Freshpet Select Stews Dog Food Review (Tubs)

Rating:

Freshpet Select Stews receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The Freshpet Select Stews product line includes 2 tubbed dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Freshpet Select Stews Grain Free Beef and Pumpkin [M]
  • Freshpet Select Stews Grain Free Chicken Recipe [M]

Freshpet Select Stews Grain Free Beef and Pumpkin Recipe was selected to represent both products for this review.

Freshpet Select Stews Grain Free Beef and Pumpkin Recipe

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 38% | Fat = 30% | Carbs = 25%

Ingredients: Beef broth, beef, pumpkin, chicken, beef liver, lentil flour, eggs, spinach, pea protein, natural flavors, pea fiber, salt, dicalcium phosphate, sunflower oil, guar gum, vinegar, carrageenan, potassium chloride, cherry juice powder, celery powder, vitamins: choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, biotin, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, minerals: calcium carbonate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red denotes controversial item

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis8%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis38%30%25%
Calorie Weighted Basis28%54%18%
Protein = 28% | Fat = 54% | Carbs = 18%

The first ingredient is beef broth. Broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet 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 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 fifth ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

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 Review

Judging by its ingredients alone, Freshpet Select Stews 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 38%, a fat level of 30% and estimated carbohydrates of about 25%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 38% and a mean fat level of 30%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 25% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 80%.

Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-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.

However, with 54% of the total calories in our example coming from fat versus just 28% from protein, some recipes may not be suitable for every animal.

Bottom line?

Freshpet Select Stews is a grain-free wet dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.

Recommended.

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
Recall History

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.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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Important FDA Alert

The FDA has announced it is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and a type of canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy. Click here for details.

A Final Word

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Notes and Updates

02/04/2019 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  3. Completeness Score is a measure of a food’s relative nutrient content and is computed by NutritionData.com from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference