Variety canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4 stars.
The Variety product line includes 23 canned dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Variety Homestyle Recipes Pacific Entreé
- Variety Homestyle Recipes Sunday Brunch
- Variety Down Home Recipes Sunday Buffet
- Variety Down Home Recipes Texan Spread
- Variety Down Home Dad’s Grill Single Serve
- Variety Homestyle Plus Dad’s Savory Catch
- Variety Down Home Recipes New York Grille
- Variety Homestyle Recipes Colorado Cookout
- Variety Homestyle Recipes Savannah Crockpot
- Variety Down Home Sunday Buffet Single Serve
- Variety Homestyle Sunday Brunch Single Serve
- Variety Homestyle Plus Mom’s Tasty Mixed Grill
- Variety Homestyle Plus Grandma’s Buffet Dinner
- Variety Homestyle Recipes Mom’s Turkey Dinner
- Variety Homestyle Recipes Grandma’s Casserole
- Variety Down Home Recipes Savannah Casserole
- Variety Down Home Pot Luck Dinner Single Serve
- Variety Down Home Mom’s Casserole Single Serve
- Variety Homestyle Savannah Crockpot Single Serve
- Variety Down Home Recipes Southwestern Cookout
- Variety Homestyle Mom’s Turkey Dinner Single Serve
- Variety Homestyle Grandma’s Casserole Single Serve
- Variety Down Home Recipes Grandma’s Home Cooking
Variety Homestyle Recipes Grandma’s Casserole was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Variety Homestyle Recipes Grandma's Casserole
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Beef, beef broth, beef liver, potatoes, cracked barley, ground brown rice, whole brown rice, chicken meal, carrots, sweet potatoes, natural flavor, peas, dried egg product, guar gum, flaxseed meal, potassium chloride, salt, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, carrageenan gum, choline chloride, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, thiamine hydrochloride, ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, potassium iodide, cobalt proteinate, sodium selenite
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.9%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||39%||30%||24%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||29%||53%||18%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is beef broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The third ingredient is beef liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is ground brown rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.
The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The ninth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The tenth ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
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 flaxseed meal, one of the best plant-based sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Flax meal is particularly rich in soluble fiber.
Next, peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
Additionally, this recipe contains dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
Next, carrageenan is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
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.
Variety Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Variety canned dog food looks like an above average wet 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.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 38% and a mean fat level of 31%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 23% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 81%.
Near-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas and flaxseed meal, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Variety canned dog food is a meat-based wet product using a moderate amount of various named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 stars.
However, the higher fat content associated with some of these recipes may not be appropriate for every animal.
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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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".
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Notes and Updates
05/17/2012 Original review
12/01/2013 Review updated
12/01/2013 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩