Freshpet Select Stews receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The Freshpet Select Stews product line includes two grain free 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 Stews Grain Free Beef Recipe
- Freshpet Select Stews Grain Free Chicken Recipe
Freshpet Select Stews Grain Free Beef 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 beef broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common addition component in many canned products.
The second ingredient is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third ingredient includes pumpkin. Pumpkin is a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene and dietary fiber.
The fourth ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is lentil flour, a powder made from roasted peas or lentils. Lentil flour contains as much as 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
The seventh ingredient includes eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The eighth ingredient is spinach. Due to its exceptional vitamin and mineral content, spinach exhibits a remarkably high nutrient Completeness Score3 of 91.
The ninth ingredient is 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.
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, we find pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.
Next, 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.
In addition, 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 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 Stews Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Freshpet Select Stews 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 38% and a mean fat level of 25%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 30% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 67%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the lentil flour and pea protein, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Freshpet Select Stews is a meat-based wet dog food using a moderate amount of beef or chicken as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 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.
Freshpet Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
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A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
09/03/2016 Last Update