Innova Canned Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Innova product line includes seven canned dog foods, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages, one for growth (Large Breed Puppy) and four for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Innova Puppy (5 stars)
- Innova Senior (2 stars)
- Innova Adult (4.5 stars)
- Innova Lower Fat Adult (3.5 stars)
- Innova Large Breed Adult (5 stars)
- Innova Large Breed Puppy (5 stars)
- Innova Large Breed Senior (3 stars)
Innova Adult recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Innova Adult Formula
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Turkey, chicken, chicken broth, brown rice, potato, carrot, herring, natural flavor, whole egg, guar gum, apple, alfalfa sprouts, cottage cheese, herring oil, carrageenan, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), minerals (iron amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, cobalt amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, selenium yeast, potassium iodide), potassium chloride, vitamins (vitamin E, A, B12, D3 supplements, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, riboflavin supplement), sunflower oil, pumpkin, sodium phosphate, inulin, salt, choline chloride, beta carotene
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||41%||39%||13%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||64%||9%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is turkey. Turkey is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey”.1
Turkey is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is chicken, another quality raw item.
The third ingredient is chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The sixth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The seventh ingredient is herring. Herring is a fatty marine fish naturally high in protein as well as omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every dog to sustain life.
After the natural flavor, we find whole 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 seven notable exceptions…
First, herring oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, herring oil should be considered a commendable addition.
Next, this recipe contains cottage cheese. Compared to other dairy products, cottage cheese is high in protein yet contains 70% less lactose than whole milk.
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.
Next, 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.
Additionally, 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.
We also note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
And lastly, this recipe also contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.
Innova Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Innova canned 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 37% and a mean fat level of 26%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 29% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 71%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate to above-average amount of meat.
Innova is a meat-based canned dog food using a moderate to above-average amount of chicken and turkey as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Those looking for a comparable kibble from the same company may wish to check out our review of Innova Dry Dog Food.
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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For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
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Other spellings: Inova
Notes and Updates
11/23/2009 Original review
06/24/2010 Review updated
05/01/2012 Review updated
11/09/2013 Review updated
11/09/2013 Last Update
- Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition ↩