Dave’s Naturally Healthy dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Dave’s Naturally Healthy product line includes four canned products, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review:
- Dave’s Naturally Healthy Healthy Joint Recipe
- Dave’s Naturally Healthy Beef and Rice Recipe
- Dave’s Naturally Healthy Liver and Rice Recipe
- Dave’s Naturally Healthy Chicken and Rice Recipe
Dave’s Naturally Healthy Beef and Rice Dog Food was selected to represent both products for this review.
Dave's Naturally Healthy Beef and Rice
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef, sufficient water for processing, beef liver, chicken, brewers rice, egg product, guar gum, sodium tripolyphosphate, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, salt, carrageenan, vitamins (E, A, B12, D3 supplements, thiamine mononitrate, biotin riboflavin supplement), minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, manganous sulfate, potassium iodide, sodium selenite) and choline chloride
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||41%||27%||24%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||51%||18%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
The third ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.2
Chicken is another source of digestible animal protein.
The fifth ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth ingredient includes 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.
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 two notable exceptions…
First, guar gum is 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.
And lastly, We note the listing of copper proteinate, a chelated mineral. Chelated minerals are minerals that have been chemically attached to amino acids. This makes them easier to absorb.
Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods. However, we find it odd that copper is the only chelated mineral reported in this food.
Dave’s Naturally Healthy Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Dave’s Natural Healthy looks like 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 40% and a mean fat level of 31%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 22% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 77%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a wet food containing a moderate mount of meat.
Dave’s Naturally Healthy is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate amount of chicken, beef or liver as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Those looking for a nice kibble from this same company may wish to visit our review of Dave’s Dry Dog Food.
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
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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".
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Notes and Updates
05/20/2010 Original review
03/17/2013 Review updated
03/17/2013 Last Update