Smack Raw Dehydrated Dog Food (Dehydrated)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Smack Dog Food receives the Advisor’s top rating of 5 stars.

The Smack product line includes three dehydrated dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for intermittent or supplemental feeding only.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review. They are available in both Original Style and Crunchy Style.

  • Smack Chunky Chicken
  • Smack Very Berry Chicken
  • Smack Carribean Salmon Fusion

Smack Chunky Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Smack Chunky Chicken

Dehydrated Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 40% | Fat = 19% | Carbs = 33%

Ingredients: Chicken, millet seed, organic hemp seed, organic alfalfa, celery, carrots, organic dehydrated kelp, mangoes, rosemary, garlic, strawberries, parsley, and marjoram

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.9%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis37%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis40%19%33%
Calorie Weighted Basis34%39%28%

The first ingredient in this dog food includes chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.

The second 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 third ingredient is hempseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, hemp seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

The fourth ingredient lists alfalfa, a flowering member of the pea family. Although alfalfa is more commonly associated with cattle feeds, it can still provide healthy nutrients to any dog food.

The fifth ingredient is celery. Although raw celery can be very high in water, it can still contribute a notable amount of dietary fiber as well as other healthy nutrients.

The sixth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The seventh ingredient includes dried kelp, a dehydrated form of seaweed also known as alginate.

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 two notable exceptions

First, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.2

However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).

And lastly, we find no added vitamins or minerals on the ingredients list. We would assume these essential nutrients are provided by the food ingredients in the recipe.

Smack Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Smack 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 40%, a fat level of 19% and estimated carbohydrates of about 33%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44% and a mean fat level of 19%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 30% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 43%.

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

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a significant amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Smack Dog Food is a meat-based raw dehydrated product using a generous amount of chicken or salmon as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.

Enthusiastically recommended.

However, this product appears to be designed for supplemental use only and may not be suitable for long term daily feeding.

Special Alert

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

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, our rating system is not intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in specific health benefits 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

01/10/2013 Original review
01/10/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  2. Yamato et al, Heinz Body hemolytic anemia with eccentrocytosis from ingestion of Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and garlic (Allium sativum) in a dog, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 41:68-73 (2005)
  • theBCnut

    Very good point!! If you are going to keep something around in case of emergency, since you don’t know how long it will take before you have that emergency, amount of time spent in storage becomes a big factor. I’m constantly using my freeze dried and dehydrated stock, so I just make sure I get more before running out or I get in a big order before traveling.

  • theBCnut

    I don’t think in an emergency situation, it would matter. It may matter if you were feeding it for meals long term because some of the nutrients may be damaged by the normal dehydration process, but when you are only talking about a few meals, not so much. I would choose freeze dried over dehydrated only for my own convenience sake, and that is only that they would be able to eat it more like kibble, in a timely manner. But if I wanted them to have a meal that would occupy them for a while, I would choose dehydrated jerky strips. In fact, the more I think about it the more I like the idea for my own purposes, so I think I’ll start keeping both on hand. I can give them a handful of freeze dried to get some food into them and right before bed give them a strip of jerky for dessert.

  • USA Dog Treats

    I would say it depends on the moisture and fat content of the food. Freeze drying can get down to 1% moisture where regular dehydrated is usually 8 to 20% moisture.

    I would say the food with the lowest moisture AND fat content would last the longest!

  • dchassett

    So would I be better off having freeze dried in the house for an emergency than I would dehydrated because their natural meals are raw? So far it’s never come up but you never know.

  • dchassett

    So strictly speaking if I was ever in a pinch I would be better off having freeze dried in the house as a back up than dehydrated since I feed raw 100%.?.

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi Dori

    Yes, we must exercise our minds or lose them. HaHa!

    IMHO raw is completely unprocessed as in a steak. All the nutrients (including moisture) are as nature made them (or monsanto).

    Dehydrated is any food that has had it’s moisture removed (not completely but a lot)

    Technically both freeze-dried (stella and chewys) and Dehydrated (THK) are dehydrated.

    THK is dehydrated (moisture removed) using hot air and a fan.

    Stella and Chewys (freeze-diried) is also “dehydrated” using freezing (waaay below 0 F) temps, a little heat and a vacuum. The heat is applied to the trays that the frozen food sits on and the temp of the food usually remains near frozen, 32 F.

    SO I believe that Freeze-Dried is closest to raw nutrient wise. Freeze Dried foods MUST use small pieces like sugar cubes.

    Air dried Dehydrated (jerky or THK) can use any size pieces as long as they are pretty thin.

    The freeze drying process is a lot more expensive than the jerky making or THK making process.

    Freeze dried foods have a lighter airier less dense texture than the food they came from.

    Air dried dehydrated foods have a denser more chewy texture then the foods they came from.

    Edit – BC and I dis-agree on Freeze Dried being strictly or technically raw. I believe because Freeze-Drying is a form of dehydration it is NOT strictly or technically raw but it as close as you can currently get in a food that is in any way dehydrated!

  • theBCnut

    Strictly speaking freeze dried is raw, because it isn’t cooked. But it is more processed than what we normally think of as raw.

  • USA Dog Treats

    You said it perfectly, treat vs chew!

  • dchassett

    So USA, I’m trying to get a better feel for this because I feed 100% raw. If I’m understanding correctly neither freeze dry or dehydrated are raw? Correct? I felt that dehydrated foods like THK was not raw but I didn’t know about freeze dried like Stella & Chewy’s for example. I don’t feed freeze dried. Treats are all fresh fruit or veggies but I like to learn a little something new every day. Trying to keep my mind young even if my body is getting older by the day.

  • theBCnut

    Hi James

    I’m not sure if it was you or someone else that posted that graph before.

    For meal feeding purposes, I don’t think of freeze dried as raw, either. I want all the natural moisture and next to no processing, too. I certainly don’t think of freeze dried as cooked though. But for minimally processed training treats, I love freeze dried and consider it as good as it gets. Though for a chew, they wouldn’t work at all and I would much prefer a jerky texture for that.

    When it comes to convenience when traveling, if it agreed with my dog, I would consider feeding freeze dried as meals too, especially since I like camping. True raw would be too much of a pain. I do like freeze dried fruit for myself when traveling, too.

    Of course the whole point was that the OP said that dehydrated should be considered raw, so I was actually commenting on how foods are categorized here.

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi Patty

    Yes, yes and yes.

    Did you previously know what the graph showed you? I wanted you to know a little more about how products are freeze dried and now you do.

    As for calling freeze dried products raw, I would not. Raw to me is a product in it’s natural state, inclusive of moisture and everything else it contains in that raw natural state.

    Freeze drying alters the natural state by removing the moisture. It does this by freezing the product then using low heat and an atmospheric vacuum to turn the moisture into a vapor and removing it.

    Freeze drying IS a form of dehydration. It is done differently than the home dehydrator you use but it is still dehydration.

    Freeze drying is the least harmful way to dehydrate products. It has less detrimental effect to the nutrients than your home dehydrator.

    I personally don’t like the consistency of freeze dried treats. I don’t like that floating fish cube texture. They make good training treats because they are small and easy to swallow.

    I prefer warm air dehydrated meats for treats. They can be made any size, freeze dried treats have to be small fish food cube sized.

    You can make jerky with warm air but not with freeze drying. Jerky takes more time to chew, I like the texture better, it is better for the teeth and I believe it tastes better to the dog. I believe jerky is a more natural form factor for a dog and they enjoy it more than freeze dried treats.

  • theBCnut

    So does your graph show freeze dried products being heated to temperatures of about 25 degrees C? That’s something like room temp, isn’t it? Which is cooler that the live animals actual body temerature, isn’t it?

  • USA Dog Treats

    Freeze dried foods are first frozen then the shelves are heated while the atmospheric pressure is raised. This is the primary heat cycle where the frozen water is turned to vapor and removed. There is a secondary drying phase to further lower the moisture to below 5 percent.

  • theBCnut

    Dehydrated foods are usually dehydrated with hot air, so they are not considered raw, however freeze dried foods are considered raw.

  • garbal54

    I am feeding my German Shepherd dogs Smack Very Berry Chicken mixed in a raw diet. Being dehydrated, as opposed to being cooked, indicates that Smack should be considered “raw,” and a good mix with other raw foods. The main addition to their diet is coconut oil as it has so many benefits not the least of which is a glistening coat.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    This food smells really “earthy”, LOL! Must be all the seeds and greens! Dogs ate it just the same for the first time yesterday. The crunchy style is a good treat size too.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Long Leash on Life in New Mexico has this on sale for 35% off! They also said that they’re having trouble getting this over the boarder from Canada.

  • Michael Dwyer

    I was just checking out their site and it looks like they’ve removed the garlic (as well as rosemary) from their Crunchy Chicken, maybe others

  • MC

    I buy mine at Long Leash On Life in ABQ! Great dog food! My very very picky little one just gobbles this up!!

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    I was trying to register at Smack and it won’t let me choose USA, only Canada.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Ugh, sorry, I did go back to the pet fair, but totally forgot to check back at the booth where I found the SMACK samples :-(

  • Storm’s Mom

    Hi there, I’m in BC and, as it happens, just picked up a sample of SMACK today at a local pet fair. I’ve seen it in a couple stores in town, but never tried it. From the person I talked to today (not someone from SMACK, but the owner of a store that sells it) it didn’t sound like she thought it was going away anytime soon. I’m actually planning to go back to the pet fair tomorrow (with my dog this time, and I’d like to go back to particular booths), so I will inquire a bit more about the product, company, and availability tomorrow. I’ll report back what I find out.

  • PW

    It is becoming more difficult to find SMACK in South/South Western Ontario because retailers that were carrying it no longer stock the product. The lone store in our city that was carrying it felt the product was too expensive compared to other brands and it wasn’t selling. I have spoken with many stores and asked them if they would consider carrying it but each claimed they had never heard of the product and no one other than myself had asked or enquired about the product. The company has a free shipping policy on orders over $150 but for me that isn’t practical because I only use it for training treats and don’t want to purchase a year’s supply at once. I’m worried whether this is a nation-wide issue or a regional issue. Will this affect the quality of the product?

  • PW

    I am using the Salmon Fusion crunchy style as training treats. I’m a little concerned that there are no handling safety instructions on the bag.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jack.tripper.3950 Jack Tripper

    i gave him a tbsp in his dinner last night and he was gassy so i’ll probably stop giving it to him or maybe just a tsp here and there.

  • losul

    yeah, thats a real good price at costco, especially if they’re organic. I’m accustomed to paying nearly twice as much.

    Steve Brown (and I) believes that fat imbalances can definitely cause health problems and that some of these problems are misdiagnosed as allergies or food intolerances. he believes that providing complete and balanced fats is just as important as providing complete and balanced vitamins and minerals. This is why I caution you on just giving as a daily supplement, especially as much as you are talking.

    In his book, he shows how to balance saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fats, the short-chain omega 6′s and 3′s (LA and ALA), and the long chain omega 3′s (EPA and DHA), all while keeping the total fats in range and balancing with one another..

  • http://www.facebook.com/jack.tripper.3950 Jack Tripper

    i appreciate your input. i calculated that it’s $0.15 per tbsp so $0.30 per day. all of the meat in my dog’s dry food is fish (primarily salmon) and then he gets about a can per day of wet, which has beef and chicken in it.

  • losul

    It is an excellent food, highly nutritious and near perfect omega 3 to 6 ratio, but it is VERY high in polyunsaturated fat. If you are into balancing the fats in the dogs diet, and optimizing the total fats, some care needs to be taken.

    Chicken is already fairly heavy in PUFA’s, and especially LA – linoleic acid(omega 6).Adding hemp seed to it can create an imbalance of PUFA’s in the diet., The hemp also will not raise the Omega 3′s vs the 6′s, as i said, hemp seed is near perfect 6 to 3 ratio already, and chicken is low in Omega 3′s, high in 6′s. Beef is higher in saturated fats and much lower in PUFA’s, and omega 6′s so hemp seed makes a good companion to beef.

    Steve Brown is very much into fat balancing, you can get alot more out of his book, “Unlocking The Canine Ancestral Diet.” I highly reccomend.

    If you really want to give to your dog as a supplement, then 2 tablespoons a day seems really excessive (expensive too.). For one thing it’s about 120 calories and 9 grams of PUFA’s in those 2 tablespoons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jack.tripper.3950 Jack Tripper

    from the looks of it, it seems like a perfect food/supplement. so i’m not sure why you don’t really think i should give it to my dog. is it because its hulled? i don’t see why that would be a problem since its still raw, it’s just basically mashed up i think. anyways, here a link to the actual product:

    http://www.earthlychoice.com/hemp-seeds.html

    i appreciate all your input :)

  • losul

    I hadn’t seen Smack foods before. Looks like all their formulas have hemp seed.

  • losul

    Hi Jack.

    I think I’ve seen several other brands using hemp seed. Darwin’s uses hemp seed oil in their beef and bison blends. I also use some seed (ground) in my dogs beef blend (homemade), and we eat also, especially good on salads. Very good for the parrots also. I only use it in the beef (or red meat) blend for the dog to balance the fats as much as possible. Has a pleasant nutty taste. Keep in the fridge, the fats are delicate, especially once ground.

    Wasn’t aware that costco carried it. That’s a real good price, especially if a brand like Manitoba Harvest or Nutiva Organic.

    You can only buy it hulled in the U.S., or toasted so it isn’t viable seed.

    If i were you, i wouldn’t give to your dog unless preparing a home beef mix, especially not that much of it. Edit: Hmmm, I just realized that smack has it in their chicken formula. Chia. or even flax might have probably been a better choice for chicken to properly balance the fats.

    “The nutritional composition of a hemp seed is incredible! In it’s perfect organic natural state hemp seed is considered by many to be the safest, most digestible, balanced, natural and complete source of protein, amino acids, and essential fats found anywhere in nature. Hemp seed provides an excellent supply of antioxidants (Vitamin E), carotene (precursor to Vitamin A), phytosterols, phospholipids and a number of minerals including calcium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus, along with modest amounts of iron and zinc. Hemp seed also provides a good source of chlorophyll. Hemp protein is also a complete source of all 20 known amino acids including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) which our bodies cannot produce. Approximately 65% of the protein in hemp seed is made up of the globulin protein Edestin and is found only in hemp seed. Edestin aids digestion, is relatively phosphorus-free and considered the backbone of the cell’s DNA. The other one third of hemp seed protein is Albumin, another high quality globulin protein similar to that found in egg whites. Hemp protein is free of the tryspin inhibitors which block protein absorption and free of oligosaccharides found in soy, which cause stomach upset and gas.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/jack.tripper.3950 Jack Tripper

    i found this food by searching “hemp seed”. apparently it’s the only food cataloged on here that contains hemp seed. i saw a bag of hulled hemp seeds at costco and was thinking about getting it for myself and my dog. maybe 1 tbsp for each of us twice a day. its got 10 amino acids, is high in protein, omega 3 and some minerals. i think it was around $12 for around 25oz. does anyone eat it and/or feed it to their dog?

  • Michael Giller

    Hi Sandy, we have great news at Smack!.. You can now buy it at Dexter’s Deli in San Diego, Long Leash On Life in Albuquerque, as well as anywhere in the US online at the Smack website: http://www.smackpetfood.com

  • Vaschuetze

    My spaniels, who often can be smelly dogs and get yeasty ears, smell great, really clean, on this porduct and are doing well on it.  I only feed part Smack, as it is quite pricey for me, but if I could I would feed it exclusively.

  • Cecilyporter

    My dogs are doing great on this food.  But fgs, don’t consult your vet re nutrition, or at least not any vet I know. You’ll end up with vet food. That would be a shame.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    This does look good – most dehydrated foods are too low in protein imo. I also like that there aren’t any synthetic vitamin and minerals.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I don’t think the price is to bad either.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Smack looks good!  Too bad it is only available in one state and from one place!!  (in the USA)