Dogswell Dog Food (Canned)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Dogswell canned dog food gets the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Dogswell product line includes six canned 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.

  • Dogswell Vitality Duck and Sweet Potato Stew
  • Dogswell Vitality Lamb and Sweet Potato Stew
  • Dogswell Vitality Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew
  • Dogswell Happy Hips Duck and Sweet Potato Stew
  • Dogswell Happy Hips Lamb and Sweet Potato Stew
  • Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew

Dogswell Vitality Duck and Sweet Potato Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Dogswell Vitality Duck and Sweet Potato Stew

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 44% | Fat = 22% | Carbs = 25%

Ingredients: Duck, chicken broth, chicken liver, chicken, dried egg product, salmon, peas, potato starch, sweet potatoes, carrots, red peppers, guar gum, natural flavor, sodium phosphate, cranberries, blueberries, spinach, zucchini, tricalcium phosphate, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), garlic powder, flaxseed oil, squash, potassium chloride, taurine, iron amino acid chelate, vitamin E supplement, zinc amino acid chelate, choline chloride, cobalt amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, riboflavin supplement, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, potassium iodide, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis8%4%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%22%25%
Calorie Weighted Basis36%44%21%

The first ingredient in this dog food is duck. Duck is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of duck”.1

Duck is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.

The third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fourth ingredient is chicken, another quality, raw 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 is salmon. Salmon is an oily 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 seventh ingredient is 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 meat content of this dog food.

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

The ninth ingredient is 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.

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 four notable exceptions

First, unfortunately canola oil can be a controversial item. That’s because some worry that canola oil is made from rapeseed, a genetically modified (GMO) raw material.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

Next, 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.2

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).

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

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.

Dogswell Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Dogswell 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 44%, a fat level of 22% and estimated carbohydrates of about 25%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 22%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 25% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a canned dog food containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Dogswell canned dog food is a meat-based wet product using a significant amount of poultry or lamb 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.

The brand also includes three Dogswell dry kibbles reviewed by the Advisor in a separate report.

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

05/14/2010 Original review
03/17/2014 Last Update

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor from the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition
  2. 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)
  • Melinda Haslett

    Bought the Happy Hips version dog food based on my own comparison of containers at the store. My older (13) small dog seemed to seem to be responding well (i.e. more bouncy). I mentioned this to my vet who happens to NOT have a favorable opinion of the brand. He mentioned other owners coming in with pets who had started to have issues (peeing inside). Turns out *my* dog was doing that too but I just had attributed it to old age. He did a blood test for my dog’s liver and found the levels very elevated. I am discontinuing the use today and will have the dog retested in two weeks. Hopefully he does not have permanent liver damage.

  • Pingback: Best Canned Dog Food: A Few Extra Years For Your Dog | Best Dog Treats For Your Happy & Healthy Dog !!

  • InkedMarie

    I’m very sorry for your loss.

  • Pattyvaughn

    So sorry for your loss.

  • Irene Zeman

    Over the past weekend we purchased yam wrapped with chicken treats from a major pet store chain in our town in Florida. Within hours our less than 3 yr old bishon/terrier dog became ill and needed to be at vet after vomiting many times. As it turned out the trearts were made in China and were bad. She got pancreatitis and passed away on us yesterday. Please do not buy ANYTHING made in China for your beloved pet and especially from the company Dogs Well

  • Brenda

    I just bought it at Shaw’s in Maine

  • cj

    Why???

  • Charlie_Driggs
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1002439570 Mary Blumreich

    Mine too.

  • dixies mom

    pat!!! Please look where the chicken comes from. it is in tiny words on the back at the bottom of the bag! it made my dog very ill and I wonder if that was the problem all along. Shame on company’s that kill our family members to make a buck!.

  • InkedMarie

    Hiya Sue! Being nosey, where are you in Maine? I’m in central NH

  • Sue Lambert

    I am in Maine and the local Shaw’s has it. I recently tried it & my 13 yr old picky eater loves it.

  • EvesHumanMom

    It’s very confusing. I checked the “newest” box, but every time I change threads I have to click “discussion” box re-check the already checked “newest” box to see the newest post. I finally figured out that we have chrome and I have to open up that browser to do this instead of going through our regular browser. Why can’t I go to the actual comment when we click on it in the recent comments column to the right? Am I doing something weird?

  • pattyvaughn

    Yeah, that’s a pain. Course I always wonder why someone would chose now to comment on something that was written a year ago, as if it was posted yesterday….until I find myself doing it:-)

  • Melissaandcrew

    Exactly! I last logged on 5 hours ago-unless they are listed at the right hand side of the screen, they are impossible to find. : )

  • Melissaandcrew

    That’s not the problem though. The recent comment section only “holds so many” recent comments-once they are off the right hand side of the screen, the only way to find new ones would be to go food brand by food brand and scroll through however many pages are under each one, since the comment will be threaded, and not at the top. Can you imagine if someone responds to a year old “original topic”? You will not know unless you scrolled through that many pages.

  • pattyvaughn

    I liked how with the old version you could click on who was being replied to and it brought up that post if you needed to refresh your memory and otherwise I wasn’t bothered with the old stuff. I never thought I had a talent for keeping track of multiple conversations but I rarely needed to look at the previous posts.

  • Shawna

    With the old “new” version we could pull up comments older then what is in the recent comments. This feature would be nice again… I’m not on most nights and not much at all over the weekend.. I could miss a lot of posts… :(

  • pattyvaughn

    When you see the post in recent comments, click on the however many minutes ago part and it will take you right to it…except when it doesn’t work.

  • Melissaandcrew

    MIke-

    Yes, that doe make sense, but the problem I see is this- The “newest first” only applies to the topic, not the replies. Therefore, unless I log on in time to catch the comment listed on the right side of the screen, I have no idea that there was a reply to anything, unless I scroll through the entire page, or if the reply is directly to me. So say someone replies today to an “original topic” that was posted 2 mths ago, I have no way of knowing that new reply comment was posted w/out scrolling completely through as it no longer appears at the top-Or am I missing something?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Melissaandcrew,

    If you had used the reply link below InkedMarie your comment would be threaded below hers. This may seem odd but it actually makes it easier for someone to jump in later on and be a part of the context of the discussion.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi InkedMarie,

    Here’s what might be going on…

    Since all the conversations are now threaded by Disqus, the newest “discussion” is actually the one started here by Jody90 on October 18 (you can see the actual date when you hover your mouse over the comment).

    The old system was known as a “flat” discussion, where each comment just followed the last comment in dated order. If you were replying to someone’s comment many comments further back down that (flat) thread, your comment was placed unrelated to that comment at the top of the list.

    The replies are now threaded beneath the user you are commenting to whenever you use the “reply” link. This may seem odd at first, but it should get much easier to follow as you use the system more.

    Hope this helps.

  • Melissaandcrew

    InkedMarie-I am having the same problem,. It seems that the newest only applies to the original post. When someone “replies” it stays as a thread and does not show up at the top.

  • InkedMarie

    Is anyone else having this problem? With the new Disqus, I click “newest” in the discussion tab….it still brought me up to a post from Jody, a month ago but there is a reply from 10hours ago, which I’m pretty sure is newer than a month ago!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TNO55UWU6MEXAEUTDZNCCLSJFU Olivia

    Go to Dogswell official site on the internet and they address all the issues you guys are worrying about.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TNO55UWU6MEXAEUTDZNCCLSJFU Olivia

    My picky Schnauzer loves this food.

  • Jody90

    Vitality canned chicken gives my dog really bad gas sometimes

  • Justscout

    jan_mom2Cavs – my mistake, i learned about the jerky being made in china and figured the food must be also. i think i will stay away from the food too tho until they move their whole operation to the u.s.

    i always wonder if there’s a way to encourage these companies to move from china. my dogs loved the jerky soo much.

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    Justscout….As far as I know, the Dogswell food (dry and canned) is NOT made in China.  I’m not sure where they source their ingredients, though.  Some of their treats ARE made in China, so that is why I’m a little leary of the company, in general.  I do feed their canned food (on a rare occasion) but I’ve never fed their dry.  I used to feed their jerky all the time before I found out about China.  :(

  • Justscout

    i have bought this a couple times and my dogs love it, but i am very uncomfortable with it being made in china.

    will still mainly buy merricks because of that

  • Jan_Mom2Cavs

    I buy this sometimes at my local Kroger store.  The dogs like it.  It’s fairly reasonable in price for canned food, but I don’t buy it all that much because I’m just not too comfortable with the company.  If all their products were made in the USA, I’d be happier.  Btw, some of their jerky treats (which are made in China) have been implicated in the chicken jerky “fiasco” of late, I believe.  :(  

  • shelly

    Had to add some wet to my Bichon’s dry kibble to hide the taste of a very bitter pain medication. Went to the grocery store and found this (the Chicken flavor). SO excited it’s a 5-star food! My dog is 11 and has bad knees and eats like a horse if you let her so has always had weight issues. She has slimmed down big time (over 1 lb already) on this food and I couldn’t be happier. She’s eating the same gross amount of food and losing weight! Now… if only I could do that! :)

  • InkedMarie

    Ah, RI is a few hours from here. 

  • Raybo1018

    Merrick is also a good food to as well.  My dog loves that brand as well.

  • Ray

     Hi Marie, I’m in Rhode Island and buy this food at Shaw’s and Stop & Shop.

  • EvesHumanMom

    Hi, Sherry,

    Have you tried Merrick?  I understand at least some of their canned is low-glycemic.  I don’t have much experience with canned foods, so don’t know how finely ground it is,though.

  • InkedMarie

    Where are you in New England? I’ve only seen this at one local human health food store

  • Raybo1018

    This is one of the few natural brands that local supermarkets around here (New England) carry.  Recently when I was purchasing a couple cans, the girl at the register looked at the cans and said “this looks better than anything that I eat”.   Spread the word about natural dog food.

  • Ray

    My little dog absolutely loves Dogswell food. I give it to her as a topper and by the speed she devours it, I can see it’s her favorite by far.

  • Elizabeth Ross McKee

    Our Xolo, Mr. Carlos was hit by a car late October and shattered and broke his lower jaw in several places. For 5 months I had to cook his food and puree it. he refused to eat pureed canned food and after reading a few of these reviews I understand why. So now that he is healed up enough to eat canned food again that is not pulverized he refuses to eat commercial food. However, he will eat Dogswell!

  • Maggie

    It’s great that this product has no grains, & cage free. But what I do have a problem with is the fact that this is “Duck” flavor & the next 3 ingredients are “Chicken”. The majority of pet owners who buy Duck flavor, usually have a dog that is on a limited diet. So having chicken (which they are allergic to) mixed in with the duck makes this a product I can’t buy. Sorry to hear that.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Sherry… Unfortunately, I don’t know how much potato is actually in this food. You’ll probably learn more by calling the company. Wish I could be more help.

  • http://dogswell.com Sherry

    Mike, I’ve been feeding my min pin Blue Wilderness Senior but they grind it up much smaller than this 5 star food. She has started to sneeze alot. She’s also diabetic and now blind. I’m afraid she’s getting the wet food which is ground finely in her nose and it’s now cause a respiratory infection. I picked out the carrots and the sweet potatoes before giving it to her because she is diabetic. Is there too many potato products you think in this product for her? So frustrated at finding the right food!

  • Stephanie

    I picked up three different types of Dogswell canned food to mix with dry for my picky old dog. He was underweight and pretty much refusing to eat anything except a dog treat. To my surprise, the dog gobbled it up and has continued to eat his food with relish for over a month now. He has put on a little weight and has more energy. I highly recommend this brand!

  • Jackie

    Picked up some of this Dogswell food for $1.50 a can. Will be trying it out as soon as I run out of Avoderm– Avoderm smells great to me, poodle likes it, but he gets very gassy after eating some kinds of it (the beef especially). Also, my grocery store (which is like a healthy type grocery, all organic gluten free hippie stuff) had a large “Grain Free!” sign on this food.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Pat… I’ve never used Happy Hips in my life. As I regularly remind all our readers, our ratings are never based upon expected results. Only the label.

  • Pat Moore

    Micha, my (8 year old, adopted) Rottie mix has very bad hips also. Are you still happy with the Happy Hips? I know it’s only been 3+ weeks since you posted, but I am curious yellow. My vet has given me Phycox to help the arthritis in Misty, but I still wonder about your Happy Hips experience.
    Pat

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Sarah… No problem. The reason you may not have seen this question before is because it was discussed on another Dogswell review. You may wish to review my answer to this question which was posted as a comment after the Dogswell Dry Dog Food review. Clicking this link will take you right to that answer. Hope this helps.

  • Sarah

    My question is (and I am sorry if it is already posted… I must have missed it), I had bought some dogswell brand jerky treats for my pup, and found that the meat was actually raised in China. This concerns me for the health of my dog, but our family is also very much supportive of Made in the USA products.

  • Micha

    I have a younger (4yr old) Rottie mix that has very bad hips. We have tried every supplement you can buy or get from the vet and we have even done the painful shots.

    I saw Happy Hips which is one of the varieties of Dogswell canned food and immediately noticed a wonderful different in my dog. (We always thought she was not a jumper and after 3 days eatting the food about knocked us over jumping up on us to say HI!!!) For the person concerned about potato, Dogswell just came out with a new line- Nutrisca that gets its carbs from chickpeas and my dogs love it!!!

  • Merilyn

    My cockapoo, Toby, has a very sensitive stomach and it has been a challenge to find a food that agrees with him and that he will eat. I mix it with a Dick Van Patten kibble and he just LOVES it. Now we’re both happy.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Michelle… This product appears to be grain free. Potato starch and sweet potatoes are primarily carbohydrates. However, unless your dog is a diabetic, I wouldn’t be overly concerned about the glycemic index here.

  • Michelle

    Hi Mike, Just wondering are there any grains in this canned food? Also I have my dog on Potato free/tapioca free grain free food, since this food has potato starch and sweet potatoes will this have any effect on her diet? Thanks so much!

  • Ray

    Jonathan, one of the major chains here, Stop N Shop, has a “natural” section in the dog food aisle that actually carries Dogswell products along with Newman’s. Unfortunately the brand that is most plentifully and prominently displayed in this “natural” section is Rachel Ray Nutrish. I get so outraged when I see that. I tried that dog food once on my little and she immediately got ill, and it persisted for days. So just because the store categorizes something as “natural” does not make it the truth.

  • Jonathan

    Yeah, your “larger chains” sound like our Harris Teeter. Then we have Piggly Wiggly and Food Lion that have almost no decent dog foods at all.

  • Ray

    Jonathan, most of the grocery stores here in New England carry a very limited supply of quality dog foods. You usually have to go to Petco or Pet Supplies Plus to get an assortment of quality pet foods. I picked this one up at a grocery store that is very unique to Rhode Island called Dave’s Marketplace. There they have an impressive assortment of the quality foods for cats and dogs. The larger chains here will only have off to the side “Newman’s Own” and only one or 2 others, usually Harmony Farms.

  • Jonathan

    I too got a can of this as a topper and my dog inhaled it! I think I picked it up at Harris Teeter. They have quite a few decent dry and wet foods for a grocery store.

  • Ray

    I’ve been buying different canned 3, 4, & 5 star dog food and mixing them with 5 star kibble. I bought a can of Dogswell that was on sale, and opened it last night. My little mutt, loves it! The texture is perfect for those of us who mix canned and kibble. It will definitely be on our list to buy!