Dave’s Delectable Dinners (Canned)


Rating: ★★★★½

Dave’s Delectable Dinners Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Dave’s Delectable Dinners product line includes 4 canned dog foods.

Since we could not locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these products on the Dave’s Pet Food website, we’re unable to report life stage recommendations.

  • Dave’s Delectable Dinners Stewie Stew
  • Dave’s Delectable Dinners Lamb and Veggie
  • Dave’s Delectable Dinners Chicken and Wild Rice
  • Dave’s Delectable Dinners Lamb and Wild Rice Stew

Dave’s Delectable Dinners Lamb and Wild Rice Stew dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.

Dave's Delectable Dinners Lamb and Wild Rice Stew

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 44% | Fat = 28% | Carbs = 20%

Ingredients: Lamb broth, lamb, lamb liver, potatoes, wild rice, egg product, carrots, peas, green beans, natural flavor, red peppers, guar gum, sunflower oil, oat fiber, pea fiber, brewers dried yeast, sodium phosphate, tricalcium phosphate, garlic, flaxseed oil, calcium carbonate, parsley, salt, inulin, dried kelp, menhaden fish oil, sodium carbonate, potassium chloride, oregano, rosemary, dried cranberries, dried apples, dried blueberries, Yucca schidigera extract, iron proteinate (a source of chelated iron), zinc proteinate (a source of chelated cobalt), copper proteinate (a source of chelated copper), manganese proteinate (a source of chelated manganese), riboflavin supplement, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis8%5%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%28%20%
Calorie Weighted Basis34%51%15%

The first ingredient in this food includes lamb broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The second ingredient 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 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 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 fifth item is wild rice. Wild rice is 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 item is egg product, an unspecified (wet or dry?) form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

After a number of healthy vegetables and natural flavor, we find 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.

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.

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 four notable exceptions

First, we note the use of menhaden oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.

What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deeper water species.

Next, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

Thirdly, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.2

However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).

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.

Dave’s Delectable Dinners Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Dave’s Delectable Dinners looks to be 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 44%, a fat level of 28% and estimated carbohydrates of about 20%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 25%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 25% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

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

Even allowing for the slight protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a wet food containing an above-average amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Dave’s Delectable Dinners is a meat-based canned dog food using an above-average amount of chicken, turkey or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Those looking for a quality kibble from the same company may wish to visit our review of Dave’s dry dog food.

Special Alert

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, 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

05/19/2010 Original review
12/19/2010 Updated
09/17/2011 Updated (added 3 new recipes, uprated to 4.5 stars)
03/17/2013 Review updated
03/17/2013 Last Update

  1. 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
  2. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)
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  • Jchrza1035

    where are the calories listed? our dog is on a calorie based diet

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Donna… Chemical isn’t a bad word. Every part of every cell in your body (and your dog’s body) is made of chemicals. Chelated minerals are simply minerals (iron, calcium, etc.) that are attached to amino acids (the building blocks of every protein in every living thing) in hopes of making them more biologically friendly to the lining of a dog’s digestive tract.

    As a matter of fact, we downgrade dog foods that have minerals that aren’t chelated.

    In any case, canned foods never need preservatives. And the fats found in all dry foods MUST be preserved with something. In the case of Dave’s, the chicken fat is preserved with tocopherols (also known as vitamin E).

    If you’re looking for absolutely no preservatives, try a canned food. Or buy fresh. Fresh produce, fresh meat, etc. But fresh food (for both humans and dogs) goes bad. And that’s why I like fresh food so much better than anything else. Yes, it has a short shelf life. Yes, it goes bad. But it never contains any preservatives.

    If you feed kibble, any kibble, you have to accept that it must contain preservatives. No exceptions. But a natural preservative (like vitamin E) found in better products is much safer than a synthetic one.

  • Donna Coutant

    Hi. I need to understand what is meant (in reference to chelated minerals) by “chemically” attached to proteins.
    I hear the word “chemical” and I immediately want to run the other way – as in artificial preservatives. Which brings up another question on Dave’s Pet Foods – are any of Dave’s dog foods (wet or dry) “chemically/artificially” preserved?
    Thank you,

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Linda… Chelated minerals are a preferred feature. But look at the difference in estimated meat content. That is a notable difference that far outweighs the importance of whether or minerals are chelated.

  • linda

    Hi Mike,
    I am curious as to why you rated this line 4 stars and Daves 95 canned food 5 stars when you stated that the 95 did not have chelated minerals and this product does. I would think because the minerals would be absorbed it would make this one more desirable than the one whose minerals are not as easily absorbed. Was it because the first ingredient was broth. Tonight i served this Turkey/Swt/Cranberry and the can was full of solid chunks and the amount of liquid did not strike me as overly done.