Innova Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Innova Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.

The Innova product line includes nine dry dog foods, one claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth, four for all life stages and four for adult maintenance.

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

  • Innova Senior Formula
  • Innova Adult Small Bites Formula
  • Innova Adult Large Bites Formula
  • Innova Puppy Formula (4.5 stars)
  • Innova Large Breed Adult Formula
  • Innova Large Breed Senior Formula
  • Innova Large Breed Puppy Formula
  • Innova Salmon and Herring Formula (4.5 stars)
  • Innova Weight Management Adult Formula (3 stars)

Innova Adult Small Bites Formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Innova Adult Small Bites Formula

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 50%

Ingredients: Turkey, chicken, chicken meal, whole grain barley, whole grain brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), flaxseed, natural flavors, peas, sunflower oil, eggs, potassium chloride, apples, tomatoes, carrots, blueberries, pumpkin, herring, salt, pears, menhaden oil, cottage cheese, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate), green beans, parsnips, alfalfa sprouts, ascorbic acid, vitamin E supplement, vitamins (betaine hydrochloride, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, beta carotene, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, folic acid), direct fed microbials (dried Enterococcus faecium, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus, dried Lactobacillus casei), rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%16%50%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%33%44%

The first two ingredients in this dog food are turkey and chicken. Although they are quality items, raw turkey and 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, these items would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The third ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.

The fifth 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 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 flaxseed, 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.

After the natural flavor, we find peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The ninth ingredient is sunflower oil. 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.

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, we find menhaden oil. Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. Their oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids, two high quality fats boasting the highest bio-availability to both dogs and humans.

What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as is typical with deeper water species.

In addition, the company appears to have applied friendly bacteria to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a dog’s digestive and immune functions.

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.

Innova Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Innova looks like an above-average dry dog food.

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 27%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 50%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 50% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 52%.

Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing at least a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Innova Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of poultry or fish as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

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, 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.

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.

Other spellings: Inova

Notes and Updates

11/22/2009 Original review
06/22/2010 Review updated
04/23/2014 Last Update

  • Dori

    Switch his food. Obviously something in the food ingredient list is not agreeing with him. Also someone mentioned to bath him in an oatmeal shampoo. Do not do that. If he happens to have allergies or intolerances to grains then oatmeal is not advised. I learned that the hard way with my allergy prone dog.

  • jbopinion

    Try bathing in an oatmeal shampoo.

  • Francis Mingora

    try adalt natural choice lamb and rice its good for nice shinny soft coat its good for alegiezs and sentive stomick my dog is on it has no truble her coat is verry soft to the tuch

  • Francis Mingora

    try natural choice lamb and rice its good food or try the natural choice chicken its good food

  • Francis Mingora

    my dog is on natural choice lamb and rice she use to scratch like crazey when i put her on nautrul choice her itching let up its for dogs with algeezs and sentive stomicks

  • Destiny Rose

    My current miniature schnauzer puppy is a very itchy puppy. My last one was too. I think there’s just something itchy about growing up. However, try switching him off the food and see if the scratching reduces. It might be making it worse or he might jut be a scratchy puppy too.

  • sarah

    My dogs won’t eat it. They refuse to. Their bowls are literally full after they “eat.” We have a dog with thyroid issues and one that has hip dysplaysia and we have been trying different foods to help. I don’t know if it’s because they are getting full faster or what but they refuse to eat it all.

  • janroc67

    I worked for P & G as a merchandiser, and I can you that they turned down chicken from suppliers that McDonald’s accepted…..

  • theBCnut

    I have seen many dogs that do get incredibly itchy with coat changes, though not this young, so I certainly don’t disagree with you, but Micah’s food issues started well before this age, so I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.

  • aimee

    Hi Milesmommy,

    I have such a soft spot in my heart for Labs. I’ve had four Labs and I can say that every single one was been an itchy puppy. My current Lab was crazy crazy itchy and I was sure she must have had a parasite that the vet couldn’t find. But after several through vet checks, including skin scrapings, when a cause wasn’t found I used frequent bathing and skin conditioners and she “outgrew” it as all my previous ones did.

    My personal thought on the issue is that it is related to the coat change over…. totally my opinion. No basis for that statement except that when I was showing I knew some one with Shar pei who said that whenever they shed and new coat came in they became very itchy as the stiff hair erupting form the hair follicle was irritating.

    Have a through vet check for parasites etc. I’d think a food issue unlikely at this age.

  • Milesmommy

    Yes, thank you! I had a feeling it was probably an intolerance to something, but just wanted to see if maybe it was common with this brand. Also yes I did find that list! Thank you, just saved the list so I can look into getting him a new food.

  • theBCnut

    Also, have you looked over on the forum side and read the thread on large and giant breed puppy nutrition?

  • theBCnut

    This is a food intolerance issue. There is some ingredient in the food that your dog can’t handle, like an allergy. You will need to find a new food. Look for something that has different protein and starch sources. Save ingredient lists on every food that you try so you can compare them and try to figure out what ingredient is causing the problem. Don’t forget to get the ingredient list for the food he was on before.

  • Milesmommy

    I have a new nine week old lab and I have him on the innova large breed puppy food, since being on this it seems he can’t stop scratching! I mean constantly scratching, not just sometimes, so much so that it distracts him even in the middle of having fun, training etc… has anyone else had an issue with this?

  • AngelD

    I was wondering what people think about Innova Adult Dog Food VS IAMS Iams® ProActive Health Large Breed Adult Dog Food.I have been supplementing the Iams with my own fruits and veggies(raw). I have a pitbull, shes going on 3 years old. Appreciate all comments…. Thank You

  • AngelD

    Hi Kevin, First THANK YOU for adopting from the pound. I found an answer for you about changing food over for your little boy. I found it online from Dr Foster Smith. I’m just c/p. Hope this helps……When feeding your pet a new food, introduce it slowly. If you feed too much too soon, your pet could suffer from stomach upset, vomiting, excess gas, constipation, or diarrhea.

    Intestinal Bacteria Play An Important Role

    Normal bacteria in the intestine help your dog or cat digest food. A sudden change in food can result in changes to the number and type of bacteria and their ability to help digest food. These changes can lead to intestinal upset. Therefore, your pet must be switched to a new food slowly.

    A Gradual Change is Best

    We recommend switching to a new food gradually over the course of 7-10 days. For example, make a mixture that contains 25% of the new food and 75% of the old food and feed that for three days. Then make it 50-50 for three more days, then 75% new food and 25% old food for three more days. If your pet seems comfortable with this progression, you can start feeding 100% new food.

    If at any time your dog or cat starts vomiting, has loose stools, or appears constipated, slow the rate at which you are switching the food. And as always, if problems continue to occur, consult your veterinarian.

  • cara myruski

    Purina one dog food killed my pit bull…it is dangerous garbage! My new dog started with Innova, then it was bought by purina so I trashed it. My dogs do very well now on the Wellness brand…

  • Michelle

    What dog food is similar to purinas nf canine formula? Her vet said she will eat that for life but my dog doesn’t want to eat those, so she’s loosing weight because she eats very little.

  • leslie

    I have been using Innova Large Puppy formula dog food and have really liked the results I am getting. Talking to a local expert, they told me they would never feed Innova because of all the recalls. Opinions on avoiding or using the food?

  • Kevin Henman

    How long will it take a dog to get used to this all natural very rich product? my dog is a puppy 5 month old and seems to be sensitive to this food. I have him on chicken and rice now to ease his stomach but i would like to give innova another try dunno how slow i should be adding it in to the dry food. Any ideas? He never had this rich of a food before i adopted him fromt he pound. He is a lab retriever.

  • Kim

    Wouldn’t feed this to my dog(s) after their 6 recalls in 6 months last year…say’s a lot about the companies idea about healthy pets…I wish it would have stayed off the shelves though…

  • Hound Dog Mom

    It’s defintely still there: http://seebeyondthebag.com/

  • Akari_32

    The new website doesn’t have this any more, actually. Now its really “LOOK HOW AWESOME WE ARE!” and “BUY THIS BECAUSE WE SAY SO!” Theres no more sourcing info or anything like that. I really liked Innova, too…

  • Deedee

    I fed my 3 dogs innova for years and after all recalls switched to Acana and then Blue. Although my dogs ate it, their breathe was terrible with the ” better ” dog food. I did find Innova back on shelf , just recently, so I tried a few bags and the breathe is better. I don’t understand the breathe issue but I’m sticking with Innova.

  • Luv doggies

    Please be aware of the numerous recalls for Innova products. My dogs kept getting sick from Innova. Since I switched to Oreign and Arcana dog food my dogs have been fine. One of my dogs had problems with her skin and coat when I fed her Innova. Since the switch her coat has grown in longer and softer than ever before and no more skin problems.

  • Annette

    SUITABLE FOR SODIUM RESTRICTED DIETS!
    The Innova Senior Dry and Weight Management Adult Dry dog foods are the ONLY commercially available (non-prescription) foods I have found that can be used for “Marked Sodium Restricted” Diets. Do your own research from the info found at “Feeding the Cardiac Patient” on the Vermont Veterinary Cardiology website. Available in petstores and online, not just at your vet’s.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Cheaper ingredients are definitely a possibility, although I do
    have to give Natura props for creating their “beyond the bag” site that
    shows where every ingredient is sourced. Not many companies do that.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Yeah – likely recall hysteria. I don’t understand placing the blame on P&G for the recall either. Natura products aren’t manufactured at P&G’s facilities and were recalled, the products manufactured by P&G (Iams, Eukanuba) weren’t recalled. I think the salmonella was likely present in the past (even pre-P&G) but the FDA just wasn’t as stringent about testing.

  • Pattyvaughn

    People weren’t complaining much until the recall, so I imagine it is a little recall hysteria and corporate giant bashing, but I also believe that P&G would be getting the cheapest possible ingredients.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    It could be the sourcing of ingredients from different vendors and maybe a quality change in them as well. I would guess that some of the ingredients that Natura use to get is now sourced from wherever P&G gets there stuff. More volume, more discounts, right? More $$ saved for P&G. But that is just my theory but it does make business sense.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    I don’t really understand why everyone keeps saying P&G ruined the Natura products. I don’t see where they’ve changed for the worse? Someone correct me if I’m wrong but I believe the only change that took place in any of the Natura products was a very minor change in the Innova formulas that didn’t result in a rating change. (BTW – I’m not a P&G supporter).

  • mocha

    It seems every time P & G takes over they ruin a good product, before it was Eukenuba and Iams, now Innova.

  • Donna

    Since being taken over by P&G, the company has so many recalls I have lost count. The most recent was April 2013, then this week June 2013, another one. Both salmonella poisoning which is very dangerous to dogs and humans, it is highly contagious. My dog loved this food but I can’t take a chance anymore, this former wonderful privately owned company is now just a mess thanks to P&G. I did notice that since they took over, my dog had loose stool which is definitely due to their new formula. Ugh I am done with them.

  • Jack

    New Recall Woooooo 6/18/13

    http://www.naturapet.com/recall

  • Judy r

    After 14 years on Innova, on the new formula my dog started to vomit DAILY. I will not let my dog be an ingredient guinea pig, Thank goodness I got a warning that was not fatal. He is now on Petcurean and I will never buy Innova again.

  • Mogs

    The ingredients have changed. Just looked at my label.

  • bricass

    Leave it to P&G. Innova has now had three recalls since early March 2013. SALMONELLA was found. Our pet store chain no longer will sell this product.

  • Happy Tags

    I loved Innova for my pup, the agency I adopted him from was feeding him this so I kept him on it, he was on it for 2 years, I went to the feed store and they told me Innova was bought by P & G and to just know that they promised not to change the formula and continue with making a safe product but that warned me. Worried about my pup I read labels & made a decision to switch, thinking I would ask in the future how things were going with Innova and maybe switch back! We switched to Hi-tec grain free dog food, my dog loves it! I asked yesterday about Innova and there was in fact a recall and one of the dogs that was getting it from at the feed store got very sick. I am very sad for Innova as I thought it was a great product. Unfortunately things have changed, i would just be warned P & G does not care about your dog like innova did they just care about the money, they bought Innova’s reputation and packaging but its definitely the quality it once was. I’m sorry :(

  • LabsRawesome

    P&G bought the company back in 2010. Any of the 4 or 5 star rated foods on this site.

  • Isalwayswright

    Disappointed to hear P&G has bought Innova! I will be seeking a new dog food… any recommendations? My last dog died after eating P&G dog food that had a recall Shame on you Innova for selling out!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sethkahan Seth Kahan

    After years of trusting Innova I purchased dry large breed puppy chow for my new German Shepherd puppy. Innova issued a recall but my bag was not listed, so I kept feeding the pup. She developed horrible runny diarrhea and I spend a lot of money on vet bills, stopped feeding the dog food. Then a new recall notice came out and now the lot number of this bag was listed! I called Innova and they told me they were going to expedite my customer service because they considered this an emergency. That ended up being a joke. I was assigned to one of their “vet techs” named Heather who called me twice in the next week. Both times she left a generic call back number where I had to listen to over 30 minutes of muzak before getting an operator who informed that Heather was not in or busy. The second time I asked for a direct line call back. When I called back and waited a good 15 minutes before I got the general P&G customer service line. They were about to connect me to Innova when I just gave them my name and told them their customer service sucks. It’s bad enough they made my dog sick, but to treat me that way after the fact pretty much ruined my taste for P&G. Needless to say I switched off Innova!!!

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    There are many other choices of foods! If you like a food with grain like Innova look into Fromm, Earthborn Holistic, Nutrisource, Horizon, Merrick, Nature’s Select and Victor. Try different flavors.

  • JOSELUISTROCHE

    ONE IMPORTANT THING IS THAT INNOVA SENNIOR DOG FOOD ONLY CONTAINS 0.17 % OF SODIUM. WHILE THE AVERAGE FOR MORE QUALITY DOG FOOD IS AROUND 0.28. WITH THE HIGHER QUALITY OOD MU DOBERMAQN WAS CONSUMEN MORE WATER. NOW HE IS BACK TO NORMAL.
    ALL HER VET TEST CAME BACK PERFECT !!!!

  • Pattyvaughn

    What food would you be willing to feed to yourself exclusively for 7 years and not worry about your diet having everything you need in it? It’s the same way with dog food. Dog food manufacturers have done dogs a terrible disservice when they lied about dogs needing to stay on one food. No food is perfect. Just like humans need a variety of foods to stay healthy, dogs do too.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Jen – Click on the Best Dog Foods link at the top left of this page and pick a new one :-) ….better yet, pick several and rotate among them (every bag is the easiest way to go, imho) so you won’t find yourself in this predicament anymore! :-) If you rotate among several brands and proteins, if one gets recalled you can just move on to another one and/or add something else to the rotation.

  • Jen

    They just had a recall. Im lost ive been using this food for 7 yrs. now i dont know what to do.

  • http://www.thegreedypinstripes.com/ BryanV21

    I’d trust the person that doesn’t make any money, or anything at all, from their advice.

    Your vet makes money off of selling SD, and frankly the education that most vets get is not good. Yours could be different, but I’d trust somebody with no agenda at all first.

  • Kathee

    You say consult a vet. But although I take my dog to a very good vet and animal clinic all they sell is the Science Diet which has a poor rating for dog food. Who to trust?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Whoever told you that high protein taxes the kidneys lied to you too. The kidneys easily handle any extra protein in the diet. They are not taxed by doing exactly what they were made to do, it is a passive process that requires no extra work beyond simply being there. That is like saying your coffee filter has to do more work depending on the beans you use.

  • Sandy’s gang

    I too have fed Innova to my dogs since they were little. I used to do part EVO part Innova finally using all Innova…they have done well. We have used it for many years. When I heard P&G bought it I was so sorry. I watched and the formula they weren’t going to change…they did and now it is time to change. I smell a weird smell from the small bites. I don’t like it..now I have to find something to feed them and want something with a protein level about what Innova is. I don’t like high protein as it taxes the kidneys. I am surely disappointed in P&G. They lied to us, what else have they not told the truth about. Time to move on from Innova…one past loyal fan for 7 years.

  • Pattyvaughn

    This isn’t Innova, it’s the Dog Food Advisor. Read more.

  • Charlene

    I have been buying my multipoo innova dry small bits but this last time when I bought it you changed the small bit size pieces to a smaller size piece, I don’t know if you did something to the recipe it gave her diarrhea. I read on your comments section that other peoples dogs had diarrhea to, from this dry food Took it back and got another dry food and she is ok with it.

  • km

    I was feeding my dog Innova regularly for about 2 years and then discovered after serving my dog about 4 meals that there was larva in the bag of food. This spooked me so much that I stopped feeding it to him but at the time did not know how to find out if this was a larger problem.

  • Shirley McGuire

    I bought the Natural Balance Duck & Potato canned meat and a small bag of the same in kibble form..and so far no gas and he ate with no problem…so strange…could it have been something in the Innova food that he didn’t like…