American Journey Grain Free (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★★

American Journey Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The American Journey product line includes 7 dry recipes.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • American Journey Beef and Sweet Potato [A]
  • American Journey Lamb and Sweet Potato [A]
  • American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato [A]
  • American Journey Chicken and Sweet Potato [A]
  • American Journey Puppy Lamb and Sweet Potato [G]
  • American Journey Puppy Chicken and Sweet Potato [G]
  • American Journey Large Breed Chicken and Sweet Potato (4.5 stars) [A]

American Journey Lamb and Sweet Potato Grain Free recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

American Journey Lamb and Sweet Potato Grain Free

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 41%

Ingredients: Deboned lamb, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, dried beet pulp, pea protein, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, flaxseed, menhaden fish meal, salmon oil, blueberries, carrots, salt, dried kelp, fructooligosaccharides, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, mixed tocopherols (natural preservative), ferrous sulfate, zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, iron proteinate, Yucca schidigera extract, taurine, niacin supplement, copper sulfate, potassium chloride, sodium selenite, calcium pantothenate, copper proteinate, riboflavin supplement, manganese sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, vitamin A supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, calcium iodate, vitamin D3 supplement, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis32%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%16%41%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%33%36%
Protein = 31% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 36%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The fourth 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 meat content of this dog food.

The fifth ingredient lists chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth 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 seventh 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 eighth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The ninth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

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 five notable exceptions

First, we find flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Next, we note the inclusion of menhaden fish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

In addition, this recipe includes salmon oil. Salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

Next, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener2 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

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.

American Journey Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, American Journey Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry 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 36%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 41%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 35% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 42%.

Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, chickpeas, pea protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

American Journey Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using a significant amount of named meats 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.

American Journey Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
and Discounts

Readers are invited to check for coupons and discounts shared by others in our Dog Food Coupons Forum.

Or click the buying tip below. Please be advised we receive a fee for referrals made to the following online store.

A Final Word

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

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

Notes and Updates

02/25/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Wikipedia definition
  • Maggie

    Have you slowly transitioned the dog food?

  • Veronika

    For puppies yeah for older not necessarily only health ailments would lead senior dogs to eat less fat and less protein, the life stage formulas are actually not completely necessary. (Each stage of life after puppy I mean, not like all life stages those foods are fine, raw and freeze dried foods are all life stages after all).

    If your like some people who feed a freeze dried food that food is always 40% protein and 25-37% fat, now that’s lowered once you add water, but it’s always the same amount throughout life, dogs who have lost mobility from joint problems should be fed food with green lipped mussels in it and other joint supplements like turmeric, I don’t find glucosamine to help very much, I’ve tried it for Rusty with the Blackhawk kibble and his leg problem always returns while on the K9 Natural or Frontier it does not.
    So joint problems should first be addressed as naturally as possible through food before resorting to more drastic measures, including lower fat foods because of little movement.

    Most senior dogs on actual real food never become senior in the least, they run around, jump around and bounce around like their puppies, if the owner said believe it or not he’s 22 years old you wouldn’t have believed it.

    My Rusty would be a good show of this if he didn’t have a heart murmur hopefully the onset of the actual disease doesn’t happen for a very long time because he may just end up being a bouncy senior at 15-17, he’s like 10 right now and super bouncy as it is and despite the murmur he likes to walk his own walks no matter the distance, of course once I see that he’s truly tired I pick him up regardless if he wants it or not.

  • Marc Rabinowitz

    For this food, I noticed that the puppy variety has 30% protein, 12% min fat and 419 calories per cup. The “all stages” variety has 32% protein, 14% min fat and 430 calories per cup. Isn’t this backwards? Don’t puppies need more fat, more protein and more calories than adult and senior dogs? It doesn’t seem like they gave much thought to this.

  • Leslie Sklamberg

    I also just bought a bag of because of the 1/2 price special that Chewy offered (plus the high rating on this website). One dog seems to be fine with it but my other dog has thrown-up twice in the last two weeks shortly after she eats. After reading the comments on this forum I thing I’ll stop feeding it to any of my dogs. Better safe than sorry.

  • Anne Mitts

    You cannot get a recall history because chewey will not disclose who the manufactutrer is. I am changing foods.

  • Anne Mitts

    I started my pups on this food and was about to buy another bag because of the rating and my dogs seem to like it but I decided to have a chat with one of the customer service people and asked who made this food. they couldn’t tell me so even though my pups like it, I am switching. I have the right to know where my dog food is being made.

  • kelley blake

    My dogs have been on the beef & sweet potato for 4 weeks. I just got home from the vet where my Bull Mastiff had to have emergency surgery. The vet specifically said it was the dog food…..he wasn’t able to digest it. Sad thing is I had noticed already that 2 of my other dogs had been eating at least 1/2 of what they were normally eating.

    I would NEVER recommend this food to anyone.

  • Mary Frances Fallaw

    How do you get access to the list?

  • Jena

    Dear Customer Service rep, this is absolutely incorrect. I spoke to management and they have the list of ingredients now that are sourced from 5 different countries. Please gain access to the list. USA, Canada, Australia Belgium & China are your sourcing countries. And the info is proprietary because Chewy isn’t actually making the food, it’s being made by another dog food company in their plant located in Kansas. It’s being labeled as chewy label only.

  • Jena

    Very true.

    Chewy has now been sold to petsmart. Has also the rights to the brand been sold as well? It’s gone now from bad to worse. I’m pulling my business. I refuse to support an organization who is so intent on supporting PETA and HSUS, that they beg you for money every time you go to a register

  • Mary Frances Fallaw

    Here is a response I received from Chewy when I asked where their ingredients were sourced from and explained that I’ve been seeing that some ingredients are sourced from China. I asked about a specific recipe, so some of the others may have a different answer.

    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3a3b930a765b949093498e74c4a5c77988c2c79113815b28b6715bcc1651dfc4.jpg

  • Mary

    I would steer clear of this food until Chewy decides to be transparent and remove the secrecy cloak regarding whom is producing this food…with all the recalls, it’s important to know that piece of info. They refuse to disclose, stating it’s proprietary. Also, the minerals/vitamins are primarily sulfates, which is NOT the best in terms of being absorbed and utilized by dogs. Dog Food Advisor needs to consider these things. in my opinion. Disappointed with this brand thus far, and the fact that Chewy is remaining firm in their position to keep important info hidden.

  • lovestorun

    My two dogs love this food and have had no diarrhea problems. They are happy and walk with me several miles everyday. After getting home they are running around in the back yard all day. I’ve had their blood tested and the results were very good and no change from before they started on American Journey. I am going to do another blood test in a couple of months to make sure nothing is harming their organs. I usually do a test once a year but a couple more when switching dog food. The dogs didn’t eat another brad very well is the reason for the switch.

  • guest2

    Thanks for that info!!!! I won’t be trying it!

  • Christine Daley

    Understood!! LOL!!

  • BoxerBliss

    The food has agreed with my pack of five. It is concerning however information coming out about ingredients sourced from China, would defiantly want more information on this before feeding again. In the meantime I will be going back to Victor. I am sure Orijen is a great food, but considering how many rescues I have not an option for us.

  • Erin Dibbs

    Funny enough, I switched my bull terrier to this food, the lamb and sweet potato version, and it’s the only food she’s been on that hasn’t given her diarrhea.

  • gmcbogger38

    I have a dog with diarrhea and what is helping him is cooked ground turkey (low fat) and plain canned pumpkin mixed half and half. Rice isn’t the best to give with diarrhea because it can actually be an irritant, that’s what the majority of holistic vets say, anyway. Just wanted share my experience to see if it could help.

  • Christine Daley

    Just remember chewy sells from low end to high end!! They really don’t care!! Don’t trust this food!! Possibly sourcing ingredients from china. Who makes this food?? I wouldn’t buy it no matter how much they gave off!! My children are Orijen, primal and ziwipeak pups! Be careful!! LOL!!

  • Jena

    Did he say which ingredient ? I have an email from Chewey that states the same thing.

  • Cynthia Kortz

    Today “Dave” from Chewy told me that ONE of their ingredients is sourced in China…..

  • Cynthia Kortz

    I just talked to Chewy about this food and they won’t reveal the company that makes it and also they told me that ONE ingredient is sourced from CHINA!

  • Megan Prentice

    After reading the dog food advisor review and seeing the 1/2 off price on chewy, I decided to buy a bag of the American Journey beef and sweet potato dry dog food. I gradually introduced the food to my bull terrier but it did NOT agree with her, so I was forced to stop. I cut out all food for 24 hours and followed up with a diet consisting of boiled chicken, white rice and pumpkin. She’s been eating small portions of that for 4 days now. Her poop still isnt solid but it’s slowly getting better. I guess you get what you pay for.

  • debbie

    Shame on dogfoodadvisor for giving this food five stars. The second ingredient in every recipe is chicken meal. The first ingredient may be a protein but after removing the moisture the first real ingredient is chicken meal. The food also has peas and chickpeas listed one after another and further down there is pea protein-a cheap way to increase protein levels and a way to trick consumers since all those peas likely.make up more than the meats and have been split up so that it doesn’t need to be listed that e ay.
    What exactly is “natural flavor”?
    And the bulk of the minerals are sulfates that are not absorbable by a dog. So its great that the food has them to comply with AAFCO but too bad the dog will not receive the required levels. It will be sad to read the condition of the dogs who eat this long term.

  • Jena

    At this time, Chewy contacted me and has available all ingredients and where they are imported from: Primarily ingredients are from USA, New Zealand, Canada, Belgium. The location of the chewy plant that manufactures this pet food is located in Kansas. The name of the plant, and its specific location are proprietary and can not be released. I’m happy with the answers except the location. I hope Chewy decides to allow the public to know the location of the plant. Its important to me, to know, where my food for dogs is coming from. The food is labeled American Journey by Chewy. Chewy isn’t the actual manufacturer. So is it possible that Chewy is utilizing one of the big 4 pet food chains to create their brand?

    Hill’s, Nestlé Purina, Mars Petcare and J.M. Smucker’s Big Heart Pet Brands represent 56 percent of global retail pet food sales. Hill’s Pet Nutrition has its corporate headquarters, a manufacturing plant and a lab in Topeka, and Hill’s owns another manufacturing operation in Emporia, Kan. The other large pet food companies are headquartered elsewhere but maintain substantial manufacturing operations in the region.
    These four companies generated more than $37 billion in pet food sales in 2012, when the industry produced $65.8 billion in sales worldwide. The global pet food industry is expected to grow to $95.7 billion by 2017, according to PetFoodIndustry.com.

  • Jena

    the product American Journey sources its ingredients from another country. They decline in telling you which country. We all know the quality of foods coming from china being important to dog food companies is a death sentence for your dog or cat. So at this time, until Chewy tells you where exactly their plant is, and where exactly the foods are sourced, I will not buy this product. I did speak to a rep who said Kentucky, but no plant is found. I spoke to another rep who states the plant to produce American Journey is not in the USA. But some ingredients being used are from USA. ??? I buy all of my food from Chewy, and I’m not changing, I’ve referred at least 50 people to chewy. I’ve been loyal. However they need to stay out of manufacturing until they can be honest of where they get their ingredients and where they are located.

  • Stephanie Shock

    This is the second bag of food I bought for our new puppy, the first being Nulo. He likes his one SO much more than Nulo. We are definitely sticking to this. He pooped a lot more frequently and larger piles on Nulo as well.

  • BoxerBliss

    I just bought a bag from Chewy. Buy your first bag of this brand and get fifty percent off. Couldn’t pass it up! Glad to see it gets high ratings.

  • Linda Harwell

    hi marie–look at least for foods that say”no corn wheat or soy.” and check the recall history where this food is made. i am trying to get that info–if i do i will let you know. this food looks very good and affordable for a grain free fo
    rmula.

  • Marie Owly

    Thank you for the review!! I submitted a request for review of this brand and I’m pleased how quickly it was done. I’m very excited for my puppy to try this new food. We’re switching from a brand that lists corn as its second ingredient.