Drs. Foster and Smith Dog Food (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Drs. Foster and Smith canned dog food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Drs. Foster and Smith product line includes five canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

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

  • Drs. Foster and Smith Fish and Potato Adult
  • Drs. Foster and Smith Chicken and Brown Rice Adult
  • Drs. Foster and Smith Country Classics Hearty Beef Stew
  • Drs. Foster and Smith Lamb and Brown Rice Adult (4.5 stars)
  • Drs. Foster and Smith Country Classics Roasted Turkey and Chicken Stew

Drs Foster and Smith Fish and Potato Adult Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Drs Foster and Smith Fish and Potato Adult

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 46% | Fat = 21% | Carbs = 26%

Ingredients: Ocean white fish, fish broth, salmon, potatoes, herring, whole carrots, whole sweet potatoes, guar gum, sunflower oil, whole apples, kelp, potassium chloride, carrageenan, garlic powder, sodium ascorbate (source of vitamin C), zinc proteinate, choline chloride, iron proteinate, vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, beta carotene, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, copper proteinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin D3 supplement, manganese proteinate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, and sodium selenite

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis10%5%NA
Dry Matter Basis46%21%26%
Calorie Weighted Basis38%41%21%

The first ingredient in this dog food lists whitefish, a protein-rich freshwater species native to Canada and the northern United States.

The second ingredient mentions fish broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The third ingredient includes salmon, another quality raw item. Salmon is a fatty marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.

The fourth ingredient includes 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 ingredient is herring. Nutritionally, herring is very similar to salmon.

The sixth item includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The seventh ingredient lists sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.

The eighth ingredient is 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.

The ninth item lists sunflower oil. 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 three notable exceptions

First, 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.1

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).

Next, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.

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.

Drs. Foster and Smith Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by it’s ingredients alone, Drs. Foster and Smith 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 46%, a fat level of 21% and an estimated carbohydrate content of 26%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 26%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 22% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 58%.

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

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a wet food containing a generous amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Doctors Foster and Smith canned dog food is a meat-based wet product using a generous amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically 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 good kibble from the same company may wish to read our review of Drs. Foster and Smith dry dog food.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

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

06/04/2010 Original review
01/06/2011 Review updated
04/26/2012 Review updated
11/09/2013 Review updated
11/09/2013 Last Update

  1. 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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  • melissa

     Let me know how the new Merrick’s work for your crew. The new grain free is on my list to try and was hoping to see some reviews!

  • Suzanne

    Melissa said:                     Suzannne-So, your dogs went from 7/28 enjoying the food to 8/12 not liking it-sigh. It happens unfortunately.——————————————————— Melissa, yes, it didn’t take long, because some of my dogs just would not eat the Foster and Smith food.   Also, the dry food didn’t get a high rating here, although the canned did.  I even wrote Drs. Foster and Smith and mentioned what was wrong with the food, since we read the inferior ingredients here.  I also mentioned that since they advertise that doctors wrote the formula for the food I would expect better ingredients.

  • Suzanne

    Melissa, thank you so much for taking the time to write.  I thought I had many dogs, although I love every one of them, but you have even more!   Mine are all rescued, most from kill shelters, one abandoned on a highway, and one whose owner died and she was going to be put down.

    I have decided to try another brand of food now, having studied all the foods here that were  in the top five.  This is what I ordered, and I will find out what they thrive on, and
    like the best.  Feeding the best food keeps them happy and healthy.

    This is Merrick food that I ordered today, free shipping:

    Small Breed Adult Classic
    Real Chicken, Brown Rice & peas
    Wild Buffalo Grill

    Grain Free Real Buffalo & Sweet
    Potato
    Grain Free Real Chicken & Sweet
    Potato
    Large Breed Classic Real Chicken, Brown Rice
    & Green Pea
    The Merrick was rated 5 here, and I am really counting on having found the right food.  I depend on the rating here.
     
    Thanks for your help!

    Suzanne

  • Johnandchristo

    Hi Suzanne….

    I fed Fosters and Smith to my Flat Coat Dugan. My new dog Christo gets Brother’s Complete which is grain and white potato free. I’m much happier with the Brother’s. For a variety of reasons, 1 encapsulated pre/probiotics.(these really work and have made a huge difference) 2 the amount of meat/fat/bone. very high quality meats and fats and lots of them. 3 the use of tapioca not grain or potato. The tapioca helps the pre/pro biotics work and has a very low glycemic index. Also there’s this to consider both dogs do or did the same stuff; but Christo who eats more is thinner than Dugan was, that’s the carbs. I really wish I would have fed Dugan Brother’s. Here are some pics of both dogs. Christo is a lab. Dugan a flat coat. Christo is younger than Dugan was but he eats more kibble and meat. Dugan is not alive sadly he got sick, but NOT because of his food, he was a little over weight from his food . But he was a very happy and active dog his whole life. He loved to run on the beach and anywhere else, just like Christo. Dugan was 130#s Christo is about 90#s.   

  • melissa

     Suzannne-

    So, your dogs went from 7/28 enjoying the food to 8/12 not liking it-sigh. It happens unfortunately.

    I would suggest looking at the 4-5 star products and choosing from there. This way you can determine what is in it that you like, and what you dislike. What works for my pack(of 15) may not work for yours.

    My crew does really well on the Acana products(both grain free and grain inclusive), the NV products(can, dry and yes RAW) as well as several others. You also have to figure out what is in your budget. Price things out, and figure out different options-Perhaps  a 4-5 star food is not feasible-then price out a 3 star, and “upgrade” it by adding canned(quality canned) fresh, or dehydrated as a topper. I rotate brands, but try to stay within a small difference in calories per cup-this way, I do not have to re-figure feeding amounts each time I switch-it stays the same.

    Some reasonable priced decent foods we have fed over the years are Nutrisource grain free  chicken and grain inclusive chicken(my pack did not tolerate the other varieties such as heartland) Many people use Earthborn and swear by it(did not work for my crew, but I may try the Primitive version)

  • Suzanne

    I was looking for comments by people who have tried
    Drs. Foser and Smith dog food.  But, I have read about Science diet here, and at one point in time I believed in Science Diet since for some obscure reason my vets sold it, and they sell it if dogs are sick, and in my view Science diet is no good and even made my dogs sick.  I find it disappointing because it makes it appear that they make money selling Science diet food when there is NO reason for me to believe that food is safe or good for my dogs.

    I noticed on another thread and maybe here that someone is suggesting feeding our dogs raw meat as their diet.  I am not interested in that method of diet because raw meat can contain parasites and other contamination.  I am just interested in the best food for my dogs which doesn’t contain corn, wheat, insecticides, questionable preservatives and other unsavory components.

    I ordered Drs. Foster and Smith canned and dry, and my dogs don’t care for it, and I regret ordering it because the dry food did not receive a good rating here, and if doctors supposedly created the formula it should have been better food.  Shame on Drs. Foster and smith for presenting dog food that is not up to par.  I didn’t care for the canned, either, which seemed to have too much rice and not enough GOOD meat.

    I’m still looking for the best food for my dogs.  For me, I am not interested in a lot of berries and vegetables in my dog food, but that’s just me.  Because I have always been a rescuer of animals for years, I always have permanent members of my family of around ten dogs at all given times.  If I had only a few dogs I would cook meat and other ingredients for them, but that would be too expensive with so many of them.   However, we have to worry about what is really in their dog food, if it is carcasses from kill shelters, etc., which is sickening and horrendous, but we do read that it happens in some of the totally despicable manufacturers of dog and cat food.

    Sorry this is so long.  I need to order or buy GOOD and SAFE dog food that my dogs will enjoy, and not just tolerate.

  • Suzanne

    I have been feeding my dogs food that is always said to be the best available.  In doing so, I started that years ago, beause I learned long ago that Science diet was one of the worst, along with Pedigree, both of which made my dogs sick and contained ingredients that were NOT safe.  That veterinarians sell Science diet makes me think they get a commission on what they sell, which would be part of their income.  I consider this to be a disgrace, and the health of dogs is supposed to be their first priority.

    I have feed only foods that are designated here as in the top five.   My only deviation from that was when I tried Cesar to get a tiny, very sick dog to eat, and when years ago I tried Science diet and Pedigree, both of which had adverse effects on my dogs.

    I started two weeks ago to use the Drs. Foster and Smith dry and canned food, and so far that food has worked extremely well with my dogs.  I have ten dogs, large and small, ALL rescued from horrible circumstances, and I am careful to give them the best of everything.  They are the best dogs in the world in my view, and they are very happy and healthy now.
    My rescued dogs live to be fifteen to 17 years old, and they are so happy and so thrilled with their lives, and I attribute their health to GOOD and SAFE dog food, not some cheap off the grocery shelf food that is not good, is only cheaper, and that may keep them going for a while.  In the long run, that type food deteriorates a dog’s body and health, and it is really cheap of the guardians of those dogs to give their dogs that is food because it is cheap.  In the long run vet bills will cost more than the difference in good food and bad food.

    I see nothing wrong with rice in dog food, and don’t know where anybody gets the idea that rice is dangerous.  In fact, in the past if I had a sick dog I was told rice was good for an ailing stomach.  Just me, but I am not keen on berries and all kinds of vegetables in my canned or dry food.

    I am writing this because nobody has comments on the Foster and Smith food, and I will continue to monitor how my dogs do on it, and I will share that information here.  I am having the food shipped to me, with free shipping.   I like that the food looks good, it has a good aroma, and my dogs are enjoying it.  I will see how they do long range, and I will tell you.

    Best wishes,

    Suzanne

  • colliegirl1

    No comments on this food how disappointing.  I feed my dogs the dry lamb and rice? no review? thanks.

  • Shawna

    PS — once the pancreas is damaged it may be necessary to feed a higher carb diet but not always. Primal raw might be a solution — many of the protein choices are lower in fat (as compared to other commercial raw products). You could also include coconut oil for calories — it does not affect the pancreas like other fats. It is safe for pancreatitis. You could also add in veggies (like sweet potatos) for extra calories and nutrients.

    Also — fat is a problem not because of fat per se but because when the enzymes are activated prematurely it can actually cause the fat enzyme, lipase, to digest the pancreas. This, obviously, is very painful.

  • Shawna

    I’m with DFN on this one.. ANY organ can become stressed if it is asked to chronically perform more then it is designed to.. Human produce amylase in the mouth and chew their foods releasing enzymes or mixing the enzymes released via the oral cavity. Dogs do not do this. Grains also have enzyme inhibitors.

    An example — I posted just yesterday how fructose (rice is a grain higher in fructose) can eventually contribute, through organ stress, to liver disease. Fructose in alcoholic beverages does the same thing — takes a white but it happens. If it can happen with the liver then why couldn’t it happen with the kidneys or the pancreas?

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninja Dog Food Ninja

    Aimee, I don’t think modern science understands enough about how the various components within foods are used by animals. Dogs evolved eating animal-derived fat and protein almost exclusively. There are properties of such a diet that we don’t even understand yet, just as we are learning there are sub-nutrients in fresh veggies that aren’t supplied by synthetic vitamins. Now, to me, if the new thing (last 70 years) in a dog’s diet is heavy processed carbs, and pancreatitis is a fairly common modern problem for dogs, I don’t think the correlation is such a leap. Not everything must be or needs to be proved in a lab.

  • aimee

    There has never been anything published which even remotely suggests that carbohydrates play a role in the development of pancreatitis in dogs.

    Because dogs don’t have a carb requirement, some people reason that the production of amylase somehow “streses” the organ as opposed to the production of lipases or proteases.

    Yet this research study has shown that the proportions of the various enzymes in the pancreatic fluid do not vary significantly with diet composistion.

    Therefore reasoning that people give for blaming carbohydrates on pacreatitis isn’t valid.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11860256

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninja Dog Food Ninja

    Melissa, I know the carbs don’t cause the “flare-ups” themselves. And I think that’s why fat gets the bad rap in this situation. The point I was making is that the carbs themselves are what slowly wears down the dog’s organs and makes it hard for them to process the good stuff (fat and protein).

    When I had a series of stomach problems, the diagnosis from my Doctor was G.E.R.D. and the “solution” was to eat MORE grains and LESS fat. (Oh, and to take 3 different pharmaceuticals every day for the rest of my life.) Well, I did that for a while and still occasionally had problems. But then, I read about our evolutionary diet and the horrors of grains and processed, starchy foods. I stopped my medicine, and stopped eating carbs. I had heart-burn for a few days while my system adjusted to not being on medications, and then, shocking shock of a shocker! Stomach problems went away! By eating meat and veggies!

    I know it’s dangerous to mess with pancreatitis, which is why I posed what I said as a question for some of the others who have had experience healing dogs with diet. I just really think that when an animal is give the diet it’s body was sculpted by, they can self-heal much more efficiently. But as I said, I have no idea how you would get a dog with pancreatitis on to a raw diet.

  • melissa

    DFN-

    As an owner of several rescue dogs with pancreatic issues, I can tell you that for my dogs, carbs do not play a factor in the flare ups-the fat strictly does. They can eat kibble with high carbs, low carbs etc and they are fine-but if the fat content of the kibble goes over 14-15 percent, they will have an acute flareup. They will also flare up if given fat in home cooked-ie Boiled chicken is fine as long as its skin free and the fat is skimmed off.

    They love the Acana grain free, but the fat is too high to feed it solely, so hence one of the reasons that we mix foods-mixed with a lower fat content food, they seem to be able to eat it just fine. Sigh

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninja Dog Food Ninja

    Hey Lisa, one of the other regulars posted a bunch about pancreatitis and colitis… I don’t remember who? Shawna maybe? Or what thread it was under? Anyone remember?

    But in any account, I think the idea was that the carbohydrates are what ruin these organs in the first place and make it difficult for the dog to properly process fat, which is a problem because fat is very good for dogs, and if you eliminate fat calories, you have to add carbohydrate calories… the very thing that caused the damage initially. So the slow damage keeps be perpetrated on your dog’s system by the processed carbs… it’s just a down-hill slope. But the point is, if you can somehow transition your dog to a no carb raw diet, then their body only has to work on breaking down fat and protein which is what it was designed by evolution to do. Of course, how do you go from carb-pellets to fatty raw food without having a big, dangerous flare-up? Maybe a transition to a high protein/low fat food as a step? I don’t know. Any of you scientists have an idea for her?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Lisa… It’s my understanding that low fat dog foods are frequently recommended for the treatment of acute pancreatitis. Unfortunately, though, since I’m not a veterinarian and due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, it would be inappropriate for me to provide specific health advice or product recommendations. For more help, please see my article, Suggested Low Fat Dog Foods. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers. Wish I could be more help.

  • Lisa

    Would you be able to tell me if Doctors Foster and Smith adult canned dog food is acceptable to feed for a dog with chronic pancreatitis? I would like to feed 75% canned and 25% of their kibble.

  • DAWN LEDER

    LOL U GUYS ARE FUNNY…WISH SHE WROTE BACK…IM DYING TO KNOW WTH?? BUT SURE SHES NOT COMING BACK SINCE ITS SEPT NOW AND SHE WROTE IT IN APRIL…TOOO FUNNY NOT EVEN..CLOSE TO THIS FOOD..OH WELL AT LEAST GOT A LAUGH OUT OF ME :o)

  • Jonathan

    Man, McD, BK and KFC taste soo good. Sadly, just seeing those words makes me salivate like Pavlov’s dogs. But yeah, you’re right. No good. lol

    But I am confused by Judy’s post as well. What does Science Diet have to do with this apparently great food? And she calls it “can science diet”… twice… which isn’t even good English, (If it’s her second language, then I apologize) but what type of canned science diet are we talking here? Persciption? Lite? beef? I got nothing.

  • ShamelessRawFoodie

    Judy W – If low-rated Science Diet is so yummy for your dogs, why did you post your comment on the 5-star rated page of Drs. Foster and Smith Dog Food? Or did you feed them Drs. Foster and Smith canned food and you confused Dr. with Science?
    You might take some time to review different products on this website just to see if what your two dogs like is actually good for them.
    Many people love McD, BK and KFC. But a diet of McD, BK and KFC isn’t very good.

  • Judy Wrenn

    I have two 7 year old picky dog food eaters! However, on the advice of my vet, she told me to try this can Science Diet as my dogs are overweight. I fed it to my dogs and they ate it all up, licked the bowl for any lingering food and wanted more!! I am a dog lover from way back, I highly advise feeding dogs can Science Diet. That is a fact!
    Judy W.

  • Meagan

    I think i might order some of this. has anyone fed it?