostly self-regulated. The USDA doesn’t have the funding to hold companies accountable and so they do a lot of their own oversight.

      That doesn’t give factories any incentive to do things that are more expensive (and safer).

  5. Sounds like a pretty nice product. I was disappointed to see barley in the ingredient list on the food with grains, (only cause Toby can’t eat gluten), otherwise I would have considered giving this food a try. :-)

    • Spring Naturals has grain free products. I didn’t ask for one because Honey doesn’t have any food sensitivities. But the treats were grain free. Why don’t you contact the company and ask for a sample?

      • Thanks, but I can’t do grain free here either. I tried going higher protein several times with Meadow (because I keep reading carbs feed cancer) and each time she developed urinary issues. (Drinking too much, urinating with low specific gravity, leaking…)

        Such are the problems of a household of pups with multiple health issues. It seems to be my lot in life to get the weird issues….


  6. Spring Naturals sounds pretty tasty! I wonder if the stores by me have it? Elka is pretty happy with her Blue Buffalo, though.

  7. We love the Spring Naturals treats at casa de Kolchak. (In fact, we even contacted them about being a Treat of the Week!) We’re always so thrilled when treats are made of real food and especially such a high portion of MEAT! I love that they are offering a quinoa base as well. It’s a huge favourite here at Casa de Kolchak, the pups eat it fresh cooked all the time and I often use quinoa flours in treats.

  8. I love seeing what ingredients go into good dog kibble these days. They contain so many interesting things like fruit and herbs. Dandelion is a traditional healing plant. Good for liver and digestion I think.

  9. Thanks for keeping us up to date on good foods. I need dry food for BJ and will buy a small bag.

  10. We have also been buying treats sourced only from the US (with the few NewZeland Rabbit exceptions) for a long time. Better safe than sorry.

  11. It sounds like pretty good quality! As long as Honey endorses it, I think that’s the important part. :)

  12. Do they make cat food? I recently found out that Proctor and Gamble bought California Natural and now none of the stores I shop at are carrying it :(

    I’m glad Honey is enjoying it!!

    • They do make cat food, Julie. But the press info I got didn’t say much about it. As you know, dog people couldn’t possibly also like cats. :)

  13. Sounds good. Always gotta wonder about the “natural flavor” ingredient, right? Because if it was a natural flavor of the ingredients it wouldn’t have to be listed. Would be worth asking how is their natural flavor made and from what.