Dogswell canned dog food receives the Advisor’s highest rating of 5 stars.
The Dogswell product line includes six canned dog foods, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and three for all life stages.
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
The brand also includes three Dogswell dry kibbles reviewed by the Advisor in a separate report.
Dogswell Vitality Duck and Sweet Potato was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Dogswell Vitality Duck and Sweet Potato Stew
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
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|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||22%||25%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||36%||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 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 item is chicken. Like duck, chicken is also an excellent source of quality protein and amino acids.
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 salmon. 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 seventh item mentions peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (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 eighth ingredient includes potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate used more for its thickening properties than its nutritional 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 three notable exceptions…
First, canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.
Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its raw material source.
Current thinking (ours included) finds the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.2
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.3
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).
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 appears to be 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 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 canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a an above-average amount of meat.
Dogswell canned dog food is a meat-based wet product using a generous amount of poultry or lamb as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
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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Notes and Updates
05/14/2010 Original review
12/14/2010 Review updated
09/10/2012 Last Update
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor from the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition ↩
- Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005) ↩
- 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) ↩