Dave’s Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Dave’s Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Dave’s Dog Food product line includes seven dry recipes.

Although each appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we were unable to find AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product’s web page.

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

  • Dave’s Simply the Best (4.5 stars)
  • Dave’s Naturally Healthy Puppy (5 stars)
  • Dave’s Grain Free Chicken Meal (4.5 stars)
  • Dave’s Naturally Healthy Adult Dog (3.5 stars)
  • Dave’s Naturally Healthy Senior Dog (2.5 stars)
  • Dave’s Naturally Healthy Pork Meal and Sweet Potato (3.5 stars)
  • Dave’s Delicate Dinners Easy to Digest Chicken Meal, Rice and Oatmeal

Dave’s Delicate Dinners Easy to Digest Chicken Meal, Rice and Oatmeal was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Dave's Delicate Dinners Easy to Digest Chicken Meal, Rice and Oatmeal

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 11% | Carbs = 53%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, oat groats, sorghum (milo), millet, potato flake, chicken fat, vitamin E, dried egg product, dried beet pulp, natural flavor, flax seed, salt, potassium chloride, dicalcium phosphate, d/l methionine, calcium carbonate, l-lysine, oligofructose, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dehydrated kelp meal, vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, vegetable oil, biotin, niacin supplement, viatmin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, potassium chloride, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%11%53%
Calorie Weighted Basis26%25%49%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second 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 third ingredient is oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.

The fourth ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

The fifth ingredient is millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.

The sixth ingredient is potato flakes, a dehydrated potato product usually made from by-products of a food processing plant. This item is equal to corn in calorie content yet with notably more protein.

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.

After the vitamin E, we find dried egg product, a dehydrated 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.

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 five notable exceptions

First, beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

Next, flaxseed is 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.

In addition, this recipe contains oligofructose, another name for fructooligosaccharide (FOS). FOS is an alternative sweetener probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

Next, vegetable oil is a generic oil of unknown origin. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in any oil is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).

Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of an item so vaguely described. However, compared to a named animal fat, a generic vegetable oil cannot be considered a quality ingredient.

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 Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Dave’s Dog Food 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 28%, a fat level of 11% and estimated carbohydrates of about 53%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 49% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Dave’s Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken or pork meals or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly 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 nice wet dog food from the same company may wish to visit our review of Dave’s Delectable Dinners.

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

05/18/2010 Original review
04/05/2014 Last Update

  • kristine in phila

    thank you so much for your quick response!  have a great day

  • Dori

    Hi Kristine. This is a dog food review site. No actual food is made at or by Dog Food Advisor. You would have to call whichever food you are interested in and ask someone in their customer service department about where they source their ingredients. Good Luck.

  • kristine in phila

    hi – my main concern with purchasing pet food is that they are truly made in the USA and do not use ingredients from China – where do you get your ingredients? thank you
    my email is klkipphut@yahoo,com

  • chiapink

    I noticed in the ingredients on the grain free chicken dry dog food, mineral oil is listed, say what????????????????? mineral oil is a petroleum product, bad for all, not bad for a once in awhile treatment for constipation, but for an animal DAILY? was going to order this food but this is a mind changer, have truly never seen this as an ingredient in any pet food, until now.

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  • Pattyvaughn

    My first thought is which one of their many recalls, but nevermind all that matters is that you have found a good alternative for your dogs.

  • Happyhealthyhome

    I breed english spromger spaniels and swore by Taste of the wild…until the recall. Since I have tried wellness,evo, etc and then I found Dave’s Grain Free Chicken Dry. My guys LOVE it and I love the ingredients and the price. Not distributed htrough lrage chain stores either. Way to go Dave!! If you are hesitant to try this, don’t be…go get a bag. You and your best friend will be very happy!

  • Pattyvaughn

    It would only be a 4 hour drive each way :-0 Wouldn’t you drive that far for dog food? ;-) I haven’t looked at prices yet, but I would consider online ordering some of their cat food.

  • Betsy Greer

    Wait, do we need the sarcastic font here?

    I was thinking you were hours further South of the state line?

  • Pattyvaughn

    I just found out the closest place to me that carries this is across the state line, in GA.

  • beaglemom

    Hi Betsy! I’ve used a few varieties of the canned but not the dry. The dogs enjoyed the cans (mostly 95% varieties). It definitely seems like a budget friendly option.

  • Betsy Greer

    I don’t know if I’ve read this review before now. The grain free variety is also white potato free and it’s sold at a feed store near me. Is anyone familiar with this seemingly obscure product? I just might have to pick up a little bag and give it a try.

  • Corey Rigoni

    Do you have a breeder program?

  • Brenda

    I have been using Dave’s 27/16 for well over 12 years. I recently switched and my 2 dogs are not happy. I will be going back to see the associate at Dave’s to exchange this and go back to what they love. My 2 shep/mix lived many happy years with less poop to clean , but a trainer had me change for my GSD. I see a post for Dave, and I know he has 2 Sheps, I will ask his advise.

  • Sheri

    Is there a review of Dave’s Grain Free Chicken Meal? I see you have 5 stars, but I’d appreciate the feedback.

    I have a new lab (puppy) who is currently on Wellness Core Puppy. I am scaring myself the more research I do.

    Guess I am looking for something spelled out, any and all feedback is appreciated!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    It appears that the protein percentage has gone from 25% to 22% – so I’d assume Dr. Mike will likely give it a lower rating. My guess would be 3 1/2 stars, it looks most similar to other 3 1/2 star foods. If I were feeding this brand I’d switch to the puppy formula – it’s 30% protein – or the grain-free chicken formula – 29.5% protein.

  • Holly

    The formula for the dry food has recently been changed…and lamb is no longer the first ingredient.  Any chance you can tell us whether it will change the rating or not?  I am sure that your to do list is forever growing, but if you get a chance to look into this, it would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you so much!

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  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Chrisitne,

    Yes, I’m planning to review Dave’s Grain Free dry dog food. It’s already on my To Do list.

    However, due to my current backlog of products for review, it could be a while longer before I get to it.

    Thanks for taking the time to make this suggestion.

  • Christine Valley

    Mike – Will you be reviewing Dave’s Grain Free Dry fairly soon?  Thank you.

  • Chris Valley

    I second that!  Just found it on Amazon.com.

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  • melissa

    Mike S-

    I saw today that Dave’s has a grain free chicken dry out(and if I recall its potato free, using tapioca instead) Can you add this to your mile long list(lol) for upcoming review?

    Thanks

  • melissa

    Hi Dave-

    Who makes your food?

  • Bob K

    dave – Your comments are very suspect. If it is the same grade, type, etc….. customers should not notice a difference from bag to bag, that is what GMP is all about, consistency and quality. Both the color and smell changed. Don’t they do incoming inspection for ingredients? Are you saying the mfg. did not consult you on the change of suppliers? Usually mfgs change suppliers to save on cost or due to availability issues. What was the reason for the change of suppliers?

    So now customers go from the original color to the different color and now back to the original color. Maybe if you made the food yourself rather than use a contract mfg, you would have more control over the product.

  • http://davespetfood.com dave ratner

    hi Carole,
    the formula did not change. my manufacturer bought chicken fat from a new supplier and it changed the color of the food. after much screaming from me, they have gone back to the original supplier so the color will be back to what you are used to.
    dave
    ps please call me at 413 7892259 if you have any concerns

  • Carole

    I have been feeding our dog your dry food for over a year. The last bag that we bought has a different look to the kibble as well as smell. Can you tell me if you have changed the formula?

    Thank you

  • Jasmine

    Just wanted to add my two cents about Dave’s Pet foods–I’m a dog trainer at one of the big name pet stores, and despite the fact that I can get an associate discount on their high quality foods like Wellness or Blue, I choose to drive 45 minutes in the other direction to get Dave’s for my dog and two cats. My pets were previously on Wellness (dog) and Natural Balance (cat), and after talking with an associate at Dave’s about the quality of the ingredients in their products–and seeing the huge price difference–I decided I needed to try it. I have to say I am really impressed that a “store brand,” as many might see it, has the ability to keep my pets’ coats looking good and their weight in check. I’m only sad that I can’t tell my dog training students about this bargain…at least not in front of my managers…

  • Laurie M.
  • Teresa Faria

    Hi Dave,
    Quick question, I have a Chinese Crested Hairless who is allergic to just about everything but fish. I need a grain free dry to keep what teeth she still has at 13 intact. I feed Fromm Surf & Turf dry but am interested in the grain free canned you have. Is there an ingredient list on the cans? As I said she is allergic to tons of things, and I need to check everything she eats. Would love to have a high quality food for less that what I am stuck paying! Thanks!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Daniel… According the Dave’s website, there’s no menadione in this puppy food. I’m not aware of a recipe change. But it’s always possible.

  • Daniel

    I was at the pet store today and i saw Dave’s dog food. It caught my attention but when I read the listed ingredients on the puppy food it listed “K3 (menadione)”. Was this ingredient recently removed?

  • Patty

    Hi Dave, After much searching to replace my current dog food, I found your product “super premium dog food” at a local feed store. I am impressed that there is a dog food of this quality for well under $40 a bag. I keep switching because it seems that as soon as I find something I like, the price keeps going up. I sure hope that will not be that case here. As long as you keep up the good value I will continue to feed my two German Shepherds your product. So far so good. Thank you! Patty

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Wendy… Thankfully, there are literally hundreds of dog foods here. Why not limit your search to our 4 and 5-star dry dog foods. I’m sure you’ll be able to find at least a few that should meet your needs.

  • Wendy Sicard

    I feed my dog natural balance “sweet potatoe & venision ” dry food . Do you have a dry food simular to that ?

  • http://www.davespetfood.com dave

    hi Meagon,
    we just came out with 3 grain free canned dog foods..salmon dinner, roasted port, and duck/sweet potato.
    also the 3 95% cans are grain free. the folks who make my dry food cannot make a grain free dry yet. it takes a special machine to make grain free since they have to use tapiocca or another “binder’ to form the kibble. As soon as they get the machine up and running we will get a grain free.
    dave

  • Julie Howard

    Hi, just tried your dry food — put water in as usual and it turned to mud — obviously, I put too much in — do I feed less than say, Wellness Core? Do I just barely moisten? Do I just need to experiment — afraid to feed dry for fear of bloat —
    Do you have available in the DC/Northern Virginia area yet?
    thanks,
    julie

  • meagon

    Hi Dave! Have you ever thought about making a grain-free dog food?? We are considering switching to your brand but were interested in trying out grain-free diet.

  • http://www.davespetfood.com dave ratner

    hi fellow pet lovers,
    Dave from Daves Pet food here. I am proud to put my name on this food. I have 5 pet stores in western Mass and sell just about every pet food known to man. no question, depending on your animal, there may be a better food. but i would bet there is no better value for a good, honest, yummy, healthy food. I am happy to talk to you if you have any questions.
    413 789 2259
    dave