American Journey Grain Free Dog Food receives the Advisor’s best rating of 5 stars.
The American Journey Grain Free product line includes the 14 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
- American Journey Beef and Sweet Potato [A]
- American Journey Lamb and Sweet Potato (4.5 stars) [A]
- American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato (4.5 stars) [A]
- American Journey Chicken and Sweet Potato (4.5 stars) [A]
- American Journey Puppy Lamb and Sweet Potato [G]
- American Journey Puppy Chicken and Sweet Potato [G]
- American Journey Large Breed Salmon and Sweet Potato [A]
- American Journey Large Breed Chicken and Sweet Potato (4.5 stars) [A]
- American Journey Senior Chicken and Sweet Potato [M]
- American Journey Healthy Weight Chicken and Sweet Potato [M]
- American Journey Large Breed Puppy Chicken and Sweet Potato (4.5 stars) [A]
- American Journey Senior Salmon and Sweet Potato (4.5 stars) [M]
- American Journey Large Breed Puppy Salmon and Sweet Potato (4.5 stars) [A]
- American Journey Healthy Weight Salmon and Sweet Potato (4.5 stars) [M]
American Journey Lamb and Sweet Potato recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
American Journey Lamb and Sweet Potato Grain Free
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Deboned lamb, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, dried plain beet pulp, pea protein, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, flaxseed, menhaden fish meal, salmon oil, blueberries, carrots, salt, dried kelp, fructooligosaccharides, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, mixed tocopherols (preservative), ferrous sulfate, zinc proteinate, zinc sulfate, iron proteinate, Yucca schidigera extract, taurine, niacin supplement, copper sulfate, potassium chloride, sodium selenite, d-calcium pantothenate, copper proteinate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, manganese sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||16%||41%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||31%||33%||36%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Although it is a quality item, raw lamb contains up to 73% 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 chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The third ingredient is turkey meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
The fourth ingredient includes peas. 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.
The fifth ingredient lists chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, beans and lentils, the chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.
However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The next ingredient is sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The seventh 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 next 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.
The ninth ingredient is chicken fat. This item is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other ingredients.
But realistically, items located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this American Journey product.
With 6 notable exceptions…
First, we find flaxseed, 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 menhaden fish meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.
Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
In addition, this recipe includes salmon oil. This item is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
Next, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener2 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
Additionally, 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.
And lastly, we note the addition of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.
Since taurine deficiency appears to be more common in pets consuming grain-free diets, we view its presence in this recipe as a positive addition.
American Journey Grain Free
Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, American Journey Grain Free Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 34% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 39%.
Which means this American Journey product line contains…
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.
Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, chickpeas, pea protein and flaxseed, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a significant amount of meat.
American Journey Grain Free is a dry dog food using a significant amount of named meat meals as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
American Journey Dog Food
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this American Journey product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
02/04/2020 Last Update