Variety Dog Food (Canned)


Rating: ★★★★☆

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

Protein = 39% | Fat = 30% | Carbs = 24%

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
Guaranteed Analysis9%7%NA
Dry Matter Basis39%30%24%
Calorie Weighted Basis29%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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 39%, a fat level of 30% and estimated carbohydrates of about 24%.

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.

Bottom line?

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.

Highly recommended.

However, the higher fat content associated with some of these recipes may not be appropriate for every animal.

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 almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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

05/17/2012 Original review
12/01/2013 Review updated
12/01/2013 Last Update

  1. Association of American Feed Control Officials
  • Crazy4cats

    Got it!

  • PuppyMaster

    Yeah I know Walmart sells Variety. That is where I get it from. I guess it does sound weird the way I put it. Lol. I meant that it is better than most of the foods walmart sells.

  • PuppyMaster

    I wish my local shelter had an approved list! I will check out Pure Balance Stew. Thanks for the tip.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    That’s great! Shelter animals are lucky to have people like you!

  • Crazy4cats

    That is awesome! Actually Walmart does sell Variety. I agree with Labs, Pure Balance stews would make a great donation as well. Thanks again. I think you are wonderful for doing that!

  • LabsRawesome

    My local shelter won’t even accept Ol’roy or Alpo. They have an approved foods list, if someone tries to donate a food that’s not on their list, they won’t even take it. Check out Pure Balance Stew cans. They are sold at Walmart, for $1 per can, 5 star rating on this site.

  • PuppyMaster

    I buy 150-175 cans of this a week to donate to my local shelter. It’s a drop in the bucket but at least they aren’t always fed Ol’ Roy or Alpo. It isn’t the best of foods but it is a whole lot better than most of the other foods places like Wal-mart sell.

  • Angie

    I’m so sorry to hear your story. It is so hard to lose a beloved furry companion. Do you know what kind of cancer it was? Did a vet tell you it could be something toxic? It sounds like she already had the cancer when you started buying her this food. The fact that she would eat it and then stop is signs of a sour stomach. My dog with kidney disease did the same thing, love something and then once it upset her stomach, stop eating it. I don’t think in less than a year, a food could turn a healthy dog to one with cancer all over. It would have to be extremely toxic and doing this to almost every dog eating it. I’m trying to put your mind at ease that her caner was probably just natural causes and nothing that you did. Whenever you have to make that final decision, you over analyze everything that came before. Vets always seem to push for humane choice but none ever address the guilt that goes with it – which is normal but horrible, I know, I am going through it right now. I lost my baby girl a month ago, the one with kidney disease I mentioned above. Of course, I can’t say for sure what caused your dogs cancer but most likely it was natural and there before you tried this food.

  • Mark Schmidt

    Even the evil Walmart is carrying it – for the last several years.

  • Mark Schmidt

    Just bought a NEW to me Variety canned food type, the Stews – a box of 6 cans with several types of stew. These contain meat green and yellow veggies and barley, in a stew like sauce – it smelled good to me when I opened the can, and my 3 rescued dogs did not move until every molecule in their bowls was gone. I am feeding the Variety products off and on for almost 2 years now, and they love it…I use it as an extra – a spoonful on top of their dry food…which is now Pure Balance Chicken and Barley.

  • dchassett

    Vanessa. My heart is breaking for you and your family but please know that your are putting her needs at this point in time in her life before yours. It is very difficult to be as selfless as you are being. All too often in this toxic world that we live in we here more and more of dogs with cancer. We had to put down my very first dog because of cancer and I’m very sad to say and regret to this day that I was too selfish to let him go and kept him going for far longer than he should have. I was young and didn’t know any better. God Bless you and your family. Dori

  • Shawna

    I’m so very very sorry!!!!! You are in our hearts and prayers!!!

  • Betsy Greer

    How heartbreaking Vanessa. I’m so sorry for all you and your pup are going through. The decision you’ve had to make is an extremely painful one that is also very humane and compassionate. You’re in my prayers.

  • Crazy4cats

    I’m really sorry, Vanessa. This story is the part of being a pet parent that really stinks. My thoughts are with you.

  • DrakeScott

    I’m so sorry to hear your story, Vanessa. I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow. :-(

  • Vanessa

    HI, I have a beautiful Shih Tzu who has been a picky eater as she aged. After her sister passed I began to feed her Grandma’s and Mom’s foods. At first she loved them….each one. But after a while she would stop eating them. Finally when Mom’s Turkey Diner came out I started feeding her that. Before long she began to turn away from that one as well. Now less than a year after I started feeding her these foods she has cancer all over her body. There are large nodules and of course she has to be put down. I am heartbroken. I don’t know for sure…I can’t really say if this food caused it but I have a gnawing feeling in my gut. I saw pictures of the type of cancer animals get when eating toxic products and this looks exactly the same. She will be put to sleep tomorrow and I am heartbroken. She seemed fine until about a a month ago when I noticed the nodules under her chin her favorite place to be rubbed besides her stomach. I will probably never know the cause by I really suspect this food.

  • Rosie Rosenberger

    After a bout with pneumonia last year, I switched my 12yo Chihuahua from the crappy grocery store dog foods to Royal Canin brand, Chihuahua Breed Specific dog food. She’s lost most of her teeth over the years and is really skinny so I started giving her one 3oz pouch of the Variety Mixables every day. I don’t mix it with her dry food, I give it to her separately, her dry food is always out and available. So far she’s not turned her nose up to any of the flavors. I mention this because she doesn’t liek the canned foods, but she likes the pouches. ANd I mention the dry in case you want to give it a look. I get both at my local Petco,

  • sandra pass

    can says company in Englewood, CO

  • Snuffy and Oscar

    I’ve found it for as cheap as $1.02 at some Targets!

  • Paula Brenner McCafferty

    I have a Mini Schnauzer with Mega Esophagus. Her esohagus doesn’t work properly and she eats sitting in a high chair then sits for 20 minutes to let gravity help pull the food into the stomach. She was on BBW wet but she would stick her back foot down her throat to make herself spit up. In her spit up I would find tiny bone fragments from the food. Since switching to Variety she has not done this.
    I like variety because it gives me different flavors so she doesn’t get bored with her food. I also add Honest Kitchen and pumpkin to the Variety. Lillie has to eat a more liquid diet. Like a thicker soup consistency.
    But now reading the reviews and the comments about pancreatitis (which schnauzers are more prone to) makes me a little nervous.
    I wish I could find a great food at about the same price that Lillie would eat with gusto. Anyone have any suggestions? She doesn’t like any TOTW and threw it up when we tried different flavors. She also doesn’t like red meat. I grind HK first then hydrate it and mix with the Variety.

  • Na d’Onofrio

    I have to do the kibble on the floor thing too! It’s the only way Poppy will eat. Even a pie pan is too “restrictive!!!” LOL!

  • Chloe

    My dog loves this food and turns his nose up at a lot of others. I’m glad to look on here and find that it’s highly rated! At least I feel better about spending $1.50 a can!

  • Jackie Baltrun

    It has above-average fat. Not good for a dog prone to pancreatitis…. you probably should look into low fat foods.

  • Jim

    First can gave my Shih Tzu trouser chili… The reason I bought this food was because it was the first product (out of 10 to 12 brands) that the first ingredient with “Beef” instead of “Beef By Products”. My dog is very prone to pancreatitus attacks, I do not intend to feed him this anymore. One of our Vet bills was $1800.00 and we simply can’t afford that again and i will not do anything that might harm my little furry son. I have fresh Chicken boiling and will mix it with rice for a few days to clear this up. I currently have 5 of a 6 pack of this stuff to give to somebody who has a hearty breed of a dog……

  • Kikki

    Never realized how high the fat-to-protein ratio was in this food.

  • Pattyvaughn

    HaHa! I used to have one that did that. I swear she didn’t want food touching the fur on the sides of her mouth. She would only eat small amounts at a time. I hate to admit that I did this, but I finally resorted to pouring her kibble all over the kitchen floor so she could find it one piece at a time.

  • SouthernMan

    Dogs can act very strangely. My Maltzu did the same. However, I tried spooning it out onto a saucer in half inch chuncks rather than in a pile of food, and he immediately consumed all of it.


    My 4 yr old Chihuahua wouldn’t touch the three varieties I purchased (Grandma’s Casserole and her Buffet Dinner and Mom’s Turkey Dinner) which rather frustrated me in regards to the $ spent and the fact I had to turn around and by more/different food. There must be something with her senses or the food maybe both?? All I know is after opening the cans and dishing it up for her she appears excited but the minute that I place it in front of her she’ll sniff it quick turn around and walk away not even giving it a taste or ever returning to or near the dish again. I cant say the product is bad or good just reporting my experience.

  • Sandy

    Ca Brubaker

    if you have cans left to use, you can give some ground psyllium husk like Metamucil with feeds to help with the stools.

  • Ca Brubaker

    I was feeding  my dog Sunday Brunch and Grandmas Cassarole but have stopped because the last 8 cans have been like soup, thus giving my dog very runny stools.

  • Marylougirardi

    What about Costco product, Variety Pet Foods Homestyle
    three variety dog bones/biscuits?  They come boxed and newly sold at Costco.  Please review soon.

  • Luxury Business Cards

    these advices are really exceptional then others

  • Cory J. Legassie

    LOL, I see what you mean. And ditto – I do agree with your general sentiment, too.

  • LabsRawesome

     Hi Cory, you should re-read my post, I AM one of those lowly people on a budget!! LOL.   :)

  • Cory J. Legassie

    Well, how beneficent of you, granting approval of what other people place in their shoppng carts and spend their money on. I’m sure your lofty opinion is of great import to those lowly folks on a budget.

  • Cory J. Legassie

    Everyone is obviously entitled to his/her own opinion, and I’m all for people educating themselves about what is in the food we feed our animals, but sometimes people nitpick to the point of insanity. In most cases, a “controversial” ingredient probably indicates nothing more than dissenting opinion, and unless you’re a biochemist, it seems likely that your commentary is high in hysteria and low on empirical fact.

  • Bahamutangel

    I emailed this company about two weeks ago about their sources for ingredients and this was the response I got:

    “Thank you for reaching out to us!  Our food is made with pride in the United States.  Most of the ingredients also come from the United States with the exception of lamb which can come from Australia or New Zealand and the vitamins and minerals which can come from Europe.”

    You have my permission to use this in the review. If you would like me to email you the original email for verification purposes, I would happily do that.

  • wood card

    Helpful for collecting the feed for my dog…

  • Pattyvaughn

    The “spam” comment was from months ago. Go back to a poster named dogs.

  • Siriusdog1

    Which comment is spam?

  • Diane Ursu

     That’s because that comment is spam.

  • Donna Lussier

    I was buying this canned food exclusively for my dog, along with their other product called Mix Ins, then renamed Mixables. I had seen a recall on their products and contacted them (they have a very nice website) and was assured their food was high quality and had no problems and the recall was from several years ago. Since I have moved, I cannot find the brand here in NC so I’ve had to switch.

  • Siriusdog1

    I opened a can of Pacific Entree and it was covered with yellow and green mold. Sell by date: Jan 28 15 batch: H5SD
    I’ve called the company and hope they will look into this. This was the mold that I could see. I wonder about the cans that have microscopic mold that I might not have seen. It’s really too bad because my dog loves this food.

  • Mike Sagman

    Hi Ckielt,

    I agree. It would be helpful to know much more about pet food products. Some of this data include ingredient country of origin and location of manufacturing facilities.

    Unfortunately, though, pet food companies are not required by law to disclose that information to consumers.

    And many companies intentionally conceal that information.

    So, I’m unable to provide that information to my readers. You may wish to contact the company yourself.

    Wish I could be more help.

  • Ckielt

    This review does not indicate where the food is made. That’s an important piece of information. Mr. Sagman, do you have that information?

  • sandy

    Have you found out where this is canned?  I could not get that info earlier?

  • Toxed2loss

    Yes it certainly is better than old’ Roy, et al… I can agree to that! And to your point about if this is their price range , it’s a ‘better’ option. :-)

  • LabsRawesome

     I know Toxed. But for the average dog owner that buys food at Walmart, this is a better choice than the Ol’roy, Pedigree, Purina dog chow, and all the other low grade corn based dog foods available there. I realize it’s not Orijen or Brother’s. But not everyone can afford the best foods. So I still feel it’s a good option for people with limited budgets/or knowledge. I would rather see this in someone’s cart than Ol’roy or Pedigree any day.  :)

  • Toxed2loss

    Hi Labs!
    I can’t agree that it’s decent. Here’s the Grandma’s Casserole…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.

    The second ingredient is beef broth, a source of free glutamic & Aspartic acids. Excitotoxins. Then it containes potatoes, which contain toxic glycoalkaloids, and are a high pesticide use crop and unless human grade is listed, a source of mycotoxins. Next item of concern is brown rice, due to lectins and the Compex carbs that lead to weight gain, hypertension & obesity in dogs! I won’t feed this either. Depending on quality, grains can contribute aflatoxin. Then it lists “Natural Flavor” a known source of excitotoxins, as are guar gum and carrageenan. & finally, Flaxseed meal, the highest source of phytoestrogens. Definitely a “not for my dog” food.

    Sorry. :-( Thats just what I see on the label, from my perspective.

  • LabsRawesome

     Finally, a decent canned dog food (some flavors have better ingredients)that is available at Walmart for $1.39 a can. Nice!

  • Capovilla

    I found this dog food just by chance.  It really agrees with my yorkie, Ziva, who can’t tolerate too much and/or doesn’t like it.  She will starve before eating something she doesn’t like.  She LOVES this dog food.  I only wish their biscuits were available in Rockford, IL.  The price is right also.

  • LabsRawesome

     You might be right, they may be using Google Translate, but I still need an interpreter. lol

  • Eve’sHumanMom

    Like Mike P said and dogs was worried about what to feed, but after coming to this site, they feel they know a little more about dog food.  But I still think it is weird that clicking on the name leads to that puppies place.

  • Mike P

    Labs I think dogs was sayin he was confused on what food to feed and now he’s cool and has it sorted out.I thinkdogs likes our real life experience with diff foods…But not sure

  • Eve’sHumanMom

    Looks like someone was using Google Translate or something like it.  But clicking on the name sent me to a site called Buy Puppies dot com.  weird.

  • LabsRawesome

     WHAT? Your comment makes no sense.

  • dogs

    Analytical article is always better than other article. I have felt hesitation to select my pets food for what I suffer too much. From now I am aware.

  • sandy

    I emailed customer service.  They could not tell me if this is a GMO free food and they are checking to see if the cans are BPA free and they could not tell me which facility this food is canned at and vits come from Europe.

  • LabsRawesome

    First! lol. Hey everyone, Mike reviewed Variety canned. Thanks Mike!