Dogswell LiveFree (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Dogswell LiveFree Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating rating of 5 stars.

The Dogswell LiveFree product line includes six dry dog foods. Although each appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we were unable to find AAFCO nutritional profile recommendations for these dog foods on the product’s web page.

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

  • Dogswell LiveFree Lamb Recipe Adult
  • Dogswell LiveFree Turkey Recipe Adult
  • Dogswell LiveFree Salmon Recipe Adult
  • Dogswell LiveFree Chicken Recipe Adult
  • Dogswell LiveFree Chicken Recipe Puppy
  • Dogswell LiveFree Chicken Recipe Senior

Dogswell LiveFree Chicken Recipe Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Dogswell LiveFree Chicken Recipe Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 42% | Fat = 20% | Carbs = 30%

Ingredients: Chicken, turkey meal, peas, chicken meal, chickpeas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pea starch, natural flavor, pea protein, dried eggs, salmon meal, potassium chloride, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pumpkin, cranberries, blueberries, apples, alfalfa meal, carrots, lettuce, watercress, celery, parsley, spinach, beets, flaxseed, tomato pomace, choline chloride, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, salt, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, cobalt proteinate, sodium selenite, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, chicory root extract, fructooligosaccharide, hemicellulose extract, rosemary extract, green tea extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis38%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis42%20%30%
Calorie Weighted Basis35%40%25%

The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

The third ingredient includes 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 fourth ingredient is chicken meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

The fifth ingredient is chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, bean and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is pea starch, a paste-like, gluten-free carbohydrate extract probably used here as a binder for making kibble. Aside from its energy content (calories), pea starch is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

After the natural flavor, we find pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The next ingredient lists dried egg, a dehydrated powder made from shell-free eggs. 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 five notable exceptions

First, we find canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while some 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 source material.

Yet others find the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.1

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, tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

In addition, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener2 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

Next, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

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 LiveFree Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Dogswell LiveFree Dog Food looks like an above average dry 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 42%, a fat level of 20% and estimated carbohydrates of about 30%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 42% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 32% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effects of the pea products, chickpeas and flax seed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Dogswell LiveFree Dog Food is a grain-free kibble using a significant amount of various named meat and fish meals 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.

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, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits 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

09/16/2013 Original review
09/16/2013 Last Update

  1. Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005)
  2. Wikipedia definition
  • Shawna

    I believe it was the pet food manufacturers that, many years ago, started the myth that dogs should be on the same food day in and day out. They would have a vested interest in saying that though.

    Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Meg Smart (taught veterinary nutrition for over 30 years) says this though (bolded emphasis mine)

    “I have posted on my blog petnutritionbysmart.blogspot.com what I feel is the
    ideal way to feed dogs. I will concentrate on dogs as cats are a whole separate topic. (I believe cats are fed inappropriately which is causing a lot of
    preventable health problems). I like to see variety in a dog’s diet as their digestive tract is not designed to be fed the same diet day in and day out. http://www.angryvet.com/angryvet-nutrition-interview-drs-joseph-wakshlag-and-meg-smart/

    When a dog’s digestive tract is healthy they can switch between similar foods without issue. MANY of us here feed a “rotation” diet feeding a wide variety of foods with toppers like canned food, appropriate left overs etc. SO you can, and actually should, feed both foods as well as any others that you and pup like.

  • J.J.

    I have fed my dogs both foods. They have done very well on both. My picky eater prefers the Live Free over the Nutrisca, it’s one of the only dry foods she will eat without a topper. I prefer the Live Free due to the higher protein content. But in my experience, they are both really good options.

  • Andrea Amezcua

    I can’t decide which food is better for my dog I’m in between Dogwells Nutrisca and Live Free. Can anyone help me out on which might be best between these two. Thank you so much in advance.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Ziwipeak might work for you as well. It’s an air-dried raw food and it doesn’t have the carb binder like kibble does.

  • janetealum

    I ordered Nutrisca yesterday, birdie gets insulin 2 x a day but spikes so i’m trying to find a food to help regulate

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    LiveFree is lower glycemic than Nutrisca.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The one with the highest protein and fat and lowest carbs.

  • Betsy Greer

    Are you thinking of Nutrisca?

  • janetealum

    which dogwell dry is suitable for a diabetic dog on insulin?? I want to order but can’t remember which dogwell brand is recommended?