Canidae Grain Free Pure (Dry)


Rating: ★★★★★

Canidae Grain Free Pure Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Canidae Grain Free Pure product line includes four dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Sea
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Sky
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Land (4 stars)

Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 36% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 36%

Ingredients: Lamb, turkey meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, peas, chicken fat, menhaden fish meal, potatoes, suncured alfalfa, natural flavor, minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, mixed tocopherols (a natural source of vitamin E)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis32%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis36%20%36%
Calorie Weighted Basis30%40%30%

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 turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

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

The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is 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 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 seventh 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.

The eighth ingredient is menhaden fish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate..

Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.

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

We are pleased to note that, unlike many fish meals, this particular item appears2 to be ethoxyquin-free.

The ninth ingredient 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.

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, alfalfa is a flowering member of the pea family. Although alfalfa is more commonly associated with cattle feeds, it can still provide healthy nutrients to any dog food.

Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

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 Grain Free Pure Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Canidae Grain Free Pure 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 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 36%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 40% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the chickpeas, peas and alfalfa, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Canidae Grain Free Pure is a meat-based dry dog food using a notable amount of named meats and meat meals 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.

Those looking for a quality wet food from the same company may wish to visit our review of Canidae Grain Free Canned Dog Food.

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 almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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

12/06/2009 Original review
07/17/2010 Review updated
11/09/2010 Upgraded (ethoxyquin free)
04/12/2011 Review updated (major product line change)
12/07/2012 Review updated
11/02/2013 Review updated
11/02/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Canidae website
  • Taylor Godwin

    We love our Canidae! It’s keeps his coat healthy, and he’s never once had digestive upset on this food. He’s had sensitivity to many proteins, but the bison option in Canidae is wonderful for him! Thank you, Canidae! And thank you dogfoodadvisor, as we first learned of Canidae here. ♥

  • Jill N Augie

    I have a lethal white Australian Shepherd with extreme stomach sensitivity. Sky, Land and Sea are the only food i have found with prebiotics to help my Augie Doggie poop. I used to have to put something in his food to get him to eat…. with Candiae, i no longer have to. This food states it helps dogs with “skin, stomach and digestive sensitivities”. Just a thought; if your dog doesnt have that maybe this foods not for you. With my dog its ideal!

  • 1sweetsugar

    many dogs will still act hungry and eat whenever they get the chance. However, if you are concerned try giving them green beans with their food. The beans will make them feel full while not adding any calories.

  • tesslynn amburgey

    if you Vet sells science diet -please find another vet

  • tesslynn amburgey

    I got two pups this year…breeder fed costco brand, I don’t have costco…went straight to canidae grain free NO issues

  • Alexandria Andrews

    I have a JRT with a very sensitive system. I feed her Fromm Grain Free formula. It gets 4.5 stars on here, but it’s the best food I have found for my girl’s sensitive stomach. All my dogs thrive on it!

  • Ya Fei Iona Chen

    try spring natural grainfree lamb

  • aliosh

    Orijen and TOTW were the grain free foods I used to treat my GSD’s digestive issues. Currently, I use Orijen which I am very happy with. Previously, I fed my GSD kibble containing grains like barely, rice, oats. Still he could not tolerate them as a main staple in his diet. I stayed clear of wheat and corn, but it did not matter in my case because grains of any kind were apparently causing him digestive distress. I am very pleased with the results I have seen over the past 3 years using Orijen Adult dry food. Even through their formula change, my dog still does well on their food.

  • Bob K

    Good for you to find a suitable kibble. Were you able to isolate the allergen that was causing the problem both Orijen and TOTW have many different formulas?

  • aliosh

    My GSD had chronic diarrhea and vomiting and was a terrible eater. I tried several brands of high quality kibble but he disliked them all. My vet never suggested it could be his food either. I searched the internet and decided to put him on a grain free diet. Taste of the Wild was my initial grain free food although my GSD did not eat it willingly. His digestive issues were relieved but he scratched a lot. However, I made the switch to Orijen Adult dog food after TOTW was recalled. My GSD is now 7 years old and no longer suffers from any digestive issues or excessive itching. I will never feed him anything but Orijen. His weight is great and his health is too.

  • Vanbo

    “If your going through hell keep on going….”

    Rodney Atkins

  • Jordie

    Please read my post lower down.
    Go with Wellness Core. Far superior food


    If you’re going through hell,keep going
    Winston Churchill

  • sue66b

    Rose, Have a look at the Wellness range, My boy is on the Wellness Simple Lamb & Oatmeal, he cant have high protein or high fat either… here’s a link to have a look at the Wellness Complete Health kibbles then scoll down a bit & u’lll see the Wellness Simple..slowly introduce when starting a new kibble I do it over 2 weeks so Patch doesnt have diarrhea, his poos are firm on the Simple, I was going to try the Canidae but it was too high in fat so I picked the Wellness instead..

  • Guest

    Can you tell me why?

  • Jordie

    Best to stay away

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Rose Marie:
    I don’t have too much experience with digestive issues; however check this website out for suggestions. You may want to add digestive enzymes and probiotics to help with transitioning to a new food.

    If your pup has been eating one food for any length of time you may have issues introducing a new food such as diarrhea. One of my favorite home remedies is canned plain pumpkin (not pie filling) for either diarrhea or constipation. I freeze canned pumpkin in small portions to have handy for such occasions for both my dog and cats. My dog is around 40 lbs and I feed him one tablespoon/2x day when needed; with any new supplement or food it is always best to start with smaller portions and adjust accordingly. Here’s some info on pumpkin and other fresh foods that may help with loose stools:

    Check out foods rated 3 – 4 stars on DFA for a lower protein food. Some foods will fall into this rating category due to lower protein percentages; dog foods with higher meat content are usually rated higher. Here’s info on how DFA rates dog food:

    You might also look into diet rotation for your dogs. If Ideal Balance is working for your dogs, keep that in your rotation, but add other kibbles they do well on also. This will also help when a company changes recipes; they always do. Sometimes there is fair warning to recipes changes, most times there is not. When you have other foods your dogs do well on you never have to worry about a rocky transition again when feeding a rotational diet!

  • Rose Marie

    When I started introducing Canidea dog food to my dogs they had diarrhea all over the house. I feed my dogs Science Diet Ideal Balance because it’s low in protein, but everyone says its really bad food. Does anyone else know a good food that is low in protein that is good for English Mastiffs?

  • sue

    Started feeding both my yorkies Pure Land and both act like they are starving even though both are putting on weight and look bloated. Is this unusual?

  • Jordie

    Gracie saw the specialist Friday…he feels she ingested something which caused severe gastritis . Be it food? something she picked up? something on the beach?. No ultrasound at this time. If she crashes again, will be done then . There is a very small small percentage it could be a disease process developing . She is doing well.
    Bottom line…I don’t think I will ever know exactly what caused this.
    But I can not take the chance of using Canidae again …

  • Jordie

    Hi there
    Gracie is doing better. Thank you :). But not sure she is out of the woods. My issue with CANIDAE is DIAMOND being one of their manufacturing plants, along with several others. I loved the ingredients in this food. Just can’t get past their food is made is so many different places. The customer service was terrific.
    THIS IS WHAT THEY SENT TO ME…….Ethos Pet Nutrition is our own advanced research and development center as well as our pet food manufacturing facility which serves as our flagship food and treat facility. We also have our recipes produced at several other facilities across the United States including Diamond Pet, Performance Pet, and Hampshire Pet. These facilities are all committed to achieving CANIDAE’s extremely high standards for quality and safety. I also want to let you know that all ingredients are tested prior to unloading. Product is tested during the manufacturing process. Finished product is set aside and is not released until it passes our “Test and Hold” protocols.
    It is our commitment to you and your pets to help diagnose the cause of your pets illness. Although the food is the easiest, most tangible and first item to blame, direct illness from miss manufacturing from any of our products has never been confirmed. We practice vigorous safety controls at all of our production facilities and thoroughly test all incoming ingredients. If our food was not manufactured to the specifications on the label, and there was an illness from that, we would gladly reimburse you 100% for your vet bill. In all reported cases we have done a thorough investigation and our batch was 100% safe and made to within specs with no evidence of miss manufacturing of our formulation

  • Ingrid Castillo

    Hello, any updates on how your dog is doing? Sounds bad. I was wondering because I had been reading good things about canidae, but now, in not so sure. Any feedback is appreciated.

  • Jordie

    Lab Mom here with upside down pic :)
    Switched my lab from wellness to CANIDAE.
    severe vomiting, bloody diarrhea, nausea, listless,
    I have had 2 emergency hospital visits. And 4 visits to my regular vet.
    Gastritis????? Ulcer?????? Intestinal cancer???!

    I have an appt. with my vet this morning August 18th2014
    Was at the ER yesterday again.

    MY Lab Gracie is very sick…

  • LabLover

    Yep, I rotate each month between these foods. I tend to mix the Dr Tims together, Annamaet together, etc.. I never have to worry about bags taking too long to go through with three big dogs.

  • Crazy4cats

    I think it is perfectly fine to mix dry dog foods to get a good balance for your dogs. Just make sure, like Storm’s mom suggested, that you get through them quickly enough to avoid either going rancid. Also make sure you switch the two foods you are mixing from time to time. You don’t want to feed the same thing forever. There are a couple of regulars that feed that way also. It does, however make it tougher to know which food is causing an issue if there are any that come up. But if it’s working and it makes it more affordable to mix in a higher quality food, I say go for it!

  • LabLover

    Sorry, I know this isnt the best place to ask questions, but I cant seem to post in the forums for some reason.
    I do rotate quite often between Dr Tims, Annamaet, and Victor. I have one dog (Whitney) that does great on grain free foods. She has spay incontinence and if she eats grain free or mix of grain and grain free, she doesnt leak. It sounds weird but it works and she doesnt need any Proin. I have one (Nala)that does better on grain free but doesnt need to really eat it. I have noticed her belly isnt as gassy (no farting LOL) if she eats a grain free food or a mix like my other dog. My third dog (Apollo) can eat anything.

    So I was wondering if I mix the grain and grain free two together (Which I have done) is really causing any issues? Im not one to think every dog needs grain free but two of mine do better eating it. I guess it comes down to money I suppose because going through three bags of grain free is a little pricey for me and if I can buy a regular bag and add it in, I can save a little money. I have three Labradors and they are very active. They eat 3.5 cups a day. Ends up pretty close to 30lbs in 10 days with three dogs

  • Storm’s Mom

    Yes it’s technically “ok”, BUT.. so many questions that would be helpful to know when providing you the best answer! Why are you wanting to mix rather than, say, go entirely grain-free? (if it’s budget, there are some very budget-friendly grain-free options, if you’re interested in recommendations) How big are your dogs? Are we talking big bags or small bags of kibble?

    If this is just a temporary or short term thing (to transition, etc) then I would say it’s fine, but if you’re thinking of this as a long term feeding strategy, I would get concerned about 2 things in particular. First being rancidity – if you have 2 bags of kibble open at the same time, it would take your dogs longer to go through each bag, increasing the likelihood of one or more kibble becoming rancid.

    Two chicken based kibbles aren’t going to provide you with as much variety, either. On the other hand, if they are 2 very different kibbles that you are feeding together over a long period of time, then if an intolerance pops up it could be a nightmare trying to figure out which ingredient is the problem (it still could be with 2 different chicken kibbles depending upon how different they are).

    IMHO, it would be better to stick with one kibble (at a time..I’m all for rotating kibbles every bag, etc) and mix in random canned toppers for variety.

    I do know that there are some on here who do mix in two or more kibbles consistently and regularly so their dogs are always eating 2 different kibbles at any given time, but as I said, personally I would (and do) stick with one kibble at a time, rotate through a few very different kibbles, and add in a random canned topper. It’s way less risky on a whole bunch of fronts.

  • PrivacyInA9M80

    Did Canidae drastically reduce its protein content over the past year in its PureLand recipe? There are missing ingredients, as well.

    (My English Shepherd w/allergies has always done (and still does) great on the PureLand.)