— Hey, did you know that this dog food has organic meat? — my friend Jasper exclaimed.
I grabbed glasses and read the label. Yep, he was right.
The label said Newman’s Own. He bought it recently through their website.
I’ve heard about Newman’s Own (and not just because of Paul Newman), but a quick glance made me want to learn more about this dog food brand.
All pet parents know that not many wet pet foods have organic meat as their first ingredient. But is that enough for a complete and balanced diet?
Let’s put our pet–food spectacles on and take a closer look.
About Newman’s Own Brand
Newman’s Own is a company founded in 1982 by the actor Paul Newman and author A. E. Hotchner. The company is headquartered in Westport, Connecticut.
Nowadays, Newman’s Own produces and sells various food products, beverages, organic products, and pet food. They also provide recipes on their website.
The company’s beginnings are tied to a homemade salad dressing — which Paul and A. E. initially gave out to friends and family. The company is known for using humorous labels on its products, e.g. the salad dressing label was “Fine Foods Since February.”
But, more importantly, what sets this company apart (other than Paul being on every label in a different garment) is that 100% of their after-tax profits goes to charities.
According to their website, Newman’s Own Foundation has donated over 570 million dollars to 22 000 organizations worldwide since 1982.
Is Newman’s Own Made in the USA?
Yes, Newman’s Own Inc. sources and makes products in the USA.
The organic products are USDA Certified Organic. This means that a third party has tested the products and confirmed that at least 95% of the products are organic.
The company doesn’t do animal testing, except “taste-testing” of dog foods. Taste-testing is done with animals awaiting adoption in local humane shelters.
Newman’s Own Dog Food Review
Newman’s Own dog food includes canned food and dog treats at the moment.
The company used to produce dry dog food, but the line was discontinued.
The canned food is divided into two brand lines:
- Newman’s Own Classic canned dog food
- Newman’s Own Organics canned dog food
The brand line includes grain-free (Newman’s Own Organics) and grain-inclusive (Newman’s Own Classic) options.
All the formulas in the range meet the AAFCO (American Feed Control Officials) nutrition guidelines for maintenance.
Newman’s Own Classic Canned Dog Food
Newman’s Own Classic is canned dog food meant for adult dogs. The products are grain-inclusive.
The brand line consists of 4 formulas:
- Chicken & Brown Rice Dinner for Dogs
- Chicken Dinner for Dogs
- Turkey & Brown Rice Dinner for Dogs
- Turkey & Chicken Dinner for Dogs
The crude protein in formulas ranges from 8% to 9%. For a wet formula, this is quite enough to provide your dog with sufficient protein.
The protein primarily comes from whole meats — either organic chicken or turkey. In some cases, like Turkey & Chicken dinner formula, the first two ingredients are both organic turkey and organic chicken.
These are all high-quality animal protein sources. Furthermore, these formulas use organic whole meats. Organic meat typically means three things:
- Animals are raised in good living conditions (they can move around freely)
- Animals get 100% organic feed
- No antibiotics or additional hormones are used
All of these indicate that your dog will be getting a good, high-quality protein.
Crude fat in the formulas is 5-7%. The fat sources are whole meats, poultry liver, salmon, ocean white fish, and flaxseed. Seeing that the whole meats come first, this is a well-rounded recipe.
In fact, ocean fish and flaxseed are naturally rich in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. It’s great that the fish is first on the ingredient list, several places before flaxseed.
Flaxseed does have some Omega-3s, but it is an incomplete source. Fish, on the other hand, provides complete Omega-3s.
Omega-3s are crucial for a dog’s heart health, healthy skin, and shiny fur. The combo above is a good, high-quality source.
The fiber in these formulas comes from organic brown rice, sweet potatoes, oat bran, and dried kelp. We like that carbs are high-quality sources of fiber and energy.
This is especially true for organic brown rice recipe. Brown rice is a whole grain that offers many health benefits. It is naturally rich in nutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is also a slow-digesting carb — which means there are no blood sugar spikes.
Instead, the energy is released slowly.
Overall, Newman’s Own Classic dog food seems like a very high-quality and delicious wet food or kibble topper.
Newman’s Own Organics Canned Dog Food
The brand line includes 3 formulas:
- Organics Chicken & Liver Dinner for Dogs
- Organics Chicken Dinner for Dogs
- Organics Turkey Dinner for Dogs
All the formulas in this brand line meet the AAFCO guidelines for adult dogs.
Crude protein content in Newman’s Own Organics is 9-10% on a wet matter basis. This is a good protein percentage, excellent for the maintenance stage.
Protein is essential for dogs because it preserves and builds muscles. The amino acids also participate in vital body processes.
But the quantity itself doesn’t say much — that’s why you always want to look at the protein sources, too.
In the case of Newman’s Own Organics, the first ingredients are always whole meats. Namely, organic chicken and organic turkey. Both of these are high-quality sources of animal protein.
Other protein sources include poultry liver, organic chicken broth, and ground dried peas (to some extent).
Luckily, there was no ingredient splitting in Newman’s Own Organics dog food. Peas certainly contribute some protein, but it should be fine in these specific formulas. How do we know? Several reasons:
- Protein is high(er) to begin with
- Whole meats are the first ingredient
- There was no ingredient splitting
Still, any grain-free formula is bound to come with a warning these days. In 2018, FDA issued a report about the potential link between grain-free diets and DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) in dogs. Since then, progress has been made — and it seems, for now, that peas are the main culprit.
The amount of peas in Newman’s Own Organics is unlikely to cause significant issues. However, it’s always good to consult a vet first before choosing grain-free options for your furry friend.
As for crude fat, Newman’s Own Organics has 5-8%. The Turkey Dinner formula is highest in fat, with 8%. This might come in handy if you have an active dog who needs a little extra boost of energy.
However, if your dog is overweight, stick to the first two formulas in the line.
Fat is a bit problematic in these formulas. Newman’s Own Organics dog food doesn’t have flaxseed nor fish, so it’s hard to pinpoint if there are enough Omega-3s (if any).
While it’s debatable whether canned food should be hard on Omega-3s, we still prefer to see some at least. Especially since these formulas are grain-free and contain peas.
Omega-3s are essential for heart health, so make sure that the accompanying dry dog food you’re using has enough of them.
Finally, the crude fiber is 1% in all the formulas. This is fine for wet dog food and dog food toppers.
However, the fiber in Newman’s Own Organics mainly comes from peas. As we mentioned, peas are a good source of fiber, but they carry their own risk related to DCM.
It’s a little surprising that the Newman’s Own Organics formulas don’t include some form of potatoes. They are often used to mitigate the side effects of peas and introduce additional vitamins and minerals.
Newman’s Own Ingredient Quality
The dog foods in this range have some great natural and organic ingredients, but several ingredients require a bit of discussion.
Let’s look at the ingredients and how they compare.
The bulk of proteins come from whole meats. All the formulas use organic chicken or organic turkey as the first ingredient.
This is really good because your dog is getting a highly digestible, high-quality protein.
These animal sources are complemented with others: poultry liver, salmon, white fish, ground dried peas.
Poultry liver can be a bit problematic because it is unnamed. We don’t know what kind of poultry is used. So, if this is an organic chicken liver and your dog is allergic (a very common allergy), this could be an issue.
Additionally, peas are not the best source of protein. Vegetable protein is considered inferior to animal sources. Luckily, the peas in these formulas are unlikely to contribute much protein.
Overall, we are quite glad that organic whole meats dominate the range.
Fiber & Carbs
The fiber and carbs sources will differ depending on the brand line within the range, i.e. whether the formula is grain-free or grain-inclusive.
For grain-inclusive formulas, fiber and carbs come from high-quality grains. Brown rice is the main carb source and a very nice one. It is a whole grain with many health benefits and usually seen in premium dog foods.
Brown rice is accompanied by sweet potatoes and oat bran, which bring more vitamins, minerals, and energy.
Grain-free wet food, however, relies solely on peas for fiber and carbs. Peas are a good source of fiber, but they are considered somewhat cheaper ingredients.
There is nothing inherently wrong with them — except that grain-free options usually include sweet potatoes and regular potatoes. This way, a better nutritional profile is achieved.
So, overall, we think that grain-inclusive formulas offer much better options and a better nutritional profile in terms of carb sources.
Grain-inclusive formulas feature some wonderful sources of fats.
Besides whole meats, they also have some kind of fish (salmon, white fish, or both) and flaxseed.
This means that they also provide your dog with beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids and in a good ratio.
It’s somewhat disappointing that we can’t say the same for grain-free formulas. Other than meats, poultry liver, and chicken broth, you’d be hard-pressed to find another source of fat.
This is a pity because grain-free formulas should include Omega-3s for heart health.
So, in this case, too, we believe that Newman’s Own Classic brand line takes the win over Newman’s Own Organics dog food.
Newman’s Own range doesn’t use artificial colors or artificial flavors. This is awesome because more customers are rooting for natural ingredients. Some artificial colors cause allergic reactions in dogs, so it’s best to avoid them when possible.
However, the food does include carrageenan, a somewhat controversial ingredient.
Carrageenan is widely used in canned pet foods. It is a thickening agent extracted from seaweed.
The problem with carrageenan is that it comes in two forms: degraded and undegraded. Degraded carrageenan is known to cause cancer in rats, and digestive issues in dogs and humans, potentially leading to lesions and inflammation.
However, there is little evidence that food-grade carrageenan (undegraded) transforms into degraded one through digestion. So this is still a matter of discussion — but this thickening agent itself is FDA-approved.
Vitamins and Minerals
All the formulas in the range are enriched with standard vitamins and minerals. The formulas include vitamins A and E, B-vitamins, B12, and many other vitamins to support a dog’s everyday health.
Newman’s Own dog foods also contain chelated minerals. Chelated minerals are generally better absorbed by dogs and provide them with more health benefits.
Newman’s Own Dog Food Reviews
The majority of online dog food reviews are positive.
The commenters love the price of this organic dog food. They also praise organic ingredients and responsible sourcing.
Furthermore, many commenters say that their picky eaters adore the taste of the food. Chicken Dinner formula seems to be particularly popular among dog owners.
A portion of pet parents complains about the strong smell of fish. However, there are more complaints about the cans themselves, not the food. It seems that some customers received dented cans or the lids were open.
A typical comment on Newman’s Own canned food looks something like this:
“Just the basic ingredients in this dog food…..Chicken and Brown Rice! My two big dogs just love this dinner and eat every bite and lick the bowls. They never seem to get enough of it!”You can find more Newman’s Own dog food reviews on Chewy.
Newman’s Own Dog Food Recalls
Since its inception, Newman’s Own pet food products have had no recall.
This is great since it is a testament to the company’s efforts and the quality of the ingredients. Newman’s Own dog food has been around for a long time and having no recall is assuring.
The company discontinued their dry dog food on their own.
It’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for new recalls. You can do so by visiting the FDA database of recall alerts.
Legal Issues & Controversies
After the actor Paul Newman passed away in 2008, Bob Forrester was named the president and the CEO of Newman’s Own. Bob is believed to have been handpicked as a successor by Paul Newman himself.
Soon, a series of incidents occurred. Over 10 years, Forrester’s salary increased from 195,000$ to 273,000$ a year. He removed the images of Nell Newman, Paul’s daughter, from some of the products. Nell was the one to introduce the organic line to Newman’s Own.
Finally, in 2019, Forrester was removed as the CEO after the internal investigation and accusations of inappropriate behavior towards female employees. The company appointed Jennifer Turner as the interim CEO.
During Forrester’s reign, the company was also under a tax investigation. Namely, the Newman’s Own company ownership passed on to the Newman’s Own Foundation. However, because of the 1969 law, the foundation could not own more than 20% of the company.
According to this law, Newman’s Own was to pay 200% tax on its foundation’s assets.
Two US senators from Connecticut, Blumenthal, and Murphy, managed to reword the bill and make Newman’s Own Foundation an exception.
There are lots of things to love about Newman’s Own dog food.
It’s budget-friendly and offers some exquisite ingredients. Organic meat is rarely used in dog foods, and these cans just deliver it in all of their recipes.
Furthermore, there are multiple animal protein sources. This ensures a highly nutritious, beneficial meal for your pooch.
Yet, there are several things to consider: carrageenan and lack of Omega-3 sources in Newman’s Own Organics formulas.
However, seeing that this is wet dog food, it might not be as bad as it would be with dry pet food. We still advise you to talk to the vet, though.
But, overall, we believe Newman to be remarkably good dog food. Coupled with the company’s philanthropic efforts, it makes a great choice.
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