Dave’s Grain Free (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★½

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

The Dave’s Grain Free product line includes seven wet dog foods. However, since we’re unable to locate AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the company’s website, 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.

  • Dave’s Grain Free Duck and Sweet Potato
  • Dave’s Grain Free Turkey and Bacon (5 stars)
  • Dave’s Grain Free Roasted Pork Dinner (4 stars)
  • Dave’s Grain Free Chunky Chicken Stew (5 stars)
  • Dave’s Grain Free Poached Salmon Entree (4 stars)
  • Dave’s Grain Free Turkey, Sweet Potato and Cranberry Stew
  • Dave’s Grain Free Chicken, Sweet Potato and Quinoa (4 stars)

Dave’s Grain Free Turkey, Sweet Potato and Cranberry Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Dave's Grain Free Turkey, Sweet Potato and Cranberry Stew

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 39% | Fat = 31% | Carbs = 23%

Ingredients: Turkey broth, turkey, chicken, liver, dried egg product, peas, flaxseed meal, potato starch, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, carrots, guar gum, sea salt, sodium tri-poly phosphate, sweet potato, potassium chloride, choline chloride, cranberry, flaxseed oil, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), niacin supplement (vitamin B3), d-calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), biotin supplement (vitamin B7), folic acid supplement (vitamin B9), vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, selenium yeast, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis7%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis39%31%23%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%55%17%

The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common addition component in many canned products.

The second ingredient is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.1

The third ingredient is chicken, another quality raw item.

Both turkey and chicken are naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is 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.

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 actual meat content of this dog food.

The seventh ingredient includes flaxseed meal, one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly 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.

The eighth ingredient includes potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional value.

The ninth ingredient is calcium carbonate, likely used here as a dietary mineral supplement.

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, flaxseed oil is one of the best non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids — essential to a dog’s health.

Next, this recipe also contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

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 Grain Free Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Dave’s Grain Free canned dog food looks like an above average wet 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 39%, a fat level of 31% and estimated carbohydrates of about 23%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 40% and a mean fat level of 29%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 24% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 72%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effects of the peas and flaxseed meal in some recipes, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Dave’s Grain Free canned dog food is a meat-based wet product using a moderate amount of poultry, salmon or pork as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

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

12/24/2010 Original review
09/17/2011 Updated added Turkey and Bacon product
03/17/2013 Review updated
03/17/2013 Last Update

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition
  • Betsy Greer

    I totally agree Sandy! I have been using a spoonful or two of THK or Dr. Harvey’s Oracle on top of kibble, wet it with hot water, stir and wait. Using THK in place of canned toppers is so much easier! THK is expensive, but you use so little. I’ve never done the comparison, but I can’t imagine that it ends up being any more expensive than canned. I order it and it ships and stores better than canned foods do also.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Some of the Wellness Stews and Weruva Human Style don’t have carrageenan. Have you tried using a dehydrated food like The Honest Kitchen or Grandma Lucy’s or other? They serve up like wet food.

  • OhBichonPlease

    I recently purchased several varieties of Dave’s grain free and avoided the Turkey and Bacon for the same reason – carrageenan. As far as I could tell from what was available to me locally [from Pet Pantry - feedyoupets.com], the Turkey and Bacon recipe is the only one with carrageenan!
    I had fantastic luck last night with the Stewie Stew – the first food my picky girl ate willingly and happily, even with kibble sprinkled on top.

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  • Pattyvaughn

    Then I’d keep watching labels. They may be in the process of changing. I hope not. I don’t know why dog foor companies think we need pate style foods to set up like Jello. I want it to be more like gravy, easy to mix.

  • katalinak-GA

    I know, but I buy several of Dave’s that are pate type that do not contain carageenan. They are kind of soupy, which is to be expected, so that’s why I checked the ingredients when I opened the Turkey and Bacon because it wasn’t. For instance, the Duck and Sweet potato is a pate but no carageenan.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Stew type canned foods don’t generally have it because it is a thickening agent used in loaf or pate style foods.

  • katalinak-GA

    I feed my dog Dave’s alot and just noticed that the GF Turkey and Bacon has carageenan in it, which is something I always try to avoid giving my dogs. Not sure why the other Dave’s GF products do not have it or if this is something new they have started adding to all of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LoisLeili Lois Witzel Leili-Lamb

    I love Dave’s dog food. I inherited my late mother in laws chubby, picky, spoiled skin inflamed Llasa Apso. I have had him for 1 year, he is trim, healthy and ichy,sore skin free. Even the groomer was amazed at the change in this dog and his skin. He had huge patches of thickened smelly oozing skin all over. Hair lose and just a general miserable appeareance. After hundreds of dollars wasted at the vets, with anitbiotics, steroids, anti-histamine etc. I finally decided to try a gluten free, grain free dog food with a wieght maintenence dry food by Iams. Well this took about 2 months and he is completely cured. He is a healthy happy boy and we love him so much. I love Daves and i would never go back to anything else!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Weruva, Addiction, Simply Nourish, Tiki Dog – these are all fairly low in fat and carbohydrates and high protein.

  • http://www.facebook.com/debra.deveno Debra Deveno

    I’m looking for a high-protein, low-carb, and below average fat wet dog food for my 16 old Sibe with severe arthritis. What do you suggest?

  • Meg K

    I wanted to check to see if anyone recently has tried this food.  I have a 2 1/2 year picky picky shih tzu who has IBD and now is in the early stages of liver disease.  She can not have anything with chicken, beef, lamb or grains so I am having some issues trying to find a food that doesn’t have these ingredients and one that she will eat.  I have tried so many different foods in the past with no luck.  Currently I am giving her Stella & Chewys but lately she is turning her nose up to it and she has been itching something fierce so I am not sure if there is something in the food that she is becoming allergic to or just allergies in general.  Any advice would greatly be appreciated!!!

    Thanks!!!

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  • K.H.

    I feed Dave’s grain free to my three cats, along with Natural Balance Platefulls. I like it, it is grain free (two of mine have allergies) and affordable, but my only problem is the unspecified poultry they use in many of their ground formulas. Does anyone know about what type of poultry this stuff is? Thanks. :)

  • Peggy

    I have a chocolate lab who seems to be getting diarrhea each time I mix her dry food with Dave’s canned Chicken dog food. This is a new thing – she had been fine with it. Is anyone else having this problem?

  • John

    Yes it does. Thank you very much!

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi John… Average dry matter protein for dry dog foods in our database is 28.55% and for canned foods it is 39.79%. Please re-read my FAQ, “How We Rate Dog Foods” and my article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews” for more information. Hope this helps.

  • John

    So what is “average” protein? I doubt this is the only criterion used or your article on How We Rate Dog Food does not make sense. What are the criteria and scores needed?

  • Jonathan

    John, this food has “average” protein, thus it cannot have 5-stars.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi John… Wish I could help but your question is a bit vague. Not sure what you mean. in any case, I cannot provide customized product comparisons for each reader. For more help, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • John

    I compared this to some of your 5 star grain free canned foods and I have trouble understanding the difference between this food and some of the 5 stars like: Before Grain, Canidae and Fromm Gold.

    I appreciate your help!

    Thanks,
    John