Canidae Life Stages Dog Food (Canned)


Rating: ★★★★½

Canidae Life Stages canned dog food receives the Advisor’s second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

The Canidae Life Stages product line lists six canned dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Canidae Life Stages All Life Stages [A]
  • Canidae Life Stages Lamb and Rice [A]
  • Canidae Life Stages Chicken and Rice [A]
  • Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Adult [M]
  • Canidae Life Stages Large Breed Puppy [G]
  • Canidae Life Stages Platinum (2.5 stars) [M]

Canidae Life Stages Lamb and Rice formula was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Canidae Life Stages Lamb and Rice Formula

Canned Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 41% | Fat = 27% | Carbs = 24%

Ingredients: Lamb, lamb broth, lamb liver, ocean whitefish, brown rice, guar gum, sunflower oil (source of omega-6 fatty acids), eggs, dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, flaxseed oil (source of omega-3 fatty acids), choline chloride, carrageenan, salt, kelp, cranberries, rosemary extract, Yucca schidigera extract, lecithin, cassia gum, vitamins (ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin D3 supplement, niacin, riboflavin supplement, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, thiamine mononitrate), minerals (zinc amino acid chelate, iron amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate)

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 6.8%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis9%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis41%27%24%
Calorie Weighted Basis31%51%18%
Protein = 31% | Fat = 51% | Carbs = 18%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb. Lamb is considered “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered” lamb and associated with skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1

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

The second ingredient is lamb broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common addition component in many canned products.

The third ingredient is lamb liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fourth ingredient is ocean whitefish, a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.

The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.

The seventh ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

The eighth ingredient includes eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

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 three notable exceptions

First, flaxseed oil is one of the best non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids — essential to a dog’s health.

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 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.

Canidae Life Stages Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Canidae Life Stages 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 41%, a fat level of 27% and estimated carbohydrates of about 24%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 39% and a mean fat level of 28%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 25% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 72%.

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

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the pea flour and lentils contained in some recipes, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a notable amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Canidae Life Stages is a meat-based canned dog food using a notable amount of lamb or chicken as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4.5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Those looking for a comparable kibble made by the same company may wish to check out our review of Canidae dry dog food.

Canidae Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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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.

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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.

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Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

11/11/2016 Last Update

  1. Adapted by the Dog Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for beef published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition
  • Diane

    Thank you! You helped me make up my mind. I need grain free and no carragennan in the food also.

  • Diane

    I wont buy it because of the Carragennan.

  • Leslie

    Yeah, people always say she looks like a much younger dog. Even asking if I want to mate her.

  • Crazy4cats

    That is a nice looking dog. You are right, she looks great!

  • Leslie

    My 9 year old Rottie, has been on the Platinum wet and dry (mixed) for 2 years. It’s the only dog food I know that she likes and maintains her weight. Now that she’s geriatric and arthritic, I have to keep her lean. This food does the job and she cleans the bowl.

  • sharron

    don’t know where my posting ended up – will try again
    i’m feeding canidae canned senior/overweight – their website says to mix 75% dry with 25% wet – i’ve always been told to reduce the dry and increase the wet – which way is the correct – thanks

  • Guest

    Tried almost all of the 4 & 5 star foods mentioned on this site. Dogs prefer Canidae. Even if it does have Carrageenan in it. Most do.

  • maxmabi

    Just thought I would “weigh in” on Canidae Platinum for Seniors & OverWeight Dogs. Both of my ‘seniors’ like this, and the extra fiber is helping with their ‘loose stools’ that I have been battling for the past few months. It has been a challenge to find a ‘good’ dog food that they will eat. 

  • Guest, Carrageenan is present in many of our dairy
    products, yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, as well as deli meats. 

    If you check wet dog foods, most have it. It’s not just Canidae.  Organix wet does not have carrageenan.  I had to give many foods I loved because it contains carrageenan.  Here’s an article I read years ago:

  • Toxed2loss

    Good info Guest! Do you remember which volume or the articles name? I’d love to read it! 🙂

  • Mike P

    Very interesting post Guest.There is so much to be consumed by all the knowledgeable posters here on DFA.

  • Guest

    Carrageenan is a cheap thickener that is banned from infant formula by the WHO.  Both intact and degraded carageenan are associated with ulcers, ulcerative colitis and neoplasms of the GI tract in humans.  I will no longer be feeding my dogs Canidae. 

    I have to disagree with your assessment of barley and oats as acceptable food for dogs.  1/4 humans have some degree of allergy to gluten found in wheat and barley and to the closely related protein, avedin, found in oats. In 1/100 humans the allergy is of a different type and severe enough to cause what the New England Journal of Medicine calls, “a complex autoimmune disease triggered by the exposure of the human intestine to gluten.”   I have read veterinary nutritions in Whole Dog Journal state that a much higher incidence gluten allergy and intolerance in dogs than humans.

    Appreciate your site–it will help me pick a new dog food.

  • Hi Candyce… These reviews are inclusive of the Platinum products. I awarded the lower 3-star rating to these recipes due to their apparently lower meat protein contents. Hope this helps.

  • Candyce Conley

    Unable to find specific review for Canidae Platinum (dry and canned), searching for a low fat, affordable food for overweight 7 year old mastiff/hound and more importantly, 13 year German shep/border collie with pancreatic problems. She takes Epizyme as meds. They are currently eating Nutro Max. The Vit K in that food really worries me. You have given Canidae Platinum 3 stars, it that due to low protein issues?
    Thanks in advance for your time.

  • Jonathan

    I have never used this product, but compared to Purina One, please, for the love of dog, change ’em over!

    Going from a 1-star food to a 4-star food is always the right thing to do!

  • Jason

    I currently have a 7 month old english mastiff, and a 11 week old english mastiff. i have been feeding him purina one and the 7 month old has loose stool a couple times a week. i have read good things on this product and am wondering if anyone has a recommendation.