Dave’s Grain Free canned 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 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.
- 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
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|
|Dry Matter Basis||39%||31%||23%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||29%||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 is 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 includes 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 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.
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 effect of the peas and flaxseed meal, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a notable amount of meat.
Dave’s Grain Free is a meat-based canned dog food using a notable amount of poultry, salmon or pork as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.
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.
A Final Word
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For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
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Notes and Updates
09/17/2014 Last Update
- 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 ↩