4Health Canned Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The 4Health product line includes four canned dog foods.
However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the company’s website, it’s impossible for us to report specific life stage recommendations for these recipes.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- 4Health Lamb and Rice Formula
- 4Health Beef and Vegetable Stew
- 4Health Chicken and Rice Formula
- 4Health Chicken and Vegetable Stew
4Health Beef and Vegetable Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
4Health Beef and Vegetable Stew
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef broth, chicken, egg, peas, beef, potatoes, carrots, dried beet pulp, guar, salt, flaxseed meal, natural flavor, caramel, potassium chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), d-calcium pantothenate, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), calcium sulfate, choline chloride, sodium tripolyphosphate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||28%||20%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||34%||51%||15%|
The first ingredient in this dog food lists beef broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The second ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third ingredient is eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The fourth ingredient mentions peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The sixth item is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The seventh item lists carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The eighth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
The ninth ingredient is guar, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With three notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed meal is one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seed meal is particularly rich in soluble fiber.
Next, caramel is a coloring agent made by caramelizing carbohydrates. It’s used by pet food manufacturers to impart a golden brown tint to the finished product.
Even though caramel is considered safe by the FDA, we’re always disappointed to find any added coloring in a pet food.
That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
4Health Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, 4Health canned dog food looks like an above average wet product.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 43% and a mean fat level of 28%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 22% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 64%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a notable amount of meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to use non-chelated minerals in its recipes. Without this lower quality ingredient, we’d have been compelled to award this line our highest rating.
4Health canned dog food is a meat-based wet product using a notable amount of chicken or beef as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
04/23/2011 Original review
12/18/2012 Review updated
03/25/2013 Review updated
03/25/2013 Last Update