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
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|
|Dry Matter Basis||46%||21%||26%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||38%||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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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".
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.
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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
- 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) ↩