Canidae Grain Free Pure (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Canidae Grain Free Pure Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Canidae Grain Free Pure product line includes 12 dry 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.

  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Fields
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Resolve
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Meadow
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Foundations
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Sky (5 stars)
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Sea (5 stars)
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Wild (4 stars)
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Land (4 stars)
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements (5 stars)
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Petite Small Breed Bison (3.5 stars)
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Petite Small Breed Salmon (3.5 stars)
  • Canidae Grain Free Pure Petite Small Breed Chicken (3.5 stars)

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

Canidae Grain Free Pure Fields

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 33% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 45%

Ingredients: Chicken, menhaden fish meal, peas, lentils, potatoes, dried whole egg, chicken fat, suncured alfalfa, flaxseed, 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), salt, 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 source of vitamin E)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis30%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis33%13%45%
Calorie Weighted Basis30%29%41%
Protein = 30% | Fat = 29% | Carbs = 41%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken 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 menhaden fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

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.

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

The third ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

The fourth ingredient lists lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, both peas and lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The fifth 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.

The sixth ingredient includes whole dried egg, a dehydrated powder made from shell-free eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

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 dried alfalfa. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

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

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.

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 33%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 49%.

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

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

Bottom line?

Canidae Grain Free Pure is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly 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.

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

Canidae 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.

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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.

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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.

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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

10/16/2016 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • haleycookie

    Hi I work at a petco store and tbh I see this all the time from all different brands of food. I see people on here complaining about it and I don’t really believe it’s a canidae issue. It seems to be a petco or maybe petstore in general problem. A coworker of mine who has worked for petco for around 10 years firmly believes it is caused by foods like purina and pedigree that bring the bugs in when we get delivered the bags. As the canidae rep said it only takes a tiny tiny pin hole to allow the insect in to infest and create webs. I’m not 100% where they originate from but my store is full of them and there isn’t a real accurate way to treat them so we just try to spot infested foods (see through small animal bags and dog treat bags are easier to spot and often infested) and dispose of them quickly. Canidae is a good food I wouldn’t blame it on them at all.

  • Pitlove

    That is great and I’m very glad he has not experienced any DODs. Like I said in my post to you 7 months ago, a puppy food is not necessarily appropriate for a LBP. It has to be a LBP specific food and even then you have to do your research. For example, Holistic Select Large Breed Puppy has very excessive levels of calcium and when I questioned the company about it, I was told they would be revamping their formulas to match current research and AAFCO nutrient profiles for LBPs. However as of right now, despite it saying large breed puppy on the bag, it is not safe to feed to one.

    It is likely that your Mastiff was on a puppy food designed for a small/medium size dog and not a giant breed.

    Regardless, I’m glad your dog is doing well. Just wanted to share current up to date research so that it may benefit you or others.

  • GrowManFitz

    Maybe it is old practice, BUT it worked for my English Mastiff. I got him at 4 mo. old after his original owners rejected him. His legs were growing so fast that his paws were pointed inwards (i.e. he was pigeon toed). The only change I made was switching him from the puppy food he was on to adult dog food. In less than a month his legs straightened out. He is now 5 1/2 years old and has no bone or joint issues. Maybe it was the change in food, maybe it wasn’t. All I know is, he’s a happy healthy dog!

  • Sharon

    Hello, Canidae is considered a higher calorie food. It was explained to me that the protein is more dense so in turn it is higher in calories. I have a hound mix and she also gained weight after I switched her to Canidae. I would recommend doing some research on which dog food is best for your dog. I am looking for an alternate dog food with high quality ingredients as well.

  • Susan

    Hi I have the English staffy they’re are smaller then the American staffy & he’s perfect weight & weights 40lbs are your sure your vet has the weight right?? does she look fat or nice & solid, the Staffy breed is mostly muscle & very stocky looking dog..When I feed TOTW, Patch is on the leaner side, then when I rotate another brand he seems to gain a bit more weight… I like him muscly & stocky at the moment he’s eating TOTW again & he’s looking more lean again… maybe rotate kibbles monthly as soon as the big bag is running out buya lower Kcal kibble under 370Kcals per cup…..Yes Crazy4cats is right TOTW kibbles are lower in Kcals & Canidae Pure kibbles are higher in Kcals…

  • Crazy4cats

    Which formulas are you feeding? Are they higher in calories? I know most Taste of the Wild recipes are fairly low in fat and calories.

  • Meagan Spasari

    I have switched my dogs food several times (started off on Blue Buffalo, then Taste of the Wild, and now we have been on Canidae for about 6-7 months. She is a two year old beagle/staffie mix and the vet thinks she should be about 25ish pounds.. She has been gaining weight, where she is now 35 pounds! She is soo active and so it does not make much sense. Her thyroid has been tested and that is fine, so there is really no medical reason for this weight gain. When looking back it seems that her weight gain started around when I switched her to canidae. I give her about 1/2 a cup of dry food in the morning and a can of wet food for dinner. Has anyone else seen this problem of weight gain?

  • Dawn Nelson

    Her poos are about half to a third of the amount that she takes in, in a day. I change the variety of Canidae that I use very 3 months, and she gets other things in between as well (generally whenever I’m cooking she gets scraps from our meal prep), I’m very careful to check on those items before feeding them to her though (usually raw fruits and veggies). I did originally try a different brand that a friend had recommended, but discovered through research that the brand was in a legal dispute due to lying about their ingredients, and immediately took her off of that food. I also regularly change the variety of the brand that I give to my kitty, and include some wet food in her diet as well. She refuses to eat most “treats” I try to give her (cats are so notoriously picky).

  • Susan

    Your very lucky your dog just does 2 poos when she eats Canidae but are her poos small poo’s?? when they eat a good kibble that agrees with them, they should poo 1/2 the amount they eat, not poo out the amount or more then they are eating… Have you ever fed another brand kibble to compare kibbles?? it’s not good to just feed the one brand of kibble with the same protein & ingredients their whole life, it’s best to rotate between a few kibble brands & feed a variety of different proteins & fresh whole healthy foods are best to feed, more fresh foods & less kibble. Cats should be feed a raw diet or a wet diet not just feed a dry kibble their whole lives…

  • Dawn Nelson

    My Schnauzer has been using Canidae since about a month after we brought her home (almost 1yr ago) We feed her twice a day, and she consistently poos about 30 minutes after eating, twice a day. Poo is generally softly solid, healthy color, and normal amount. Her fur is beautifully shiny, soft, and thick. Clear healthy eyes, healthy weight, and healthy energy level. I am VERY HAPPY, with this product. I’ve even switched my cat over to using it.

  • BarbaraFlorida

    Susan,
    Thanks for your reply. I don’t track the lot numbers and I shouldn’t have to. Thanks for the other alternative brands. I will do some research and see what will work best for my little terrier.

  • Susan

    Hi, they are called weevils & probably were in the ingredients before the kibble was made in the Canidae warehouse… When you got the 2nd bag of Canidae was it a new batch. how you know it’s a new batch, look at the “use by date” is different to the first bag of kibble….
    This is why I rotate my kibbles, I feed about 3 different brands & Canidae is in my rotation 🙁
    I’d start looking at other brands all with different proteins like “Holistic Select” Adult/Puppy Sardines, Anchovy & Sardines grain free & “Earthborn Holistic” & “Taste Of The Wild” Appalachian Valley Small Breed Canine Formula, …these brands are all lower in carbs…..

  • BarbaraFlorida

    Is anyone having issues with flying insects in Canidae Grain-free for small breeds, chicken? I have and returned the bag to Petco and got it replaced. Now I find a flying insect in the second bag. There is also webbing-like material inside the food.
    I stored my food in its original bag but inside a latched/sealed dog food container. The second bag I did the same thing but this time only cut open one corner, folded it over and clipped it and it was inside the same latched container so I know it isn’t coming from my home.
    I did call Canidae the first time and opened a case but they tell me that this can happen if there is even a pinhole in the bag. I will be calling them again tomorrow but I am seriously considering changing the dog food. I shouldn’t be going through this. http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9ddf0583ebfc97cc440baaf909578e53498a802b6fc1bfb513796a95b5afb48f.jpg http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/00d6aa04fed2c380e8b1c505a96b31a615cee96f8fbc497e53f707b998508447.jpg

  • Barbara Bidot Cherico

    I have seen an issue with the last two bags of Canidae Grain-free Small breed formula in chicken. The first bag, which is stored in the original bag but placed in a dog food sealed container with a latch, had flying insects in it. I have been using Canidae for my rat terrier starting in June and never seen this until recently. I find a lot of “webbing like” debris in the food. Needless to say I ran back to Petco and had them replace the food as well as calling Canidae and opening a complaint.
    Canidae tells me that if there is even a pinhole during packaging, transport, etc., that pests can get inside. Now the second bag has the same issue! This second bag I only cut the corner but folded it over and clipped it before storing it in the dog food sealed container. Now I know for a fact that this isn’t coming from my home!
    Is anyone else seeing this? I am ready to take my dog off of Canidae and switching her to something else. I am very disappointed.

    Barbara

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7
  • Susan

    Hi again, my Staffy has IBD & Pancreatitis & his lady vet said to feed a lower fat & lower fiber diet, when he was put on the Hills vet diet Z/d which is higher in fiber diet he wasn’t well & doing mountain poos & whining so I would rub his stomach/pancreas area, I took back the Hills Z/d & got a refund & changed vets & started to feed the Canidae Life Stages, the Canidae Platinum, fat is 8.50%min, protein is low at 20%min, the Platinum is his go to kibble when he has his pain in the stomach & pancreas area, I feed the Canidae Platinum & rest his pancreas for 2 weeks & the poos are bigger, just email Canidae & ask what’s the max fat % in their Platinum….its normally another 1% higher in fat but some kibbles can be up to 5% higher for fat, so its best to email the kibble companies….
    The only reason I can think the vet recommended to feed a weight loss kibble is cause the fat is lower & the vet doesn’t realise the fiber is very high in these weight loss kibbles, ask the vet next time you see him & ask him, do dogs need a very high fiber diet when they have Pancreatitis?? cause the Weight management kibbles are around 8%min in fiber & my dog is pooing heaps, do research & join groups & read up on Pancreatitis & EPI & S.I.B.O, has your dog been put on Metronidazole? to kill any bacteria in her stomach & bowel, they are normally put on the Metronidazole (Flagyl) for 2-3 weeks…try the Canidae Life Stages Platinum & see how she goes the fat is lower then the Canidae Resolve & the fiber is normal at 4% but I would be changing to a different brand that’s not weight management, that’s low in fat around 10%max but normal % in fiber around 4% or less & see if her poos are smaller & less, if not I would change vets & have a EPI & S.I.B.O blood test done, sounds like your dog may have EPI or SIBO & a lot of vets fail to pick this up with EPI & SIBO. the dog needs a very low fiber diet under 4% in fiber.. join the EPI dogs Face Book group link is below, you’ll get heaps of help & someone might live in your area & recommend a good vet in your area that can help & they will also help with a good kibble & wet tin food that’s lower in fat. I feed 4 small meals a day as Patch doesn’t hold his weight, his weight just falls off, one week he’ll be 17.5 kg then the next week he’s dropped to16kgs & he eats the same & does the same walks etc https://www.facebook.com/groups/38663535025/ good luck

  • Crazy4cats

    Gorgeous! Makes me want to have a scruffy puppy. I see she has a Kirkland bed. Best prices in town for beds!

  • Amy S

    Shanti is very used to the camera but Mika was very afraid of it when we adopted her. But now I can get pics like this❤️ http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/379b65992a60701dc7adabc3f323d2e9522f602bb85f9c3d5604b73865945b3e.jpg

  • Amy S
  • Amy S

    Shanti is very used to the camera. Mika has come a long way. When we first adopted her she wouldn’t look at it at all. Now I can get stuff like this…

  • Storm’s Mom

    Regardless of why she’s doing it, the result is still the same – she’s not utilizing the nutrients in the food properly because a lot is coming out the other end. It may be going back in again a bit as a result of the poop eating, but a) in a different form as originally ingested (likely not as bioavailable) and b) not enough to make up for the initial nutrient loss because the extra poop is happening all the time and the eating it back isn’t. I’d focus on figuring out ways to ensure that more of the nutrients she initially ingests stays in her system.

  • Crazy4cats

    Wow! What photographic little models you have. Very cute!

  • Storm’s Mom

    Something to keep in mind is that if she’s pooping a lot, that means there’s not a lot of nutrients staying in her body.. her body is treating the nutrients in the food as waste. This likely explains a lot of why she’s super skinny and eating her poop when she gets the chance (she’s still hungry!). It seems to me you can go one of two ways with this: either find a way to increase the amount of nutrients she keeps in her body (perhaps probiotics and digestive enzymes would help with this, but also stuff like sardines, cooked chicken breast (and other similar meats), cooked veggies, canned food, canned pure pumpkin, etc), and/or change her food to something she’ll utilize more of (something with higher protein, a bit higher fat and lower carbs than the Canidae ..and different ingredients …would be my suggestion ..maybe something like Nature’s Logic). If you do switch her food, make sure to take it really slowly, gradually introducing more of the new food over a period of weeks.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Speaking of leashes, my terrier likes to roll around on his back occasionally while we are out on walks. Well, he was able to get the clasp undone and break free while engaging in this pleasurable activity. So, I got a leash from Nifti Solutions, it’s a bit heavy for a 20 pound dog, but, good for long walks. His other leash is a lobster claw style clasp, a little better than the standard style imo. I found one for $9.99.
    These terriers can’t be trusted 🙂

  • Amy S

    She totally cannot be off the leash other than in our backyard and she is only in the yard if we are out there with her. We can’t even say the word squirrel. Plus she is so smart we think she can spell, lol.

  • Amy S

    Oh he is a scruffer like Mika❤️