Against the Grain Dog Food (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Against the Grain Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Against the Grain product line lists two canned dog foods. However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the product’s web page, 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.

  • Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy
  • Against the Grain Pulled Chicken with Gravy

Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.

Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 56% | Fat = 11% | Carbs = 25%

Ingredients: Beef, beef broth, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, peas, tomato paste, potato starch, liver, sea salt, calcium sulfate, olive oil, potassium chloride, taurine, vitamins and minerals (calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, niacinamide, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A acetate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, manganese proteinate, folic acid, riboflavin, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 8.3%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis10%2%NA
Dry Matter Basis56%11%25%
Calorie Weighted Basis52%25%24%

The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient is 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 third ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The fourth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The fifth ingredient is apple, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.

The sixth ingredient includes 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 seventh ingredient is tomato paste. Unlike the controversial item, tomato pomace, the tomato paste detailed here does not include the skin or seeds of the fruit.

The eighth ingredient includes potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.

The ninth ingredient is liver. Normally, liver can be considered a quality component. However, in this case, the source of the liver is not identified. For this reason, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.

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 two notable exceptions

First, we find olive oil. Olive oil contains oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat. It’s also rich in natural antioxidants and carotenoids.

And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Against the Grain Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Against the Grain 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 56%, a fat level of 11% and estimated carbohydrates of about 25%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 56% and a mean fat level of 11%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 25% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 20%.

Above-average protein. Below-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 canned product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Against the Grain is a meat-based grain-free wet dog food using a generous amount of beef or chicken as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Special Alert

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

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

07/24/2014 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • nicola

    Need a food for my dog that is sugar an grain free as he has suffered with skin yeast infect 4 6months the smell is unbearable an i need help.

  • Parkite2

    If you’re 97 you probably ate food in your younger years that wasn’t as adulterated as so much of the food is now. My grandfather had a farm and while he used DDT liberally he didn’t feed his cows, pigs & chickens, etc. Hormones and antibiotics. So for the most part, we had pretty clean diet as did most people 50 years ago.

  • theBCnut

    Thieves Oil
    4 drops clove oil
    3 drops lemon oil
    2 drops cinnamon oil
    1 drop rosemary oil
    1 drop eucalyptus oil

  • theBCnut

    Nematodes, tomatoes attract them.

  • theBCnut

    I’m not sure where all this came from when all I said was that I like to grow my own. Which deadly side effect is it that I’m supposed to be getting from raising my own chickens, goats, and calf that go to a USDA facility for clean slaughter and processing? BTW, they aren’t organic, but they are as close to as I can manage. In case you haven’t noticed, all of those nasties can be in non organic produce too. Your body needs to be healthy enough to deal with them. John, life is dangerous. Every move you make is one step closer to death. Just live as best you can.

  • Shawna

    Edit — ohhhh, I just thought of a good one… There is a story that three thieves were caught during the bubonic plague stealing from victims of the plague. Yet these three thieves did not succumb to the disease. When caught they were offered leniency if they divulged how they were able to be around the plague without getting ill. They used a concoction of essential oils now referred to as “Thieves Blend”. I don’t know what exactly was in the blend but online recipes state the essential oils of lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus, clove and cinnamon.

    This is just a story but it is widely believed and it is known that lemon is quite antibacterial, cinnamon kills mold etc.

  • Shawna

    Most of us love a conversation that gets us thinking!! Don’t be sorry!!!!!! That’s really odd about the tomato plants???

  • Shawna

    Hi John,

    A chemical in garlic, called allicin, that is activated when the garlic is damaged in any way has been demonstrated to be a very powerful antimicrobial — including against salmonella, e-coli and MRSA.

    E-coli https://www.usc.edu/CSSF/History/2009/Projects/S1710.pdf

    MRSA http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/25704.php

    Oil of Oregano (with active carvacrol) is also quite antimicrobial, maybe even moreso than garlic.

    And the medium chained triglycerides in coconut oil (esp lauric acid) have also demonstrated antibacterial and antiviral properties. “The highest MCFAs-rich coconut oil revealed as much as 90% and 80% antibacterial activities against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, respectively.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23971051

    And, of course, nutrition is a very important aspect of the immune system. Good bacteria, per Penn State, even “prime” neutrophil white blood cells in case of an invasion. The right kinds of calcium, in the blood, signal white blood cells to engulf and consume (phagocytosis) invaders. And there are so many more examples. Personally, I’ll take real, locally grown, food over chemicals any day.. That said, not all “organic” food is “real” food….

  • losul

    Congratulations John, near to be a Centenarian!

    If you were born in 1917, likely you had been eating organic or very near organic over half of your life and didn’t even realize it!

  • john wrona

    sorry you guys, i didn’t mean to go crazy with this but I have kept myself pretty well informed since my father-in-laws tomato plants (couple hundred of them) mysteriously died a couple years in a row (about 1982). He, unbeknownst to him, was organically farming on a small scale) used natural fertilizer, pesticides, etc. and all of a sudden, after a number of years of gardening(rotated his plants, left part of his garden unplanted every year, etc….everything was dying. He was a very good home farmer and we never pursued the causes beyond my research (pre-internet days, so it was pretty hard :-) ).

  • john wrona

    please read my reply below to theBCnut….additional info on organics and antibiotics….

  • john wrona

    black plague, cholera, bubonic plague, salmonella, tetanus (although we’ve pretty much got this one licked), Staphylococcus (over 40 strains, MRSA being one the newest and worst), Streptococcus (worst one is bacterial meningitis), Tuberculosis (14M cases and 1.3M deaths in 2007), and, last but not least, E. Coli (It is one of the most commonly involved in product recall. On the whole, easily treated at the moment with antibiotics; unfortunately, it also quickly grows resistant, so combination therapies may be chosen. E. coli is deadly in areas without antibiotics or treatment.
    I’m not sure the “Organic Lovers of the World” are telling everyone the whole story (maybe because it’s their money-maker)…..I, for one, prefer to take my chances with powerful, identified bacteria-fighters that are seriously tested and approved by virtually every industrial country on the planet.

  • john wrona

    “Critics argue that organic farming leads to the risk of contamination with potentially dangerous bacteria and mould toxins, and increased levels of ‘natural pesticide’ found in organic produce could even be more dangerous than synthetic chemicals. Home ‘organic’ raising of produce and animal feed leaves the door open to potential deadly results especially in that growers who sell less than $5,000/year (or who grow for personal consumption) are totally exposed to potentially deadly side effects with no mandated protection”.

  • john wrona

    “Back to our original question: is there a quality difference between organic and non-organic products? Well, if you as an individual attribute low environmental impact, minimal additive and synthetic-substance use, as well as stricter regulation of farming practices then organic products would probably generally register as such”.

    Also, there’s a lot said about ‘antibiotics given to animals: “FDA Approval Process Is Stringent: FDA has a stringent approval process for veterinary medicines and antibiotics – much like that for human medications. In fact, antibiotics for use in animals require the same testing as those used in humans, with the additional requirement that they must be tested to ensure meat and milk from the animal given the medicine will be safe for human consumption”

    Always a big flap about pesticides on veggies and fruits, strawberries being the current ‘in vogue’ fruit to complain about pesticide usage: ” Even Organic Strawberries Are Grown With Toxic Fumigants”. And, “For years, I’ve been urging consumers to denounce the use of such poisons by buying only organic strawberries. But it turns out, in California at least, most organic strawberries have a dirty secret: they come from plants that spend time on nurseries that use “millions of pounds of toxic chemicals,” including methyl bromide, before being transplanted to organically managed fields, The New York Times reports”.
    So, it appears that the use of the term ‘organic’ means different things to different people…..and, as a whole, (besides feeding you ego by saying “I use organic products”) there is not much difference except the ‘feeling’ that you are eating healthier….proof is very hard to come by.

  • Guest

    funny, i’ve never eaten anything organic and i’m 97….hope you live that long

  • Abderrahman Motrani

    Protein is the best healthy food for your dog http://www.dogsfreefood.blogspot.com

  • Yorkiefan

    I bought a can of this for my diabetic dog and it turned my stomach just to look at it and he upchucked it.

  • jill

    agreed!!!

  • Dana

    They say their products are NOT GMO.

  • http://www.facebook.com/trevorshandling Trevor Shandling

    I work as pet groomer and found out about this food from one of my clients.  I then tried it on my dogs and cat.  All my pets went crazy for it.  I now offer it to all my clients and so far I can see a huge improvement in all their coats.  Great food!  10 Starts.

  • Ralphmclovin

    I tried this via a few free cans from a friend, it looked awesome and my dogs loved it.
    So I bought 4 cases of each kind right before 12-21 last year, just in case the world did end.
    Because I would probably eat this stuff if I had to.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I like to grow my own, thanks.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WNQLEKXDY7VZXRNVCQZYWT5SQY Marge

     Patty if any meat is not organic do not feed it to yourself or your animals.

  • Pattyvaughn

    You know, some things people have to decide for themselves.  This website can’t possibly cover every possible senario for what could be in dog food, but Dr. Mike does a really good job of presenting as many as he can.  It’s up to pet owners to do the research and figure out what they are willing to give their dog.

    By the way, not all beef and chicken are pumped full of growth hormones and antibiotics.  Do a little more research.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WNQLEKXDY7VZXRNVCQZYWT5SQY Marge

    How can you recommend a product full of GMO products i.e. tomatoes, apple, potatoes?

    All beef and chicken are pumped full of growth hormones and anti-bodies which have been proven to be harmful to both our animals and us humans.

  • LabsRawesome

    Dr. Mike, please check your spam folder for my post. TY