PetWay Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

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

The PetWay product line includes ten dry dog foods, seven claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages, two recipes for adult maintenance and one recipe for growth (Puppy).

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

  • PetWay VA Beach Canine Blend
  • PetWay Holistic Puppy (4.5 stars)
  • PetWay Chesapeake Canine Blend
  • PetWay Holistic Grain Free (4.5 stars)
  • PetWay Holistic Lean Canine (3 stars)
  • PetWay Sensitive Choice Salmon and Rice
  • PetWay Buffalo and Duck Grain Free (4.5 stars)
  • PetWay Holistic Supreme Chicken and Brown Rice
  • PetWay Holistic Whole Life Lamb Meal and Brown Rice
  • PetWay Maintenance Chicken and Brown Rice (3.5 stars)

PetWay Holistic Whole Life Lamb Meal and Brown Rice was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

PetWay Holistic Whole Life Lamb Meal & Brown Rice

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 49%

Ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, sorghum (milo), oat groats, canola oil, millet, fish meal, dried beet pulp, potato product, tomato pomace, natural flavor, flaxseed, monosodium phosphate, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach, lecithin, chicken cartilage, dl-methionine, potassium chloride, l-lysine, choline chloride, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, cranberry, Yucca schidigera extract, oligofructose, glucosamine HCL, kelp meal, vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, vegetable oil, biotin, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, potassium chloride, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%16%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%33%43%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

The second 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 third ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

The fourth ingredient includes oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.

The fifth ingredient includes canola oil. Many applaud canola for its favorable omega-3 content while a vocal minority condemn it as an unhealthy fat.

Much of the objection regarding canola oil appears to be related to the use of genetically modified rapeseed as its source material.

Yet others find the negative stories about canola oil more the stuff of urban legend than actual science.1

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 sixth ingredient is millet, a gluten-free grain harvested from certain seed grasses. Millet is hypoallergenic and naturally rich in B-vitamins and fiber as well as other essential minerals.

The seventh ingredient includes fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.2

Unfortunately, this particular item is anonymous. Because various fish contain different types of fats, we would have preferred to have known the source species.

We are pleased to note that, unlike many fish meals, this particular item appears3 to be ethoxyquin-free.

The eighth ingredient is beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

The ninth ingredient is potato product, a dried residue of the potato processing industry consisting primarily of potato pieces, peelings and culls.

With the exception of perhaps its caloric content and a small amount of protein, potato product is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.4

The tenth ingredient is 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.

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, 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.

Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

In addition, vegetable oil is a generic oil of unknown origin. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in any oil is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).

Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of an item so vaguely described. However, compared to a named animal fat, a generic vegetable oil cannot be considered a quality ingredient.

And lastly, 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.

PetWay Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, PetWay dog food looks like an above average dry 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 28%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 49%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 54%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the flaxseed, and the various pea products and lentils contained in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

PetWay dog food is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of various named meat meals 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.

Notes and Updates

11/03/2011 Original review
05/14/2013 Review updated
05/14/2013 Last Update

  1. Mikkelson, B and DP, Oil of Ole, Urban Legends Reference Pages (2005)
  2. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  3. PetWay website
  4. Dried Potato Product
  • Paula Z

    I have been using the Petway Brand foods for nearly 5 years. As a loyal customer, have to to say that this is the BEST food that I have every used on my dogs hands down. I will go even further and state. That I have also used this food long term on over 200 rescue dogs without fail. Every single rescue dog within our organization, minus 2-5 that lived out of the local delivery area ate Petway, and we never had issues with skin, dull coats, stools etc, on the contrary, skin issues cleared up, no more spouts of diarrhea, and we have gleaming shiny coats. I have owned dogs for nearly 20 years, and that is the ONLY food I will recommend to dog and cat owners. Our 200 and some rescue dogs are LIVING proof of this. Their customer service is phenomenal, and even when we moved out of the local delivery area, I continued to buy the food when I made monthly trips to Virginia Beach. Until something changes in my dogs their food will not be changing from The Petway anytime soon. Thanks Debbie and Cameron for all you do, and have done for us and the ECGGR rescue dogs!

  • sudslyluv

    My dog has a brain tumor and I switched him from Taste of The Wild to Petway about 2 years ago. He is on the Grain Free recipe and I couldn’t be happier. He loves it and recently I had blood work done on him and the only thing that came back was a low thyroid. That is not attributed to his diet. I feel confident in this product and I will tell anyone this company has outstanding customer service, and trust me I don’t give that kind of praise lightly. My dog also loves the extra free treats he gets to sample. One other thing, when my cat was alive I switched him to Petway also, when I did, I mixed his old food with the new and he ate around the old food to only eat the Petway food. In his own way, that was his testimonial.

    V. O’Connor

  • http://www.thepetway.com/ Debbie

    Mary,

    1)The bag used to sample our foods is a resealable FDA approved bag. It is clear so that the kibble size can be seen. The bag is 4mil so that it will hold four pounds of food securely.
    2)We have the statement “Not for Human consumption” on the label as a precaution, many pet food companies are having law suits brought against them for calling their food human grade. If you check the internet you will see it is becoming more and more prevalent. Pet food producing plants are just that- pet food and to call the food anything else is unlawful. Nutura is being sued -here is the website link http://www.petsitusa.com/blog/?p=4217 this includes  Innova, EVO, California Natural, HealthWise, Mother Nature & Karma Dog or Cat food. Even if all human grade ingredients are used in a pet food, once those ingredients enter a ‘pet food plant’, they become ‘pet grade ingredients’.  
    Many dog foods and treats have this statement on the label somewhere-just not as obvious as ours perhaps.
    3) Many veterinarians know of our food and several recommend our food. If you would let me know who your veterinarian is we will be glad to send some information. 
    4)The phone number on our label is direct to our office & mobile phones. What 3rd party are you referring too? The legal phone number for our business is posted on the label as required. I will be glad to give you any other number you would like if I knew who you were referring too.
    4) Science Diet LD ingredients are as follows-
    Brewers Rice, Pork Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Egg Product, Soybean Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Flaxseed, Pork Protein Isolate, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dicalcium Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Soybean Oil, Potassium Chloride, Dried Beet Pulp, Calcium Carbonate, Glycerol Monostearate, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Dimethylpyrimidinol Bisulfite (source of vitamin K)), Choline Chloride, Iodized Salt, L-Arginine, Taurine, DL-Methionine, minerals (Zinc Oxide, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Carnitine, L-Tryptophan, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols & Citric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

    We do not have pork fat or pork in any of our dry foods so we are not equivalent. The Science Diet LD says it supports liver function with high quality easily digestible protein and contains L-Carnitine to break down fat. 
    Our Lean Blend is by nature low in fat and our proteins are very high quality and in a meal form which is highly digestible. We do not have the L-Carnitine which is one of the last named ingredients in the Science Diet LD but do not need it as our fat level is much lower -Science Diet is 24% fat , PetWay Lean is 7% fat.

    If I can answer any more questions or help you in any way further please just let me know.

  • Debbie

    Sandy,

    That information is posted on our website under News and events-as we respond to new alerts and information that becomes available. The fish and fish oils in Petway foods are naturally preserved. That is good advice-we should and will post that we are Ethoxyquinon free on each product description that contains fish.

    Thank-you- 

  • Mary Pelham White

    I just bought a “sample bag” of Lean Dog food because I failed to pack my dogs’ Prescription LD Science Diet. As I headed toward my weekend destination, I worried about a couple of things:
    1. why was it packaged in a ziplock bag?
    2. why does it say “not for human consumption?
    3. why had the veterinarian 30 minutes from Moyock not heard about Petway? and why didn’t the label offer a 3rd party phone number for reference?

    Most importantly, can you tell me whether this dog food is the equivalent to Science Diet LD to eliminate sludge in my dog’s gallbladder?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Debbie… Because of your public assurances here regarding fish meal, I’ve modified the report to reflect this new information. Like Sandy suggests, it would be a good idea to include this important product feature on your company website. Thanks for the tip.

  • sandy

    Maybe that info should be on the Petway website (if it isn’t already) and on the bag where it can easily be seen. How hard would that be? The number of informed consumers is growing, and we all want to know that sort of thing.

  • http://www.thepetway.com Debbie

    Hello Mike,

    Just wanted to clarify that NONE of our products contain ETHOXYQUIN.
    All of the fats or oils used in PetWay , including our Menhaden Fish meal and oil, are purchased naturally preserved. Although this is a more expensive process, it is in keeping with our commitment to provide natural, healthy foods for your pet.

    Thank-you for what you do!