Freshpet Select tubbed dog food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Freshpet Select product line includes two tubbed 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.
- Freshpet Select Lamb Recipe
- Freshpet Select Chicken Recipe
Freshpet Select Chicken Recipe was selected to represent both products for this review.
Freshpet Select Chicken Recipe
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken broth, chicken, chicken liver, ground oats, carrots, brown rice, eggs, rice bran, peas, natural flavors, salt, guar gum, vinegar, caramel color, beta-carotene, vitamins: choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, biotin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, minerals: zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||23%||42%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||22%||44%||34%|
The first 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 second ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third ingredient includes chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient includes ground oats. Oats are naturally rich in dietary fiber, B-vitamins and low in gluten.
The fifth ingredient includes carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The seventh ingredient includes eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The eighth ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.
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, 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.
Next, caramel is a natural coloring agent made by caramelizing carbohydrates. It’s used by pet food manufacturers to impart a golden brown tint to the finished product.
However, the concentrated version of this ingredient commonly known as caramel coloring has been more recently considered controversial and found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.2
In any case, even though caramel is considered safe by the FDA, we’re always disappointed to find any added coloring in a pet food.
That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?
And lastly, this food 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.
Freshpet Select Tubbed Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Freshpet Select tubbed 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 26% and a mean fat level of 23%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 87%.
Below-average protein. Near-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
However, with 44% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 22% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal. In addition, this same finding also prevents us from awarding the brand a higher rating.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a wet food containing only a modest amount of meat.
Freshpet Select tubbed dog food is a plant-based wet product using a modest amount of chicken or lamb as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.
A Final Word
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The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.
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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.
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Notes and Updates
03/22/2015 Last Update