Canidae Life Stages canned dog food earns the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.
The Canidae Life Stages product line lists six canned dog foods, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages, two for adult maintenance and one for growth (Large Breed Puppy).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Canidae Life Stages All Life Stages
- Canidae Life Stages Lamb and Rice
- Canidae Life Stages Chicken and Rice
- Canidae Life Stages Platinum (3 stars)
- Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Adult (5 stars)
- Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Puppy (5 stars)
Canidae Life Stages Lamb and Rice formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Canidae Life Stages Lamb and Rice Formula
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Lamb, lamb broth, lamb liver, ocean whitefish, brown rice, guar gum, sunflower oil (source of omega-6 fatty acids), eggs, dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, flaxseed oil (source of omega-3 fatty acids), choline chloride, carrageenan, salt, kelp, cranberries, rosemary extract, Yucca schidigera extract, lecithin, cassia gum, vitamins (ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin D3 supplement, niacin, riboflavin supplement, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, thiamine mononitrate), minerals (zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate)
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||41%||27%||24%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||51%||18%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Lamb is considered “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered” lamb and associated with skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Lamb is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is lamb broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common addition component in many canned products.
The third ingredient is lamb liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient is ocean whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.
The fifth ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth ingredient is guar gum, 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.
The seventh ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3′s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.
There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.
The eighth ingredient is eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
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 oil is one of the best non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids — essential to a dog’s health.
Next, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
And lastly, this food also 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.
Canidae Life Stages Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Canidae Life Stages looks like an above average canned dog food .
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 39% and a mean fat level of 28%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 25% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 72%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea flour contained in some recipes, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a notable amount of meat.
Canidae Life Stages is a meat-based canned dog food using a notable amount of lamb or chicken as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Those looking for a comparable kibble made by the same company may wish to check out our review of Canidae dry dog food.
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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For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
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Notes and Updates
12/07/2009 Original review
07/18/2010 Review updated
05/08/2012 Review updated
11/22/2013 Review updated
11/22/2013 Last Update
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for beef published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition ↩