Natural dog food

The best dog food is made from human-grade ingredients with high-quality animal proteins, whole grains, vegetables and is naturally preserved, according to Michelle Smith, owner of Natural Pet Center of Fargo since 2005.

Natural Pet Center of Fargo does not sell dog food brands that include by-products, corn, fillers or chemical preservatives, according to its web site.

If Michelle can provide the tools for people to help their pets live longer, healthier and happier lives, she said it is all worth it.

Her goal is to provide the community with premium pet food and supplies.

“Our pets are a part of our families, and we want to keep them around as long as we can,” she said.

Healthy dog food

Black lab mix Ace shopping at Natural Pet Center in FargoNatural Pet Center carries natural dog and cat food, including raw, refrigerated and dehydrated food.

Some of the natural brands sold at Natural Pet Center include Solid Gold, Nutrisource, Spot’s Stew, California Natural, Nature’s Variety, Wellness, Sojourner Farms, Canidae, Felidae, Innova, Flint River Ranch, Primal, Weruva, Before Grain, Taste of the Wild, Best Feline Friend, Mulligan Stew and Tiki Cat.

No matter what brand or diet you decide to feed your pet, Michelle is right there to answer your questions.

“I always have some people that apologize for asking too many questions. You can never ask too many questions!” Michelle said.  “If we don’t have an answer for you, we will call manufacturers and do the research for you to help you out.”

Choosing the right dog food

Michelle offered some suggestions for selecting a healthy dog food. Look for dog food ingredients with:

1. High-quality animal proteins

The first two or more ingredients should be high-quality animal proteins (no by-products!). Stay away from general terms such as “meat meal” or “poultry meal” because it could be just about anything.

2. Grain-free dog food

Choose a food that is grain-free or contains high-quality grains such as brown rice or oatmeal. Avoid corn and wheat.

3. Good-quality vegetables.

The food should have good-quality vegetables, fruits, supplements, vitamins and natural preservatives.

Benefits of natural dog food

Many customers tell Michelle their dogs have healthier skin and coats and their dogs have smaller or less frequent stools after switching to a natural diet.

“As you change to a better quality food you will also see that your pet will eat less because there is more usable nutrition in their diet,” Michelle said.  “They will stay at a healthy weight and less active, and older pets will get a little ‘pep’ in their step.”

Ranger the Bernese Mountain dog puppy closeupYellow lab mix puppy named HunterMichelle said she feeds her yellow lab and Bernese mountain dog (pictured, as puppies) a variety of food in order to keep it balanced.

“Our dogs are probably two of the most spoiled dogs when it comes to food, treats and toys!” she said. “Their parents own a pet supply store for heaven’s sake!”

Some of her dogs’ favorites include Innova mixed with canned food, dehydrated food or some healthy veggies and table scraps.

“We like to mix it up, so their diet does change from day to day,” Michelle said.

Raw dog food

Natural pet Center in Fargo sells raw dog food, grain free dog food and natural dog foodNatural Pet Center offers options for those interested in feeding their pets a raw diet. The simplest approach is to feed the complete raw diet offered in the store, Michelle said. A more hands-on option is to use base mixes.

For those who want to get serious and make up a complete raw diet, Michelle recommends pet owners do their research.

“Unfortunately, you can’t get away with mixing hamburger, rice and beans together and calling it a complete diet,” she said.

For more information, Natural Pet Center offers brochures and samples in the store and includes links to all the pet food companies from its web site.

Michelle also suggested the following resources:

“If you have any questions along the way or are needing more information about the foods we carry, always feel open to calling, emailing or stopping in to chat about food,” Michelle said.

Save money on dog food

Larry the longhaired cat at Natural Pet Center in FargoNatural dog food typically costs more than regular brands. When people are trying to cut back, expensive dog food might be the first on the list.

“With the current state of the economy, everyone is trying to save money. But that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on your pet’s food,” Michelle said.

For a great food at a great price, she recommends Canidae. This dog food is meant for dogs of all ages and provides all the nutrition they need.

“Although it has a lower price then some of our other foods, it contains high-quality proteins, grains, vitamins and minerals and extra oils to keep their skin and coat healthy,” Michelle said.

For more savings, Natural Pet Center offers different specials each month. Additional specials are offered in Larry’s online newsletter. Larry (pictured) is the cat who lives in the store.

Pet supplies Fargo Moorhead

Natural Pet Center has a wide selection of healthy treats, unique toys, pet supplies and even people clothing and gift items.

Michelle said she is constantly on the lookout for new and unique products. If the store does not carry an item you are looking for, she will put in a special order with multiple items at no extra cost.

Grooming services at Natural Pet Center

Natural Pet Center offers full grooming for all breeds of dogs and cats. Grooming services include breed-specific styling, shaves, hand scissoring, bath and brush, nails, ear cleaning, anal glands, face trims and paw trims.

Cats for adoption

black cat for adoption in FargoSeveral cats are up for adoption at Natural Pet Center.

If you are considering adopting a cat, stop by and check out some of the homeless cats.

Win free pet products!

For your chance to win some free samples of pet food, treats and toys from Natural Pet Center, all you have to do is leave a comment saying what kind of food your dog eats.

I will pick two winners at random Oct. 21. Please specify if you live in the Fargo-Moorhead area because there will be two winners, one local and one from elsewhere.

Natural Pet Center information:


By appointment Tuesdays through Saturdays

Store hours:

9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays

Location:Promenade Mall at 3037 13th Ave. S. in Fargo

(one block west of the Ground Round on the north side of 13th Avenue)




23 thoughts on “Natural dog food”

  1. Sounds like the woman you want to be running a pet store. Your so lucky, living in a small rural town we are limmitted in what is available and most costs so much more due to transporting it here. Its also a great reminder that your dogs health is literally in your hands and everyone should make informed decisions on their care.

  2. I’ve been feeding my dog Innova Evo from the NPC for about 2 months now. I’m very happy with it, and my dog really seems to like it. Michelle helped me pick out a dog food when I first came in, and my dog loves to see her when we go because she always has treats!

  3. I feed my dog California Naturals lamb & rice. She likes it, her coat is shiny, and her stools are pretty small and firm.

  4. Surprisingly, my dog isn’t very into eating. I buy him Natural Balance, which is what I settled on after trying a few premium and finding he wasn’t too crazy about them. I think he just isn’t super excited about eating in general. Kota eats more when he’s had a lot of exercise and less when he hasn’t–very good self-control!

  5. I feed my dog, Dutch, Innova Evo that I purchase from NPC. Dutch was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago. Following that diagnosis I wanted to switch him to a low-carbohydrates food as carbs tend to “feed” cancer cells. My vet recommended a Science Diet prescription food, which could only be purchased in cans. I just didn’t want to deal with the storage, use and disposal of cans. Upon researching dog cancer related websites and books, I determined that Innova Evo would be the best choice for Dutch.
    Dutch’s cancerous tumor (lump under his chin) was surgically removed (with clean margins) and since he has not had any reoccurrances. I’m not sure if the food is helping or not but he seems to be doing really good on it. His coat is very soft and silky.

    My other dog, Jake, has a bit of a weight control issue and he can be a bit fussy about his food. He tends to get bored with a particular food after a while so I routinely switch brands every few months. Currently he is eating Nutrisource Weight Management formula.

  6. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks for letting us know, Lisa!

    Emily, sounds like we could all learn a lesson from Kota.

    Patti, I’m so sorry about Dutch’s health issues, but sounds like he has been doing great on Innova. I was surprised to hear you say Jake is a fussy eater! He’s not fussy about treats!

  7. I feed Emmett and Lucas Science Diet, which I know isn’t the best or the worst, but it fits our budget and their lifestage for now. However, I do supplement it to improve their overall nutrition. So for dinner, a few days a week they’ll get vegetables (steamed broccoli or carrots, pumpkin puree, etc) mixed in, and the remaining days I’ll replace 1/3 of their dry food for some high-quality canned food like Blue Buffalo. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, and it helps me feel like I’m taking a proactive approach to their nutrition, while staying within my budget!

  8. Hi! I just came across your blog–I feed my dog Premium Edge (skin & coat formula) food. She really likes it, it doesn’t break my bank account and it’s good for her. 🙂

  9. Lindsay Stordahl

    Hi Jenny. Thanks for stopping by! Glad that food is working out well for you and your dog. I have not heard of it.

  10. Jack and Allie eat the Innova dry and canned foods. It was recommended by our local pet store, and they both do really well on it. I swear Jack’s coat sparkles in the sun. Happy to see that the brand got a shout out on your blog!

  11. Lindsay Stordahl

    Congrats Amanda and Lisa! You are the winners of some free samples from Natural Pet Center. I will be emailing you for your mailing addresses.

  12. Lindsay Stordahl

    Seems like most dogs will eat almost any kind of dry food no matter what the quality. I know Ace will eat anything!

  13. We use Nature’s Select dog food. I found it when I was looking for a food that my Rottie mix could eat. We had her tested and she was allergic to everything! Nature’s Select is human grade ingredients with only natural preservatives and no bi-products or fillers. It also is delivered to our house (mailed). We have all 8 of our dogs on it and it costs about $100 a month for 100 lbs. I looked at the ingredients and they don’t quite follow what you said, but my dogs are doing well on it. Should I worry?

  14. We currently feed our Shepherd/Chesapeake Bay Retriever cross Kirkland Super Premium Dog Food, mixing about a quarter of a can of “Lean Cuts” can food per serving. Neither dog food contain “byproducts”. They seem like good quality dog food. I switch b/w the Lamb and Chicken.
    Our new German Shepherd pup was weaned to Nutrisource, and doesnt digest even a partial mix including the Kirkland Puppy Super premium, very well.
    I treat them to ground raw venison from time to time. They love that!

    I am considering introducing them both to Innova Evo this week, after researching foods a little more lately.

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