Chef Michael’s canned dog food earns the Advisor’s second lowest tier rating of 2 stars.
The Chef Michael’s product line includes three canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth of puppies and adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Chef Michael’s Sirloin Steak Flavor In Sauce
- Chef Michael’s Beef Tenderloin Flavor In Sauce
- Chef Michael’s Rotisserie Chicken Flavor In Sauce
Chef Michael’s Rotisserie Chicken Flavor was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Chef Michael's Rotisserie Chicken Flavor
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Water sufficient for processing, chicken, liver, wheat gluten, meat by-products, carrots, corn, turkey, corn starch-modified, artificial and natural flavors, soy flour, salt, natural rotisserie chicken flavor, calcium phosphate, potassium chloride, added color, calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, choline chloride, niacin, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, manganese sulfate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, potassium iodide, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||55%||11%||26%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||50%||26%||24%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
The second ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third 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.
The fourth item is wheat gluten. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once wheat has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior plant-based proteins low in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient is meat by-products, slaughterhouse waste. This is what’s left of slaughtered animals after all the prime cuts have been removed.
With the exception of hair, horns, teeth and hooves, this stuff can include heads, ovaries or developing fetuses.1
What’s worse, this particular item is anonymous. It doesn’t even specify the source animal. So, this meat can come from almost anywhere, even diseased or dying livestock.
Although meat by-products can be high in protein, we do not consider a generic ingredient like this a quality item.
The sixth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh ingredient is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain which — aside from its energy content — is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The eighth ingredient is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.3
Turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The ninth ingredient is corn starch, a starchy powder extracted from the endosperm found at the heart of a kernel of corn. Corn starch is most likely used here to thicken the broth into a gravy.
Corn starch isn’t a true red flag item. Yet we’ve highlighted here for those wishing to avoid corn-based ingredients.
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 soy flour, a high-protein by-product of soybean processing.
Soy flour would be expected to have a notably 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 actual meat content of this dog food.
Next, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any dog food. Coloring is used to make the product more appealing to you, not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his kibble is?
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
Chef Michael’s Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Chef Michael’s appears to be a below-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 55% and a mean fat level of 11%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 26% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 21%.
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the wheat gluten, this looks like the profile of a canned product containing only a moderate amount of meat.
Chef Michael’s is a plant-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of chicken or beef as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.
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, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits 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
04/02/2010 Original review
09/13/2010 Review updated
06/10/2012 Last Update