Paw Tree Grain Free Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★½

Paw Tree Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 4.5 stars.

The Paw Tree Grain Free product line includes 7 dry 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.

Important: Because many websites do not reliably specify which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are safe for large breed puppies, we do not include that data in this report. Be sure to check actual packaging for that information.

  • Paw Tree Grain Free Turkey and Garbanzo Beans [M]
  • Paw Tree Grain Free Lamb, Chickpeas and Lentils [M]
  • Paw Tree Grain Free Duck and Chickpeas (4 stars) [M]
  • Paw Tree Grain Free Turkey and Sweet Potato (5 stars) [M]
  • Paw Tree Grain Free Chicken and Sweet Potato (5 stars) [A]
  • Paw Tree Grain Free Trout, Sweet Peas and Lentils (4 stars) [M]
  • Paw Tree Grain Free Salmon, Peas and Sweet Potato (4.5 stars) [M]

Paw Tree Grain Free Lamb, Chickpeas and Lentils was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Paw Tree Grain Free Lamb, Chickpeas and Lentils

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 34% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 41%

Ingredients: Lamb, salmon meal, dried lentils, dried chickpeas, dried peas, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), pea protein, lamb meal, natural flavor, tomato pomace, flaxseed, sea salt, fructooligosaccharide, coconut oil, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid), minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, calcium carbonate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, iron amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, cobalt carbonate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide), choline chloride, taurine, dried apples, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, dried pumpkin, dried papaya, dried spinach, dried parsley, Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast culture, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, mixed tocopherols, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, l-carnitine, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis30%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis34%17%41%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%36%35%
Protein = 29% | Fat = 36% | Carbs = 35%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb 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, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The second ingredient is salmon meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1

The third ingredient includes dried lentils. Dried lentils are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

The fourth ingredient lists dried chickpeas. Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

The fifth ingredient includes dried peas, another good source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber.

However, dried lentils, dried chickpeas and dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The seventh 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.

It’s important to note that a number of ingredients included in this recipe are each a type of legumes:

  • Dried lentils
  • Dried chickpeas
  • Dried peas
  • Pea protein

Although they’re a mixture of quality plant ingredients, there’s an important issue to consider here. And that’s the recipe design practice known as ingredient splitting.

If we were to combine all these individual items together and report them as one, that newer combination would likely occupy a significantly higher position on the list.

In addition, dried legumes contain about 27% protein, a factor that must also be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The eighth ingredient is lamb meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

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 five notable exceptions

First, we find tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

Next, flaxseed is 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.

In addition, coconut oil is a natural oil rich in medium-chain fatty acids.

Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to improve cognitive function in older dogs.2

Because of its proven safety3 as well as its potential to help in the treatment of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) and chronic skin disorders, MCT can be considered a positive addition to this recipe.

Next, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener4 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

And lastly, this food includes 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.

Paw Tree Grain Free Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Paw Tree Grain Free 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 34%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 41%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 43% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 46%.

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

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

Bottom line?

Paw Tree Grain Free is a plant-based dry dog food using at least a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly 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.

Paw Tree 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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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from Chewy.com for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

06/17/2017 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Pan Y et al, Dietary supplementation with medium-chain TAG has long-lasting cognition-enhancing effects in aged dogs, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 12, June 2010, pp 1746-1754
  3. Matulka RA et al, Lack of toxicity by medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in canines during a 90-day feeding study,Food Chem Toxicol, Jan 2009, 47(1) 35-9.
  4. Wikipedia definition
  • There are a number of serious and misleading errors included in your comment.

    First of all, our ratings are not just based on a food’s protein content. They take into account a number of other factors, too… all of which are related to the fact based content included on every FDA-compliant product label.

    More importantly, high protein does NOT cause skeletal growth issues with large breed puppies.

    That fact-free claim was debunked many years ago and is now viewed by veterinary experts as a complete myth.

    In fact, no modern, peer-reviewed, scientific study exists that links high protein intake to skeletal disease in large breed dogs.

    None.

    However, there is an enormous amount of scientific evidence that clearly links the energy-weighted calcium content of a dog food to a number of skeletal disorders in larger breeds.

    So much so that AAFCO has recently updated its canine Growth profile to reflect these newer and quantifiable standards for ALL dog foods designed to be fed to puppies.

    For a completely researched and richly footnoted fact-based article about this important topic, please be sure to read the following important post:

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/

    Hope this helps.

  • InkedMarie

    You know how DFA does their ratings; if you don’t agree, look for another website or make your own.

  • Nancy Smith Lewis

    Larger breeds, for example, such as puppy Great Danes. There are others. Dog Food Advisor should be aware of and understand that in order to be rating dog foods on the market they should be aware of why a company offers lower AND higher protein content. Dog Food Advisor solely bases their reviews on how high the protein content is instead of why a company offers the lower protein too, especially when the company is amazing and understands the reason for offering both high and low protein content.

  • InkedMarie

    Type “how we rate dog food” in thre search here on DFA. You don’t understand how food is rated here.

    What breeds can’t have “large amounts of proteins in their diets”?

  • Nancy Smith Lewis

    You really don’t understand why pawTree has a couple of recipes with lower protein percentages. pawTree made those two recipes for breeds that cannot have large amounts of proteins in their diets. pawTree should be given 6 stars out of 5 regarding all of its recipes. So looking forward to the not so far away day when pawTree is recognized for the number one petfood company that it already is! Internationally as well! It is not far from that position as we speak!