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
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|
|Dry Matter Basis||27%||16%||50%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||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.
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.
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.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
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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Other spellings: Inova
Notes and Updates
11/22/2009 Original review
06/22/2010 Review updated
04/23/2014 Last Update